Posts Tagged ‘Recycling’

Where To Recycle Christmas Trees In Gwinnett, Suwanee, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Dacula, Sugar Hill, Buford, Norcross and more

December 25, 2009

Green In Gwinnett Area

Green In Gwinnett Area

PLEASE NOTE: FOR 2010/2011 CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING INFO, PLEASE CLICK HERE

Gwinnett:

Recycle Those Christmas Trees to”Keep Georgia Beautiful

Bring One for the Chipper is Georgia’s annual Christmas tree recycling program. Each year, Keep Georgia Beautiful works with private sponsors to organize the recycling event. These statewide sponsors included The Home Depot, The Davey Tree Expert Company and WXIA-TV. Numerous local sponsors and volunteers also make contributions and provide in-kind services across the state.

How can you help? Bring your Christmas Tree to one of the fire department locations or other locations listed below.  Make sure your Christmas Tree has all of the lights and decorations removed from it.  Do not bring artificial Christmas Trees.

Dates: December 26 – January 16

Locations in Gwinnett:

Buford

Fire Station 14, 1600 Highway 23, Buford 30518

Fire Station 24, 2735 Mall of GA Blvd., Buford 30519

Dacula

Fire Station 16, 195 Dacula Rd., Dacula 30019

Fire Station 17, 2739 Brooks Rd., Dacula 30019

Fire Station 18, 3600 Braselton Hwy., Dacula 30019

Fire Station 27, 2825 Old Fountain Rd. Dacula 30019

Duluth

The Home Depot, 5950 State Bridge Rd., Duluth, 30097 (January 9th Only)

Fire Station 5, 3001 Old Norcross Rd., Duluth, 30044

Fire Station 7, 3343 Bunton Rd., Duluth 30096

Fire Station 19, 3275 N. Berkeley Lake Rd.,Duluth 30096

Grayson

Fire Station 8, 2295 Brannan Rd.,Grayson 30017

Lawrenceville

Fire Station 9, 1900 Five Forks-Trickum Rd., Lawrenceville 30044

Fire Station 15, 275 S. Perry St.,Lawrenceville 30045

Fire Station 20, 1801 Cruse Rd.,Lawrenceville 30044

Fire Station 25, 3575 Lawrenceville Hwy., Lawrenceville 30044

Lilburn

Fire Station 2, 12 Harmony Grove Rd.,Lilburn 30047

Fire Station 3, 4394 Five Forks-Trickum Rd.,Lilburn 30047

Fire Station 22, 2180 Stone Dr., Lilburn 30047

Loganville

Fire Station 28, 3725 Rosebud Rd. Loganville 30052

Norcross

The Home Depot, 4343 Tilly Mill Rd., Atlanta, 30360 (From 1/1/2010 til 1/10/2010)

Fire Station 1, 165 Lawrenceville St., Norcross, 30071

Fire Station 4, 5550 Spalding Dr., Norcross 30092

Fire Station 11, 5885 Live Oak Pkwy.,Norcross 30093

Fire Station 23, 4355 Steve Reynolds Blvd.,Norcross 30093

Snellville

Fire Station 6, 3890 Johnson Dr.,Snellville 30039

Fire Station 12, 2815 Lenora Church Rd.,Snellville 30078

Sugar Hill

Fire Station 26, 6075 Suwanee Dam Rd.,Sugar Hill 30518

Suwanee

Sims Lake Park, 4600 Suwanee Dam Rd., Suwanee 30024

Fire Station 21, 474 Old Peachtree Rd.,Suwanee 30024

The Chipper program involves hundreds of Georgia communities and thousands of volunteers. Since its inception, the program has recycled over 4.8 million Christmas trees. The mulch from these trees has been used for playgrounds, local government beautification projects, and individual yards. You can support the Chipper program by bringing your cut Christmas tree to a designated drop off site or volunteering with your local coordinator to collect trees.

 

This information was obtained from KeepGeorgiaBeautiful.Org

Think Green In Gwinnett!!!

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Atlanta Ink Cartridge and Laser Toner Recycling

December 8, 2009

Do you wonder what to do with that empty cartridge when your printer or copier has used all of it’s ink or toner up and it is time to replace it? Do you know the impact that tossing that laser toner or ink cartridge into the trash has on your environment?

This year, over 700 million ink and toner cartridges will be consumed in the United States. A small fraction of empty cartridges will be recycled, but many more end up in landfills. Hazardous chemicals from the cartridges can pollute the environment, while the plastic they’re made of will take centuries to decompose. -Wastewise

One local option is a company based in Gwinnett County. Print Green USA offers recycling services for your spent and/or surplus imaging supplies (laser toners, ink cartridges, drums, etc). Print Green USA, Inc not only sells laser toners, printer drums and ink cartridges, but they will recover their clients empties for recycling.  They also will recycle empty laser toners and ink cartridges that were not purchased there.

