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Multi-Use Ordinance Changes to Guide New Development in Peachtree Corners [Podcast]

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Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager

Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian Johnson

Join Rico Figliolini and Brian Johnson on this episode of Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager to hear about all of the exciting things coming to Peachtree Corners. Get updates on new restaurants coming to town, expansions, redevelopment, and details on the multi-use ordinance.

“The landscape of what we do out in and out in town has changed. And the pandemic has accelerated this change at a rate that would have taken a decade or more for us to slowly get into… This landscape is going to change. And everybody, including the city, has to remain flexible. (We) have to be as prepared to think outside the box as we possibly can. And we’re certainly trying to do that ourselves.”

Brian Johnson

Where to find it in the podcast:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:52] – New Restaurants Opening
[00:07:07] – Cornerstone Christian Academy Expansion
[00:08:28] – Pet Boarding Amendment
[00:10:24] – Multi-use Ordinance
[00:33:48] – Closing

Podcast Transcript

Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone, this is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life, and this

episode of Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian Johnson. But before we get to Brian, I

just want to introduce our main sponsor, which is Hargray Fiber. They’re a internet service

provider, as well as a provider of fast internet connections and business solutions. Whether

you’re a small business or a large business, they’re out there in the community providing that

service. So check them out. Hargray is doing their economic stimulus plan this year, and they

believe in small businesses and they want to help you out. So you may qualify for a one-year

free business internet and phone service. To check them out, just simply go to

Hargray.com/Business/Economic-Stimulus. And you’ll be able to check out what they’re offering.

They’re a big partner, not only with the businesses, but with the community they’re in. Like I

said, they’ve done things here with the city, with Curiosity Lab. Check them out, great supporter.

They are not the cable guy. They’re there when you need them. That’s Hargray Fiber. So I

appreciate them supporting not only the Peachtree Corners magazine, but the podcasts that we

do. So let’s bring in Brian. Brian, I just want to let people and reintroduce to people what we do

right? Every month after the city council meeting, when that happens the fourth Tuesday of the

month, we go into a meeting on a Thursday. We prerecord this actually live, and then we put it

out a day or two later as a simulcast. But we talk about all the city news, right? That’s going on.

And I’ve been fortunate to have a good co-host if you will, in you in the sense that every

question I have, if you have an answer, you give it to me. If you don’t, you find it. And on rare

occasions, you tell me Rico, we can’t talk about it. And because you’re not afraid of the

questions I give you. So I just want people to understand that that’s sometimes where I’ll ask

you stuff about executive sessions and what the city council is doing. You know, your honor

should tell me no, we can’t go there but it’ll be out at some point. So I’m glad that you’re there to

help me bring the real news, if you will, and the right information out to people. Which is

sometimes difficult to do in this environment.

Brian: [00:02:44] And conversely Rico, you know, the city appreciates what you do because you

provide yet another, this podcast provides yet another vehicle for information to get to people.

You know, as the internet, once it was created and these different sites and how they’ve kind of

evolved, people get their news from different places. And even those who are getting news

from, you know, the internet at some point they’re not all getting it from the same place. So we

as a city, try to do as much as we can to cross the spectrum on getting information that affects

their lives, that affects the community they live, work, or play in. And one of those is a podcast.

So we appreciate this vehicle to help educate those that may have missed it when it’s in some

of our other forms. And this is a good one. So, you know, again, thanks for making, thanks for

providing something that probably a lot of people in the community don’t realize is as important

as it is. Because there’s a lot of cities out there who don’t have these communication vehicles to

learn information from.

