Gwinnett commissioners approve changes to ordinance expanding development options despite concerns

Gwinnett County commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the unified development ordinance expanding options for living units in the county. 

Some residents are concerned the infrastructure through the county won’t be able to handle the increased traffic this would be in the area. But the commission chair says the changes are needed to preserve the available land in the county.

Some major changes include a more broad definition of accessory dwellings, like duplexes and triplexes, and additions of cottage courts. These are all changes some residents say will allow for more residences and more people to the area.

"We found out about this packet this morning and received a 1,500-page document that was difficult to navigate through," Mark Johnson, President of the Seckinger Athletic Association said. 

This comes as many are speaking out against a proposed massive apartment and retail complex in Hamilton Mill with upwards of 700 units.

"We don’t have room in that area for that density. We have traffic problems now we have traffic safety issues right now," Darlyn Wilkerson with the Northeast Gwinnett Neighborhood Coalition explained. 

Residents say the commission didn’t provide enough notice to review the changes some asking commissioners to table the motion. But county leaders say this has been available to the public for months and the change is needed since it’s been nine years since the language has been updated.

"With only 9% of land in unincorporated Gwinnett left vacant it is essential that we move forward with these changes, so we can preserve the existing land that we have and move towards redevelopment," Charwoman Nicole Hendrickson explained. 

County leaders hope to update this ordinance annually. The changes take effect on Jan. 1.