Construction on the 11-home Parc at Atlanta Country Club subdivision will start soon, said attorney John Moore, representative for applicant Brooks Chadwick Capital LLC, an east Cobb real estate development company, and landowner Universal Tennis Academy LLC. The 4.53-acre development will have its only entrance off Atlanta Country Club Drive, near the intersection with Chattahoochee Plantation Drive.
While several people showed up in opposition when the Cobb Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend allowing a zoning change for the subdivision on June 5, the only speakers on Tuesday said they were OK with the subdivision after working out several stipulations with developers.
Among the changes is the inclusion of a seven-foot-high brick serpentine wall with stone columns that will run along the subdivision’s property line on Chattahoochee Plantation Drive. Developers also agreed to landscape the area along Chattahoochee Plantation Drive’s curb, some of which is Cobb County right-of-way, for a year, with the Chattahoochee Plantation Homeowners Association picking up the landscaping after that.
Developers also agreed to build the homes in a traditional “European” style, each with a minimum two-car garage.
“We feel that this particular treatment along there will create enough of a buffer with the other community that our community will still have its own identity,” said Bryan Amaron, who lives near the existing tennis center.
Moore, with the Marietta firm of Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele, said the homes would cost between $1 million and $2.5 million, be built on 15,000-square-foot lots and be between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet.
Already, 20 people have lined up to reserve the 11 lots, many of them Atlanta Country Club residents
looking for someplace smaller in retirement, Moore said.
“They’re living in 12,000-20,000 square foot homes, so to go to 6,000 square feet is a downsize,” Moore said.
Commissioner Bob Ott, whose district includes the Chattahoochee Plantation area, said a number of discussions took place in order to get developers and residents on the same page. Part of the initial concern for residents was based on misinformation, including a belief that the tennis center, which also includes a swimming pool and clubhouse that are no longer in use, was an “amenity area” for use by all Chattahoochee Plantation residents.
But, in reality, the tennis area has always been a private enterprise separate from the development, Ott said. More confusion came because Cobb has no ordinance for infill developments, where new construction takes place inside an already developed area.
At the start of the meeting, commissioners were prepared to approve a land-use permit that would allow a fruit stand to stay in business as part of their consent agenda, in which they approve several items at one time without discussion. But because someone spoke up in opposition to the business near the corner of Austell Powder Springs Road and Furr Avenue, the agenda item had to be heard in full.
Commissioners ended up denying Jeff Smith’s request to keep open the fruit stand his late father started in 1983 in a 3-2 vote but asking code enforcement not to enforce the decision until the end of the year.
The decision came after a speech in opposition to the stand by neighbor Annette Friant, who is northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham’s assistant.
Smith said the stand, which is open only in the summer, serves seniors who don’t have a grocery store nearby. He submitted a petition from 247 customers who wanted to see the business stay open.
“Before (my father) passed away, he asked if I would carry on the business. I told him I would,” Smith said. “I’ve worked with him out there for 12 years.”
Friant, the only person to speak in opposition, said that when Smith’s father came before the county in previous zoning cases, he said he wanted to operate the stand to help him earn money to deal with a disability. But now his son uses it to help out on top of the income he already makes.
She also said Jeff Smith is promising not to have a sign at the business, but it now has a large sign out front.
“With the death of Mr. Smith’s father, it is the perfect time to delete it back down to residential, as it should be,” she said. “I don’t know of any other fruit stand in unincorporated Cobb County that is on a residentially zoned property.”
Goreham voted to deny the land use permit, along with Ott and Commission Chairman Tim Lee. After the meeting she said her decision was not influenced by Friant.
Goreham said the property used for the fruit stand had been zoned for a business, but the owner requested it be changed to residential in 2009.
“You’re asking for a permit to operate a business, yet you want your property taxed at a residential rate,” Goreham said.
Southwest Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson initially motioned to vote to approve the land-use permit for a year, and then taking a “hard look” at it when it comes back up. But that vote failed 3-2, with only northwest Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell supporting him. The other commissioners then voted 3-2 to deny the request, with Birrell again joining Thompson in the minority.