Rico: [00:03:52] For sure. And I appreciate that. I mean, I know the city’s out there doing a lot of

social media. The city’s out there with their own Peachtree network on YouTube providing. And

you guys have put out regular videos all the time. So, you know, you’re putting out stuff. And I’d

look at it, not just as news, but as information, right? Because you could get information from

anywhere from next door. You could get it from Facebook, get it from Twitter. Now we’re not

talking fake news. We’re not talking, we’re talking people getting information and putting it out,

but sometimes information can be distorted or wrong. And so I’m glad that we’re able to look at

what we’re doing and I can ask you about those things and you can help with bringing the right

facts out. Rather than people just thinking, you know, 20 times over what someone said and

saying, yeah, that bridge cost $40 million, you know. Because those things happen. People get

things wrong. And so this is a good place. Not only this, but Peachtree Corners Life and even

Capitalist Sage. The other podcast I do with Karl Barham. Now putting the information out there

about all sorts of things with the city did with the care funds for small businesses, you know. And

just making sure people understand, you know, what they can, what’s out there, you know? And

so this is cool. Let’s start right into it. City council was just this Tuesday. And the first thing that I

see is like, lots of businesses are actually opening even in this environment. And a lot of them

are either restaurants or places of brew, if you will. If I want to get a brew, right? So one of the

first ones that I saw was Kettle Rock Brewing applied for approval for their alcoholic beverage

license. So did Moe’s Original Barbecue, Uncle Jack’s Meat House. That’s hopeful, that should

be opening soon as well. And Royal Bistro on Spalding drive. Four new businesses. Did they all

pass by the way? Did they all get their approvals?

Brian: [00:05:49] They did.

Rico: [00:05:51] You know, listen, people look at COVID and what we’ve been going on for the

past year. You know, and then businesses closing. It’s good to see that there are businesses

opening.

Brian: [00:06:02] It is. I mean, you know, the landscape in Peachtree Corners as it is across city,

or, you know, in cities across the country are going through a transition. And there are big, there

is vacant, you know, space that wasn’t vacant before the pandemic. There are businesses that

have closed. We do have a pretty good mix for all of, for those who are closing or they’re scaling

back their in person operations or whatever. We do have still, you know, businesses that are

opening. And that is a testament, not only to the, you know, entrepreneurial spirit that we have

around here, but also the customer base. You know, our residents are still going out and

spending money on our local economy and that’s important. The more they do, the more money

the city gets you know, through sales tax and other means like business licenses to put back

into the community. You know, we appreciate all of those, you know, those purchases that are

made out in town.

Rico: [00:07:07] Yeah. In some cases I’m almost fearful, but in some cases it almost looks like

the COVID, the pandemic’s over. I mean, you’ve got these restaurants filling up and stuff. But

you know, I think they’re all doing it safely. You know, and it’s just going to be the way it is, right?

I mean, there’s just, there’s more exposure and stuff. God-willing, there’ll be less people getting

sick with the new vaccine coming out and stuff being used. So also, I mean, in some of the

things going on, Cornerstone Christian Academy is also looking to expand. They’ve asked for a

change of conditions on their almost 11 acre campus. They’re moving forward to doing a few

things also during this time.

Brian: [00:07:45] They are. They’re redesigning their campus and the way, you know, they stood

the school up in existing commercial office space. So it was created, you know, constructed for

a different reason than to being a school. And so as they have expanded in there, they’ve better

identified how they can make you know, what is really evolved into a mini campus, how they can

make it better for their students. They’ve identified an opportunity to demolish an existing

building and create kind of a quad for them to have some other you know, opportunities to do

things outside or to, you know, make the campus feel a little bit more like a campus. So moving

forward with that.

Rico: [00:08:28] Cool. There’s also a pet boarding amendment to the zoning code. Which

probably is, that has been needed for a while. So tell us just a quick bit about that. We do want

to get into the multi-use ordinance. That is really the meat of what’s been going on here. But tell

us a little bit about that.

