Plans for senior development rile area residents
by Jon Gillooly
September 03, 2013 12:17 AM | 6956 views | 8 8 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
East Cobb resident Wylene Tritt recently sold her 53.7 acre estate on Roswell Road to developer Kevin Isakson pending zoning approval from the County Commission. From left, Isakson, Commissioner Bob Ott and Tritt inspect the property in June.
East Cobb resident Wylene Tritt recently sold her 53.7 acre estate on Roswell Road to developer Kevin Isakson pending zoning approval from the County Commission. From left, Isakson, Commissioner Bob Ott and Tritt inspect the property in June.
MARIETTA — Opposition is mounting in east Cobb against a $200 million, 987-unit senior residential development proposed by Buckhead-based Isakson Living.

The development on a 53.7-acre property off Roswell Road adjacent to East Cobb Park is scheduled to go before the Cobb Planning Commissioner on Oct. 1.

Jill Flamm, president of the East Cobb Civic Association, which represents about 9,000 homeowners, said her group opposes the development.

“We cannot support the (development) as proposed and are recommending denial,” Flamm said.

Robert Burke of east Cobb, a software engineer with a child at East Side Elementary School, is part of another newly formed group that is circulating a petition against the development with more than 700 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, said of the 180 people at a recent town hall forum, only two supported the development in a straw poll.

“Clearly there are a lot of folks that have taken an interest in it and a lot of people are involved, which I think is positive,” Ott said.

The economic downturn is one reason there hasn’t been this level of interest in a zoning request in east Cobb in years, Ott said.

“There just hasn’t been a lot of zoning, and this really is probably one of the larger if not largest zoning requests there has been for east Cobb,” he said.

A walled city in east Cobb?

Flamm listed building height as one of the reasons her group opposes the development.

“They’re four stories plus one of parking, and that is just way too intense for this residential area,” Flamm said. “The topography of land doesn’t support this. You can get tall buildings if they’re in a hole, but this isn’t the case. This is going to look from the outside community like a walled city.”

Another objection is that Isakson Living wants to build out the units over a 10-year span.

“That means the neighbors will have 10 years of construction traffic, construction noise, that’s a long period of time,” she said.

Burke is part of the group circulating the petition called Concerned Citizens over Isakson Living East Cobb.

Burke said the plan amounts to a very large apartment complex.

“They’re cramming 987 units into these five-story buildings on a relatively small piece of land, relative to the number of units they’re putting in, so basically creating a massive density that’s very urban like in the middle of our suburban community,” he said.

Isakson Living is owned by the brother of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Andy Isakson. The senator’s son, Kevin Isakson, is the company’s sales and marketing director. Kevin Isakson said his father, is not involved in the development.

Kevin Isakson said he’s made it a point to meet with as many homeowner associations and civic groups in the area as he is able to let them know of his plans. He also said he was listening to the feedback.

No line in the sand

“No, we haven’t drawn a line in the sand,” Isakson said. “We’ve heard concerns the community has expressed, we’ve also acknowledged as have they the areas we have common ground such as the use and respect of the park and general green space, and it’s our goal to try to evaluate our plan as it relates to their concerns and see where we can address it further,” he said.

As for the 10-year build out, one point to realize is the property will eventually be developed by someone and whoever does the building will do it over an extended period of time, he said. But his company’s plan is to build “with care and concern” since it would be done in phases around the seniors who move in first.

“As it relates to height, we are reevaluating our plans, we do have significant buffering, in some areas upwards of 400 feet between us and the park and 150 to 200 feet between us and adjoining property owners and that’s undisturbed area,” Isakson said. “We are preserving about 20 acres of the site as undisturbed green space.

After the development is voted on by the Planning Commission, it is scheduled to be heard by the Board of Commissioners for final approval or rejection on Oct. 15.

If approved, construction could begin next summer at the earliest, with the first part of the development to possibly open in the spring of 2016. One-, two- and three-bedroom homes for seniors ages 62 and older are planned.

Homes will range from 1,800 square feet to 2,500 square feet.

Isakson anticipates 240 homes will be built in the first phase, complemented by about 75,000 square feet of amenity space for dining, fitness and other activities.

The model Isakson Living is using is similar to the 398-unit senior development it built in Stone Mountain in 2004 called Park Springs.

“We want to be sure that folks are aware of the things that our initial plan does have that address those issues, but we’ve heard those concerns consistently, and we’re looking now at our plan to see where they can be addressed,” Isakson said of the objections raised.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Local resident
September 14, 2013
Without all the side issues...

This debate sirs squarely on whether our commissioners care about the property values of the affected residents.

There are plenty of places that something like this fits, and where it would fit the zoning codes and the master plan for the county. This is not one of those places.

We invested in our homes, paid for our way of life to be protected by code and by our representatives to do the right thing. The density, the height, the construction, the placement all are NOT residential in nature. Period.

The people whose way of life and whose property values are at risk have spoken about this clearly. Let's see if the Commissioners have any integrity whatsoever...
Robert Burke
September 06, 2013
Please google for "CCEastCobb" to see our side of this story. You can also google for "Isakson Living East Cobb" to see the developer's side of the story.

To the moderator, I do not believe this is a promotion, merely a way to inform the community, and I have kept it balanced by providing the search term for the opposing point of view. Thank you.
East Cobb Native
September 05, 2013
Wrong Info, please cite your source. Don't tell me I am wrong, then put out a random statement. According to the MDJ August 29, 2012 - MARIETTA — While there will be no pay raises again, Cobb County Government has recommended adding 44 new full-time employees as part of its proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - 2013 Cobb budget eyes 44 new jobs

Get your facts right...
East Cobb Native
September 03, 2013
I am an East Cobb Native and I think this is a great project for East Cobb. They are planning on keeping over 20 acres as green space. A neighborhood project would build on every square inch of the property. The proposal looks great. I know that traffic might increase a little but not near as much as a bunch of single family homes would increase it. All the people living there will be retired. This will add revenue to our county. Our police have not recieved a raise since 2007. We need the money people. Let this kind of thing happen and YOUR property taxes won't need to be raised.


Native East Cobber
Wrong Info
September 04, 2013
Wrong East Cobb Native. Cobb Police Officers received a 3 percent raise last year. They are up for another three percent raise in the new budget. Get your facts right.
Just Wait
September 03, 2013
Yipes! Old people are coming, old people are coming! East Cobbers don't want a "walled community" for old people, but they certainly wanted the "City of East Cobb" so they could wall out the less than desirables.
GD Mitchell
September 04, 2013
The people of 'east Cobb' overwhelmingly DID not want to be incorporated as a city, so get your facts straight. the issue isn't having a senior retirement area, the facts are is they would like a density that is almost 4X that is allowed under the proposed zoning. It's not part of the master community plan that the COMMUNITY supported and agreed to.

I'd love to know, do you live within 5 miles of this? I would guess not.
leslie m
September 03, 2013
If you believe anything that Isakson tries to put your mind at ease your driver's license under date of birth reads "Born Yesterday".
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