Highway 78's CID reaches
initial sign-up goal
By Emory Morsberger
Highway 78 Corridor Improvement Association
Special to GwinnettForum.com
FEB. 25, 2003 - - It's taken a lot of hard work by several dedicated
business owners, but with more than $240 million in property value
signed up, the Highway 78 Corridor Improvement Association now has
enough consenting property owners to exceed the key criteria for
creating a Community Improvement District (CID) for the Highway
78 corridor. We expect to have a CID worth $350 million to be formed
Authorized by House Bill 654 several years ago, a CID is a self-taxing
district created through the cooperation of non-residential property
owners and local governmental entities. The revenues generated are
used for restricted purposes which include, but are not limited
to, planning and construction of improvements located within the
CID that may not otherwise be provided by applicable governmental
Examples would be enhanced landscaping; interparcel access to make
traffic business-friendly; sidewalks; and implementation of an Overlay
Zoning District to ensure that new business and redevelopment would
be done in a manner that would reflect quality and enhance the needs
of the community.
In order to form a CID, the association has to have approval from
a majority of the property owners along the proposed district, in
this case, a seven-mile stretch of Highway 78 from the DeKalb County
line to Oak Road in Snellville. In addition, those consenting must
own 75 percent of the assessed property value in the proposed area.
The association has complied with 55 percent of consenting property
owners, owning 76 percent of the assessed property having signed
on as of February 3. We are disappointed that home-town Waffle House
hasn't signed up. It's our only negative.
I became concerned about the future of the Highway 78 corridor
when I first learned that the Georgia Department of Transportation
planned to install medians on U.S. Highway 78 from Stone Mountain
to Snellville. Along with several other business and property owners,
I helped organize the Highway 78 Corridor Improvement Association
in April of last year with an objective to organize efforts that
would enhance property values and the overall quality of business
Installation of medians on Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain contributed
greatly to the demise of that area after business declined because
of lack of access. We wanted to take every measure to insure this
would not happen on US Highway 78. Formation of a CID also was a
main objectives because it provides money to help achieve our goals.
It's a plus for residential owners and owners of retail outlets
who rent their property, because they gain from improvements through
increased property values, but are not taxed.
CIDs have been successful in the greater Atlanta area as pro-active
organizations that focus on planning and implementing valuable infrastructure
and environmental improvements within their districts. While Highway
78 Corridor CID will be the first in Gwinnett County, two others
are anticipated to follow. Efforts are under way to organize similar
districts in the Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Gwinnett Place areas.
We are blazing new trails in Gwinnett County and attacking blight
before it happens. It's an exciting concept and we are delighted
to have Gwinnett's first CID.
For additional information on the Highway 78 Corridor Improvement
Association visit their Web site at www.highway78.org.
passes smoking ban;
Norcross sees liquor vote
By Elliott Brack
editor and publisher
FEB. 25, 2003 -- Gwinnett cities are making news, and getting interesting.
For instance, in Loganville, the city was moving to become the first
Gwinnett community to ban smoking in all public places, a commendable
goal. But then, Grayson came onto the scene.
In Grayson, the City Council on February 17 passed an ordinance
banning smoking in all public places. This jumped Grayson ahead
of Loganville in passing the first non-smoking ordinance in Gwinnett
cities. In reality, there are no restaurants that allow smoking
in Grayson. By acting now, Grayson's council stopped any protest
about banning smoking by any restaurants. They are to be commended
for being ahead of the curve.
Then in nearby Hall County, the City Council in Flowery Branch
last week heard protests on a liquor question. The voters last August
in that South Hall community had approved the sale of packaged liquor,
and one store was approved. Homeowners protested a second store,
saying it was too close to schools and subdivisions. A Lawrenceville
group building a shopping center had petitioned for the second package
But let's look at another town's activity.
