“We consider GCPS projects to be exempt from the zoning resolution,” said Bryan Lackey, Gwinnett County’s deputy director of planning and development. “If the school board owns a piece of property they can build really whatever they want to.”Then there were construction related problems:
That means the Gwinnett Board of Education does not have to adhere to RA-200 zoning requirements prohibiting tall buildings in residential areas. Neither is it obligated to notify neighbors that school construction could impact traffic and trees.
On June 11, crews hit a gas line, causing a leak.Compare this to Atlanta Public Schools, where a new elementary school in northeast Atlanta has a derth of public information available. Not that APS is any model of school behavior, but Atlanta is actually pretty good about involving neighborhood groups in these sorts of decisions (which was learned the hard way after the I-415 and Stone Mtn. Freeway experiences, fwiw).
“We did have to evacuate the townhomes that were right across from the school,” said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for Gwinnett County Fire Department. “No injuries were reported.”
The next day there were more emergency calls. One was a gas leak at 8:32 a.m. prompting an encore performance by the fire department. “It was under control in less than an hour,” Rutledge said. Later that afternoon, after 2 p.m. a fire ignited. “A power line had been pulled down by the construction crew. It sparked a fire in the grassy area,” he said.
The new APS school has to go through rezoning, btw. I don't see the point of having zoning rules if the government doesn't have to follow them. Part of the point of zoning and planning is to establish areas for civic space early on and plan for growth. Giving a government department carte blanche to do what they want with land seems like a great way to lose re-election.