They’ve already won round one in the fight, at the planning commission, which voted unanimously Monday to recommend denial of the rezoning.
Marietta-based Fallwood Builders has applied for a zoning change that would allow 33 single-family detached, two-story homes east of Highway 278. The 5.9-acre site is near the entrance to Silver Springs Village retirement community. Putting 33 homes on a parcel of that size would amount to 5.6 units per acre, which residents say goes above and beyond the normal housing density allowed in the city limits.
The site’s current zoning is neighborhood commercial. Fallwood is applying for residential zoning, plus a variance to allow for the higher density.
John Flatt, a retired principal from Walton and Kell high schools in Cobb County, represented his fellow residents of Silver Springs Village at the planning commission meeting Monday night, which was attended by 95 opponents of the project.
Flatt has lived in the “active adult” community, which has 140, mostly single-story, detached homes, for 10 years.
He said the only way in and out of the village is to drive by the proposed development.
“We want to make sure (the area) stays nice and looks good so our property values will stay up,” Flatt said. “We also want the developer to incorporate the development into our community so they would be under our homeowners’ association and our covenants, but he has not shown any interest in talking to us about that.”
The original plan for this site was for neighborhood commercial businesses, such as professional offices and small shops.
The planning commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the proposal to the City Council, which will discuss the application and likely take a vote Sept. 11.
City Council review
Developer Wilmont Williams told the planning commission the houses would be 2,000 square feet and priced about $250,000. Construction could start as soon as February.
City Manager Brad Hulsey said the property is owned by the developer’s brother, John Williams.
Councilwoman Cheryl Sarvis has lived in Silver Springs Village for 11 years.
“We were one of the first, but not the first (to live in Silver Springs),” Sarvis said of the community located near the local Post Office. The average age of current residents is about 70 years old.
Sarvis said there is a process every developer must go through, which starts with the builder presenting plans to city staff. The community is given a chance to express their concerns, then the builder can go to the City Council to respond to those issues.
Sarvis said Powder Springs residents have high standards for developments built in the city.
“We have always had a high quality of building going into Powder Springs,” Sarvis said.
Mayor Pat Vaughn said she looks forward to hearing the presentation by Fallwood for the site, which she said cannot continue to remain undeveloped in a city that needs to expand its tax base.
“I have known Mr. Williams to be a very quality builder,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said she thinks another residential community in that area would be a nice complement to Silver Springs Village.
The homes in Silver Springs Village are well maintained with nicely manicured lawns, which Flatt said is because of the covenants enforced by the homeowners association.
Flatt added that the community is very safe, and although most of the residents are older than 55 years old, there are often grandchildren in the neighborhood on the weekends, especially at the pool.
Fallwood Builders plans to attract young professionals who want to be near the bicycling and jogging path on the Silver Comet Trail.
Flatt said he questions whether families would be suitable in the neighborhood, especially when there were no plans to add a playground and the lots are too small to have a yard.
Sarvis said the City Council cannot determine who moves into a home.
“We don’t discriminate against any person by their family status or age,” Sarvis said.
Flatt said the residents are not against rezoning the plot from commercial to residential, but were against this plan as presented.
“We would welcome it to be developed,” Flatt said. “We just want to make sure we have some voice in how it is developed.”
Calls to Wilmont Williams of Fallwood Builders were not returned.