By Rebecca Gaunt
Kennesaw is set to annex 33-acres of land from Cobb County for a planned village community of 63 single-family attached townhomes and 332 multi-family residential units.
Related Development, LLC, the developer of the project, is being required to provide an assistance and relocation plan for the residents of Castle Lake Mobile Home Park, which is located on the property to be annexed.
Many residents attended the Aug. 4 Planning Commission meeting, but there were communication issues since not everyone spoke English.
Daniel Harari, acquisitions manager for Related, is in charge of the relocation effort. He told the Commission that all residents (about 190) would receive assistance whether they owned or rented. Single-wide home residents will receive $3,500 and double-wide residents will receive $5,000.
Resident Juanita Billingsley, a 43-year resident of the park, told the Commission that she can’t afford to move because she depends on senior assistance.
Sorela Arroyo said she was already accepted at an Acworth property, but the financial assistance doesn’t cover all the costs associated with moving her family. She said some neighbors are struggling to find homes because apartments in Kennesaw are too expensive.
Commission member Don Bergwall expressed concern about the residents being turned out. Harari said the current property owner did not give permission to start contacting residents until July, and he’s been trying to meet with them one on one.
Simmons requested a postponement on the annexation and zoning requests Monday so the developer, Related Development, LLC, can finalize the relocation plans. The matter will go to the Planning Commission on Sep. 1 and the City Council on Sep. 20.
It was recommended that the City Council also have an interpreter on hand.
Plans for the new development include trails and pedestrian access to Kennesaw Marketplace, the Noonday Creek trail system and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
The properties to be annexed are an island of unincorporated Cobb County, surrounded on all sides by the city of Kennesaw, between Old 41 Highway, Barrett Parkway and Cobb Parkway. The Cobb Board of Commissioners gave approval at the August meeting.
Variance Request Denied
Council denied True North Company’s variance request to waive the commercial requirement for the development at 0 North Main St. The city’s master plan, which was approved in 2015, requires apartments to be mixed with commercial space in the central business district.
According to Simmons, the parcel of land for this project has proven unsuitable for the addition of 10,000 square feet of commercial property and the necessary parking. He recommended an agreement with the developer to build only the residential portion and maintain the rest of the lot, with arborist input, until adjacent property becomes available and provides better options.
The motion was denied 4-1 with Council member Tracey Viars as the only yes. The developer was asked to submit another plan more in line with the original zoning.
In other business:
Council approved the variance request for Traton, LLC to encroach into the 75-foot natural stream buffer. The development consists of 103 townhome units, a cabana and pool, and a dog park. The developer submitted revised plans last week after the Planning Commission requested two of the six townhomes that would have been in the buffer be removed or relocated on the property. The development is located in the Cherokee Street corridor between McCollum Parkway and Ben King Road and is part of the Eastpark Village master plan.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.