For More Information, Please Contact Print Green USA via Their Website: Toner Recycling

Remember To Think Green In Gwinnett!!!

-If you have information on other local toner cartridge recycling options, please email: giga@greeningwinnett.org and we will review for posting consideration.

GIGA’s Suwanee Cinema Under the Stars July 11th!

July 4, 2009

Green In Gwinnett Area GIGA “SUWANEE CINEMA UNDER THE STARS” Family Movie Night At Suwanee Town Center Park, In The City of Suwanee, GA. Come join your Gwinnett Community for an evening under the stars with family and friends to celebrate the summer on the green while learning about “green”. Hosted by GIGA and featuring special guests like the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Saturday June 13th, 27th, and July 11th. Movies in order are: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Happy Feet, and Wizard of Oz. Free recycling of computers and office electronics. Please bring them to the event! For more information, please email: Green In Gwinnett We would like to thank our Main Event Sponsor for making this possible: Ameriprise Financial at Suwanee Town Center ParkThe Practice of Kevin O’Brien” We would also like to thank the Board Member of GIGA for their hard work and dedication to the Green In Gwinnett Area “GIGA” organization and events.

GIGA Board of Directors: James Chronicle – Chairman james@greeningwinnett.org Amy Bray abray@atclawfirm.com Andersen, Tate, and Carr Nancy Martin nancy@greeningwinnett.org Coca-Cola Company Tamela Adkins tamela@greeningwinnett.org Adkins Law Lois Martin lois@loismarketing.com Lois Martin Marketing Robert Mendez rmendez@basisstaffing.com Basis Staffing Mark Thompson mark@greeningwinnett.org Southtrac Bill Rosenberg bill@greeningwinnett.org Ameriprise Financial

-Wizard of OZ Costume contest for the kids(and kids at heart).
– Face painting on site!
– Demonstrations and activities with the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.
-Free Computer, monitor, and electronics recycling on site.
-Free phonebook recycling on site. Just drop it off!
-Local vendors
-Food and ice cream
-Drawings for refurbished computers, gift certificates to local vendors, and other surprises!

We have had attendance at 3000 people from Suwanee, Lawrenceville, Buford, Duluth, Norcross and all around Gwinnett County!

Suwanee Cinema Under Stars

Green In Gwinnett Area hosts “Suwanee Cinema Under the Stars” June 27th

June 23, 2009

GIGA

“SUWANEE CINEMA UNDER THE STARS”

Family Movie Night At Suwanee Town Center Park, In The City of Suwanee, GA.

Come join your Gwinnett Community for an evening under the stars with family and friends to celebrate the summer on the green while learning about “green”.  Hosted by GIGA and featuring special guests like the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage CenterSaturday June 13th, 27th, and July 11th.  Movies in order are: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Happy Feet, and Wizard of Oz.
Free recycling of computers and office electronics.  Please bring them to the event!


For more information, please email:
Green In Gwinnett
We would like to thank our Main Event Sponsor for making this possible:
Ameriprise Financial at Suwanee Town Center Park
“The Practice of Kevin O’Brien”
We would also like to thank the Board Member of GIGA for their hard work and dedication to the Green In Gwinnett Area “GIGA” organization and events.

GIGA Board of Directors:

