In a 4-1 vote, commissioners told the county’s community development agency to stop using the “urban condominium” designation until July 24. Community development director Rob Hosack said the time was needed to determine whether more needs to be done to clarify the definitions of apartments and condominiums.
Condominiums and apartments are largely the same, except that apartments are generally leased and condominiums are sold.
The county will also consider a zoning policy that will require certain apartment complexes to switch to for-sale condominiums once market conditions improve, Hosack said. With the economy more favorable for rented properties, some developers are building complexes as apartments, saying they will sell their units when conditions improve.
But east Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, the only board member to vote against the moratorium, said the Planning Commission, which advises the Board of Commissioners on zoning requests, can already require developers to clarify whether they are building condominiums or apartments.
“The board has always had the ability and the right to say ‘no,’” Ott said.
Over the years, there have been many discussions about whether to make changes to the urban condominium designation, but many of the proposed solutions turned out to be illegal, Ott said.
Hosack said the county planned to have outside attorneys review the plans they come up, but Ott said that could be costly.
“Now we’re going to bring in this added expense of outside counsel, which doesn’t come cheap,” he said.
After the meeting, Hosack said the county’s staff of nine lawyers might be able to handle reviewing the possible changes to condominium zoning, but he wanted to notify commissioners that there is a chance outside attorneys may have to be hired. If outside counsel is brought in, he said their work should be able to be completed in a couple of hours, costing between $250 and $500.
In other action, commissioners:
* Unanimously named James Balli, an appointment of northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, to the Community Relations Council Board, replacing Steve Crowley.
* Held a public hearing before hiring a consultant for an environmental impact statement related to the Northwest Atlanta Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study. Transportation director Faye DiMassimo said the study will assess the impact transit will have on the route that is determined by the Alternatives Analysis Study. Because of a policy change issued by the Federal Transit Administration, the environmental study will now be more involved and costlier than originally thought. DiMassimo said the environmental study, which is being conducted separately from the alternatives analysis, will cost an estimated $3 million, up from an original plan of $2 million. The study is being paid for with a combination of 2011 SPLOST money and grants, including $1.42 million from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
* Approved a $210,900 contract with Johnson Controls Inc. that will make heating and air conditioning improvements to the kennels at the Cobb County Animal Control facility, 1060 Al Bishop Drive. The project is being paid for with 2011 SPLOST money.
* Approved a $1.3 million contract with Motorola that will pay for a total of 13 dispatch consoles at Cobb Water, as well as the Smyrna, Austell and Kennesaw/Acworth 911 facilities. The project is being funded with 2011 SPLOST money.