Neighbors oppose rezoning
by Sarah Fay Campbell
It was standing room only at Tuesday’s meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.
A large contingent, all dressed in red, was on hand to oppose a proposed rezoning of property on Greentop Road for a 226-unit, medium density subdivision.
A public hearing was held, but there was no vote because Commissioner Al Smith was not in attendance. Applicants have the right to be heard by the full board. Applicant Jim Mottola said he was willing to begin the public hearing but wanted the vote taken by all five commissioners. The hearing will continue at the June 3 commission meeting. Several opponents of the rezoning, including an attorney representing residents of Lake Hills, said they would wait and speak on June 3. The applicants will give their rebuttal at the end of the public hearing.The request was to rezone the 120-acre tract to the county’s RI-B, Single Family Residential Infill District: medium density zoning.
The RI-B district allows 2.3 homes per acre, and offers a density of up to three homes per acre under certain conditions. It was one of the new zoning districts created in the comprehensive plan update of 2006 and 2007. Homes can be on lots as small as one-fifth of an acre or 8,500 square feet, and there are green space requirements.
This is only the second application for the zoning district. A previous application, for property located just outside Sharpsburg, was denied. The property was later annexed into the town.
Though the Greentop proposal is for 226 homes, only 49 homes are allowed on a single street entrance. Until a secondary entrance can be completed, no more than 49 homes can be built.
The development would be served with sewer provided by Newnan Utilities. The property backs up to the Calumet development, though they are separated by the CSX Railroad, and that’s where the sewer line would come through.
The property is not in an area designated for the medium density in the county’s future land use plan. Instead, it’s in the infill low density “character area,” with densities of one unit per acre.
Having sewer available to a residential development in the unincorporated county is “a very rare occurrence,” said Dennis Drewyer, land planner and representative for the applicant.
Drewyer said the development will exceed the open space requirements, and the stormwater requirements are very stringent.
Right now, there is no stormwater management in the area, Drewyer said. With the development, all the water that leaves the property will have to be collected, cleaned, and slowed down.
With that, there is the ability to “protect our neighbors better than ever before,” Drewyer said.
He said they were “working diligently” on getting additional entrances.
Heritage Hills resident Frank Banta expressed concerns about where the entrance on Greentop would be. “It is a nightmare as far as an intersection is concerned,” Banta said of the proposed entrance. The recent intersection improvements, including the relocation of Greentop Road, “look good but they did almost nothing to improve the safety or convenience of the intersection,” Banta said.
To qualify for the RI-B zoning, property “must be directly served and connected to existing town centers” or other centers, according to the county planning department report.
Mitch Headley of Lake Hills took issue with the subject property being described as adjacent to the city of Newnan. There is no railroad crossing or road there. “It may be adjacent to the railroad tracks. It is not adjacent to the city of Newnan, because this is not an extension of that higher density.”
The railroad is a natural boundary line – in fact, said Headley, “the board of education has drawn its school districts down that railroad."
“If there are only going to be 49 houses allowed, he can build that right now. So there is no purpose in rezoning it,” said Headley. He said he had talked to most if not all of the adjoining landowners and he doesn't think they would allow any road connections.
Pat Craven of Lake Hills said she thinks the higher density development would lower her property value.