Brian: [00:08:45] Well, in the pet boarding is just, you know, us better you know, identifying the

places and the prerequisites for a space to be used for pet boarding. Prior to this, it was a little

bit, you know, a little bit wide open. A little bit, you know, there’s a lot to be determined on each

specific case, which made it sometimes difficult for somebody looking to do something because

they didn’t know what the parameters were going to be. And then it puts counselors sometimes

in difficult positions that they were having to like, you know, decide who does and doesn’t get,

you know, that exception. And this is pretty common when, especially in new cities like ours,

when you know, the day we became a city we took Gwinnett county’s code and we just adopted

it as ours. Which, you know, we had to have that and it was an expedient way to have

something in place. So it was great. But that is code that, you know, Gwinnett County is a very

large area with very diverse types of land uses. I mean, you got everything from urban down

here at the Southern part of the County up to rural spots up when you get up near, you know,

Brazelton and Auburn, Georgia, and that kind of stuff. And so they have to have code that

applies to the whole thing. And as you know, it doesn’t always fit a more urban in a setting like

ours. And so we, as we identify those needs, we address them and the pet boarding was

another one and we addressed it. And we’re going to be better positioned to rule on that the

next time somebody presents something to the city.

Rico: [00:10:24] So, you know, that’s a great segue because part of what’s going on now with

the multi-use ordinance and the adjustments of the code there is actually right to address. And

systemize what should be in place with incentives. So then this way there’s no like you said,

case-by-case adjustments, right? This way a developer can come in, a business can come in

and they can say, oh, okay, those are the rules. I can follow those rules. I know what to do now.

Versus this is real vague. Who am I going to speak to about this? So why don’t you give us you

know a quick overview of what the intent is of revising the ordinance of the multi-use.

Brian: [00:11:09] Alright, so we do need to start with talking about you know what I said a little bit

earlier, and that is the transition that the city’s landscape is going to be, you know, going through

over the next X amount of months. Or maybe even years. You know, the pandemic has changed

a lot of things and it’s put a lot of stress on a lot of different types of uses. So three of them

specifically, which could all apply to this are going to be a couple of things. One is commercial

office space. Commercial office space, which we were very lucky to have a lot of jobs here. You

know, before the pandemic, we were about 45,000 people, about 45,000 jobs that actually had

people in, you know, butts in seats here. That’s changed now with COVID in more you know

embracing of virtual work. And so there is a commercial office space transitioning.

Rico: [00:12:11] Does the city, not to interrupt you, but just does the city have any idea how

many people are actually working in the city now?

Brian: [00:12:17] Right this second? No. I don’t know of anybody who does, because to be

honest with you. I don’t know if the companies themselves know what they’re going to do yet.

Some companies have said, we’re going to try to do all virtual or almost all virtual. Some have

said this virtual thing does not work for our type of business and we want to come back as soon

as possible. And then they’re having, if they’re tenants, they’re having their landlords make you

know, changes to the floor plans by actually going away from the open floor plan. They now

want more walls separating people, because that allows them to get away from maybe, I guess

the risk of, you know, aerosolized virus. And so, and then you’ve got the hybrids which is, okay,

when we get back to normal, our normal’s not going to look the way it did before the pandemic.

An example, of that’d be like, and I’ll just go round number. I would say there’s a company that

had a hundred employees. Before the pandemic, all one hundred employees came to work at a

location. Well, the pandemic had forced them to of course, work through how to, you know,

provide their services virtually. Well, now they’re like, you know what? We don’t have to have

everybody come in all at once. So they’re telling their landlord, look, we need to downsize or

change our space. And even though we have a hundred employees, I only need say 60 seats,

and I’m going to be rotating people through. Not many are going to have their own office.

They’re going to kind of hot desk that, you know, you’ll be in the desk one day while I’m working

from home. And the next day I fall in on that desk and you’re working from home. And so, you

know, a lot more into that, we work type of space to regis. So anyway, that, you know, look. We

don’t know how it’ll end up and companies are going to be different. But yes, we are seeing a

fundamental change in commercial office space. So that’s one where we have a lot of that we’re

going to see a lot of change. Two, we also have retail. You know, retail was undergoing an

evolution in and of itself before the pandemic. The bricks and mortar retail. As people had

started to trend towards ordering things more online, Amazon and that kind of thing. There were

less people going to bricks and mortar to shop because they didn’t feel like they needed to. And

then the pandemic only accelerated that. So we have a lot of retail, you know, space that is

