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Dacula seeks to annex properties

DACULA — Dacula city leaders are pursuing the annexation of 34 parcels of land along Winder Highway, asking the legislature in House Bill 999 to annex the parcels. The bill passed the House of Representatives last month and is headed to the state senate next.

The lots total 75.02 acres, and according to Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, “This area serves as a gateway to the west into the city of Dacula. We believe (the properties) should be in the city and not in (Gwinnett) County.”

There are several businesses located on these properties, including Waffle House and QuikTrip, as well as one manufacturing facility.

“We think this is a win-win for everyone involved, property owners, the city and the county,” Wilbanks said.

The matter was tabled Thursday, pending legislative approval by the state. Once approved, the council will take action to proceed with the annexations.

Sidewalk projects submitted for funding

City council members approved a list of five sidewalk projects to be submitted to the county for approval by April 1. The projects, once approved, will be funded by a joint city-county SPLOST initiative, with the county paying $751,861, and the city paying $142,854. The price tag for all five sidewalk projects, at a cost of $175 per linear foot, is $1,276,975, which is more than is allocated for Dacula in the joint initiative.

Council members voted to prioritize the projects in order of safety importance and install the sidewalks until the funding cap is met. At that time, the council will consider using the city’s own SPLOST funds to make up the difference. The reason for installing the new sidewalks is to improve connectivity throughout the city, according to City Administrator Jim Osborn.

The proposed projects include sidewalk installation along portions of Old Peachtree Road, Dacula Road and Harbins Road.

Property maintenance ordinance changed

The city’s ordinance governing property maintenance was amended Thursday because of problems that have arisen from foreclosures and evictions. According to Wilbanks, residents who have been evicted from their homes often leave their property out on the lawn or other outdoor areas for days and even weeks.

The change specifies that those who have been evicted from a residence have three business days to remove all of their belongings from the property.

City Hall expansion planned

City leaders will move ahead with a planned expansion of Dacula’s existing City Hall building, with the next action to seek proposals for architectural design. The 3,300-square-foot expansion will add office space, storage space and a meeting room.

“This is an expansion, not a rebuild,” Wilbanks said. “This is not a project that is going to jump out of the ground tomorrow; it’s just the beginning of the process.”