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Dacula officials pave way for family center, drive-through cafe

DACULA -- Lloyd deLatour, owner of Great Beginnings child care center in Dacula, petitioned City Council members Thursday for rezoning of a 2.1-acre property and changes of conditions on another in an attempt to further his vision for his business in Dacula.

Council members granted deLatour rezoning of the property located at 1247 Harbins Road, changing it from Office and Industrial use to C-1 commercial use. The owner plans to build a drive-through cafe for the parents of the 540 students in the Great Beginnings child care center. Buffer zone reductions were also granted on that property.

The changes of conditions were granted for the 5.29 acres located at 1271 Harbins Road, and those changes will allow deLatour to begin the process of building a K-5 private school on the site. Such a school, according to deLatour, will give parents who wish to enroll their children in private school an alternative to Hebron Christian School, which can take even some Dacula residents 30 or more minutes to reach in the mornings.

Some residents who live and work near Great Beginnings spoke in opposition to deLatour's plans during Thursday's public hearing. Alice Olenick, who drives down Ace McMillan Road every day but does not live in the city, said that the residential area is no place for a drive-through cafe.

Barney Daniels, whose home abuts the newly rezoned property, said he worries that Dacula is planning in a haphazard manner and should more carefully consider keeping commercial and residential properties separate.

"We need to think about this and plan it, or table it until we can study it further," said Daniels, who stated that he is not opposed to retail growth in the city, but it must be planned properly. He also pointed out that there is a drive-through cafe sitting vacant in the Liam Avenue area of the city. Resident Thomas Whitaker said he has already lived in the city and moved to Dacula to escape that environment.

Councilman Hubert Wells answered Daniels' point that a vacant cafe space is already available in Dacula. Wells said that cafe is vacant because the owner raised the rent $1,100 per month, driving out the previous occupant.

Hearing arguments both in support of and in opposition to the requests, the council voted unanimously to grant deLatour his requests.

Sidewalks along Tanner Road planned

City administrator Jim Osborn informed mayor Jimmy Wilbanks and council members Thursday that, in order to build the 5-foot-wide sidewalks along Tanner Road, easements will have to be obtained from property owners along the road. No action was taken Thursday, but the matter was brought to council's attention for planning purposes.