by Caleb Groves
MARIETTA, Ga.– On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, the Cobb County Planning Commission delayed the rezoning request until the next meeting for a multi-use plot of land off of Chastain Road and Chastain Meadows Parkway.
SDP Aquisitions, LLC requested to rezone a large property for mixed use for townhomes, multifamily, office, retail, and warehouse use in the 16th district in May 2023 and has continued since.
The site plan has strong community opposition, with several issues still unresolved, including concerns regarding a lack of a buffer off of I-575, densely packed townhomes and large-scale distribution centers.
Focusing on a few key issues, attorney Kevin Moore, representing SDP Acquisitions, addressed the office space issue challenging the 57-acre parcel’s rezoning.
Moore said that the plan for office spaces is designed for limited distribution with no trailer storage space rather than what some people were concerned about, which is a full, large-scale distribution center.
The applicant is willing to limit the number of dock doors that will be at the distribution center to 35, which is significantly lower than the 124 dock doors that are often standard for larger distribution centers.
“To suggest that this portion of the property is that we are proposing for office services is somehow inconsistent with this area is an absurd suggestion,” Moore said. “It’s actually what is absolutely consistent with this area is the office services.”
During the hearing regarding SDP Acquisition, four people opposed the rezoning plans.
Tullan Avard of the Bells Ferry Civic Association said the request is “too intense” for the area.
Avard mentioned that the planning commission will only consider office space uses, while the plans suggest there will be distribution uses as well.
Avard also brought up the number of trees the plan proposes to cut down.
“Clearcutting almost 60 acres of undeveloped wooded acres is unacceptable,” Avard said.
Cutting down this wooded area could create a heat island in one of the few remaining wooded areas of District 16, Avard said.
Another concern of Avard’s is how much traffic the three warehouses will generate, with over 2,000 vehicle trips a day. She is worried the number of vehicles will impact the safety and traffic in the area.
“For the applicant for who is out of this county, this is just another project, but for us, this area is home and this development will have an impact on our quality of life, our health, and our home values,” Avard said.
Though Moore said the tree buffer between I-575 and the development is aligned with other nearby properties, Commissioner Deborah Dance still had issues regarding the amount of clearcutting proposed in the current site plans.
“This is one of the last large tracts, we do need to protect our environment, we do need some buffering, particularly over there toward the interstate,” Dance said.
Dance requested additional efforts be made for more of a buffer and tree-saving measures.
“I just think it’s part of being a good citizen,” Dance said.
Dance would also like to see the applicant consider additional green space in between the townhomes where there are currently zero lot lines.
The planning commission voted 5-0 in favor of holding the rezoning case until the next meeting.
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