The proposed homes would run from $700,000 to more than $1 million, with sizes varying from 2,400 square feet to 4,000 square feet.
“We think that puts them in a price point that’s in the upper 12 percent of homes in the Vinings area,” said James Balli with Sams, Larkin & Huff, who is representing developer John Wieland. “It adds at least $50 million to the tax digest to the Cobb County economy. John Wieland is a Cobb County company, employs Cobb County residents and intends to invest the money in this development which will have a significant impact.”
Balli said the homes would be located on 23.94 acres with a density of 1.92 units per acre. In addition, more than half of the development would be open space, even though only a third was required. The green space would be owned and maintained by the homeowners association.
The property includes the site of the former St. John Church, with the church’s cemetery still located there. The cemetery would be open during the day for visitors and would also be maintained by the homeowners association.
The property also includes part of a Civil War earthwork. Any artifacts discovered during the construction will be donated to the Vinings Historic Preservation Society, Balli said.
The planning commission voted 5-0 in favor of the change. The matter now heads to the Sept. 18 meeting of the Board of Commissioners for final approval.
A total of 18 people turned out in opposition to the development during Thursday’s meeting, among them Glenn Dyke, president of the Vinings Village Homeowners Association.
“The Vinings community is overwhelmingly against the rezoning of this property,” Dyke said, adding that the proposed zoning is denser than the rest of Vinings.
The requesting zoning — R-20 OSC — calls for lots of 20,000 square feet or smaller with blocks of open space. R-30, the current zoning, calls for lots of 30,000 square feet, with no open space requirement, said John Pederson, the county’s zoning division manager.
Dyke said his group sent out 1,000 emails last month and got more than 300 responses, of which 83 percent said they were either opposed or strongly opposed to the rezoning.
Among the problems with the proposed development, he said, is the matter of increased traffic on Woodland Brook Drive and the danger presented by the development’s entrance being so close to the railroad crossing.
“The Vinings Vision Plan in our opinion — and we have reviewed it and many of us lived it for a year and a half now — contains no support for the promotion of rezoning properties in Vinings,” Dyke said. “Indeed, for those of you that attended our community meetings, you know that the No. 1 issue for our residents was the preservation of R-30 zoning throughout the Vinings area. The applicant purchased this property knowing that it was currently zoned R-30. We are not against development in Vinings, but we think development should occur pursuant to the existing zoning.”
Yet Balli said he’s seen the email survey sent out to homeowners and believes it is biased.
“This plan meets the Vinings Vision Master Plan density, it meets the very low density residential, and it meets the Cobb County future land use map,” Balli said. “When it does those three things, we believe that it deserves strong consideration for approval.”