trying to figure out how to best you know, be there. Because retail, bricks and mortar retail can’t

go away completely. But then the old way of doing things where the only way for you to get a

pair of pants is to go to a clothing store, see if they had it, try it on, buy it leave, is not the case

anymore. And so that’s the second thing that we’re really seeing. An accelerated, you know,

metamorphosis. The third one is multifamily housing. And by multifamily, I’m really talking about

housing that’s not detached housing. You know, the standalone house. But multifamily, meaning

more dense housing, more units under one roof. That could be everything from townhomes that

are owned. All the way through condo stack flats, to just even apartments. But all of that is, the

pressure to build that is increasing as more people who had worked in maybe companies that

have headquarters in Midtown Atlanta, or wherever that those employees now realize they don’t

have to go in every day. Or they don’t even have to go in a lot, you know, most of the time. And

then that means that their, where they live has expanded much beyond where it used to be. You

know, if you want to live in Peachtree corners, but you worked you know, downtown, you add an

hour in the car each way, every day. And that could affect quality of life. And some people are

like, I don’t want to do it. So they found a place to live close to the downtown. Now they don’t

have to worry about that the same way that they did before. So now they’re thinking, you know

what? Peachtree Corners is an option and I can still work at a building, a company that’s

headquartered down there. So. There really is a big push for housing here. And that push for

housing combined with the changes in the other two, you’re starting to see redevelopment

needs to get presented to the city. And of course, we’ve talked about the redevelopment

authority and this will be a tool. All of that is a long way of me saying the mixed use

development ordinance that we just amended is a tool, a significant tool we think will help guide

the city’s actions as these forces that I just talked about are colliding together. And we’re starting

to see an increase in applications from developers saying, Hey, we have this parcel. And it’s X

amount of acres and it’s got Y amount of square feet of existing building on it, but the building is

under utilized or it’s vacant. And then we want to redevelop it in a certain way. We knew that we

needed to address this. And the way to do that is through mix of uses versus one particular use.

And the reason that you do it. And, you know, this Rico having been in, you know, land planning.

The mix of uses or mixed use is a popular way to develop property because it increases the

odds maybe in some cases only a little bit. It increases the odds of success of the uses that you

have mixed on one parcel. Because you now create a micro economy, if you will. Instead of if I

had 10 acres and you know, instead of putting all housing on the 10 acres, I might be able to

mix in some retail and commercial. And as a result, I can get higher yield on my property. But

also all of the vacant units of whatever type are filled at higher rent rates or lease rates or

purchase rates. Because instead of say a coffee shop being in a strip mall, and it’s only

customer base are the ones that have to get in the car and drive to that location. You put a

coffee shop in an area where there’s already a lot of residential units, and now you have the

convenient walk-up traffic too. Walk up traffic is more inclined to go to that coffee shop because

they don’t have to get into their car. It’s convenient.

Rico: [00:19:19] This is exactly why when town center was initially developed, was talked about

putting a, now it will change obviously, a boutique hotel, the Indigo hotel with 160 odd rooms

and an apartment. A seven story apartment building with another 160, right? Now the Indigo

may go away because hotels are essentially having issues, right. Lower vacancies and stuff.

And that may not change for the next decade. Especially when there’s a lot of other hotels in the

area, right? But apartments, like you said, multi-use. You know, if there’s a coffee shop

downstairs, like the Revelator that was downstairs, not that that was the best coffee shop at

town center. But if there was, you know, an apartment complex there full of people that might

not have gone out of business. There may have been more usage. And quite frankly, like you

said, there are people moving. They may decide to move away from Midtown. Now they’re

looking not just being close to a place, but also the amenities of it, right? Bars, nice restaurants,

good places to go. Some good energy if you will, of that. That, you know, people may look and

said, well, Peachtree Corners is not like that, right? It’s not like that right now. A decade from

now, because business evolves right, will be different. And that’s what this is supposed to help,

right? So yeah, right. I mean, it’s supposed to get other businesses type here and mix it all

together and create some energy there that people are going to want to move in.

