Rezoning application for large mixed-use development on South Atlanta Road withdrawn without prejudice

A site map of the proposed mixed-use development on South Atlanta Road

by Caleb Groves

MARIETTA, Ga.- At its zoning hearing Tuesday the Cobb County Board of Commissioners allowed the applicant to withdraw without prejudice an application that would have permitted the construction of a large mixed-use development on what is now a heavy industrial area near the Silver Comet Trail extension.

A withdrawal without prejudice means that the applicant can refile the application at any time.

The request was filed by the Branch Acquisition Company, LLC, in July of 2022 for a plot located at the northwest corner of South Atlanta Road and Plant Atkinson Road. Branch Acquisition purchased the plot in September of 2021.

The application was delayed for nearly a year.

Attorney Kevin Moore representing Branch Acquisition asked to withdraw the application in hopes of coming to a compromise at a later date so they can work with the county on the construction of the Silver Comet Trail connection in hopes of saving taxpayer dollars an estimated 1.5 million.

However, Commissioner JoAnn Birrell believes that Moore has other motives and that the County already has the funds for starting trail construction.

Branch’s application asked the board to change the heavy industrial zoning to a residential, retail and commercial property zone. However, the zoning for the property does not comply with the current plan for the area.

With the rezoning, Branch Acquisition hopes to put in two, five-story apartment buildings as well as 30,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office space, and a parking deck.

There are concerns about the development of an apartment complex, such as what it means for Nickajack Elementary School, which is over its maximum capacity for enrolled students as is, according to Cobb County Community Development documents.

During the hearing, 58 people were there in opposition to the rezoning of the Branch Acquisitions property and no one was in support of rezoning the property.

This case has been going on for nearly a year and Cobb County’s staff comments have been clear about what needs to change to approve the application, Commissioner Keli Gambrill said.

“I don’t mind the withdrawal, but ‘the without prejudice’ I struggle because, again, the community is here,” Gambrill said. “We have 58 people read into record that has been coming to each of these hearings that we’ve had.”

Birrell and Gambrill wanted to withdraw the application with prejudice, considering the lack of effort to change the application plans.

Commissioner Monique Sheffield has an issue with a residential property in a heavily industrialized zone where there is a waste management plant, a coal ash plant and a concrete plant all nearby the land plot.

The BOC voted in favor of withdrawing the application without prejudice 3-2, with commissioners Birrell and Gambrill in opposition.

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out