Staff Photo: John Bohn A Peachtree Corners welcome sign greets motorists entering the Paul Duke Parkway.
PEACHTREE CORNERS -- It wasn't as wild as a New Year's celebration, but there was a countdown of sorts to the year's half birthday, at least in the western Gwinnett corner that now features the county's newest and largest city.
Just moments after midnight, the Peachtree Corners City Council met to bring in a sweeping set of regulations intended to keep things flowing smoothly for the town of 38,000.
The meeting bridged a weekend of festivities to shepherd in the new city, with ceremonies to christen the new government set for Sunday.
The 40-year-old community, designed as Gwinnett's first live-work-play development, has had a long road to cityhood, clinched in November when 58 percent of voters approved a "city lite" form of government, limiting operations to planning and zoning, code enforcement and solid waste.
But it will take a little more time before the new City Council completely takes the reins, Mayor Mike Mason said.
A moratorium on planning and zoning will continue for another month or so to allow for state laws and procedures to be implemented, and leaders plan to sign an agreement with the county government to continue code enforcement through the county police until a vendor can be picked to manage the city activities. Trash, Mason said, likely won't be tackled until the beginning of next year.
"We want to do it on our own as quickly as possible," Mason said, but added that things have to be taken care of first, such as training for the young City Council.
Over the past decade, Peachtree Corners residents have watched as the nearby cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Dunwoody launched, so leaders were keen to avoid the same mistakes.
The start may be slow, but Mason said the council will be thorough.
A new City Hall will be established at 147 Technology Parkway, but it likely won't open until later in the summer, and leaders have lined up a process to hire a city manager.
After much debate, the city's first budget was established late last week.
But through all the excitement and frustration that comes with the establishment of the city, Mason is keeping in mind a bit of family advice: "Never let the urgent get in the way from the truly important."
"It's exciting," he said.