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Norcross swears in two new police officers

NORCROSS -- Mayor Bucky Johnson administered the oath of office to two new Norcross police officers on Monday. Both men are bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish fluently. Officer Marques J. Sawyer, who previously worked for the Gwinnett County Police Department, brings six years of experience to the job in Norcross. Officer Isidro Yanez-Rodriguez is a former marine and comes to Norcross from the Gwinnett County sheriff's department. Born in Mexico, Yanez-Rodriguez earned his United States citizenship after serving in the war in Afghanistan.

Stream buffer variance granted

A stream buffer variance was granted for the property located at 202 Lake Drive in Norcross on Monday, allowing the property owner to encroach upon the 75-foot stream buffer (50 feet undisturbed buffer, 25 feet with no impervious surface allowed) in order to build a garage and driveway in back of a planned new house.

Until 2006, stream buffers in Georgia were usually 25 feet, but new regulations doubled the size. With the addition of another 25 feet to the buffer in which an impervious surface is not allowed, councilman Keith Shewbert said in Monday's council meeting that he has always had a problem with the increased buffer size.

"These lots were plotted out before the current regulations took effect," Shewbert said. "Until 2006, this would have been perfectly acceptable." Shewbert went further to say that the stream buffer issue will continue to surface, as older plots of land did not take into account such generous buffers.

The majority of council members voted to approve an 8-foot buffer variance, provided the new driveway is pervious and the builder installs a runoff water retention system.

2014 SPLOST fund allocation decided

Council members voted Monday to decide how funds from a possible 2014 SPLOST will be allocated in Norcross. Sixty percent of the city's SPLOST money will be spent on transportation, 15 percent on parking, 17.5 percent on administration buildings and 7.5 percent on recreation. City leaders want to build a new library downtown, overlooking Lillian Webb Park, then purchase and retrofit the county library building for new city police department quarters. Norcross already has $2.75 million in SPLOST funds allocated for recreation, so the percentages for the possible new 2014 SPLOST were reallocated to allow for the purchase and remodel of the county library building.