Attempts to Rezone Property to Allow for a Mixed Residential Development Met its Demise

After nearly a year of working out issues with the City, the Sugar Hill Multifamily Development was denied by the City Council.
Source: Official

Earlier this year, RSJIT Properties submitted development plans to the City of Sugar Hill, which included a multifamily residential community on a parcel located at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and North Price Road. A successful rezoning from general business to medium density mixed residential would be needed to proceed with the development.

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The Sugar Hill City Council denied the rezoning request on the 27-acre parcel during their December 13, 2021, meeting despite receiving a recommendation for conditional approval from the Planning Commission, who advised the application to work with City Planners on completing a traffic impact study for the project.

According to City documents, the approved private community development would have gated accesses and private roads. The site plan indicated ten two-story buildings with 252 apartment-style dwellings, a clubhouse with a pool, dog park, and other community amenities. The residential buildings were designed in accordance with the “big house” design regulations, as described in Zoning Ordinance and the Appendix C design guidelines. The apartment units ranged in size from 600 square feet to 1400 square feet with one to three-bedroom configurations.

The commissioned traffic study anticipated delays during peak hours associated with school dismissal at North Price Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard after full buildout. However, the results also indicated that traffic operations for all intersections would continue to operate at satisfactory service levels during all peak hours.

According to the Applicant’s statement, the requested zoning and residential community were consistent with the City’s future development vision as described in both the City’s Comprehensive Plan 2019 and the 2021 Housing Study. The development intended to target “renters by choice,” including young professionals, mature professionals, and downsizers. As detailed in the City’s planning documents, the Applicant’s proposed rezoning and development were to deliver new multifamily units to fulfill the need for higher-density housing along a regional corridor. Additionally, the multifamily development would have complied with all zoning and development regulations for R36 properties—including density, parking, height, and design requirements.

The Sugar Hill City Council denied the rezoning even though at least 15% of the total number of units were to be set aside for households with an annual income at or below 80% of the current median family income (MFI) for Gwinnett County as published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as amended. Additionally, the developer was required to provide intersection improvements to include a dedicated left-turn and improvements to the pedestrian crossing at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and North Price Road before receiving certificates of occupancy for 50% of the dwellings.

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Source: Official
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Dr. Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau, DPA AICP, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor, and consulting urban planner. She has over 25 years of community and economic development experience in local government. When she’s not working, you can find her exploring local craft breweries, walking her two beagles, or traveling to visit her adult children living in New York City and Minneapolis.

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