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Planning board set to OK stream buffer exception
Warehouse project would encroach on a stream buffer
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Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board

What: Recommend exception to stream buffer rule
When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Public safety facility, 701 Queen City Parkway, Gainesville

Gainesville planning officials on Tuesday will recommend the city make an exception to a buffer rule that is designed to prevent wetland erosion and keep city water clean.

At the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board meeting at 5:30 p.m., the board will hear a request from Gwinnett Industrial Inc. to build a warehouse that will encroach on a 75-foot city-mandated buffer around a stream that passes through Gainesville Business Park.

Though the planning and division staff are giving the OK, they are expecting Gwinnett Industrial to comply with a few conditions to make sure the stream isn’t disturbed, Gainesville Community Development Coordinator Rusty Ligon said.

The state requires a 25-foot, “do-not-disturb” buffer around streams, which Gwinnett Industrial won’t touch. But Gainesville adds another 50 feet onto that buffer, following the lead of the Metro North Georgia Water and Sewer District.

“They have model storm water ordinances, and we’ve adopted it as part of our code,” Ligon said. “These buffers help improve water quality in the city.”

So to keep city water clean, Gwinnett Industrial will have to provide an erosion and sedimentation control plan that monitors the stream and surrounding wetland before, during and after construction.

The warehouse is 77,126 square feet on a 20.1-acre lot at 1845 New Harvest Road. The building itself will not be on the 75-foot buffer zone, but Gwinnett Industrial will have to landscape onto the buffer zone since the stream runs on either side of the lot.

Gwinnett Industrial would have to infringe on 3,910 square feet of the buffer to the north and 2,663 square feet to the south and build a small retaining wall to hold back dirt and keep the landscape within the limits of the lot.

If Gwinnett Industrial didn’t use the buffer land, it would have to build a much larger, less practical retaining wall farther from the stream, Ligon said.

But as long as they keep to the city’s conditions, the stream and surrounding land should be fine, he added.

“If they do the things we’re recommending, we think that will be sufficient,” he said.

The Planning and Appeals Board meeting will be held at the public safety facility.

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