The proposed 182-unit development will have one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom Craftsman-style cottages on a 40-acre site off Chastain Meadows Parkway between Big Shanty and Bells Ferry Road near the university’s athletic fields.
The Planning Commission approved the plan Dec. 3, citing a lack of dispute by neighbors. But at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, four residents stood up in opposition.
Their concerns about the development of the area were not heard at Tuesday’s meeting. The decision was postponed in hopes the parties could hash out a solution independently.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell agreed with the need for a continuance until the board’s next zoning meeting on Feb. 18.
Birrell said her major concern is land use, especially because the plan calls for 7.8 units per acre, when the maximum should be five units per acre. Each unit will be between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.
If the current plan is approved at a later date, the zoning of the property would change from a mix of residential, office and retail uses to a category that allows for multifamily housing.
The site is owned by California-based BK Properties LP, but it will be constructed and managed by Texas-based Aspen Heights, which has properties on the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University campuses.
Pat Herndon has owned property off Cedarbrook Drive since early 1971, which is part of the Piedmont Hills subdivision on Bells Ferry Road, a mile from the proposed student housing.
Herndon said she is unsure how many people the county allows to live in one residence, and would prefer single-family homes or office space.
Herndon said she was originally attracted to the area because of the big lot sizes “and lack of sprawl at that point.”
“Nothing was terribly developed until Town Center ascended on everybody and then everything changed,” Herndon said.
Herndon said she knows there will be development in the area, but she wants “something that we can live with. …We will have to work out a compromise.”
“That area is made up of a lot of older people,” said Herndon, who added that she hopes the developers will conduct a meeting in the neighborhood to address concerns like drainage and flooding.
David Snyder bought his home on Briar Gate Lane, in the Big Shanty Plantation subdivision in February 2006.
After moving around for years, Snyder said his family was “hoping to never have to move again.” Now, his home could be encircled by student housing, moving from a neighborhood feel to a campus feel, Snyder said.
The student housing development would border the back of Snyder’s property, adding to his concern about increased traffic in the evening northbound on Bells Ferry between Piedmont Road and New Chastain.
Snyder highlighted the need for a traffic light at the corner of Bells Ferry Road and Big Shanty Road, and added that Big Shanty road also needs widening. It has only one lane in each direction.
The road development is not something Snyder said the developers can address. He attended Tuesday’s meeting to ask the commissioners for a traffic study of the area and how congestion would be addressed.