There was a second meeting of the Gwinnett Planning Commission on 6 October 2015 to discuss the proposed cemetery and worship center to be built on the site at Temple Johnson Road and Skyland Drive. Here is how I see things. Feel free to express your thoughts by posting a comment here on The Snellville Times.
Not that long ago this was a non-issue to me, not because it is outside the Snellville City limits, but because I thought, “How could this disrupt things as badly as people are saying it will?” I soon learned that one issue raised was the traffic, again, I didn’t really understand until a friend asked me, “What happens when I’m in a hurry to leave my neighborhood and I come upon a funeral procession of 50 or 60 cars going up 2 lane Skyland Drive. Point taken. Then I was also told in an intelligent manner that the property values would be affected greatly.
It was explained to me that if I go to buy a home that is next to a cemetery and like the home, and don’t care that it’s next to a cemetery, then it is no problem. However, if you have a community of homes with people that have lived there 30 years and longer and they object to living next to a cemetery that’s a problem. They may want to move and they may find that selling their homes is a problem because a lot of buyers may not want to live near a cemetery. Now property value goes down because there are fewer buyers.
You can say whatever you want, but the fact is there are signs on almost every piece of property near the proposed site that say, “No Cemetery”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if doesn’t matter What happens to the more elder homeowners who planned on the sale of their home to so many people who live there are against it, a lot of buyers will be against it too.
So, after viewing and hearing what the Planning Commission said here is my take. They pointed out that if the tract of land were sold to home developers there could be between 30-40 homes on the same spot. Traffic would be no different than if a cemetery and mosque. They also pointed out that according to Gwinnett Law a church or mosque can be built without the need for any permits or rezoning request provided the acreage is at least 5 acres. Then they presented the conditions that the property owners would have to agree to in order to have a cemetery at proposed location.
- Maximum of 500 burial plots located at least 150 feet from property lines
- Maximum area of any structure will be 4000 square feet total with maximum height of 15’. Assembly for other than funeral services will be prohibited
- Temporary restroom services are prohibited
- 100 foot undisturbed buffer with trees on 3 sides of the property and 80 buffer with trees on Skyland side to insure a year round screen of the site
- Landscape buffers will be subject to review and approval of the planning development commission
- Buffer along Skyland Drive to include a 4-foot high berm to further obscure a view of the property from the road and must be installed before burials will take place. 15’ double row of evergreens a minimum of 6’ tall, planted on 15-foot centers must be planted on the raised berm.
- On Skyland and Temple Johnson barbed wire removed and a decorative wrought iron fence with stone and brick columns every 50’ along each road must be installed
- A ground water monitoring well must be constructed on the property at the owners expense and monitoring must be provided by the Environmental Health Deptartment at owners expense and coordinated with the Gwinnett County Planning Development
- Minimum of 5’ sidewalk on property front on Skyland and Temple Johnson Road at no cost to county with review and approval of the Gwinnett County Dept of Transportation
- Prior to approval the owners must provide a minimum $10,000 trust fund for the perpetual maintenance of the property. The owners will maintain a minimum of $5,000 in the trust fund after 1 year after the first burial on the site. All monies in the trust fund shall be used for the perpetual care, upkeep and maintenance of the landscaping in the buffers.
- Motion passed 9-0
While this was a public meeting it also was a meeting where no comments were allowed, simply informative. With all this being said, keep in mind these are the recommendations the Planning Commission is sending to the Board of Commissioners, who will have the final vote on whether or not the cemetery will be approved. Also, keep in mind that since there were no comments, at this point, it is not clear whether or not the developers will agree to all of the conditions.
The Board of Commissioners will vote on this on 27 October 2015.
What say you? Please share your thoughts. I believe it could be make quite an impact on this area and the home owners.