In Norcross, there's a move afoot by some to get liquor-by-the-drink
served in local restaurants. A group calling itself the Progressive
Development Committee, composed of people from the Norcross Homeowner's
Association and the Norcross Business Association, asked the Council
for a vote on mixed drinks. Council voted to call a referendum on
the liquor question on June 17. Norcross presently allows restaurants
to serve beer and wine.
Ironically, often in liquor votes, you find homeowners' associations
organizing to oppose measures involving alcohol. But in this case,
the Homeowners Association is a group of many new residents in Norcross,
and probably think of themselves as "progressive." Meanwhile,
some businesses downtown feel that having mixed drinks at the local
restaurants will bring more business to all the establishments,
raising the total economic vitality of the area.
We question if the vote on hard liquor in Norcross will be as readily
accepted as easily by the voters as the progressives believe it
will. We remember years back when Norcross voted to allow beer and
wine to be served in local restaurants. Though it passed, it cost
one city council member his church membership, and in general, stirred
up a hornet's nest. You see, this was an action by the Council,
not a vote of the residents.
The liquor-by-the-drink measure is to be decided by the approximately
1,600 local active voters of the town of 8,000.
What some have introduced into the question is not so much the
question of mixed drinks as much as it is: "What would come
after that?" Some suggest allowing mixed drinks is only the
first step, to be followed by a more seedy arrival of bars, and
after that, perhaps even strip clubs.
Meanwhile, some would oppose mixed drinks, preferring pure package
stores instead. They point out that this way, there is no aura of
people congregating at a "bar."
Those entirely opposed for more liberal liquor laws would fault
the council for even calling the question. Others applaud allowing
the citizens the opportunity to decide the question, which is required
by state law when it pertains to mixed drinks.
Opponents note that mixed drinks are available just past the Norcross
city limits, and so why bring this element into a quiet community?
At least the Norcross residents have about four months to discuss
the question before them. If we had to predict right now, we would
say that the voters might possibly turn down the measure, though
there is lots of time left before the vote. Sometimes it takes a
question like this being raised to bring people out, and to show
that, indeed, it is a community.
Lots of action is already going on within Gwinnett cities..
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2/25: Upset over
suggestive lyrics with children around
Editor, the Forum:
On Saturday's Karaoke Night at BAILEY'S in Duluth, there are
parents who bring underage children (teenagers) to an adult Karaoke
show, which at times features dirty and questionable lyrics.
These lyrics could be substituted for when being sung. Most often
the lyrics appear in suggestive form on large TV monitors for
the audience. I myself sing songs that have "Beetle Bailey"
form slang indices like "#*&#!@*", or questionable
phrases, but appropriately change their form when these inappropriate
wordings come up in lyrics. Many younger singers don't substitute
the language. They often include offensive profanity in songs
at any opportunity.
What I really don't understand is that conservative-appearing
adults with ordinary (not hoodlum) looking children continually
attend the shows for hours well towards midnight. Even more difficult
to understand is the fact that adults seated with the children
participate in the off-color lyric usage. Is there something being
Religious movement? Dirty politics? Just plain inappropriate
conduct? A group trying to muddy Karaoke participation, at one
of the few safe and pretty much wholesome nightlife opportunities
I am baffled. It does appear to me that this deserves scrutiny
by someone. But who?
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer/photographer appeared
at the venue to take photos on a night when the youth were not
there. Is there a connection between publicity and mysterious
activity? I really hate to think I'm being used as a pawn and
at the expense of my recreation.
-- Randy Stephens, Duluth
2/25: Eyewitness to Pearl Harbor attack to speak
Speaking at the March 17 meeting of the Gwinnett Historical Society
Author Mack Abbot, a Pearl Harbor survivor, who wrote "First
and Last Shots Fired in World War II." He will speak March
17 at 7:30 at the Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville.
Part of his presentation will be slides and commentary on Marine
Corps memories of Pearl Harbor's attack, including some of his
OF THE DAY
Most are decent and
hardworking, but ...
"Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are
decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two
percent that get all the publicity. But then--we elected them."
-- Lily Tomlin
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