In a 3-2 vote the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning application that will allow Greystar to build a mixed-use development with 340 residential units on the southwest side of Hurt Road, the southeast side of Austell Road, on the east side of Brookwood Drive, and on the west side of Floyd Road, near the East West Connector.
The property is adjacent to another large Greystar development approved one year ago by the BOC.
There was opposition from nearby neighbors of the proposed development, and four people showed up in person to oppose, and three registered their opposition virtually.
The people who opposed the rezoning cited traffic concerns, the inclusion of apartments in the development, and impact on the local schools.
The site is currently occupied by a declining shopping center anchored by a Burlington Coat Factory store, which representatives for the applicant said plans to close the location and move into a smaller space in keeping with current conditions in the retail market.
The property is in District 4, represented by Commissioner Monique Sheffield.
The owner of the property is TLM Realty, and if approved the development will be done by Greystar.
At its September meeting, the Cobb Planning Commission held the request for 30 days to give the Cobb DOT time to analyze a recently conducted traffic study.
The Planning Commission recommended approval during this month’s meeting.
The zoning document describes the purpose of the rezoning request as follows:
The applicant is proposing to rezone the 15.81 acre site to PVC for the purpose of constructing a mixed use development that will include three (3)and four (4)story multifamily buildings with 340 residential units and three (3) retail buildings. The multifamily units will be located on the eastern portion of the property on 12.52 acres with an average unit size of 950 square feet. The retail buildings will be a total of 25,000 square feet, located on 3.29 acres on the western portion of the property.
PVC zoning, according to the county’s definition, “is established to provide locations and encourage flexible site plans and building arrangements under a unified plan of development rather than lot-by-lot regulation for retail commercial and service uses which are designed and oriented to be self-sufficient neighborhoods making up a community.”
Attorney Garvis Sams, representing the applicant, said, “Right now, what we’re working to do is a mixed use development here, which fills a void within this sub area of the county regarding service-related uses.”
“Also regarding residential options, dining options, and frankly, the things that that have been expressed to us by Wellstar and other corporate entities in the area that they’re sorely lacking,” he said.
“This is going to be called the village at at Brookwood,” he said. “It is being rezoned from PSC which is a nonexistent classification that still exists on your books, you just can’t apply for it, to the PVC zoning district, in substantial conformity to the site plan that we’ll get to in just a minute.”
He said that the applicant has been in touch with Amy Diaz of the Cobb DOT, which has finished its traffic analysis, and that the applicant and their engineers “either have or are in a position to address and resolve all the concerns that DOT had.”
Valerie Goodson, a neighbor of the property, spoke in opposition to the rezoning.
“The challenge that I have with the design is that you’re putting a lot of people in a small area,” she said. “Both sites combined, you’re looking at 792 units.”
“That’s 1500 people, and traffic is going to really be impacted by that,” she said. “I would like to see more focus on home ownership and not to have people locked into eternal rental.”
Allen Rodi, a local realtor, commercial real estate developer, and steering committee member of the Osborne-Milford Civic Association, also spoke in opposition to the rezoning.
“The LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) study that was done in 2015, encourages housing choice. And what we’re seeing with this development is just less housing choice. We’re seeing more apartments in the last 30 days in the metro Atlanta area,” he said. “150 people have closed on condos of 1000 square feet or less, and only nine of those were in Cobb County. We need more condos in Cobb County.”
Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, who was previously the commissioner for District 4 where the property is located, said, “It’s been a while since I looked at the Austell Road LCI, having been a commissioner in the area.”
“And so I just pulled up the document in front of me to get a sense of what the concerns are of the community and also to weigh that against what I see as quite a catalytic opportunity for this area,” she said. “And I think that’s exactly what the LCI study does try to encourage is transformation of this strip.”
“And it looks at that transformation is being concentrated at Austell Road and the East West connector,” Cupid said. “That is the most dense or commercial part of the LCI study.”
“You will see the CAC (Community Activity Center) as was shown in the applicant’s presentation there,” she said. “And then there’s also additional language (in the LCI), which does refer to redevelopment of older or abandoned shopping centers.”
“It does refer to consideration of affordable housing, which this project does do,” she said. “It has an emphasis on mixed income housing, and also mixed use, and I perceive this project to be what was contemplated.”
After further discussion among the commissioners, Commissioner Monique Sheffield made a motion to approve the rezoning subject to a list of stipulations she outlined.
The motion passed 3-2, with Cupid, Sheffield and Richardson in favor, and Birrell and Gambrill opposed.