Brian: [00:20:50] Well, look, even before the pandemic, we are in a Metro area, a metropolitan

statistical area, Metro Atlanta. That has a population that’s been growing for, you know,

centuries really. And we know that population is going to get denser and denser in Peachtree

Corners, whether we like it or not. The key for the city was to try to have the tools in place to

manage that growth. And so the pandemic has merely just accelerated it. And so we wanted to

preemptively create something that might help. So the points you just made, which is growth is

coming, it’s coming even faster than, you know, there’s more of a tidal wave if you will, of it

coming. What can we do to capitalize on this? A, you know, to make sure that the growth that

does happen is done in a way that has long term success. And B sometimes prevent some

unforeseen, certain, you know, affects of maybe letting things happen in a way that was not set

up for success. You know, and oftentimes that a good way to say that is, is if you allow too much

of any one thing to happen in one area, sometimes that can create problems in the future as

things change. And so mix of uses. So what we’d want to do is we wanted to encourage a mix of

uses. It’s what people want. People want amenities and then amenities want people. And so

there’s this symbiotic relationship. We wanted to create that. Then we wanted to incentivize it.

And by that, I mean, we said, alright, we can have a mixed use development and we just offer it

up and that’s all fine. But oftentimes what happens is developers come to us and, in all cities not

just us, and they are looking for density. Because, as you know, density is the currency of

development. The more dense a developer can make a property, the more money that he or she

can make. And so they’re always coming to the city and wanting more density. Well, before we

had a base line density of 32 units per acre on mixed use, and that’s what we inherited from the

County. And so when we amended this, that was just approved Tuesday night. We knew that we

wanted to do something with that because what was happening and what happens with the

County currently, what was happening with us is developers are coming on mixed use saying if

you want us to do a mix of you so we understand why you like us to do a mix of use. But if you

want us to do it, we need more density than 32 per acre. And we had to do on a case by case

basis, allow them to essentially lobby the mayor and council, make their argument. And council

had you know, they’re put in difficult positions every time of choosing who gets it this time versus

the next time, all that kind of stuff. And so we knew we wanted to have a standard. And then the

other thing is, is we knew we wanted to maybe incentivize that mix of use. So for you to qualify

for this one, as we wrote it, we kind of made it a more incentive based mix of use. So for

instance, if you want to mix of us, you’ve got to have at least three uses on the property. And

two, if you want anything above, what was the baseline of 32 per acre. Which is again, been on

the city’s books since our inception. That’s what Gwinnett County has. If you wanted more than

that, you have to earn it. That’s the only way to do it. And so by earn it we created an incentive

table. And that incentive table basically has a list of things that the developer could include in a

mixed use development to earn more density. Things like donating property to the city for open

space or trail system. Making it lead certified, adding smart home technology to the units,

sub-metering apartment units so that they could be converted to condos. Putting micro mobility

or, you know, E-scooter corrals and charging stations, electric vehicle charging stations,

adaptive reuse of existing office buildings. Those are just some of the things on the list that you

could, a developer could come in and say, alright, I’m doing this. And we would say, okay, well

you just earned a half a unit per acre increase in density. You want more, you’ve got to do more.

At the end of the day, the developer could get more density. When we capped it at 45, we also

capped the maximum height at 120 feet or 10 stories. By the way, the, our old code had a 25

story max. Yeah so we’re not ready for 25 story buildings.

Rico: [00:25:49] That was based on Gwinnett’s.

