'Shire' Zoning Case Applicant Requests Delay

Case was scheduled to be heard Aug. 7, but may be tabled at the request of the applicant.

A controversial local zoning case may be delayed once again.

Originally , the "Shire" zoning request will now likely be heard in September.

In an email to Dacula Patch, Gwinnett County Planning Commission chairman Chuck Warbington said the applicant has requested a one month delay to "respond to some community concerns that recently came up." Warbington indicated he plans to motion for the case to be tabled.

Development of the property,  began almost four years ago. Original plans called for more than 180,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space to be built as part of an upscale shopping center. Property developers cleared the land and installed curbs and gutters, but the real estate market crash halted further development. The property was foreclosed in June of 2011.

The new property owners have requested a change in conditions for the 33-acre parcel of land located in the 3600 block of Braselton Highway. The property is currently divided into two zones: C-2 (commercial) and O-I (office-institutional). CML-GA Mulberry LLC has requested zoning for the C-2 portion, which fronts Braselton Highway, be modified to remove prohibitions against 24-hour sales, automotive parts stores, group and congregate personal care homes, full and self-service automotive car washes, drive-in and drive-through restaurants and emission inspection stations. However, according to Warbington, the emission inspection station item is now "off the table." 

The concept plan submitted with the zoning modification request shows a Fifth Third Bank, an Aldi discount grocery store and a drive-through restaurant along Braselton Highway. The middle portion of the property is shown with a medical office building, two restaurants and an assisted living facility. The rear of the property is designated as an office park.

The Gwinnett County Planning Commission hearing for the change in conditions request (case number CIC2012-00008) was scheduled for Aug. 7. The case is currently listed on the agenda as item number four under new business. However, if the case is tabled as planned, it will be heard on Sept. 4.

Dacula, which is part of Gwinnett County District 3, is represented on the planning commission by Chuck Warbington (chuck@gwinnettvillage.com) and Teresa Cantrell (Teresa.Cantrell@gwinnettcounty.com). Other members of the planning commission are Lynn Thorndyke (Lynn.Thorndyke@gwinnettcounty.com), John Winters (John.Winters@gwinnettcounty.com), Matt Houser (Matt.Houser@gwinnettcounty.com), Omar Zaman (Omar.Zaman@gwinnettcounty.com), Clint Dixon (Clint.Dixon@gwinnettcounty.com), Brad Crowe (Brad.Crowe@gwinnettcounty.com) and Don Shillington (Don.Shillington@gwinnettcounty.com). Additional contact information for the members of the Gwinnett County Planning Commission is available here

The planning commission meets in the auditorium of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. The next meeting will be held on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m.

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Tim Sullivan August 04, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I can’t imagine the planning commissioners would OK this. I can see the planning department OKing the project though. For my part I though the whole “Shire” concept was odd looking and out of place for the area, it seems we’ve been going along with Brick, rock and stucco accents for a couple of years now and it all works well together. I’d use our local Kroger Shopping center, Buford side :-), as an example. I wouldn't object to changing the look but I’m not looking for more drive troughs and or 24 hour businesses. I want more upscale businesses and white table cloth restaurants. While I like famous Joe’s and Buffalos I think we have enough “bars’ in the area as well. I'm hoping that the postponement for this rezoning is a good sight that the Planning commissioners aren’t inclined to support it and the developer is rethinking things. Perhaps the Aldi can open in the now closed Kroger on Buford Hwy in Buford.
Dacula Native August 04, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Mr. Sullivan maybe you should do a little more resaerch before commenting. The shire concept was planned and presented to Hamilton Mill and Gwinnett County prior to other developments in the area and the formation of the Hamilton Mill overlay district. Once the zoning was able to get underway, after many delays caused by Ham Mill, the design was changed to reflect the brick and stone facades of surrounding developments. I understand that everyone would like a whole Foods and "white table cloth" restaurants however the market simply doesnt support it! The research has been done by at a minimum of 5 different developers (assuming the new owners have only consulted in house). Originally Hamilton Mill wanted "the forum" in its backyard, well I am sorry to say that the forum is not going to fly one exit north of the Mall of GA, heck it isnt evening profiting in its own location. As for Whole Foods/Fresh Market/Trader Joes and very high end restaurants the area is simply too rural and the average household income far too low to support their requirements. Now I for one would love to see an Outback or other Mall type restaurant go in but they dont seem to be expanding into "unproven" markets at this time. Perhaps we should take into consideration the tenants that are interested in the area, these are very succesful businesses and they got that way by knowing which markets they will thrive in. Its such a shame how a small few can make choices for the rest of the area!
Tim Sullivan August 05, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Dacula, not so fast, a lot of what has been built came before the Shire rezoning. Think Publics shopping center, Home depot the O&I offices further north of this property. I've lived in Gwinnett for over 30 years and watched the other counties develop more upscale neighborhoods, as well as more desirable commercial developments. I've spend many a Tuesday night at planning commission meetings, BOC meetings over the years. I’ve spoken both in opposition of poorly conceived developments as well as in favor of some projects that either made sense of had developers willing to work with the community. I hate the argument that says “oh the economy is tough so we need to build lower quality developments because we cannot make money otherwise. I work for a builder in Sugar Hill and we have been able to build a higher quality product at a reduced price. Ya know all boats rise and fall with the ocean. Whoever purchased the Shire property did at a substantial discount and should be able to build a nice product and not down grade it. Over the years too many developments have been built in Gwinnett using the same argument. We are becoming a county of starter homes and check cashing stores. We need not repeat the mistakes of the past. No reason GA 20, Gravel Springs rd. and Hamilton Mill cannot be different. We need not end up looking like Beaver Ruin rd. or Jimmy Carter Blvd.
Lori August 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I want the original upscale shopping center not an Aldi discount store and 24 hr sales and we certainly don't need anymore drive thru/fast food eateries. This will not be good for the people living around this property and for the whole area in general. I don't want this area to be like Jimmy Carter Blvd full of check cashing places and low end development. I have already written the appropriate commissioners and hope the zoning requirements will not be changed.
Dacula Native August 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I was in no way implying that the current owners should be allowed to build an inferior center, quite the contrary with the overlay district requirments in place and the current zoning restrictions against the property I believe the center will be one of the most upscale in the area! My point is simple, certain tenats were not interested in this location PRIOR to the bottom falling out (think 2005/2006) and the likelyhood that those tenants will come now is very low. Had some of these residents worked with the previous owners there would have been 4 developed outparcels and two sit down restaurants in the interior development before 2011. everyone is against drive thru restaurants, why? they all complain about ingress/eggress from the development and the traffic that it would cause, but if traffic is the concern then why aren't the homeowers outraged over the county's refusal to install either of the redlights (one at Enclave Mill Rd and one at Jim Moore Rd) that the prev. owners paid for before receiving a permit? Think of the accidents that could have been prevented? Mr. Sullivan I too have lived in the Dacula area for 20+ years! No one wants a low rent development here trust me, the construction costs alone would dictate at a minimum $18-20 sf rental rates, at these rates you will not end up with Jimmy Carter! come on and use common sense, hold the developers feet to the fire on the main issues but hold Gwinnett County and yourselves accountable as well!


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