Cobb Planning Commission recommends approval for Benedict’s Episcopal School site plan expansion

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by Caleb Groves April 2, 2024

The Cobb County Planning Commission recommended approving an addition to a Smryna school on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

St. Benedict’s Episcopal School seeks to further its middle school campus expansion after the Board of Commissioners approved the school’s site plans in August 2022.

The private school is located on the east and north side of Daniel Street, on the west side of Cooper Lake Road.

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The school’s proposal adds a 0.65-acre land parcel on the campus for “aesthetic” purposes, expanding the property to 4.8 acres, the applicant’s representative, attorney Kevin Moore, said.

Moore said in addition to the added parcel, the updated site plans include a gymnasium, a small outdoor classroom and a cafeteria. The school anticipates starting construction in 2025 to 2026.

“The only modification we are seeking is simply approval of the new site plan, which shows the additional phases as is required by the Board of Commissioners and includes the additional property of 0.65 acres,” Moore said.

Cobb’s Planning Commission recommended approval unanimously in a 3-0 vote for the special land use permit and the rezoning request, both will be added to the Board of Commissioners zoning consent agenda. At the time of the vote, Commissioner Stephen Vault was absent and Commissioner Michael Hughes was absent from the meeting entirely.

Following the school’s request, Lynn Bentley Taylor and Justin Ottinger requested to convert an automobile salvage yard located on the north side of Gresham Road, east of Fairview Street, to be converted for wood recycling and sawmill operation use.

Kevin Blond, Director of Operations at T2 Group, representing the applicant, envisions an “arboricultural epicenter” for the property and Cobb using sustainable approaches for wood recycling and sawmill operations such as air curtain destructors.

Jeff Byrd of Cobb County Fire explained that air curtain destructors create a curtain of high-velocity air to create an intense fire, burning off wood without emitting as much particulate matter into the air.

“It is a device that eliminates a lot of pollutants that would be caused normally by burning wood debris,” Byrd said.

After Commissioner Christine Lindstrom visited the 6.8 acre property she believes it to be a fitting location for this operation in part due to the 80-foot buffer between the closest neighboring houses and the proposed operation.

“I think their proposal is fantastic,” Lindstrom said. “I really think it’s the perfect use for this large piece of property.”

The planning commission recommended approval and added it to the BOC consent agenda with a 4-0 vote, while limiting the applicant to one sawmill, two air curtain destructors, one grinder, no open fires and the exclusive burning of natural wood.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta to approve or deny these requests and more.

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