Gwinnett County District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau spent a good part of his June 11 constituent meeting defending his recent actions regarding the Lawrenceville airport. Few people were present for the 11 a.m. meeting at but the majority of those in attendance expressed concern regarding the potential commercialization of Briscoe Field.
Dacula resident Randy Taczynski said he believes Gwinnett County is one of the most irresponsible governments in the United States. Taczynski shared several concerns including recent land deal controversies, the Gwinnett Braves stadium and, in particular, the recent controversy regarding the commercialization of Briscoe Field.
Taczynski, a homeowner in Apalachee Woods The Glens, said he is concerned about the impact commercialization will have on the value of his home.
“Nobody’s going to buy a house with planes flying over your community,” Taczynski said.
“How do you know that?” Beaudreau asked. “How do we know where the airplanes would hypothetically fly?”
Taczynski said his home is currently in the flight path.
“You knew that when you bought your house,” Beaudreau said.
“No I didn’t,” answered Taczynski.
“Well, that’s not my fault,” Beaudreau replied.
Beaudreau subsequently dismissed Taczynski’s concerns regarding home values and the potential noise.
“You’re assuming facts that are not yet proven,” Beaudreau said. “And that’s why we need to study the issue.”
Beaudreau said he wants more information.
“There’s so much misinformation going on right now,” Beaudreau said. “I’m in favor of seeing facts before I make decisions about things instead of just some people that are yelling and screaming about something.”
Apalachee Woods residents Nelson and Karen Archer also expressed concern regarding the flight path and the potential increase in commercial airline traffic.
“If commercial flights are started, it will steal our quality of life and the value of our homes,” Nelson Archer said.
The Archers said they have spoken with real estate agents who say they will no longer show homes in their subdivision if commercial service is initiated.
Beaudreau pointed out that planes have been flying over the area for years.
“One plane per hour -- a propeller plane -- is different than a 737 every 10 to 15 minutes,” said Karen Archer.
Nelson Archer vowed to fight efforts to commercialize Briscoe.
“We’re not going to allow you do it,” he said.
Beaudreau said the vote has already been taken and the RFP (Request for Proposal) process is moving forward.
“We’re going to see what offers come in,” Beaudreau said.
Beaudreau said proposals may include commercialization, but also might include a plan to keep Briscoe Field as a general aviation airport. Beaudreau added that his position is that the RFP process should be open to companies other than just those who replied to the county’s RFQ (Request for Qualifications).
“We’ll see what offers we get and then we can talk about fact versus fiction,” Beaudreau said.
Beaudreau also defended his actions during the May 3 county commission meeting in which .
“You’re just mad because ya’ll didn’t get your way,” Beaudreau said.
Karen Archer said she believes Gwinnett County is stealing from its citizens and that Beaudreau had the opportunity to stop commercialization, but failed to act upon it.
Her husband Nelson echoed her sentiments and said agreed with them.
“She said, ‘You’re asking too much of a segment of society no matter what the benefit is for that society.’ She said that,” he said.
“That’s her opinion,” Beaudreau responded.
Archer replied that a lot of people share that opinion.
“You better realize that,” Archer added.
“Is that a threat?” Beaudreau asked.
“It’s the truth,” Archer replied.
“You actually act like you have any credibility when you talk like that,” Beaudreau responded.
A resident of Apalachee Woods who did not wish to be identified asked if Beaudreau would be concerned if he learned commercial flights might be going over his house.
“No, because I think before you run up and down and jump up and down, you ought to get facts out,” he said.
Beaudreau: Trash Plan a “Big Success”
Though most of the questions during Saturday’s meeting centered around the Briscoe Field controversy, another unpopular issue -- the county trash plan -- was raised.
Taczynski said Beaudreau made a “big mistake” in voting for the trash plan. Beaudreau disagreed.
“I think it has been a big success,” Beaudreau said. “A big, big success.”
Taczynski said most of the people in Gwinnett County are upset about the trash plan.
“A very few, vocal minority,” Beaudreau replied.
“That is totally the opposite of what reality is right now,” Taczynski said. “You don’t understand.”
Beaudreau said Taczynski was entitled to his opinion and disputed Taczynski’s claim regarding the large number of complaints filed about the county trash service.
“You can file a freedom of information request if you’d like to and you can find out factually, not your opinion but factually, how many complaints we actually get to our solid waste division every day,” Beaudreau said.
“You’ve got no idea what you’re talking about,” Taczynski replied.
According to the Gwinnett County website, citizens with complaints about service should contact the haulers directly. Only citizens with unresolved complaints are instructed to contact the Gwinnett County Solid Waste and Recycling Division.
Request for Road Improvement
The only person who did not inquire about the airport issue was Dacula Patch columnist . Orr asked about the heavily trafficked intersection of Old Peachtree Road and Dacula Road.
Expressing concern regarding the poor visibility for people turning left onto Dacula Road, Orr suggested the simple fix would be to retrofit the existing interchange with left turn on green arrow only signals rather than re-grading and elevating the roadway as currently proposed.
“I think that’s probably a pretty good suggestion,” Beaudreau said. “I’m glad you brought this to my attention.
Beaudreau hosts a constituent meeting once a month. As the district 3 commissioner, Beaudreau represents the eastern Gwinnett County cities of Snellville, Loganville, Grayson, Dacula and Auburn.