SUWANEE -- Two weeks after a rezoning proposal for a self-storage facility to be built in Suwanee was tabled by the City Council for further discussion, the project was unanimously approved on Thursday night at a called meeting.
The self-storage facility at 345 Sawmill Drive near Interstate 85 was tabled because Councilman Doug Ireland said the proposal didn't match the concept design of the Gateway, and didn't go along with the city's comprehensive plan, which called for office space in that area.
But since the Council meeting about 10 days ago, Ireland said he visited the two acre property, which consists of an abandoned Waffle House building and a concrete cinder block building, with Suwanee Planning Director Josh Campbell and walked "all four corners" of the property, and peppered Campbell with questions.
"When you stand on top of the hill and look around, it's a little easier to visualize what they're trying to accomplish," Ireland said. "Without a doubt, it is a heads and tails improvement over what is there now. I'm excited about it."
Because city staff had worked for nearly four months with Waylon Hoge, whose company Integrity Engineering did the civil design of the proposed facility, and the project had staff approval, the Council's 4-2 vote last month to table the proposal surprised Hoge.
With the green light now, Hoge said he would move into full designs, including civil and architectural surveys, and added he's "excited to have a project design, especially in this recession. Any new development is definitely a great thing."
The area was previously zoned commercial, but the approval makes it light industrial. The property is owned by Regency Church of God, and the rezoning and special use permit request was made by Amburgy Properties. Hoge said there was a contract extension reached between Regency Church of God and Tony Amburgy, the owner of the business.
The self-storage facility is designed to be about 70,000 square feet and include three climate-controlled buildings. Campbell previously told council members that a rezoning of the area would present a positive image that city officials hope would continue their efforts to improve the Gateway area, which has several closed or vacant businesses.
"What we're getting is an improvement that can hopefully help spur more improvements," Ireland said. "Because I think once this is done, other developers can come in and say, 'I have an idea for this piece of land' ... so we could eventually have our vision come true, in terms of a beautiful entrance to our city."