Brazos-Hicks development site plan

Cobb commissioners criticized a site plan advanced by Brazos-Hicks LLC to put 51 homes on 23 acres bordering the Silver Comet Trail. The case was held by the board and will be heard again next month.

MARIETTA — A proposed subdivision bordering the Silver Comet Trail in Mableton was held up Tuesday by Cobb commissioners, who took issue with its design.

Brazos-Hicks LLC’s 23-acre proposal was assembled from multiple single-family tracts, and would have razed existing houses to build 51 new ones. Central to the developers’ pitch was the inclusion of over 6 acres of “beautiful, passive open space” surrounding a preexisting pond, said attorney David Meyer.

Houses would have been 1,500 square feet and larger, on lots averaging around 11,000 square feet, specifications south Cobb Commissioner Monique Sheffield said were “awfully small” for the area.

Sheffield added she agreed with the zoning staff recommendation of mandating lot sizes of at least 15,000 square feet. While the proposed density of the project fits the letter of Cobb’s future land use plan, it would add a significant jump in the number of homes relative to surrounding neighborhoods.

Further issues over the irregular site plan arose, including the developer’s intent to have a half-dozen houses accessed not by the roadway, but by an alley tucked behind one row of houses.

“I always have an issue with a development that attempts to be creative in making it work,” Sheffield said. “I’m always cautious when we have to piecemeal items of the development.”

Sheffield moved to hold the case, directing the developer to resubmit a new plan with 15,000 square foot lots and a minimum home size of 2,300 square feet. Her proposal carried unanimously.

In other business, the board also postponed a vote on a 96-townhome development near the intersection of Hurt and Austell Roads, which drew opposition at the July 6 Planning Commission meeting. And vigorous debate arose over a regulatory oversight which threatened to compromise either a developer’s well-laid plans for an east Cobb subdivision, or, residents said, the safety of neighborhood children.

The trouble arose from a zoning case approved last September for a subdivision on Wesley Chapel Road in east Cobb, near Garrison Mill Elementary School. The developer and the county recently discovered that, because of a change in the state’s fire code, the subdivision required a second emergency vehicle entrance.

Attorney Kevin Moore brought the project’s site plan back before the Board of Commissioners with a proposal to build a secondary access which would connect to the neighboring Raintree Forest neighborhood. Although the road would be closed to through traffic with a locked gate, Raintree Forest residents said it would be disastrous to their street.

Kara Flading told the board she had grave concerns about the safety of children in the area, who can frequently be found near a pool bordering the proposed access road.

“We should be able to let our third grader walk to the bus and not worry … I’m not worried about how much money they’re going to make off a house, I’m worried about my child walking to the bus stop and getting hit,” Flading said.

The intervention of Cobb Fire Marshal Nick Dawe, who explained the code issue and the various options to resolve it, did little to smooth things over. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell directed the parties to go back to the drawing board and review their options, and bring the case back next month.

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