The City of Norcross adopted a resolution announcing its intent to annex a neighboring portion of unincorporated Gwinnett County at a City Council meeting on Jan. 7, 2019, initiating the process of annexation.
The proposed annexation includes the area between Buford Highway, Jimmy Carter Boulevard, I-85, and the western Gwinnett County line, excluding the Gwinnett County-owned portion of the former OFS Brightwave Solutions site and a County police station near the intersection of Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85. The proposed annexation will go to the Georgia General Assembly, who will vote to allow a public referendum in November 2019.
The City of Norcross believes the proposed annexation stands to benefit both the City and the residents and businesses in the annexation area. As this area continues to draw regional attention for potential large-scale redevelopment, the City seeks to ensure future development aligns with its values as a livable, diverse community and advocate in the best interest of its people. As a gateway to Gwinnett County, Mayor Craig Newton says that the City of Norcross is a sought-after suburb due to its regional access, diversity, and affordable lifestyle.
“As our city grapples with a growing population and changing lifestyle trends, we are preparing the City of Norcross for the future to reflect these shifts. The proposed annexed area is the only viable options we have that will accommodate our expansion plans and has the capacity to meet the demands of our growing community.”
The City of Norcross has a strong history of quality service delivery and financial responsibility. If the annexation is approved, the area will be served by both the City of Norcross and Gwinnett County, according to the service delivery strategy. Changes to municipal services would include localized police service, storm water management, trash and recycling, zoning control, and code enforcement, as well as additional 911 and economic development services.
“Residents and businesses would benefit from enhanced localized service delivery and would continue to receive County-related services such as fire, water management, and transit. We currently have several Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with Gwinnett County so this would simply expand our partnership and add another layer of resources for residents and businesses of the area,” said Mayor Newton.
The City has conducted a preliminary analysis of the proposed annexation’s fiscal impact and determined it can contribute to improvements to the area’s aging infrastructure and yield net positive fiscal impacts for the city. City Manager Rudolph Smith indicated that the City has undergone a thorough financial review and is confident that the City is prepared to take on the additional responsibilities.
“The City of Norcross is financially healthy. We have weathered the economic downturn during the recession without any financial issues. If the annexation is approved by the voters, we are ready to step in and start providing services on day one. It will be a win-win for the County, the residents, businesses and the City,” he said.
Based on the City’s initial assessment, near-term physical improvements to the annexation area would include street resurfacing, street lights, and signage. If voters approve the annexation, the City intends to conduct a detailed needs assessment and community engagement to deeply understand priority improvements for residents and businesses, as it has in previously annexed areas. In the most recently annexed area of the City, residents determined access to parks and green space was a priority issue. In response, the City initiated the construction of Pinnacle Park, a new 12-acre park scheduled to open in the area in March 2019.
The 2.8-square-mile proposed annexation area is home to an estimated 6,114 residents and employs approximately 6,640 people. There are 422 acres of residential property, including the Liberty Heights neighborhood. Nearly 300 businesses are located within the annexation area, many in the logistics, warehousing, and light manufacturing industries.
The annexation will follow the local act of the General Assembly method, which requires the approval of a bill from the state legislature and approval from more than 50 percent of voters within the proposed annexation area. A bill will be introduced to the General Assembly of Georgia during the spring legislative session, sponsored by Representative Pedro Marin of District 96. The state legislature will vote on whether to hold a public referendum. If approved, the referendum will take place in November 2019.
The City has created an informational website about the potential annexation to facilitate a clear and open process. It includes a detailed map of the proposed annexation area, along with frequently asked questions about the vision, process, and anticipated impacts on residents and businesses.
The City will host several informational events for the community prior to the referendum. Additional information about these events will be posted to the website.