Gwinnett approves new Sugarloaf improvement district

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a new tax district that’s expected to generate more than $184,000 a year for transportation and other improvements in the Sugarloaf Parkway area.

The Sugarloaf Community Improvement District would include 43 commercial properties near the intersection of Sugarloaf and I-85.

Community improvement districts are created at the request of commercial property owners who agree to pay extra property tax to fund transportation, landscaping and other improvements. Gwinnett already has five such districts: Braselton, Evermore, Gwinnett Place, Gwinnett Village and Lilburn.

The district can have a big impact on their surroundings. In Gwinnett, they have played a role in the construction of new I-85 interchanges at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road. In Cobb County, the Cumberland Community Improvement District is spending millions of dollars to help pay for the new Atlanta Braves stadium and related improvements.

Supporters hope the new district will aid development in the Sugarloaf area. Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks, who represents the area, said the district will build on momentum created by a proposed mixed-use development at the county's Infinite Energy Center.

“Any time businesses or other organizations want to voluntarily tax themselves to improve the area where they’re located, I’m all for it,” Brooks said.

The proposed Sugarloaf district won the approval of three-quarters of affected property owners. The district will generate an estimated $184,197 in tax revenue annually beginning this year.

Among other things, the money can be used to build and maintain roads and sidewalks, parks and other facilities and to provide public transportation.