Subdivision gets thumbs-up
by Geoff Folsom
June 20, 2012 01:06 AM | 5504 views | 9 9 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Larry Savage, a nearby resident, talks about the tennis courts and unused pool at the Universal Tennis Academy, located near the Atlanta Country Club, on June 18. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Larry Savage, a nearby resident, talks about the tennis courts and unused pool at the Universal Tennis Academy, located near the Atlanta Country Club, on June 18.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
MARIETTA — It’s “game, set, match” for an east Cobb tennis facility after the Cobb Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a new subdivision where the courts now stand.

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.
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Well is whats wrong
June 21, 2012
This is a great example of whats wrong with this county. Not just the county. Tim Lee and Goreham needs to go. Goreham needs to be brought up on ethics charges.
Be Careful
June 21, 2012
They're going to put 11 6,000 square foot homes on 4.53 acres?

That's 0.4 acre per home. They will be able to lean out their windows and shake hands with their neighbors.
June 21, 2012
Talk about a conflict of interest, Mrs. Gorham should have revised herself from this vote as her assistant, Ms. Friant, has been trying for many years

To shut this business down. Furthermore, this property was never zoned commercial, has always been zoned residential. Mr. Smith had purchased some adjoining property 15 years ago that was commercial property and he was told after purchasing it that it could never be developed so he did have that partial of land rezoned, but that has nothing to do with the business.

Nor was Jeff Smith given a chance to speak after Ms. truant states such blatant lies. Clear case of abuse of power.

Also, commissioner Tim Lee states that he would shut down as many produce it home retail (small businesses) as he can because he us tired of dealing with the owners.

What type of person is this holding a public office who in these economic times wants to shut down small businesses.

moreover, Cobb counts code book allows for any ER or R80 zoned residential housing to sell produce or agricultural product without a land use permit. Clearly, by their own book of code laws, this should never have even been taken this far.

I for one hope the family appeals, gets transcripts & makes this public, especially the unethical behavior of Tim Lee & Helen Gorham. Vote these unethical politicians out of office & soon.
Not Smart
June 20, 2012
If I am correct, the stand is in Goreham's district? If so, why would you go against 247 voters in your district to appease your assistant, who still only gets one vote?

Shows the absurdity of the council to run off a basic fruit stand. What's next; the girl scouts and their cookies? Or kids having a corner lemonaide stand? Geez

June 20, 2012
How can one neighbor turn a decision and it not be a conflict of interest. Friant is Helen Gorehams assistant which is a neighbor of Smith Produce. Goreham is one of the three that voted against the fruit stand. Friant has caused problems for this community for too many years and gets away with it because she works for the county. I say lets get them all out of office that is against small business owners.
cobb native
June 20, 2012
So ONE person speaks against a fruit stand but over 200 people sign a petition requesting it remain open so the Commission decides to shut it down. Except the ONE person is the assistant for a county commissioner who just happens to vote in favor, along with the wishes of the ONE person, to shut it down. And the other two commissioners.. fancy East Cobber Bob Ott and superior thinker Tim Lee agree that the small business should cease. Why can't Cobb allow for divergent people to work as they will, not harming anyone, instead of trying to create some picture perfect "Hollywood" town as seen on TV. I am tired of all these regulations because someone thinks it's "unsightly"!!
Tex G
June 20, 2012
Well lets hope it got Bill Harris' approval first or they will be shut down just like the pawn shop.

Speaking of pawn shop, I hope there are none of those nasty old things around. people don't pawn things so Bill should be ok with this. He's a blue blood from summer winds you know.
say what?!?!
June 20, 2012
Rich folks pawn stuff all the time. How do you think they pay for the cosmetic surgery?? Go to a Buckhead pawnshop and you'll see.
June 20, 2012
Ain't that like government..........Won't let the fruit stand operate unless they get THEIR cut. Complained about him making money on it like that was a sin. Let's talk about how much Cobb makes on our backs. Zoning should be about surrounding property values and not one person spoke up about that. Leave him alone.
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