Gwinnett approves much-debated ‘farmmunity’ development

Landowner Justin Brady during a September meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

Landowner Justin Brady during a September meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

After a few delays and a bit of opposition, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners has approved a rezoning proposal that would help bring a unique, farm-centered development to the Grayson area.

Justin Brady filed months ago his proposal to build a residential community on the 50-plus acres he owns off Lakeview Road. The project, though, would be anything but ordinary — his plans call for creating a so-called "farmmunity" complete with as many as 45 homes, a community farm, a recreational pond, a barn for small animals like chickens and goats, a coffee shop and a farmers market.

The first step toward making all of that a reality was getting the commission to approve his request to rezone about half of his property to a “traditional neighborhood district” classification. That happened with a 4-1 vote on Tuesday, a week after a vote on the proposal was rescheduled for at least the second time.

District 3 Commissioner Tommy Hunter said at last week’s commission meeting that he still had questions about the project and postponed a vote. On Tuesday, he made the motion to approve the proposal with several conditions, including restricting commercial activity to the sale of local produce and “cups of coffee.”

“We’re obviously excited,” Brady said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

District 4 Commissioner John Heard was the only “no” vote. He was not available for comment after the meeting.

A group calling itself the Lakeview Road Coalition led opposition to Brady’s proposal. Earlier this summer, it issued a press release saying it was in favor of the conservation effort included in the project — but “gravely concerned” that some aspects would “open the door for additional commercial development” in the mostly residential area.

One member told Channel 2 Action News on Tuesday that the group still maintained those concerns.

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