Brian: [00:25:51] Gwinnett still has that and that’s fine. And you know, clearly the city had never

approved that. But anyway, you know, we also looked at other aspects of the mixed use and we

made it our own. Because before it was what we inherited, now we made it our own. But we

capped it, we capped the density at 45 units per acre. And most of the additional density comes

at a half a unit per acre. And so to get to 45, you’ve got to do a lot of stuff. But the more density

you earn, the better that product is for the community. The more additional value adds, you

know, aspects of that development this community will get to enjoy. And that development will

have to attract a better quality tenant, whether it’s tenants in the residential units, tenants in the

commercial or retail spaces, but a better quality tenant. We get a better product. We get things

that, you and I already live in the city, but we get places that we may want to go to you know, to

frequent. And we don’t necessarily live right there, but it’s stuff that we can enjoy. Other

residents can enjoy too. So that was the impetus for this, the brainchild for it. And we’re kind of

excited about what it could offer the redevelopment authority that just was stood up. Just elected

its officers yesterday, as a matter of fact. And they’re getting ready to start real hardcore, you

know, assessment of their area and seeing about maybe opportunities for redevelopment. So

we’re excited about it. It’s a unique ordinance and we hope to put it to good use.

Rico: [00:27:29] Yeah, I think that the city is moving in the right direction by doing that. It cuts

red tape. I mean, it just, it allows for a certainty versus you know, lobbying for what someone

may want. But it also doesn’t preclude the planning commission or the city council from still

putting conditions on a, on a zoning, right? On asking for plans that the site plans that have to

be adhered to, and if it’s changed, it would come back again. So it still gives the council flexibility

to be able to work at development. But at least give some certainty to people that you know,

that’s a baseline that they can work from, right?

Brian: [00:28:11] Yes. I mean look, it helps manage expectations of all parties when you have it

codified, like we do in an ordinance. You are right that there, nothing precludes planning

commission, as it works through from making recommended conditions, adding that to an

application. And of course, mayor and council are the final authority on this. So this is at their

discretion at all times. Including, you know, they have the right to amend the ordinance. Which

they certainly, if things come up, this is an ordinance that we started out as one that applies

citywide. There are a few examples. There are a few cases in the ordinance in which there’s a

specific reference to an area of the city. And a good example would be, we want this to apply to

parcels that are eight acres or greater, except for Tech Park. And Tech Park, given how it was

developed, we are allowing it to be as little as five acres in the case of Tech Park. Because you

know, it’s a unique you know, it’s a unique development that has adaptive reuse opportunities or

needs as the case may be that may be on parcels that are not as big. You know, at eight acres

or bigger. So there are a few specific geographic references, but right now this applies citywide.

And, you know again, there are some good opportunities out there for this to be put to good use.

Rico: [00:29:43] Yeah. And I imagine that already there are probably, I think last time we spoke

there may have been three companies or three developers looking at least at coming in you

know, to make a proposal on some of the commercial buildings within Tech Park or in the area,

right. There’s even a hotel that might actually, that someone was looking at an investor was

looking at, I think of converting or doing something with in the city, so.

Brian: [00:30:07] There is definitely, certainly some unique again, adaptive reuses of existing

office buildings or excuse me, buildings including hotels that are being explored nationally as

well as here in Peachtree Corners. So again people are thinking outside the box because the

landscape of what we do out in and out in town as the term is, has changed. And the pandemic

has accelerated this change at a rate that would have taken a decade or more for us to slowly

get into. But you know how much we order online has really gone. How we’re going to work has

changed. How hotels operate and even just get their feet underneath them. I mean, they don’t

even have their feet underneath them yet because travel restrictions are such, so this landscape

is going to change. And everybody, including the city, has to remain flexible. Have to be as you

know, prepared to think outside the box as we possibly can. And we’re certainly trying to do that

ourselves.

Rico: [00:31:14] For sure. I mean, we spoke about not only you know, the way people live and

work, but how they traveled. You know, less traffic on the roads, less use of certain

intersections, just because of the nature of the beast and what’s been going on now. Are we

going to come back in a year or two? Who knows? But like you said, but like you said before,

businesses are rediscovering or discovering that they don’t need a 15,000 square foot facility.

Maybe they only need a 5,000 square foot. So these are things that are not going to go away.

