Norcross moving ahead with plans for parking deck

NORCROSS — Community Development Director Chris McCrary presented concept drawings for a structured parking facility to Mayor Bucky Johnson and City Council members Monday night.

The parking deck, which will contain more than 300 parking spaces and a multi-purpose building, is not slated for immediate construction. According to councilman Keith Shewbert, the new facility will not be built until the demand for parking is sufficient.

“We are planning now, to be ready when the time is right,” Shewbert said.

The planned parking deck will be located across the street from City Hall.

City leaders change law, will enforce cleanup

In an effort to overcome what McCrary called “roadblocks” to code enforcement in Norcross, City Council members voted for measures that allow the city to take corrective measures when property maintenance matters are neglected by property owners.

When communication breaks down between the city and a property owner who, for example, is neglecting to mow the lawn, now city staff can hire a landscaper to come onto the property and mow the lawn, then bill the property owner on a year-end tax assessment. For major issues, such as structural deficiencies or dangers, there is another ordinance on the books to address those violations.

“Many times, it’s bank-owned properties that have been sold and re-sold where we see these problems,” Johnson said.

Norcross will pay for analysis of land

City leaders voted Monday to pay $5,250 for a Phase II environmental analysis of 27 acres of land, in an attempt to decide whether to accept the land by way of donation to the city. Should the land prove suitable for the use, Norcross leaders plan to build a passive/pedestrian park on the property. The initial analysis revealed that the land was at one time the site of a World War I firing range.

Council members delay decision on intersection

Decisions regarding possible changes to the intersection of North Peachtree Street and Langford Road in Norcross will be delayed until the council’s next retreat, which should take place sometime in January. At issue are whether proposed changes suggested by a recent traffic study would improve traffic flow or improve pedestrian safety at the intersection. The site is also being considered for placement of a gateway sign to the city.

While opinions among council members differed with respect to the value of the estimated minimum $70,000 road/lane changes, another issue was whether the steep price tag was justified simply to be able to place a gateway sign at the intersection.

At Johnson’s suggestion, the matter will be further considered at the next mayor and council retreat.

City to replace about 25 dead/dying trees at Lillian Webb Field

Norcross will spend $21,808 ($19,825 for trees and a 10 percent contingency) to replace trees that, according to city manager Rudolph Smith, “can’t be rehabilitated.” The funds will be taken from the city 2013 hotel/motel tax.

According to Smith, the park opened in June, and some of the trees died almost immediately because of heat and lack of water. Those were replaced under warranty. The 25 trees to be replaced with the $21,808 have died after the one-year warranty period expired.

Planting is planned to take place soon, as fall and winter are the best time to plant trees and shrubs.