Baker Road annexation, rezoning forwarded to Acworth Board of Aldermen despite community opposition

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

The City of Acworth’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted to advance a developer’s request to rezone and annex property at Baker Road to the Board of Aldermen, an unpopular move with a group of local residents who attended the meeting Tuesday evening.

Priga LLC owner and developer of the project, Thais Garcia, sat in the audience as Todd Korn, the civil engineer from TK Consulting Engineers, presented the following about the development to the commission:

“We are proposing to annex a 4.97-acre parcel located off of Baker Road to an R3 [single family residential] zoning with a 9,000 square foot minimum lot size and we’re looking to put in a 700-foot long public street with a cul-de-sac at the end and six off-street parking spaces, along with a landscape strip to buffer the adjacent subdivision to the west, and a privacy fence along the east to buffer the houses on this side. And from a stormwater standpoint, we’re looking to your stormwater detention and a pond just upstream of the existing creek that’s out there. So, with this request, we would like to annex the property currently residing in Cobb County to the city of Acworth with R3 zoning.”

The developer wants to build six 2,600 square foot homes in the area. [An earlier version of this article stated five houses. We regret the error]

The proposed annexed land is in unincorporated Cobb County.

City staff recommended the commission approve the annexation and rezoning with six stipulations. The stipulations are:

  1. The project shall be developed in substantial conformity with the site plan dated 08-19-21 and the Landscape Plan dated 08-03-21 (sheets L-1.1 and L1.2).
  1. The units shall be developed in substantial conformity with the Conceptual Rendering dated received 08-19-21 with respect to general architectural style, features, materials, and massing.
  1. Additional landscaping shall be installed at regular intervals on the subject property, inside the privacy fence, adjacent to 3151 Baker Road – on common property and along Lot 1. Plantings shall be evergreen conifer shrubs that will extend above the privacy fence at maturity.
  1. Prior to commencement of construction activities, the property line shall be staked along its northern border and along the right-of-way adjacent to the proposed sidewalk installation and a construction fence installed to ensure all construction activity is maintained on the subject property or within the right-of-way.
  1. The development shall adhere to all applicable stipulations set forth in Section 69.4, [B] of the City of Acworth Zoning Ordinance.
  1. The development shall meet all City of Acworth Codes and the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations unless specifically approved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The commission voted unanimously to annex the parcel and 6-1 to rezone with staff stipulations.

Commissioner Jeff Steorts was the lone dissenter in the rezoning vote. He said the zoning request was not broad enough.

“I just didn’t think [the request] was presented appropriately,” Steorts said after the meeting. “They need to do some adjustments.”

On the other hand, Commissioner Dr. Toby Carmichael said he thinks the project can work.

“These are not starter homes … these are 2,600 square foot homes, so these are going to be financially not rentable properties,” Carmichael said. “Definitely, it could be a lot worse and this is going to be at least I think a nice fit.”

Since Tuesday’s meeting was a public hearing, locals had the opportunity to voice opposition or ask a question about the development.

All of the residents who spoke lived near the area of the request and opposed it.

David Beck, who has lived next to Baker Road for 23 years, said that if the area is annexed, the community will continue on a path of what he says is its decline.

“We want this left with Cobb County,” Beck said. “They have the infrastructure and the regulations to ensure our property values will not decrease, our quality of life will not decrease and the environment will not be harmed.”

Mike Powers said that the development won’t fit, while Nicholas Reaid, a Baker Road resident for 41 years, said he was concerned about increased traffic because of the project.

“I don’t think this is good for Baker Road,” Reaid said. “It’s already built up for what it is, and we just keep adding to it. We keep adding more and more traffic to Baker Road — it’s already a disaster now — and we’re going to keep adding more homes to Baker Road.”

Acworth’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen will hold another public hearing about this development on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The Aldermen will vote on it at their regular meeting the following Thursday at 7 p.m.

Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She is the current president of the university’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and former editor at the KSU Sentinel.  She enjoys music, reading poetry and non-fiction books and collecting books and records. She enjoys all kinds of music and reading poetry and non-fiction books.

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