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City of Tucker and developers still negotiating Hugh Howell development

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City of Tucker and developers still negotiating Hugh Howell development

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Nick Telesca, president of Branch Properties, delivers a presentation for commercial development at 4650 Hugh Howell Road. Photo by Logan Ritchie
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor

Tucker, GA – Developers of the proposed commercial property at Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Boulevard failed to meet Tucker’s approval of the project at the City Council meeting on Feb. 24. A decision was deferred to the March 9 City Council meeting.

Changes to the site plan were ongoing with city staff as of Feb. 21. The developer and city staff were unaligned last night at the second read of the ordinance to rezone the 99,000 square-foot development to be anchored by a major grocery store, the name of which has not yet announced.

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Branch Properties and city staff have worked together on plans for the building location, parking, landscaping and architecture. Remaining issues include the flow of traffic in/out of the development, a public art installation, and a berm to screen parking.

Councilmember Michelle Penkava showed concern about traffic, particularly for Smoke Rise residents.

Mayor Frank Auman asked, “You don’t have practical concerns? With 2,300 houses in Smoke Rise, gateway from Gwinnett, you’re counting on all those people to use your center… [The traffic] doesn’t give you heartburn about people deciding to go somewhere else?”

Jack Haylett, senior vice president of Branch, agreed to submit a traffic analysis to the city, and pay for installation of a traffic light if necessary.

Haylett said, “Tucker is going to be Branch’s partner. We are going to own this real estate and be part of this community. We want to work with you guys, we want to partner with you guys … Hopefully, it passes quickly at the next [meeting].”

The development will feature health and wellness retail, a bank, restaurants, a multi-use trail, and green space. Residents at the meeting said they are excited for a walkable destination with a progressive design.

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In other business:

– City council members unanimously approved plans to install 20,000 lbs. of solar panels to the roof of the recreation center. The project is a collaboration involving Sonnen, a solar energy company with North American headquarters in Tucker; Interdev, a local IT security firm; and Creative Solar, a Georgia-based solar panel installer. Scheduled to be installed by mid-June, the cost of the $160,000 project is offset by a grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

– City engineer Ken Hildebrandt presented the 2020 resurfacing plan. Tucker plans to spend $4.4 million to repave 80 streets, a total of 19 miles of roads.

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