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September Steering Committee Meeting

So far, the project team has gathered very useful input from the Stakeholder Interviews, the Community Market pop-up event, the booth at the Gateway International festival, and now 3 Steering Committee Meetings. At the 3rd Steering Committee meeting on September 25th, we added a new member, Sonia Lopez, to represent the Hispanic Community and to advance communication with Latino families in the City of Norcross. The diversity in Norcross is a major strength of the community, and we look forward to hearing from residents of all backgrounds.

Project Updates

At this meeting, the steering committee was kept up to speed on the most recent input we received from the community. If you haven’t already, check out the previous blog about Buford Highway Development! A draft will be complete in October, and the Comprehensive Plan is currently on track to be adopted in February.

Character Area Updates

At the last Steering Committee meeting, we got into the details of the Future Development Map. Remember, character areas are groupings of locations that have similar uses and help to guide future development and rezonings. Here is the result of the last meeting’s discussion:

Does this look about right to you? If you have questions or comments, leave one below!

Paul Culter, organizing the Norcross’ UDO, was present at this meeting. He asked a few questions for the committee about the character areas that could affect the upcoming UDO. Here’s what the committee had to say:

What housing level do you prefer to see in Character Area 1 (Atlantic – Peachtree Industrial Boulevard)?

  • Single-family

  • Multi-family

Should the City mirror Peachtree Corners along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in terms of Technology and Walkability?

  • Not in Character Area 1 (Atlanta-Peachtree Industrial Blvd) but we should in Character Area 2 (Medlock – PIB). Doing so would be progressive, and it would create a seamless and compatible boundary between the two cities and along the corridor.

  • Yes, and we should attract a large grocery store.

Should the zoning regulations be consistent all along Buford Highway, or should they vary by character area?

  • Character areas 6 & 7 should have similar zoning regulations and maximum height should be kept at 3-5 stories

  • Character area 8 should have its own regulations

Community Work Program Discussion

Many members of the community have expressed that they would like to see Norcross improve quality of life through sustainable practices. We asked the committee what sustainability makes them think of in the context of this Comprehensive Plan process. One of the definitions we received was “Meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of the future.” Build Green Buildings, recycle where cost effective, maintain tree canopy, educate citizenry, cooperate in transit options were listed as priority initiatives.

To prepare for the upcoming workshop, we asked the committee the questions we organized for the workshop discussion.

Question 1, Sustainability: Which sustainability initiatives are the biggest priorities for you?

  • Long lasting Development

  • Community Sustainability – contributing members. Keep Norcross Diverse.

  • Aging in place; business/live/work

  • Economic sustainability, mainly environmental sustainability

  • Ensure there is money budgeted to do sustainability plan, emphasizing land use

  • Priorities and initiatives

  • City of Norcross owning more real estate

  • Embrace technology

  • Improve the connotation of the education system in Norcross.

Question 2, Pedestrian/Bicycle Infrastructure: Which pedestrian and greenway projects are priorities for you? What is missing?

  • The Beaver Ruin Creek Greenway, mainly as a safety initiative

  • Greenway along Mitchell Rd and the intersection at Buford Highway and S Cemetery St for connectivity.

  • The greenway along N Norcross Tucker Rd for Historic purposes. Should be named after Camp Gordon, a US Army installation that used that area as a firing range and training ground in World War I.

  • The committee also stated that midblock crossings along Buford Highway should be a pedestrian priority.

Question 3, Housing: Are there needed housing types you find are missing in Norcross? What kind of residential development would you like to see permitted/encouraged?

  • Under 1800 SF, under $300,000

  • Walkable neighborhoods (walkable to downtown)

  • Mixed=use with smaller townhomes, smaller community

  • Cheaper to keep older generations (relevant to sustainability)

  • North of Buford Hwy – no more multi-family (but in South)

  • Financial catalyst (like Duluth) high density residential to pay for it, but its also appropriate for the area (good in scale)

  • Butelle & Hunter St off of Lawrenceville have big lots that may be good for infill. Like the Ivy at Norcross

Question 4, Historic Town vs. Bigger City: How would you like to see Norcross balance its charming small town feel while accommodating growth and development?

  • We should see more local restaurants. The amount doesn’t matter if they’re local and not chain.

  • Maintain historic properties.

  • Connect the dots to south of Buford highway.

  • The brand of Norcross is its downtown, we need to allow growth and development

  • Median income buffer isn’t like Roswell. It’s difficult to bring life back to Historic Buford Highway

  • Attractions like a microbrewery create foot traffic. It’s like having an “after-house coffee shop.” Some residents leave town to spend time at places like this like in Duluth.

Question 5, Buford Highway Divide: How can we improve physical and social connections across Buford Highway?

  • More events in South Norcross (Pinnacle Park Improvements)

  • Community engagement; communication in Spanish, Bengali, Korean, and Chinese

  • i.e. Easter Egg Hunts, etc.

Question 6, Young Families: What can the City do to better attract and retain young families?

  • Improving the perception of local schools by changing the narrative

  • One idea: invite students with highest GPAs to meet shake the Mayor’s hand at a public event.

  • Play up weaknesses as strengths (language barriers)

  • The community in schools is missing; need to take advantage of parks, social opportunities, entertainment in activity center (brewery, ice cream shop, etc.), connected neighborhoods.

Question 7, Technology: What emerging technologies should Norcross prepare for in its Comprehensive Plan?

  • Ride share

  • Business incubator like at Broadstone (West Rock development)

  • Working from home, coworking

  • Fiber optic technology

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