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Gwinnett commissioners approve controversial rezoning

LAWRENCEVILLE — One of the largest undeveloped areas of land in Lawrenceville was rezoned Tuesday night, making way for more than 300 proposed homes to be built on the 130-acre tract.

Preserved for decades as part of the campus of Scientific Atlanta — now Cisco — the area known as “The Range” on Cruse Road was rezoned from manufacturing-industrial to residential to allow developer Rocklyn Homes to build a 334-home subdivision. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rezoning despite opposition from area residents, who publicly showed that opposition during Tuesday’s meeting by wearing the color red.

Those who spoke in opposition of the rezoning cited traffic issues, overcrowding in schools, lack of infrastructure and a potential increase in crime as reasons to deny the request.

“The rezoning process has been interesting in that it appears that from this side of the table the county has been asked to make a lot of decisions that will have a great social, ecological, financial and environmental impact on a great number of people without the benefit of much data,” Allan Hicks, a resident of Sweetwater Circle, told commissioners. “One of the planning board commissioners pointed out the decision has a lot of emotion connected to it and he is very correct. Any time you do anything that affects the quality of life of so many people you can’t avoid emotions.”

Hicks said he had looked at the numbers associated with the development and came to the conclusion that the development would not produce as much tax revenue as its residents would consume in services.

“… if I were on your side of the table I would want hard facts to support my decision and that those facts would demonstrate that my decision was reasonable and prudent for the good of the citizens I represent,” Hicks said.

Those opposing the development had also questioned that the proposal came from David Jenkins, the owner of Rocklyn Homes who has been granted immunity in a bribery case against former Commissioner Kevin Kenerly.

“The outcome of this rezoning fight of ours is something I would expect of a BOC filled with Kenerlys, Lasseters and Bannisters,” wrote Marlin Knapp, president of the Vintage Point Neighborhood Association, in an email to the Daily Post. “Clearly, my hopes and expectations of this particular board are misplaced.”