Planning and Development:
We continue to see positive trends in residential and commercial permitting activity. The total residential permits have now reached 59% more than what we saw this same time last year. The permit totals include 52 attached residential units and 112 detached residential units.
While the supply of buildable lots is steadily being absorbed by the new home market, there are a sufficient number of lots being developed to handle the short term demand. Staff has already platted 157 lots in four subdivisions this year and an additional 67 lots is expected before the end of the year.
Commercial permitting slowed this month; however, a total of 7 permits were issued for owner or occupancy changes and 5 permits were issued for miscellaneous actions such as electrical modifications, accessory structures and remodeling. The amount of commercial permits issued so far this year remains significantly higher than the totals from last year. This is due in part to several large private developments such as LA Fitness, Reeves+Young Headquarters and Sugar Hill Auto Collision.
Planning staff worked to complete the finishing touches on the 5-year update of our Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Livable Centers Initiative plan for the downtown area. The final document is due to ARC at the end of September. This update will maintain the city’s eligibility for funding under the Livable Centers Initiative program next year. This month, the Planning Commission considered zoning ordinance amendment updates to the city-wide architectural design standards. Staff is in the process of applying the content of the amendments and is on schedule to be heard by the City Council before the end of the year.
Parks and Recreation:
Recreation. The Splash Park Grand Opening Ceremony was held on Friday, September 2nd and was a great success. The park has been a very popular spot since its opening as many families are enjoying the city’s newest state-of-the-art feature on a daily basis. The summer pickle ball season was a successful one as well with three divisions competing. The fall season is already in full swing and is expected to be another hit within the community.
Community Garden. Slate pathways were laid to serve as permanent walkways throughout the community garden. This enhancement will clean up the appearance between the garden borders and allow easier access for gardeners bringing in tools and supplies. The garden board, staff and Falcon Design Group met to discuss the design of an upcoming brick paver parking lot project.
Golf. Play continues to be steady despite the extremely hot temperatures we have experienced. Several large tournaments were held this past month contributing to the positive numbers. Trends continue to look promising for the remainder of the season.
The greens continue to receive attention in accordance with the greens management program with sanding, spraying, and watering. In addition, applications of herbicides, fungicides and growth products were added.
Marketing, Events and Economic Development:
Sweet Life Concert Series. Third Eye Blind rocked the stage in The Bowl on Saturday, September 3rd and was thoroughly enjoyed by a sold out audience. With the inclusion of general admission lawn seating, this was the largest ticketed event in Sugar Hill history and the third consecutive sold out event at The Bowl.
Sounds of Summer Concert Series. This free concert series continues on September 17th with Red Head Diamond and Moby Dick scheduled to perform. For more detailed information regarding all of our exciting concerts, visit www.thebowlatsugarhill.com.
Sugar Rush. Plans are being finalized for the big fall celebration event which will be held on October 15th. Seven Bridges, a very talented and popular Eagles tribute band, and “The Voice” singer, Ellie Lawrence will be providing entertainment for this exciting evening concert. Volunteer opportunities are still available.
Ice Rink @ Sugar Hill. Staff continues to work diligently with the contractor in preparation of opening weekend, which is scheduled for the 12th of November. Additional information will follow in the coming weeks.
Youth Council. Applications have been accepted and staff will hold interviews on Tuesday, September 13th and Tuesday, September 20th. There were a total of 19 applications submitted, with 5 of them being previous council members. After the interviews conclude, Council Member Mike Sullivan and staff will select the top 8 candidates for the council.
Glance Gwinnett. Sugar Hill will host approximately 50 Glance Gwinnett participants on the 21st of September. Guests will learn more about our sweet city and our fantastic neighboring cities in Gwinnett. Glance Gwinnett is the 3-day abbreviated version of the successful, long-time Leadership Gwinnett program. Speaking of Leadership Gwinnett, Mayor Pro Tem Brandon Hembree is a 2016 participant.
