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Hwy. 20 overlay panel makes recommendations

EAST FORSYTH — A group charged with developing an overlay district for Highway 20 east of Cumming to the Gwinnett County line has made its final recommendations to the Forsyth County commission.

“We want to advocate guidelines to promote the design principles around these areas of new development and redevelopment, have a unity of design, raise the building quality level and enhance the local aesthetics and functional qualities as well as stimulate the business and economic development,” said member Tim Dineen.

Dineen said the eight-member panel of residents had used the existing overlay districts on Hwy. 20, as well as on Peachtree Parkway, as guidelines, though certain elements had been added or deleted.

As the corridor stretches east from Market Place Boulevard closer to the Chattahoochee River, the group sought to highlight the waterway.

“This is a national treasure,” Dineen said. “We really believe that the overlay district should protect and preserve the quality of the Chattahoochee.”

The group also frowned on two of the more common, if not controversial, type of businesses along Hwy. 20.

“It is the unanimous sentiment of this committee that we would discourage any kind of big-box relators or auto dealerships east of Nuckolls Road, where they currently are,” Dineen said. “We just feel they’re a poor fit for the area.”

Instead, Dineen said, the group would like to see more community retail centers, which would focus on having more — but smaller — stores.

“Good examples of [that] are found on Ga. 141, down in Johns Creek,” he said. “That’s kind of our vision of how we’d like to see Hwy. 20 developed — attractive buildings, setbacks, trees, landscaping.

“Just make it look nice, kind of upscale and something we can all be proud of.”

Monday was the last meeting of the committee, which first gathered in May. Its recommendations will go to the Forsyth County commission for consideration at a future work session.

“We have asked to be in attendance at that work session, so that we can again support this work,” Dineen said.