SMYRNA - A $300 million development bringing 1,700 new households is on its way to Smyrna and will extend the city's limits to the Chattahoochee River.
The Smyrna City Council voted unanimously in December to approve the annexation and re-zoning for an 82-acre development, called Riverview Landing, to be built on the west side of Interstate 285 near the Chattahoochee River.
"It's going to be a great, first-class development," said Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon.
The property runs along the southern border of the city limits between the Chattahoochee River and Smyrna.
Multiple residential options are planned, including 155 single-family homes, 332 townhomes, 165 condos, 200 senior units and 850 apartment units. About 200,000 square feet is set aside for retail, residential and commercial uses.
Construction will take place in phases over 10 years.
A groundbreaking could happen as soon as county road improvements funded by the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax fund are finished.
Councilman Ron Fennel, whose ward now includes the development, said the community that fronts 3,500 feet along the river will be instrumental in moving Smyrna forward.
"We're excited for what it represents for the aspirational Smyrna," Fennel said.
Those aspirations include maintaining a small town feel while capitalizing on the city's proximity to Atlanta's urban core.
"Smyrna is outside the perimeter but in the center of everything," Fennel said.
Riverview is another step in improving the city for the "next generation of Smyrnans," Fennel said, pointing to the 288 apartments planned for Jonquil Village and the construction of the Market Village creating a downtown community.
He's received nothing but positive feedback.
"People are shocked that Smyrna will now front on the Chattahoochee River, which is an amazing thing," Fennel said.
Industry: 'You knew we were here'
However, some Riverview area businesses have concerns.
The location where the development will be constructed neighbors industrial and manufacturing sites.
Clint Stamps, president of the Chattahoochee Business and Industrial Association, isn't opposed to the development but urged the City Council during a public hearing on to protect existing businesses.
"You knew we were here," Stamps said.
He said the residential development and the existing industries need to find a way to be good neighbors.
"You've got to remember us. We also have a reasoning and a desire to be on Riverview Road," Stamps said. "That's all we're asking. Protect us and protect the future investors in this development."
Kenneth Patterson told the City Council he runs between 3,000 and 5,000 trucks a month down Riverview Road.
He too wants the development to coexist with industry.
"Your residents aren't going to like me," Patterson said. "I'm noisy, dusty and dirty."
Councilman Charles Welch said he knows the complaints are coming.
"These people were there 60 years ago," Welch said. "Just keep in mind we were cautioned about some of these things that are going to happen."
Bacon acknowledged the concerns of the businesses.
"We understand that y'all's businesses are there," Bacon said.
Flooding is also a concern by neighbors because Riverview Road is in a flood plain.
"I've actually been on Riverview Road on three different occasions in a boat floating down the river," Stamps said.
Councilman Wade Lnenicka said he carefully eyed the abilities of the city's public safety departments before lending his support.
He believes that the city's public safety officers will be able to respond to a flood.
The plan the city approved does include elevating one intersection of Riverview Road.
Planning began before Great Recession
Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties is behind the project and began buying up land along the river in 2008, but the project was stalled by the Great Recession.
The company was asked by Smyrna to apply to be annexed into the city limits from unincorporated Cobb County.
Garvis Sams, attorney for Jamestown, said typically companies that seek an annexation are looking to skirt development laws or want to build more densely.
"This is not the case. We simply want the property (transferred) into the city," said Sams of the Marietta-based Sams, Larkin and Huff law firm.
Jamestown has already spent more than $16 million acquiring property and another $1.6 million installing infrastructure to prepare for construction.
The firm has an $8 billion portfolio and developed the mixed-use Glenwood Park in Atlanta, near Interstate 20 and heavy industrial uses.
In unrelated business, the City Council voted to table a decision on the 288 apartments proposed for Jonquil Village at Atlanta Road and Spring Street.
The council will take up that issue on Dec. 2.