James Chronicle – Chairman
james@greeningwinnett.org

Amy Bray
abray@atclawfirm.com

Andersen, Tate, and Carr

Nancy Martin
nancy@greeningwinnett.org

Coca-Cola Company

Tamela Adkins
tamela@greeningwinnett.org

Adkins Law

Lois Martin
lois@loismarketing.com
Lois Martin Marketing

Robert Mendez
rmendez@basisstaffing.com

Basis Staffing

Mark Thompson
mark@greeningwinnett.org
Southtrac

Bill Rosenberg
bill@greeningwinnett.org
Ameriprise Financial

Getting Started Going Green in Gwinnett

February 26, 2009

You’ve decided you want to live a more eco-friendly life? Great! Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Maybe you see all of the things you can change to be more green, and you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re on a tight budget and you simply don’t have the money to completely revamp your life. That’s okay! There are some simple, inexpensive things you can do to live a little more green. The first step is to decide why you want to go green. What is your main concern? For many people, they are worried about carbon dioxide and climate change, and they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Others are concerned about waste filling up landfills and want to start recycling. Still others are worried about chemicals in their home environment and want to start using green cleaning products or buying organic food. You might be concerned about all of these issues and more, but there is probably one thing in particular that has really convinced you it’s time to go green. Start with that one and you’ll be able to stick with your lifestyle changes easily, because they will be important to you.  Let’s look at some of these green goals and see how to get started.
So you want to reduce your carbon footprint
With carbon, climate change, greenhouse gas, and “carbon neutral” being such popular buzzwords these days, you can’t help but think about how your lifestyle is affecting the planet. A great place to start is with a Carbon Footprint Calculator. This will estimate how much carbon you personally put into the air each year. There are tons of calculators on the Internet, I like the one at http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator/.
Now, that you know your carbon footprint, how do you make it smaller?
  • Adjust your thermostat. Is your AC set so low that your family wears sweaters around the house in August? Using less energy to heat and cool your home can definitely change your carbon output, AND save you some money. You can also open blinds in the winter to let the sun heat your home naturally, and close them in the summer to help keep it cool. When it’s nice outside, open windows and screen doors can let in fresh air and nice temperatures. A programmable thermostat is an investment in your home that will pay for itself in energy savings. They are very simple to install yourself.
  • Drive less. This one can save you money as well! Remember this summer, when gas was scarce here in Georgia, and we all tried to drive as little as possible? You don’t have to go to those extremes, but being mindful of how much you drive is important. Could you walk to any of your destinations? Can you carpool with anyone? My husband drives from Duluth to Athens for school, carpooling has saved us a ton of money! When you go out to run errands, take a minute to plan the most efficient route. It will save you both time and gas. If you’re lucky, you could even talk to your employer about working from home once or twice a week, and see the gas savings really add up!
  • Turn it off. How many lights are on in your house right now, in rooms that no one is occupying? I will admit, I am terrible about leaving lights on! Turning them off can save your electric bill and the planet. Also, you’ve probably heard that some of your electronics use “vampire power”. This means they continue to draw electricity even when they’re switched off. TV’s are notorious for this one. Unplugging these power hogs can save a lot of money. You can also plug them into a surge protector with a switch so you can turn several items off at once (for instance, if you turn off your TV, you can also turn off your DVD player and video game console).
  • Recommended reading for footprint reduction: An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.
What if trash is your main concern…
Landfills take up huge amounts of space, and a lot of perfectly good stuff ends up in them. How can you cut down on the amount of garbage you send to them? The three R’s, of course!
  • Reduce. This is really the most important thing you can do to cut down on waste. Think about ways you can create less garbage in the first place. Are you using disposable plates and cups just for the sake of convenience? Using paper towel for household jobs that could be done with a washable, reusable rag? If you don’t make any other green changes, then at least start bringing tote bags to the grocery store instead of getting plastic bags. Trust me, you’ll be glad when you don’t have a giant pile of plastic bags sitting in the garage! Some stores, like Whole Foods, give you a credit for bringing your own bags ($0.10) while other stores like IKEA charge for using plastic bags. Reusable totes are $1.00 at many stores, but I bet you’ve got tote bags sitting around in a closet that would work just fine.
  • Reuse. It’s easy to find ways to reuse things around the house. Pasta sauce jars can be washed and used to store rice and pasta. Yogurt tubs and even toilet paper rolls can be used to start seeds. Every time you throw something away, try thinking of a way to reuse it. Remember that if you don’t have a use for something, someone else might. For instance, UPS Stores (in Dacula, Snellville, Lawrenceville and many other places in Gwinnett) will take foam packing peanuts for reuse.
  • Recycle. Recycling has never been so easy! Most, if not all, garbage haulers in Gwinnett offer some sort of curbside recycling for items like cans, bottles, and newspaper. The Recycling Bank of Gwinnett should reopen soon, and they accept many items that curbside recycling doesn’t pick up. There are a lot of other places in town that accept various things for recycling. The post office in Duluth, for instance, has dumpsters to recycle phonebooks and magazines. Many groceries stores accept things like plastic grocery bags and egg cartons. Visit http:arth911.com to find out where to recycle near you. You’d be amazed at all the recycling going on in Gwinnett! I found ways to recycle ink cartirdges in Buford, car batteries in Lawrenceville, and newspapers in Grayson.
  • Recommended reading for recycling fans: Living Like Ed by Ed Begley Jr.
Are you worried about chemicals all around you…
This seems to be an especially big concern among parents. Folks who never thought about what was in their cleaning products or food realize, when they have children, that they don’t know what most of these chemicals are or how safe they are.
  • Switch to green cleaning products. There are so many eco-friendly options out there, and they work just as well as traditional cleaning products. These days there are also plenty of green options that aren’t too expensive either. Detoxing your home can get overwhelming, the trick is not to replace everything at once. Use up the cleaning supplies you have, and gradually replace them with greener options as you restock.
  • Organic foods. Organic foods can be pricey, but you can prioritize your purchases. You can find out which foods tend to have the most pesticide residues, and which ones have the least. That way you know which foods it’s more important to buy organic and which ones you can probably stick to conventionally grown. Try this guide for starters http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php .
  • Beauty products.  Natural beauty products have gone mainstream, with both Target and Wal-mart selling many brands of bath and beauty items with natural and organic ingredients. Trust me, this stuff will work just as well, if not better than their chemical counterparts, plus you’ll be able to pronounce all the ingredients! I visited the Wal-Mart in Suwanee just this week and I was really impressed by the natural and organic beauty brands they carry.
  • Recommended reading for a non-toxic home: Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.
I hope this guide will give you some good suggestions of easy ways to go green. Do you have anymore easy green tips? Post them in the comments!

