June 23, 2021

topicofthetown

Design your heritage

Auburn tables plans for nearly 1,000 new homes

Inline Communities proposes a 386-lot subdivision with a similar mix of homes on about 74 acres, which would be called Auburn Station at Hills Shop Road. Chafin Land Development recently built a subdivision also called Auburn Station, located off U.S. Highway 29.

The developers separately filed requests for the city to annex land from Barrow County into its city limits and rezone it to allow the homes and a few commercial lots to be built. City Council will revisit the requests later this month. If approved, the developers would gradually build the homes over the course of several years.

David Gunter, who lives on Brown Bridge Road, said the Fowler Farms site plan should be scaled down and match the “country” feel of the area. Rhonda Greene, a Willow Gate Trace resident, said the 529 “cookie-cutter” homes would increase traffic and hurt the small-town vibe of Auburn.

Several residents said they worry that Auburn will become like the rest of Gwinnett County, heavy with traffic and new development.

“My dad said it best … he told me Gwinnett County has no soul. It’s nothing but strip malls and housing,” said Donnie Robinson, a realtor and Willow Gate Trace resident.

Other residents believe the city should embrace the forthcoming growth. Tim Watson, a pastor at a local church, said that the proposals are “forward-thinking and ambitious.”

“I’m here to tell you that growth is uncomfortable,” Watson said, alluding to the founding days of the city. “Auburn had no choice but to grow then. It has no choice now, because growth is not only uncomfortable, but it is inevitable.”

Population is expected to more than double in both Barrow and Gwinnett counties by 2050, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. After the meeting, Mayor Linda Blechinger told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city has prepared by upgrading infrastructure and services.

Homes still under construction already have a waiting list of eager homebuyers, Blechinger said.

By having control over the land, the city could choose how it develops, Blechinger said. This would allow Auburn residents to have a say in what happens, she said, as she expects Barrow County to develop the land if Auburn doesn’t.

Unlike Gwinnett County, Barrow County only has a sheriff’s office and no police department. By annexing the land, Auburn could dedicate police officers to patrol the area, Blechinger said.

If city officials greenlight them, the communities will have resort-style amenities, greenspace and a few acres for restaurant or office space. Fowler Farms would likely have a “lazy river” that runs through it, said Clint Dixon, a state senator and representative for Chafin Land Development.

Bel Outwater, a longtime resident and member of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, said people are attracted to Auburn by its small-town character and convenient location between Athens and Atlanta. Development is coming, she said, but the city can balance it while maintaining its charm.

“We shape our future not by swimming upstream but by following the currents,” Outwater said. “I love that the citizens of Auburn are so passionate about preserving our small-town feel and charm. I don’t want that to change either … but I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop developments coming in.”

A Memorial Day blaze displaced 20 residents from a Duluth apartment complex. Find out more at https://bit.ly/3fAGGr1.

Posted by Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services on Monday, May 31, 2021

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Harris has independently collected more than $200,000, which she plans to spend on three projects that will nod to the cricket box factory and the nearby Chattahoochee River."},{"_id":"IWX6KQL7RNH5HI3T6RJVHX3BBY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1622138727636},"type":"text","content":"Harris plans to install a projector that will show an image on the floor that makes people feel as if they’re walking through water, a nod to the river flowing near Duluth. “I’m a former elementary school principal, so I get excited about stuff like that,” she said."},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"In addition to books, the new library branch in Duluth has 36 computer stations, a meeting room that can fit 120 people with retractable walls for added capacity and two learning labs with areas for sewing, crafting, 3D printing and coding. 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The tactical unit was called in after sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve Woods an arrest warrant and could not make contact with him."},{"_id":"WXHLISNC6RHR5AH5QBZD2YAW3I","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"BPJRM5JIHBD3DGV4UAZVYYIFAI"},"type":"interstitial_link","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-homicide-investigation-underway-in-peachtree-corners/TR4HPYBBCBALNN277IJYPJE4AM/","content":"Gwinnett police ID man sought in deadly convenience store shooting"},{"_id":"BVTKN7GQLRGFZATP3ECI2LG3LM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1622039308437},"type":"text","content":"“The decision was made to call Gwinnett Police SWAT Team, believing Woods was possibly barricaded in the apartment,” police spokesman Cpl. 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According to investigators, Reid and Woods were " family acquaintances and met with each other at the location.”"},{"_id":"2XH5W2BLZZG3LHNC4BFQZQR4PE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1622039308440},"type":"text","content":"Reid, who was a frequent customer of the business, was shot after some kind of altercation, police said. He was found lying in between two parked cars when authorities arrived about 2 p.m. He died at the scene."},{"_id":"XBF4PXDIPJHMRID2XNYWUDZ3EU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1622039308441},"type":"text","content":"Warrants were obtained for Woods on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault the following day. Both shootings remain under investigation."},{"_id":"HI6SZSFU5VFYJN55VCT2ZGRT24","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1622039308442},"type":"text","content":"
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