These are things that will probably stay. That’s part of that issue, right? When people learn that

they could do something a certain way, why should they go back? They’re going to end up

continuing to do that. Just because it’s more profitable that way, or it’s better living standards

that way. Right? I mean, I think people want to be able to work at home, get paid time off when

they can. Unlimited paid time off is a big thing that came out of COVID also. That it used to just

be technology, but now they put it out because if you’re working from home can you even

investigate how much time you have off? So, I mean, it’s kind of interesting how we are

evolving. There’s the good side and the bad side. But I think the city has taken a dramatically

good, great step towards making this easier because there will be changes. I mean, national

hotel chains are deciding which hotels they’re going to be shutting down, right? Major

corporations that have 40 offices across the Southeast may decide two or three of them need to

go away. So I think you guys are doing the right thing out there and still retain the ability to

condition developments as they needed on the specific basis. But, you know, we have to attend

to what’s going on. Belk’s, the forum, the town center, Jimmy Carter Boulevard, you know

Holcomb bridge, all the redevelopment stuff, the empty places that we have. You know, at some

point they do need to be, you know, they’re going to be busy. With the interest rate as low as it is

and with money being available, there’s going to be a lot more development. The faucet’s going

to open wide soon, give it another year. And you know, things will be in place to move way

faster than they’re doing now, I think. So I appreciate you coming out and you know. Coming

out well, you’re in the office there, so you don’t have to go too far, I guess. Neither do I, right?

Brian, I appreciate you being with me and answering questions and going through this. You

know, it’s a great city we live in and I’m glad that we’re able to do what we do. And you know, it’s

all good.

Brian: [00:33:48] Yeah, no, I mean, it’s always my pleasure Rico. Again, thanks for, you know,

giving the city this, you know, forum to, you know, help get information out. To give people a

glimpse into what the city’s looking to. You know, what it’s dealing with. You know, there are

other ways to learn that, but this is sometimes a good one because you get to ask me, follow on

questions that you, as a resident, it comes to your mind. So, you know, it works out well. So, you

know, keep up the good work and thanks for what you’re doing for the community.

Rico: [00:34:18] Well thank you, Brian. And thank you everyone for watching or listening to this.

Or if you’re reading the transcript, this has been Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian

Johnson. The great city of Peachtree Corners. My name is Rico Figliolini, your host. And I

appreciate you being here. Like our Facebook page or the YouTube channel to be able to get

notified when we go live on these things. Because we’re moving towards more of that, right. So

stay safe out there and be well, and we’ll see you next time.

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City Government

From the Mayor’s Desk: Update on Public Works Projects in Our City

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Peachtree Corners Pedestrian Bridge

Since the city incorporated in 2012, we have focused on improving and repairing our city’s
roads and intersections, maintaining and adding sidewalks, adding pedestrian safety feature
and constructing our multi-use trail which will eventually connect residents to restaurants,
shops and work.

Some of our ongoing and recently completed Public Works’ projects include:
• Completed in 2020: A 1/3-mile section of the Corners Connector multi-use trail on
Technology Parkway that connects to the existing multi-use trail along Technology
Parkway and Technology Parkway South. The new 12-foot concrete greenway includes
three plazas which serve as resting spots, one overlooks Technology Park Lake.
Pedestrian Bridge: Part of the Corners Connector multi-use trail, the bridge provides
safe access from The Forum to the city’s new Town Center and ties into existing
sidewalks and businesses.
• Sidewalks: New sidewalks were installed along Spalding Drive from Peachtree Corners
Circle to Engineering Drive. The project ties into a larger sidewalk project on Crooked
Creek Road and Jay Bird Alley.

There are also a number of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) scheduled for activity this year.
The CIP consists of survey, engineering, and construction projects that are funded by SPLOST,
GDOT and Federal grants.
• Spalding Drive Widening (between Holcomb Bridge Road and Winters Chapel Road) –
The project includes widening the bridge over Crooked Creek. Completion date is
projected for the Summer 2022
• S.R. 140 (Holcomb Bridge Road)/Spalding/River Exchange (Jug Handle Project) –
Completion date projected Spring 2023
• Bush Road/Medlock Bridge Road Intersection Improvement – The project consists of
traffic signal upgrades and operational improvements — Completion date projected for
November 2021
• Gunnin Road Sidewalks – Construction May – September 2021
• Corners Connector Town Center (multi-use trail) – Construction April – December 2021

When we think of Public Works, we generally think about roads and sidewalks. However, a big
part of the department’s responsibility is maintaining the city’s stormwater system which
includes maintaining, upgrading, and repairing the storm drains, pipes, and other stormwater
infrastructure that collects rain from roads.