Follow Up On “Bring One For The Chipper” Tree Recycling

January 25, 2009

Looks like it was once again a huge success!

“Giving back to nature’
Event turns 50,000 donated Christmas trees into mulch

By Heather Darenberg
Staff Writer

LAWRENCEVILLE – Chris Manza was wrapped up in the spirit of recycling Saturday – literally.

The 15-year-old draped a ring of discarded evergreen branches around his neck, wearing the creation as he volunteered at GwinnettCB’s annual Bring One for the Chipper event at Rhodes Jordan Park.

“I love recycling,” said Manza, who has attended the annual event since he was 9. “It saves the environment, and it saves trees.”

About 50,000 discarded Christmas trees were chipped into mulch Saturday morning at the Lawrenceville park, said Connie Wiggins, executive director of GwinnettCB. The mulch will be used to help beautify Gwinnett County parks.

Since 1984, the organization has encouraged residents to recycle the firs, spruces and pines instead of sending them to landfills. The average Christmas tree weighs 20 pounds and fills up almost as much landfill space as a washing machine.

“This is really a gift that people are giving back to nature after the holidays,” Wiggins said.

About 80 volunteers, including many high school students, helped carry the trees to the chippers, donated by Georgia Power and Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, Wiggins said.

Meadowcreek High School senior Dionce Johnson volunteered to help at the event but didn’t know he would be handling Christmas trees until he arrived at the park.

“I thought I was going to pick up trash and walk around the park,” he said, “but I really did enjoy myself.”

Johnson, who came to the event with members of his school’s Key Club, said he plans to volunteer again at the annual event.

Ninth-grader Yocelinn Pavez was one of the volunteers from Central Gwinnett High, which sent members from its Key Club and Beta Club to the event.

“I thought it was fun, especially because we got to help the community out,” she said. “It was hard work but fun at the same time.”

Central Gwinnett senior Alonso Zubillaga also said the event was fun.

“The scent of pine kinds of gives a cheery mood to everyone,” he said.

Brandsmart. First Commercial LEED Building in North Georgia

January 12, 2009

The new Brandsmart store that is being constructed at I85 and Buford dr in Gwinnett County is more than meets the eye.  This store has been designed and is being constructed to LEED standards, making it the first commercial building in north Georgia to adhere to these standards.

What is LEED?

LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

What is Brandsmart doing in these areas?

  • They are using none of the municipality’s water supply.  They are doing this by using a unique system of underground cisterns, reclaiming, and recycling their water.
  • Landscaping that requires very little water and can survive long droughts.
  • Waterless toilets
  • Skylights equipped with computer-controlled mirrors directing daylight into the store’s interior for more use than contemporary skylights.

Keep up the good work Brandsmart!

www.printgreenga.com

Print Green USA, Inc is a proud member of Green In Gwinnett Area GIGA, and the Chairman’s Club at the Gwinnett Chamber.


January 5, 2009

giganew12-copyCity of Suwanee: Preserving a Healthy Environment in the Face of Rapid Growth

Introduction.

Follows is a review of what one town in the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan
Area(GAMA) is doing to preserve its natural resources and mitigate air pollution while at
the same time improving quality of life for its citizens and preserving its small town feel
in the face of rapid growth and development. Many of the tools used by the City of
Suwanee to accomplish these tasks, including the massive Open Space Initiative and the
effective use of Planned Mixed-Use Developments, are ones that are also potentially
readily available to many other small towns within GAMA as well as without.
Borders and Connections. The City of Suwanee is located in northwestern Gwinnett
County. It is bordered by Buford to the northeast, Lawrenceville to the southeast, and
Duluth to the southwest. I-85 passes through the southeastern edge of the city where the
city abuts with Lawrenceville. This stretch of I-85 includes exit 111, approximately 30
miles from the center of Atlanta. Other major roadways passing through the City include
Lawrenceville-Suwanee/Suwanee-Dam Rd.(GA 317), Peachtree Industrial, McGinnis
Ferry Rd., and Buford Highway(US 23). One rail line, the Southern Railroad, passes
through the City, paralleling US 23 and Peachtree Industrial.

