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martes, 1 de octubre de 2013

BOC to Vote on Jehovah's Witnesses Permit Request

The matter will go before the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Once again, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will be asked to decide if the Jehovah's Witnesses will be allowed to build a church on Ace McMillian Road.

Earlier this month, the Gwinnett County Planning Commission voted 8-0 to recommend approval for a special use permit which would allow the Jehovah's Witnesses to build a 5,000-square-foot church on their property located in the 1500 block of Ace McMillian Road.

The vote to recommend approval went against the planning department recommendation to deny the request, which was based in part on the fact that Ace McMillian Road is categorized as a minor collector road and, as such, may be ill suited for the amount of traffic the church could generate. Churches are allowed on property zoned as RA-200 except when the roads are classified as a minor collector.

The planning department analysis also stated, "Potentially adverse impacts from traffic, noise and light intrusion could be anticipated from this request."

During the Sept. 3 planning commission meeting, District 3 planning commission member Chuck Warbington said discussions with DOT officials have convinced him Ace McMillian is improperly designated as a minor collector road.

"The only reason this is coming in is because of classification of a road -- not because it's agricultural, not because it's residential -- but because of classification of that road," Warbington said.

Warbington subsequently motioned to recommend approval for the request with conditions including a 30-foot landscape buffer external to all property lines and the requirement the church building be limited to 5,000 square feet.

Warbington also voted in favor of the request in 2011. That permit request did not garner enough support at the commission level, however, and failed in a 3-1 vote. Then-District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau motioned for denial.

“This community, as depicted in the planning department report, is very rural in nature,” Beaudreau said at the time. “You’re talking about a fairly sizeable congregation with multiple services that will change a rural area forever.”

Residents in the area remain concerned about the potential impact of the church and several spoke in opposition of the request at the Sept. 3, 2013, planning commission meeting.

The case will now go before the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville.

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