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Several Gwinnett County residents met at Dacula City Hall Wednesday night to learn more about the city's proposed annexation of their properties.
On Feb. 6, the Dacula City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the legislative annexation of 34 properties along Highway 29 between University Parkway/ Highway 316 and Dacula.
The purpose of the annexation, according to Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, is to improve the western gateway into the city -- the gateway that passes the site of the planned mixed-use "Peak at University Parkway" development proposed for 157 acres near Highway 316.
Wilbanks explained to those in attendance that annexation into the City of Dacula would provide benefits including additional law enforcement, lower-cost municipal sanitation services, no stormwater utility fee and a more responsive local government.
"We think being in the city will give you a stronger sense of community," he said.
Wilbanks cautioned there is one disadvantage -- the addition of city property taxes. Annexation into the city means affected property owners will have to pay city property taxes (currently 5.9 mills) as well as applicable county property taxes.
While two business owners in attendance at the Wednesday night meeting voiced concern over the additional tax burden, property owner Keybo Taylor said he is in favor of annexation. Taylor, who owns several acres off Highway 29, said he would like to sell or develop his property, but county restrictions have kept him from being able to use the property as he would like.
"I'm paying taxes on it, but not getting any benefit from it," he said.
Ultimately though, the matter of whether or not the properties should be annexed will be decided by the state legislature. State Rep. Chuck Efstration was at the Feb. 19 meeting to hear the comments and concerns of affected property owners. Efstration explained the bill is in the legislature at this point and will have to pass both houses and be signed by the governor before the properties can be annexed.
If the 75-acre annexation is approved, the city intends to zone the properties as C-2 (general business). Existing land uses will not be affected. The Dacula Planning Commission will meet in work session on Feb. 20 to discuss the potential zoning and conditions for future development. The commission will meet again on Monday, Feb. 24, to finalize their recommendations for city council.