Public Works and Utilities:
Gas Department. Staff continues to work with Georgia DOT to coordinate utility relocation around the Highway 20/Suwanee Dam Road intersection as the contractor is working to finalize the proposed realignment of the intersection. Department staff is working in collaboration with two other contractors on their construction projects on the southwest side of the city. One is the intersection improvements for Suwanee Dam Road at West Price and the other is a water and sewer project on Johnson Road. Staff is also working on a few additional projects with the county.
Street & Stormwater Department. Our staff continues to work on mowing and mulch collection. A number of stormwater inspections were performed along with maintenance of several ponds. Jerry Bennett, a long time and valued employee from the Street Department recently retired. We would like to thank Jerry for his many years of dedicated service and we wish him well in all his future endeavors.
Bowl Improvements. Staff is working with our engineering firm (Precision Planning) and the general contractor (Reeves+Young) to resolve a number of remaining items on the final inspection punch list. As previously reported, construction concluded on the Splash Park with a grand opening held on September 2, 2016.
EpiCenter. A pre-construction meeting was held on Thursday, September 8 with all of the project team members –
• New South Construction, General Contractor
• Precision Planning, Architect and Engineer
• Clark, Patterson Lee, Program Manager
• City of Sugar Hill and Downtown Development Authority
Georgia Power is nearing completion of relocating the City Hall electrical service. Directional boring has been occurring on West Broad and Temple Drive. The city/DDA will likely issue the “Notice to Proceed” for site and foundation work soon. New South Construction will be utilizing the old city hall annex building adjacent to the Suite Spot as well as the parking lot and front area of the Buice for their construction trailer and staging area. Use of that building will be a cost savings to the City and will improve security for the project. The first most obvious site construction, other than site and foundation work, will be when the theater starts to go vertical.
We are aware that everyone in the community is anxious to see the project start moving on-site. We are almost there with just a few additional administrative items to close out. The team expects to be on site erecting erosion control BMPs (best management practices like silt fencing) no later than September 16th. Clearing should begin the first week of October. A perimeter screened fence will also be erected on the site once construction begins with the north sidewalk of West Broad from Level Creek to City Hall to be unavailable for pedestrian traffic.
At the request of the city, Precision Planning is beginning the process of developing a rooftop terrace experience for the project. We are working to ensure that this new design element will not affect the start of construction or the delivery time frame. The team is focused on working diligently to complete the project in accordance with the current schedule – late December 2017/early 2018.
The team is also equipped to properly document the progress of the project so the City can showcase the development for future awards, grants and our own archives. Aerial images will be taken approximately every four weeks. Additionally, on-site cameras will be positioned to document the vertical construction. At varied frequency, there will also be a drone flown to produce compelling photos and videos of the construction.
The team is scheduled to meet bi-weekly at City Hall throughout the duration of construction to ensure the process is running as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Highway 20 Widening. The GDOT contractor continues to work to meet the September 30th completion date. They will perform a lane shift towards the middle of next week near the Suwanee Dam intersection. The contractor expects to apply asphalt from the Light House Church to the Arbor Clos subdivision around the 24th of September. Crews will be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a strong effort to meet their completion deadline.
Downtown Development Projects:
All four of the downtown projects are progressing well. The ICONIC by JWM Ventures, LLC, to be constructed on the Temple Drive site, has received all approvals from the downtown development authority and city council and is in the final stages of contract negotiations before starting construction later this year.
The NEXUS at Sugar Hill by Stephen Macauley Investments, LLC, to be constructed on the site of the Buice School and adjacent parcels, has been redesigned and was recently presented to the Downtown Development Authority for review. It is expected to receive DDA “development plan approval” at its next meeting. The next step for this project is to city council for design review approval.
The HOLBROOK by Solomon Development Services, to be constructed on the old trailer park site bordered by Bailey Avenue on the west, Highway 20 on the north and West Broad on the east, is also nearing the final stages of approval. It is anticipated the developer will submit for design review approval at the October city council meeting.