North Point Ministries rezoning decision delayed by the Cobb Board of Commissioners

Cobb Commissioners at the podium. Lisa Cupid absent.Cobb BOC August zoning meeting from screenshot

By Mark Woolsey

It will be at least one more month before the fate of a controversial proposed mixed-use complex in East Cobb is decided.

North Point Ministries seeks to build a roughly 125,000 square-foot church at the corner of Johnson Ferry and Shallowford roads, which would be their 8th metro Atlanta location.

A separate developer would construct the residential portion of the just-over 33-acre proposal, which attorney for the church Kevin Moore said Tuesday would consist of 71 proposed townhomes and 54 detached single-family homes for a total of 125 dwelling units. A small retail/commercial footprint would also be included.

The Cobb County Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposal earlier this month following four hearings and a number of changes made by the applicant aimed at satisfying the concerns of neighboring residents. Among those was a decrease in the number of proposed townhomes.

Both proponents and opponents covered well-trodden ground in remarks before the four commissioners present, with chairwoman Lisa Cupid absent.

Moore asserted that the proposal was not out of character with the surrounding area. He noted, for example, the existence of substantial commercial development on the other side of Johnson Ferry.

“This is not a quiet suburban neighborhood of single-family homes on large lots,” he said. “Quite the contrary.”

Opponents such as Ruth Michels of the adjoining Marlanta neighborhood contended the existing proposal would negatively impact stormwater management, saying flooding had increased in the surrounding area since an 11-acre lake on the assembled property was drained.

East Cobb Civic Association representative Jill Flamm contended that the developer had failed to provide needed information and indicated their preference was for putting off a final decision while a revised site plan addressing parking is worked up and additional information supplied.

Concerns about the density of the development and the potential for negative impact on traffic flow were also again cited, as was the number of proposed variances.

District 2 commissioner Jerica Richardson moved for approval subject to a number of stipulations ranging from the composition of townhomes in the development to how construction would be managed. Commissioners Keli Gambrill and JoAnn Birrell were opposed, saying they had problems with the proposed RA-6 residential zoning category. They said they were not opposed to the church portion of the mixed-use development.

Commissioner Monique Sheffield then asked Richardson if she’d be amenable to holding the proposal until the September zoning hearing so that a revised site plan could be submitted reflecting an RA-5 residential structure.

She agreed, as did Moore.

“We would be happy to take a look at anything we’re directed to take a look at,” he said. ”That’s what this applicant has done the entire time. Let us go to work and see what we can do.”

Richardson’s substitute motion to hold the proposal passed on a 4-0 vote.

The issue is scheduled to be taken up again Sept. 21.