Sugar Hill annexes land, leaves millage rate alone

— SUGAR HILL — More residents than typical attended the Sugar Hill City Council’s monthly meeting Monday night, many for its public hearing on whether to annex land adjoining a planned church on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near West Price Road.

The nearly eight acres at issue was the smaller of two parcels purchased two years ago by North Point Ministries, whose fourth metro-Atlanta church location is planned on the larger, already-annexed 42-acre parcel. Sugar Hill asked the church to seek annexation of the smaller parcel, through which Gwinnett County already had approved an access road to Level Creek Road from the back of the facility.

Residents came Monday to voice concerns over traffic flow and the effect on home values, as well as to urge Sugar Hill to require an adequate buffer from nearby homes. The challenge was, excessive requirements might lead North Point to drop its voluntary request for annexation and proceed with the road and overflow parking as already approved by the county.

“We could easily condition this to the point where the church says, ‘No thanks,’ and does what it wants to do anyway,” Councilman Mike Sullivan warned. “(North Point has) voluntarily listened to a lot of these concerns, which will cost them (some) grief and money ... and are still sitting here.”

North Point representative Rick Holliday, who visited privately afterward with concerned residents, said the church wants to work with Gwinnett’s fourth-largest city and its residents. He told the council, “We’re looking forward to being part of the community.”

Ultimately, the council voted to annex the smaller parcel with conditions, chiefly that the entry to Level Creek be gated and that the road be sufficiently buffered from nearby homes by trees and a fence.

“I think they’re going to be a good neighbor here,” Mayor Gary Pirkle said.

In a separate development, the council voted to leave its property tax rate at 3.8 mills for an 11th year, despite its tax digest having shrunk $150,000 and $200,000 this year and last, respectively.