Cobb Planning Commission delays decision on application to allow 32 townhomes on Wade Green Road

aerial map showing triangular lot on Wade Green RoadScreenshot of Z-7 aerial map from zoning documents

The Cobb County Planning Commission held (or delayed) a decision until the next meeting on an application from KM Homes that would allow the company to build a 32-unit townhome community on Wade Green Road north of Wooten Lake Road.

The hearing had been held from the April Planning Commission meeting for the same reason as this delay, to allow an opportunity for the applicant and representatives from the surrounding community to meet.

Attorney Parks Huff represented the applicant during the hearing.

He gave a brief description of the property, a triangular lot along Wade Green Road, and said that the new plan drops five units from the original site plan, and that the applicant’s request for rezoning has changed from FST (fee simple townhome) to RA-4.

Cobb zoning ordinances describe the RA-4 category as follows:

The RA-4 district is established to provide locations for the development of single-family detached or attached residential dwelling units including the combination of duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes. The dwelling units are to be designed so as to be placed on an individual lot attached to another dwelling unit or on an adjoining lot where the units will be attached by a common party wall. This residential use is designed to be located within or on the edge of properties delineated for low and medium density residential categories as defined and shown on the Cobb County Comprehensive Plan. When residentially compatible institutional and recreational uses or residential uses are developed within the RA-4 district, they should be designed and built to ensure intensity and density compatibility with adjacent single-family detached dwellings and otherwise to implement the stated purpose and intent of this chapter.

Huff said that an adjacent property is zoned RA-4, and that several surrounding properties are zoned for commercial use, and that the site plan is compatible with the medium density residential designation on the county’s land use plan.

He said the topology of the property makes developing it challenging because of the drop-off on the rear of the property.

Huff referred to a petition from the opponents of the rezoning in the neighborhood. The petition stated that the development “doesn’t provide an actual solution to the need for new housing and affordable housing.”

“Well, this is not affordable housing, but it is more affordable than a lot of other new housing in the area. But it also provides a housing type that is needed in the area,” said Huff. “It’s not too dense, it’s not disruptive to (Pitner) elementary school.

Andy Johnston spoke in opposition to approval of the rezoning application, representing the Parkwood Commons Homeowner’s Association and the Bells Ferry Civic Association.

He said that because of the steep ravine to the rear of the property, only the portion very close to Wade Green Road is suitable for development, and for that reason the density should be calculated based on the usable land, not on the entire property.

He repeated concerns he raised in the April Planning Commission meeting, that the plan is too dense, would be disruptive to the elementary school across Wade Green Road, and lacks amenities.

Planning Commission Chairman Stephen Vault said, “This is in District 3, which is Commissioner Dance, and in her absence, I will lead the discussion.”

He called Huff back to the podium.

“So a couple of quick questions,” Vault said. “I didn’t have a chance to meet with Commissioner Dance on this particular case. But one of her concerns that she raised immediately was the something you mentioned about the ability to the ability to meet with the neighbors. And that was something she strongly suggested and strongly want it to happen. Can you talk about the ability to meet with the neighbors and try to engage them on this new plan?”

Huff said a meeting in May fell through because the neighbors could not get all their representatives together, and that he had to cancel a June meeting because he had a conflict.

Johnson disputed Huff’s account of the attempts to meet., and said that the neighbors tried to set up a meeting during April, and that while the applicant agreed to a May meeting, they did not have a site plan to show.

“We have always wanted to meet with them,” Johnston said. “But we’ve had to initiate the meetings consistently through the entire thing the entire time.”

Vault asked both Huff and Johnston whether they would be willing to set up a meeting prior to the next Planning Commission meeting. Both said yes, so Vault made a motion to hold the decision until the next meeting, and it passed 3-0.

About the Planning Commission

The Planning Commission hearings and recommendations have some of the highest impacts on quality of life in the county of any public body.

Their job is to make recommendations on rezoning requests, special land use requests, and other business involving land use and zoning, and to send those recommendations to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, who make the final decision.

The Planning Commission is described on the Cobb County website as follows:

Established as an advisory Commission to assist the governing authority (BOC) in the administration and enforcement of the Zoning and Planning Act and to prescribe the duties and functions of such commission.

The full duties and functions of this Commission are contained in the Cobb County Zoning Ordinance, Section 3-28-9 134-61.

Members are appointed for terms which run concurrently with those of the appointing commissioner and are subject to removal with or without cause and without regard to any unexpired term. The Commission Chair is compensated $275.00 per month, the Secretary is compensated $275.00 per month with all other members compensated $250.00 per month.

Members of the Planning Commission

MemberAppointed ByTerm
Steven VaultChairwoman Cupid12/31/2024
Fred BeloinCommissioner Gambrill12/31/2022
David AndersonCommissioner Richardson12/31/2024
Deborah DanceCommissioner Birrell12/31/2022
Michael HughesCommissioner Sheffield12/31/2024