Developer offers 'piece' offering as part of east Cobb deal
by Nikki Wiley
February 03, 2014 12:00 AM | 1916 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - The developer of a controversial 843-unit senior-living center plans to donate 9.5 acres to East Cobb Park in an attempt to appease critics concerned about the size of the development.

Plans from Atlanta-based Isakson Living originally called for a $200 million, 987-unit residential development on land off Roswell Road adjacent to East Cobb Park. The development, to be called Isakson Senior Living, would feature one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for seniors ages 62 and up. Homes were to range up to 2,500 square feet with four-story buildings atop a parking garage.

That plan drew the ire of some east Cobb residents who claimed it was too big for the area and inappropriate for the tract of land neighboring a public park.

The company has since scaled down its plan, reducing the number of housing units from 987 to 843 and lowering building heights from four stories along Roswell Road and Hidden Hollow to two and three stories.

Now, Isakson Living plans to donate 9.5 acres of land neighboring East Cobb Park to expand the park. That donation would double the size of East Cobb Park and connect it to Fuller's Park, said Kevin Isakson, director of sales and marketing for Isakson Living.

About 70 percent of the 53.7-acre property would now be green space.

Isakson said the donation ensures a larger safeguard around the development.

"It allows for buffering between our residential buildings and the adjoining property owners," said Isakson.

Though Isakson Living does not yet own the land and the donation is contingent upon receiving the go-ahead from the Cobb Board of Commissioners, Isakson said he's confident it's something the company can make happen.

The donated tract is on a portion of land that cannot be developed because it includes a stream.

"What better (land to donate) than the area that is the most protected?" Isakson said.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, wouldn't comment directly on the land donation.

"It hasn't been my practice for District 2 or most of the other commissioners to discuss zoning issues by press releases or news conferences," Ott said. "That should be done at the public comment period during zoning hearings."

Isakson Living withdrew its application for a re-zoning in October 2013 after hearing criticism from residents that the project is too large.

A re-zoning application is required because the company is seeking to use the land as a continuing-care retirement community, a use that is not allowed under current county zoning.

In November, the company resubmitted its smaller plan for approval by the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

Later that month, commissioners placed a moratorium on the continuing-care retirement community zoning category to allow county staffers to meet with commissioners and business leaders in the senior living industry and make recommendations on how the zoning category could be improved.

That moratorium was expected to last until April. Still, Isakson said he's confident the property will be re-zoned in his favor allowing the development to move forward.

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