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Days may be numbered for tiny city of Rest Haven
State legislation, Buford action could dissolve Hall-Gwinnett town
Much of Rest Haven would be annexed by Buford if a bill that has passed the Georgia Senate also clears the House.

Tiny Rest Haven looks like it’s about to get even tinier.

A bill winding its way through the state legislature’s final days would enable neighboring Buford to take in most of what remains of the city straddling Hall and Gwinnett counties.

The Senate passed the measure Wednesday, and the bill now goes to House. The Georgia General Assembly wraps up March 24.

“There’ll be a small portion of it left after this state action,” said Phillip Beard, Buford Board of Commissioners chairman. “Hopefully, we can do the rest of it (through annexation), but if we can’t, we’ll be back next year (with state legislation).”

Rest Haven “is dead set on being part of Buford,” Beard added.

Buford, which already is in Gwinnett and Hall counties, incorporated part of Rest Haven in a previous session, so the plan was to swallow up more of the town this year.

A bill, sponsored by state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, basically does that task. The bill doesn’t mention Rest Haven by name but in technical language explains Buford’s border expansion, citing parcel and tax map numbers.

Neither Unterman nor Rest Haven officials, including Mayor Kenneth Waycaster, could be reached for comment.

Rest Haven, incorporated in the 1930s, may be a quiet hamlet now — mainly car lots and landscaping businesses lining its main stretch, Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 — but it wasn’t always that way.

At one time, Beard and others recalled, the town had honky-tonks, restaurants with carhops, and filling stations.

However, over the years, the city “didn’t grow, didn’t annex, didn’t do anything, and then Buford just surrounded them on both sides,” Beard said in an earlier interview. “We encircle (the city) now. Rest Haven is an island, really.”

Today, a few homes are scattered off side streets, and there are remnants of a town’s existence — including an old shotgun-style cinder-block building that once served as city hall.

Other than Buford moving in, the biggest change coming to the area is the $10 million widening of Ga. 13 between Sawnee Avenue in Gwinnett and Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347 in Hall.

Construction could begin later this year on the 1.3-mile project, Georgia Department of Transportation officials have said.