Ecological.

The Chattahoochee River passes just west of the western boarder of the City
of Suwanee with the Chattahoochee River Corridor extending into a small area of
Residential and Commercial zoning comprising about 4000 feet of that border. There are
several streams within the City, two of which, Bushy Creek and Suwanee Creek, are
tributaries to the Chattahoochee. There are no known occurrences of protected species
within the City. There are no other major natural resources within the city with the
exception of the following. The Georgia DNR has shown that Suwanee “contains
Significant Groundwater Recharge Areas that have, according to the Groundwater
Pollution Susceptibility Map of Georgia, a Low Susceptibility rating.”(1, “Natural
Resources”) The rating is based on the DRASTIC system, as laid out by the EPA, which
examines the hydrogeolgic settings of a given area and creates an overlay map indicating
areas susceptible to contamination (5). Lastly, Suwanee and Gwinnett Co. are a part of
the Atlanta Metropolitan AQCR, which is currently a non-attainment area for ozone. This
classification places restrictions on the expansion of roads and other structures that
contribute to the creation of ozone(smog) in the Atlanta area, as well as bars the receiving
of certain Federal funds.

Demographic.

The City of Suwanee comes from humble beginnings as a predominately
rural farm town with a population of only 615 in the early 1970’s. However, through the
70’s up until 1990 the population of Gwinnett Co. increased 388%, adding approximately
94,000 people between 1970-80 and 186,000 people from 1980-90. By 1998 (latest
Census estimate) the county had grown another 169,000 people. Suwanee’s own growth
has been exponential during this period, with a quadrupling of the population between
1990 and 2000, from 2,412 persons to 9,191. The 2007 estimate has the City at about
16,250 residents(2). A comparison of the growth rates reveals that while the Atlanta
Region has held steady at about 2.5% over the three decades and Gwinnett Co. has
actually slowly decreased from 8.7% to 5% from 1970 to 1990, Suwanee has seen nearly
a tripling of its growth rates over those same three decades (’70- 5.25%, ’80- 8.9%, ’90-
14%). In short, Suwanee has been growing fast.(1)
Current 2000 Census data shows the age distribution to be centered at 35-44 years of age
and weighted between approximately 50% of the population between the ages of 25 and
54. The vast majority of these are white (94% in 1990), with only about 4.4% black and
2% Asian. Almost half of the population of Suwanee in 1990 was at a high school
education or lower, 21% with some college but no degree, and a third of the population
having at least a College Associates degree. These numbers were, at the time, overall
worse than the County’s. Per capita income in 1990 was slightly below the County at
$17,300 and Median Household Income was well above the County’s at $48,750, with
income groupings evenly distributed.(1)

Projected Growth.

Total population is projected to grow to about 20,500 people and
8,000 households by 2020, with a sharp leveling off of growth after 2015. Long term
projections for 2030 have households at 11, 495 and the population between 30,000 and
32,500. Socioeconomic trends, including Median Household Income and education
levels, have also shown a strong improvement since the 1980’s and are projected to
continue. The current city average of about 3 persons per household, however, is not
projected to change much. This means much of the future growth of the City is expected
to be as large families rather than single adults.(2)
Land Use. The City of Suwanee’s land area currently totals 6,998 acres, or about 10
square miles, with the following breakdown. About 42% is Residential, with 95% of that
being Single-Family and the remaining being Multi-Family. Only about 6% of the land
was being used for Commercial, with the overwhelming majority of that being
commercial/retail. Light industry comprised approximately 10% of the land. Parks/
Recreation & Conservation lands were about 11.5% of the land use. Total undeveloped
acreage is currently 12% of the land area of the City. That is projected to ultimately be
reduced to 0% in the future.(2)

Problems the City Faces.

Space has become a very valuable commodity within the
small city due to its extremely rapid growth. One of the issues cited as being the leading
cause of urban sprawl in the Atlanta area is the fact that homeowners and developers have
always preferred large lot sizes, with upwards of an acre or more not entirely uncommon
for one household (Wes Rogers, Senior Environmental Planner, 3/14/2008). This problem
has especially impacted Suwanee as the town has seen much of its land occupied by lowdensity
subdivisions, with lot width minimums from 85 to 150 feet.
This leads to the number one challenge the City faces today: managing infill well. Infill is
the result of the rapid growth the I-85 corridor has experienced in the past several years.
“As growth has leap-frogged… up the I-85 corridor, in checkerboard fashion, spurred by
road and sewer extensions, urbanization has been a function of filling in the spaces left
between disparate development projects- basically a densification of the checkered-board
over time until all of the spaces are filled” (1, “Land Use”).
To make matters worse, since Suwanee is a part of the Atlanta area urban air quality basin
and since that area is currently in non-attainment for ozone emissions, Suwanee and
Greater Gwinnett County are both subject to federal regulations which, “impacts the
county’s road improvement program and its ability to add additional capacity to
regionally significant roads”(1, “Natural Resources”). Furthermore, the Atlanta Regional
Commission has been working on ways that local governments can help reduce air
pollution by reducing average trip miles, etc. These, together, put added pressure on the
City of Suwanee to “infill” smartly.