This year alone, the Stormwater Department has inspected 146 structures, added 130
conveyances to improve stormwater runoff, cleared 5 ditches and stabilized 8 outfalls through
the use of bioengineering techniques. Other stormwater repairs included:
• Clearing a large culvert of tree debris in the Peachtree Plantation West subdivision
• Adding a new drainage system in front of a home on Winters Hill Drive which eliminated
the constant flooding that occurred after each heavy rain.
• Installing an 84” culvert under Research Court in Tech Park
• Adding new catch basins and curbing to remove standing water at Mechanicsville Road
and Peachtree Street

Our Public Works Department plays a vital role in supporting the quality of life in our
community. In Peachtree Corners we are fortunate to have some of the best in the business
working to ensure our community has the infrastructure necessary to greatly enhance our life.
You can view and keep up with the progress on these Capital Improvement Projects on the
city’s website. Under the Government tab, select “Capital Improvement Projects” in the
pulldown menu. The page also shows the completed projects. As always, please let us know if
you see a problem we should address.

As your mayor, I will, along with the City Council, continue focusing on enhancing pedestrian safety, road resurfacing, intersection improvements and expanding the multi-use trail and other means to improve the quality of life here in Peachtree Corners.

Stay Safe,
Mike Mason, Mayor

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City Government

Commissioner Kirkland Carden praises pass of SB201, reforms to Gwinnett Tax Commissioner’s Office

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kirkland carden
Commissioner Kirkland Carden. Photo from kirkland4gwinnett.com

Last night, the Georgia General Assembly passed SB201 with broad bipartisan support. The bill’s passage comes after Gwinnett County Commissioner Kirkland Carden’s public dispute with the county’s top tax official over her unprecedented proposal to personally pocket an estimated additional $110,000 in fees.

After the bill cleared both chambers of the legislature, Carden issued the following statement:

“The provisions in SB201 that prevent the Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner from negotiating contracts with cities to personally pocket huge sums of additional taxpayer money are a win for transparent governance and Gwinnett’s residents. This bipartisan legislation brings an end to a loophole that allowed tax commissioners to use their public office for personal enrichment and financial gain. Now responsibility for city-county contract negotiations falls to the Board of Commissioners.

“Gwinnett’s leadership at all levels and across party lines quickly stepped up to help the cities and the taxpayers of our county. Even in these divided times, we worked together to make sure the people we represent are getting transparent and high-quality government services. I hope this productive and bipartisan dialogue will continue as we move forward as a county.”

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City Government

Gwinnett Clerk of Court offers voters free paper copy of ID cards

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Gwinnett County Courthouse Lawrenceville.

The Gwinnett County Clerk of Court will offer free paper copies of identification cards for residents who need a copy to cast their absentee ballot in future elections.

Last week, the State of Georgia enacted a law that, in part, requires proof of identification for voters who request an absentee ballot.

“The right to vote is of fundamental importance and critical to the survival of our democracy,” said Clerk of Court Tiana Garner. “It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that every eligible person who wants to vote is able to do so.”

The new service offered by the Gwinnett County Clerk of Court will take effect immediately. Gwinnett residents may bring their identification to any Clerk of Court location during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, to receive a free paper copy of their identification. The office locations are:

  • The Clerk of Superior and the State and Magistrate Court, located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville
  • The Gwinnett County Detention Center and the Magistrate Clerk’s Office, located at 2900 University Parkway, Court Annex, second floor, in Lawrenceville
  • The Gwinnett County Juvenile Court Clerk’s Office, located at 115 Stone Mountain Street in Lawrenceville

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