Tie planning commission vote sends rezoning request to Cobb BOC with no recommendation

Cobb County Planning Commission June 5 meeting (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Because the chair of the Cobb County Planning Commission had a scheduled absence from June’s zoning hearing, a rezoning recommendation for a small three-lot subdivision on Wesley Chapel Road resulted in a 2-2 vote.  The application will be sent to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners with no recommendation.

The property was rezoned from R-30 to the higher-density R-20 in 2013, but the case had a reversion clause putting a time limit for the development of the property.  If the property was not developed within that timeframe, the zoning would revert to the original R-30 zoning. Both zoning categories are single-family residential.  To add a further, minor, complication, the current rezoning request was filed as R-15, which the applicant changed to R-20 before presenting his case to the Planning Commission.

The applicant was Duncan Land Investments, LLC, and the case number was Z-33.

Richard Duncan, the company’s representative, said, “The property is developed right now under R-20.  We went ahead and developed it. Since I had applied for the zoning, I’d secured another contract on the property as it is currently zoned.  I had forgotten about the reversion clause.  It was a hand-written thing, and I had forgotten it was even in there, or I would’ve done something about it then.”

Jill Flamm representing the East Cobb Civic Association said,   “I was the case manager on the original Z-27 in 2013. And please forgive me, we didn’t know anything about the request for R-20 … so some of my comments are kind of on-the-fly.  We have no problem with this being R-20 as was originally requested.”

She added further stipulations, including approval of the renderings of the houses on the property by the district commissioner. She said the reversion clause this time should be for twelve months since most of the construction on the site was already completed.

Planning Commissioner Skip Gunther said, “Again, this is in Judy Williams’s district, but she’s not here obviously.  So she asked me to represent her with this application.  I talked to Judy, and it’s her wish that this parcel remain R-30, because it is now four years later, (and) because she’s not willing to change BOC policy decision four years ago, although she understands the BOC may elect to do that in two weeks.”

He made a motion to recommend denial of the application, and it was seconded.

Galt Porter opposed the motion to recommend denial.  He said, “Sometimes reversion clauses are there more for when nothing happens, then it can revert back. I think this is a time deal more than anything else. I think when we (look at) a zoning case we have to look at the merits of that zoning case.”

The vote was 2-2. Galt Porter and Thea Powell voted against a recommendation of denial, and Skip Gunther and Andy Smith voted for Gunther’s denial motion.

So the case will go to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners with no recommendation.