The Chattahoochee Corridor does not greatly affect the City, but is noteworthy. Related to
it are the many un-developable areas such as low-lying flood-zones and wetlands. There
is also some concern for the vast recharge area over which the city lies.

Finally, to tie all of these issues together and expand on them some, it is, in fact, the
Mayor and the City Council’s desire to make their city an environmentally pleasing and
pleasant place- if not for Mother Nature, at least for the human beings living there. This
includes everything from side walks and greenspace to matching street lamps along the
main thoroughfare into town. They also wish to reduce traffic through so-called “smart
planning,” or to put work, play, residence, and shopping all within readily accessible
distance of each other.

In short, the challenge faced by the City of Suwanee in recent years has been to infill the
remaining available space while at the same time preserving the city’s small-town feel,
improving pedestrian access and lowering traffic, and saving as many trees and green
open areas (for the purposes of aesthetics and the environment) as they realistically can.

Solutions and Other Actions.

Chattahoochee River Corridor & Tributaries.
The Chattahoochee River Corridor extends into a small portion of the western extreme of
the City and, overall, affects the City little. Nevertheless, this area is subject to regulation
under the Georgia Metropolitan River Protection Act and the River Corridor Plan and so
is not insignificant(1).
Per regulations there is required a 50 ft. non-disturbance buffer, a 100 ft. set back for all
development, and a 150 ft. setback for all impervious development within this corridor
(1). In addition, there are severe restrictions on land use within a 7 mi. radius of any
down stream municipal water intake plants. However, none currently exist near the City
and none are likely to ever be developed within this proximity(1). There is one last action
which the City was required to take as the commercially zoned section that occupies
much of the corridor/city overlap is developed. As a precaution to protect the
Chattahoochee from storm water runoff and river bank erosion, 6 acres of land of this lot
were slated to be preserved, undisturbed (Wes Rogers, 3/14/2008).
There is a further requirement of at least a 35 ft. non-disturbance buffer for all tributaries
of the Chattahoochee with an additional 35 ft. impervious surface setback(1). However,
this seems moot as current city stream-buffer ordinances require a 50 ft. non-disturbance
buffer with an additional 25 ft. set back for development for all streams within the City
(4).
Wetland Conservation/Utilization and the Greenway.
Per city ordinances, all wetlands within the city are subject to standard S. 404 permitting
under the Clean Water Act. However, there are no easily developable wetlands within the
city as those that do exist are flood-zones for streams and rivers. This posed a problem for
the City of Suwanee as it meant there was privately owned land within its boundaries
which could not be used by either its owners or the public at large. As a solution, the
green-minded Mayor of Suwanee decided 10 years or so ago that, rather than leaving all
of that land to just sit and waste away, he would like the City to buy it up and convert it to
greenways. The green-minded City Council agreed to the idea, and so in 2001 the City’s
award winning “Open Space Initiative” was begun. With this initiative the City took out a
$17.7 million bond and began the purchasing of land and developing of trails and parks.
One of the crowning achievements of this project has been the Suwanee Creek Greenway,
a project which also received State Recreation Grant funding. This greenway connects the
expansive George Pierce Park sports complex with the Town Center and preserves
several acres of flood-generated wetlands along the Suwanee Creek. Also, since the City
owns the lands, the project also prevents any issues with takings or zoning violations, as
well as circumvents having to deal with developers in the preservation of open space.
Finally, before taking out the bond the City held a vote, and its citizens agreed to take a
140% increase in property taxes in order to pay the bond back.
Air Quality.
“The City of Suwanee is also working toward improving air quality through coordination
