MARIETTA — Those in Marietta and east Cobb looking for a resolution Wednesday to a proposed annexation near the corner of Lower Roswell Road and the Loop may have three more months to wait.
Marietta council members voted 6-1 Wednesday to stay for 90 days — or delay action on — three actions concerning a 7.5-acre property Traton Homes is eyeing for a new town home community, part of which would be newly annexed into the city.
The vote also shelved scheduled public hearings on the matters during the meeting. Voting against the measure was Joseph Goldstein, who raised objections during the council’s meeting and 6 p.m. pre-meeting session, contending that a public hearing would need to be held before the city could dismiss the annexation and zoning matters.
The language in the approved measure stipulates that if “legal limitations” were not cured within those 90 days and if Traton did not file written notice to the city to reactivate the stayed motions, then their applications would be dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could reapply for various actions on the property.
“Within this 90 days, hopefully mediation will occur or the applicant will take some action or even withdraw the application,” said Doug Haynie, the city’s attorney. “I sent an email to the county requesting that they move forward with any objection they have in accordance with House Bill 489.”
Earlier this year, the county submitted its objection to the annexation, which City Manager Bill Bruton previously said obligates the county to call for mediation.
“If they pull that objection, then (the Traton issue) goes in front of council. If they decide not to pull it, they reaffirm it, so now council can’t do anything until there’s mediation,” Bruton said last week.
Last week Mayor Steve Tumlin said the city objected to the county’s mediation plan because it would not have included nearby landowners or the developers.
Traton initially proposed 62 town homes and one detached house for the site, with a density of 8.56 units per acre. Revised site plans have brought the counts down to 37 town homes and 15 detached residences for a density of 6.95 units per acre.
Some neighbors have balked at the plan, finding fault with the density of the proposed neighborhood and worrying that extra cars would make traffic thicker and more dangerous.
Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly, who introduced the measure, said the 90-day window would “add a level of motivation” to those involved in the proposed annexation.
“The applicant can make some actions, the county can make some actions, along with the citizens within those 90 days, but if neither of the three do, then it dismisses it, but it also doesn’t put prejudice on it, so (the applicant) can come back any time after the 90 days,” Kelly said.
More than a dozen community members in attendance wore yellow clothing to show their opposition to Traton’s proposal but did not get a chance to directly speak to the council before its vote.
“Why 90 days? Why not 30?” asked one of the opponents after the vote.
Responded Tumlin: “Ninety is what passed.”
Several opponents stuck around until the end of the meeting, opting to share remarks in objection to the project during public comment.
“You double the school buses, trash service and fire and police. For us, traffic is a grave concern,” said Robin Moody, a resident of the nearby Sewell Manor neighborhood. “We’re not against development in our area — we’re just against irresponsible development, and that’s what we feel this is.”
In another land matter, but one that was settled Wednesday, commissioners unanimously sided with Atlanta-based Revive Land Group and its plans for a 150-unit town home community off Wylie Road near Franklin Gateway and behind the city-owned former Marietta Flea Market property. Their decision to allow the property’s rezoning was a split from the planning commission’s recommendation to approve the development, but at 140 units instead of the 150 sought by the developer.
That many homes on a property of just over 12 acres would give the development a density of 12.4 units per acre, slightly higher than other town home developments approved by the city. The highest density town home community is the Registry at Marietta Square with a density of 11.8 units per acre on a tract of 1.02 acres, according to city staff.
The homes are slated to be three stories tall, have floor areas ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 square feet and include three or four bedroom units. They will come with a sales price of $330,000 to $375,000.