Acworth board unanimously approves mixed-use development on Cobb Parkway

Acworth City Hall in article about Baker Road annexationAcworth City Hall sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Acworth’s Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a rezoning request for property along Cobb Parkway and Old Acworth Dallas Highway at their regular meeting Thursday evening.

The applicant, Ornstein-Schuler-Adams 1 2019 LLC, filed a request to rezone about 50.7 acres near the southeast intersection of the two roads.

[Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the applicant as Ornstein-Schuler Investments. We regret the error]

The decision rezoned multiple lots from C-2 and A/R-20 to mixed-use.

Before the mayor and board approved the request, Community Development Director Christine Dobbs presented to the board an added stipulation on behalf of city staff.

Staff requested the property not be developed without a sewage system that will be approved by the mayor and board.

Mayor Tommy Allegood clarified that the board had already discussed the stipulation and that some type of sewer treatment — not septic — has to either be treated on the property privately or connected to the county.

Acworth city attorney Doug Haney presented to the board legal counsel on whether the board can grant or deny the application.

Haney pointed to the 2015 intergovernmental agreement (IGA) signed between Cobb County and Acworth.

This IGA agreement stated:

“…that any residential property zoned in Cobb County, Georgia in the area west of the US Army Corps of Engineers property (commonly known as Lake Allatoona) to the Paulding County Line and extending South from the Bartow County Line to Old Stilesboro Road zoned as R-20, R-30, R-40, RR and R-80 and an application is made to annex into the City of Acworth, the property will be annexed into the City limits with the City’s zoning of AR-20, AR-30, AR-40, ARR and AR-80 and developed accordingly thereof.”

Haney said that following the IGA, Ornstein-Schuler-Adams 1 2019 LLC applied to annex the approximately 55.5-acre property into the City of Acworth.

On Nov. 1, 2018, Acworth adopted city ordinance 2018-22, which annexed the aforementioned property to Acworth. Ordinance 2018-21 then rezoned that property Nov. 1, 2018.

Ornstein-Schuler-Adams 1 2019 LLC’s intention is to develop the annexed and rezoned property into a mixed-use community of detached cottages and detached single-family homes.

There would be a commercial component along Cobb Parkway and the stream would be a natural buffer for residents to use at the rear.

“It is my legal opinion when the city of Acworth did that, the annexing and the rezone, it complied fully with the 2015 IGA between the city and the county,” Haney said.

Another relevant document is the 14 point analytical discussion Dobbs provided Oct. 28, 2020, Haney said.

Dobbs analyzed 14 points as to whether or not Acworth should grant the rezoning. Some of the points analyzed were the existing land use pattern, population density pattern, environmental impact and aesthetic concerns.

Haney said those points have been reviewed by the board and mayor.

Haney was also concerned about the Constitutional rights of the rezoning applicant.

“Every applicant has Constitutional rights on whether to grant or deny the zoning but to be very succinct, the city of Acworth fully complied with the 2015 IGA … two full years ago,” Haney said.

Board member Tim Richardson said that the Board does not take lightly their responsibilities as caretakers of Lake Allatoona and Lake Acworth.

“We work closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the integrity of those lakes,” Richardson said. “Also in addition to that, quality of life in our area is extremely important — not just for the citizens of Acworth but for our neighbors in unincorporated Cobb County.”

Richardson said the Board has studied this matter closely and has taken the numerous comments, emails and city staff recommendations into consideration.

“I’m just confident that whatever decision we make tonight that we’ve done our due diligence and that we’re going to make a fair and impartial decision on this matter,” Richardson said.

Board member Gene Pugliese made a motion to approve the rezoning with the sewage stipulation. Tim Houston seconded it.

The rezoning was approved 5-0.

[CORRECTION: an earlier version of this article stated the board and the council made the approval. Alderman Richardson pointed out to us that the mayor only votes if there is a tie. We regret the error]

Arielle Robinson is an undergrad at Kennesaw State University. She is the president of the university’s Society of Professional Journalists and an editor at the KSU Sentinel. She enjoys music, reading poetry and non-fiction books and collecting books and records.