and integration of land use and transportation, the encouragement of mixed use and
pedestrian friendly facilities, the support for a commuter rail station and building of the
necessary infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation.” (1, “Natural Resources:
Air Quality”)
These actions are covered in further detail below.
Coping with Growth: reducing traffic, managing density, and maintaining open space.
In 1998 a new Zoning Master Plan was created to cope with the growing pains of the city.
Of particular note in this new master plan was a new type of zone, the PMUD (Planned
Mixed Use Development). In short the objective of the City in creating this zoning type
was not to increase density but to make travel in the city more pedestrian friendly, make
daily life for the residents of the mixed-use zones easier, and reduce overall trip mileage,
all while preserving some open space as well. There are two types of PMUD: Mixed-Use
Village (MUV) and Mixed-Use Center (MUC). The difference is essentially that the
Village is predominantly residential and the Center is predominantly commercial or
industrial(offices). The goal of both is to put residents closer to their place of work and/or
shopping and at the same time provide open space for recreation. A full list of objectives
for PMUD zoned areas can be found in Section 510.A in Article V of the Zoning Master
Plan.(3)
In the 1998 zoning map there were 6 PMUD zoned regions within the city, each at
specific “Character Areas” per the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. The future land use
projections in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan shows these PMUD areas expanded, with
several new and broader overlay Character Areas. These new Character Areas are mainly
meant as a tool for organizing the City’s development plans, though some older areas
may have purpose beyond this. Follows is an explanation of the thinking behind the
creating of certain PMUD zoned Character Areas.
The goal of some of these Character Areas is to facilitate transition from existing
commercial or industrial areas to existing low-density neighborhoods within the minimal
space remaining between the two (the infill). One prime example of this is the area
around the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard (PIB) and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road
intersection. Here PMUD and multifamily housing are being used as transitions from the
heavily commercial PIB Corridor and single family uses to the north and Town Center
and Old Town to the south. Another particular PMUD zone, known as Suwanee Station,
was set in anticipation of a future commuter rail station for the City of Suwanee and also
serves as transition between light industry and single family areas. Most areas are set to
utilize both MUV and MUC together, though some are exclusively one or the other. Of
note in the only MUV-only area is the planned use of a conservation neighborhood, in
which a minimum of 50% of the area must be devoted to open space, due to the presence
of extensive flood-plains in the area. Also of note is that all Character Areas, for all types
of zoning, are designated low-medium density, with the exception of the Sims Lake/
Suwanee Gateway area near the I-85 interchange. It is slated for high density residential
development.(1, 2)
To go more in depth, as a part of the preservation of open space, all MUV areas are
required to have at least a ½ acre park within 500 ft. of the front door step of all housing
units and are required to preserve at least 20% of the gross area of the development as
open space. This often results in the transference of that land to either the City or, in some
cases, the home owners association for that neighborhood. Both areas carry extensive
regulations on the nature and use of driveways, alleys, and parking lots- mainly to the
effect of having them placed in the back of development and away from where their
traffic might disrupt traffic on the main streets. Sidewalks are mandatory and, to further
facilitate pedestrian traffic, several of the PMUD zones and broader Character Areas will
be interconnected via trails and greenways. Thus the City hopes to accomplish the task of
infilling its undeveloped areas without destroying its small town character or creating
traffic and air quality problems, while also better connecting the already developed areas
of town to one another.(1)

