LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett planning commission voted Tuesday to recommend denial of zoning amendments to two proposed developments near Coolray Field.
Both developments -- originally proposed as a single property but divided after conflict between property owners -- would bring apartments to the area surrounding the Gwinnett Braves stadium on Ga. Highway 20 near Old Peachtree Road. The most recent amendments proposed, which have been tabled multiple times, would bring more apartment units than originally approved in 2008 as part of a mixed-use development.
Prior to Tuesday's voting, District 4 planning commissioner Clint Dixon called the zoning decisions "the most difficult two cases that I've had in front of me."
The commission followed his suggestion to recommend denial to the Board of Commissioners.
"(These were) very difficult decisions that I've lost sleep over," Dixon said.
The first development discussed Tuesday was an approximately 31-acre lot along Ga. Highway 20. The proposal called to increase building heights on the property from four to five stories, as well as "alter the mix of uses." Some 600 apartment units would have been included.
Lee Tucker, an attorney representing owner Brand Properties LLC, actually requested the commission's denial, saying his client "would like to move forward with the existing condition on the property."
Area resident Paula Hastings, a local activist who was on the planning commission when the original mixed-use proposal was approved, said Brand Properties has agreed to have a meeting with community residents next week.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that they do have a better plan that they would like to share with us," Hastings said.
Hastings and other residents had expressed concern over the "quality" of development if the proposed amendments were approved.
The second proposal denied Tuesday was for a neighboring 19-acre lot, for which owners proposed approximately 212 residential units -- described as "garden apartments" with a willingness to adapt to "flat style" units. The property was originally a part of the land to be developed by Brand Properties, but broke off after the relationship between both sides soured.
Planning commissioner Matt Houser was the lone vote against recommending denial.
"I think the original plan that was agreed upon by the community and the developer, at this time it's the best possible plan to see this project through," Dixon said.
Tuesday's votes merely approved a recommendation for the Board of Commissioners, which is scheduled to take up the matter during its Sept. 25 meeting.