Facing 300 residents waving “NO” signs, the Gwinnett County Commission voted 3-0 to reject a special use permit that would allow Bill Head Funeral Home on Lawrenceville Highway to construct a 436-square-foot incinerator and crematory. The Commission vote follows the Planning Commission denial recommendation.
The AJC reports that the meeting drew the attention of State Senator Steven Henson who hinted at state involvement on the impacts of a crematory on surrounding communities.
After Tuesday’s hearing, state Sen. Steve Henson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he believes the General Assembly needs to re-examine data over crematories.
“I do think there’s every cause for concern,” he said.
Without officially resigning, embattled Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly voluntarily suspended himself until the charges have been resolved or until Kenerly’s term ends at the end of December. Kenerly is under indictment for allegedly accepting $1 million in bribes related to County land purchases and failing to disclose a relationship with a private developer seeking rezoning from the County.
Kenerly was facing increasing criticism from voters.
“That’s what he needed to do,” said Steve Ramey of the Founding Fathers Tea Party Patriots. “He should have done it a long time ago.”
James Bell, co-founder of the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, said Kenerly’s presence on the commission was a distraction.
“I can’t say I’m happy, but I’m pleased,” he said. “Kenerly did the right thing in stepping down.”
Fellow alliance member Ron Williams agreed.
“I think it was a little late,” he said, “but it was the right thing to do.”
Cox Enterprises donated the AJC’s former downtown headquarters to the City of Atlanta – a donation of valued at over $50 million that includes the nine-story office building on 72 Marietta Street, the four-story printing press building between Fairlie and Spring streets, warehouse space and surface parking. The donated site is more than 6 acres of prime real estate located in the heart of downtown, near City Hall, Centennial Olympic Park, and the proposed multi-modal passenger terminal.
The City will spend $1.5 million to retrofit the building to put police and fire training academies in the buildings, use the auditorium for public meetings, create a gallery space and use warehouse and parking space in the wake of the sale of City Hall East.
Following a stinging defeat in Mountain Park’s five-year litigation over its lake, residents lashed out at the City Council and begged for an end to the litigation and staggering attorney’s fees.
“For five years we’ve chased a dream, maybe a pipe dream, maybe a Clean Water Act dream,” said George Menden, a lawyer. “We should not continue this folly.”
By a 4-3 vote the Gwinnett County Planning Commission recommended denial of a special use permit for Bill Head Funeral Home that would allow it to construct the 436-square-foot crematory incinerator at its Tucker location on Lawrenceville Highway.
The proposal has met almost unanimous opposition from the surrounding neighborhoods because the crematory would be about 100 feet from several residences and within a half-mile of 17 residential subdivisions.
The Planning Commission vote is non-binding. The application now proceeds to the Gwinnett County Commission, which could vote on it as early as November 16.
The Georgia Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s dismissal of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation‘s legal challenge to tax breaks granted by the County to six large developments in Buckhead and Midtown that include The St. Regis Buckhead, The InterContinental Buckhead and The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Midtown.
The Fulton County Board of Assessors assigned to these development projects a “50 percent valuation formula” to determine the fair market value of the property. Under the formula, the board agrees to initially value the estate at 50 percent of its overall fair market value and then increase the value by 5 percent a year over the value of the lease.
The lawsuit alleges that this valuation formula is unconstitutional and illegal because it allows the developers to pay less than their fair share of property taxes because the estates were initially appraised at less than fair market value.
The trial court had dismissed the lawsuit without hearing any evidence. The case now proceeds to trial.
You can find a copy of the Court’s decision here.