Funding.

Suwanee has 5 main sources of funding for its plans. The obvious first two are
local funding from the City’s own coffers and the State of Georgia. Other primary sources
of funding include the Open Space Bond, as discussed earlier. A SPLOST, passed in
2005, goes towards many of the City’s road maintenance, pedestrian development, and
city building maintenance projects. Finally, a TAD has been set up for the development/
re-development in the Suwanee Gateway Character Area. Occasionally money comes in
from Gwinnett County or the Georgia DOT.
Room for Improvement. The City of Suwanee was ranked as the #10 Small Town to
live in in the US in 2007 by Money Magazine. This is for good reason given all that the
City has done, is doing, and will do to improve the quality of life of its citizens in the face
Atlanta’s monstrous sprawl. But, that is not to say that there is not more the City could
do. The biggest thing the City could do to really push the environmental-shade of green is
to pass ordinances requiring Low Impact Development practices and Energy Star
efficiency standards for all new development and pushing for older developments to
retrofit parking lots and even replace conventional roofs with green roofs, etc.
The City’s Senior Environmental Planner, Wes Rogers, has himself, expressed a desire to
do things like put the lights in the Town Center park on solar power instead of leaving
them on the system, feeding off the nearby Buford dam. However, as Wes Rogers points
out, things like forcing LID design practices and putting up solar power panels, as green
as they might be environmentally, can often times be in conflict with that other shade of
green that developers and cities must pay so much attention to: money. As Wes pointed
out in a phone conversation, LID and energy efficiency practices are often not worth their
initial costs, which can be very high. This is because the developers often lease the
property, so that they are not the ones paying the electric and water bills; and because
impervious surface taxes are not very high, making benefits from reduced impervious
surface minimal to none. Furthermore, he points out that installing solar panels is not
very realistic if its own costs are going to be well above the actual savings on the electric
bill because it will not necessarily be very justifiable in the eyes of the citizens. In other
words, in a cost versus benefits analysis, justifying the more environmentally friendly
methods can often be a hard ticket to sell to developers and citizens if they are not
already on the City’s side as the comparison can often be heavily weighted on the side of
costs.
To make a LID ordinance more justifiable or simply to make LID practices more
appealing, the City could instate its own impervious surface tax. However it would
probably have to be fairly stiff and would possibly not get the support of the City’s
citizens. Alternatively, as an implied police power granted in the State Constitution, the
City could target the impervious surface tax to only people who go over a certain
percentage of impervious surface or towards commercial and industrial developers.
Subsequently, those developers making full or substantial implementation of LID
practices on their properties could have those properties completely exempt from said
tax. Of course this poses the issue of possibly reducing commerce in the area; but given
the City’s desirability from a residential stand point and how well it is connected to
Atlanta and the rest of Gwinnett County, this seems like it would be of little issue. The
real issue, for Suwanee, would be the fact that most of the city is already developed, with
those areas that are not developed already being under construction and potentially
beyond the point of being able to use LID technology without retrofitting.
Suwanee: A Model City? How applicable are Suwanee’s design practices to other small
towns in the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area(GAMA)? This is difficult to say as
Suwanee has some very important but unique characteristics. Easily the biggest and most
important of these is the City’s governing officials and its citizens. There are many towns
in the GAMA that certainly do have the connectivity that Suwanee does and do have the
natural beauty and appeal that Suwanee has. However, how many can claim to have a
governing body truly concerned with the preservation of open space, protection of
valuable natural resources, such as streams and wet lands, and desire to mitigate air
pollution, so much so that the governing body would be willing to even suggest more
than doubling property taxes and taking out a $17.7 million bond so as to pay for it all?
Then how many of those cities have citizens that would agree to it or even could agree to
it for it not being beyond their financial means?
Another important characteristic that really helps make the City’s PMUD zones work is
that fact that the town did develop in a haphazard manner, such that today all that is left
are the infill spaces. This characteristic of the City helps to make the PMUD designs the
obvious choice, not only for all the benefits already stated above, but also because they
allow for the preservation of property value in some areas that might have otherwise
suffered due to undesirable locals- i.e. next to light manufacturing plants.
Nevertheless, it is certainly possible for many of the ideas implemented in Suwanee to be
applied to other towns. Even in areas where the demographic is not affluent enough to be
able to afford such things as Suwanee’s Open Space Initiative, the plan could still be
applied if support from federal, state, and/or county governments could be garnered.
Mixed-use developments, while they make more sense for a town that is in the “infill”
stage, could easily be applied anywhere. They could even be used as a tool to help boost
land values and desirability in up-and-coming small towns as the Mixed-Use areas of
Suwanee are definitely a part of what makes the town so attractive today.
Conclusion. As the City of Suwanee faces another doubling of its current day population
by year 2030 and a dwindling of its land available for development, it has been pressured
to preserve its small town feel, its natural beauty, and its clean air all while comfortably
fitting in the extra 15,000 residents. Through the support of its citizens in proceeding with
the Open Space Initiative and in the smart use of Mixed-Use zoning the City appears to
be well on the way to accomplishing that task, 20 years ahead of schedule. While there
are still areas for improvement in deepening the City’s environmental shade of green,
things like a new LEED certified City Hall and a strong will to preserve greenspace and
reduce air pollution make it hard for one to argue the point.

References
1. City of Suwanee City Council. 2000. A Comprehensive Plan to the Year 2020. City of
Suwanee, GA. Available online at: http://www.suwanee.com/
economicdevelopment.reportsregulations.year2020.php. Accessed 3/1/2008.
2. City of Suwanee City Council. 2008. Draft of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. City of
Suwanee, GA. Available online at: http://suwanee.com/compplandraft.php. Accessed
5/8/2008.
3. City of Suwanee City Council. 1998. Zoning Ordinance. City of Suwanee, GA.
Available online at: http://www.suwanee.com/
economicdevelopment.reportsregulations.php. Accessed 3/1/2008.
4. City of Suwanee City Council. 2006. City of Suwanee Stream Buffer Protection
Ordinance. City of Suwanee, GA. Available online at: http://www.suwanee.com/
economicdevelopment.reportsregulations.other.php. Accessed 3/21/2008.
5. DRASTIC: A Standardized System for Evaluating Ground Water Pollution Potential
Using Hydrogeologic Settings. EPA #600287035. 1987. Available online at: http://
nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=20007KU4.txt. Accessed 12/29/2008.

I received my letter from Advanced Disposal today.

December 31, 2008

Apparently we are back to our original disposal handlers but we have the option to select the new one??? That is what I gather from the letter I received today from Advanced Disposal. They are issuing refunds and collecting their carts. Residents are advised to place their empty carts curbside by 0700 on Monday January 5th 2009.

You can contact Advanced Disposal at 770–887-6063