County does away with higher density zoning
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Coweta County’s “RI-B” zoning district is no more.
On Tuesday, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted to remove the district from the county’s zoning ordinance. RI-B was a medium density residential district that allowed up to three units per acre with density bonuses, and homes on lots as small as 1/5th of an acre.
On June 4, the commissioners voted unanimously to deny a request to rezone property on Greentop Road to RI-B.
Two weeks later, the commissioners voted to put a moratorium in place on any requests for RI-B zoning.
The county is currently being sued by the owners of the Greentop Road property, NCTI/Jim Mottola, over the denial.
A request was filed by both parties in court last week to “stay” the case until November. The request states that the county and the plaintiffs are in settlement negotiations.
The RI-B designation was one of many new zoning categories created in 2006, following Coweta’s comprehensive land use plan update.
The Greentop Road request was only the third one ever made for RI-B. The first one, by Pathways Development for the Twelve Parks subdivision outside Sharpsburg, was approved. The second request was for property off Hwy. 16 near Sharpsburg and Turin, and it was denied. The property was later annexed into Sharpsburg and rezoned for a slightly smaller mixed-use development.
The RI-B vote was one of several zoning decisions taken at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Other items included:
• A vote to not object to the proposed annexation of 178 acres on Shell Road into the city of Chattahoochee Hills. Developer Steve Nygren is proposing nine homes on the property. The remaining acreage will be used for “transfer of development rights” that will allow homes to be built elsewhere in Serenbe. The property used for the TDR can never be developed.
• A vote to support a future roundabout for the intersection of U.S. 29 and U.S. 27 Alt south of Moreland.
• Approval of a cell tower permit for property on Ware Road, and denial of a request for a variance regarding the tower height.
Verizon had asked for a 150 foot tower on the property. However, as the lot is somewhat narrow, the “fall zone” for the tower would encroach on two adjoining properties. The planning department recommended approval of a 112 foot tower.
The applicant requested a variance to the fall zone requirements to allow for a 150 foot tower. The property owner to the north is OK with the taller tower, said Chuck Palmer, representing Verizon.
The property owner to the south, Allyn Glover, said he was not OK with the variance, as he hopes to build a home on the back of his property. Glover said he was told that he would not be able to build on any property in the fall zone.
County Attorney Nathan Lee said that he was not sure that limitation was legally OK.
Palmer said that Verizon could “live with” the 112 foot tower, but that it would not serve everyone in that area.
The towers are engineered not to fall, and Palmer said he has never heard of one falling. He has heard of towers standing up to tornados and hurricanes.
He added that the county has a 350-foot tower and “the county doesn’t own all the land within 350 feet.”
Palmer also asked the commissioners to do away with the requirement to build a “monopine” tower, which is designed to look like a pine tree. That can add about $100,000 to the cost, Palmer said, and because the tower will be so far back on the lot, he doesn’t think it is necessary.
Glover said he would want to see the tower built as a monopine. Pick Parks, who represents the owners of a large tract of property behind the tower site, said he would also like to see the monopine tower.
The commissioners voted to deny the additional height request and to require the monopine.
• The commercial rezoning of property on the corner of Poplar Road and the Newnan Crossing Bypass, adjacent to Interstate 85.
The applicants, Big Poplar LLC, requested that 74.66 acres be rezoned C-6, Commercial Major Shopping District, and 4.72 acres, on the other side of the Bypass, near Turkey Creek Road, be zoned C-6, Commercial Minor Shopping district.
“Big Poplar Plaza”, a retail and office development totaling 140,900 square feet, is proposed for the larger tract.
Engineer Kett Harper spoke for the applicants. Nearby resident Mark Schaffer did not express opposition but asked about a new median break on the Bypass. It will be paid for by the developers.
Buffer variances were also approved for the 4.72 acre property.
Commission Chairman Bob Blackburn recused himself for the public hearing and vote because he has a partial interest in the property.
• Denial of an appeal by Patricia Gilbert regarding a decision of the Manufactured Home Compatibility Standards Review Committee. Gilbert wanted to put a manufactured home on her 23 acre property on Holbrook Road. The committee recommended denial and the commissioners upheld the denial.
• Approval of a variance for Cardinal Gates.
• Approval of a conditional use permit and several variances for New River Kennel 1048 BoBo Banks Road.
• Approval of a request to amend a previous condition regarding a hotel to be built at 6 Herring Road.
• Removal of a condition of property rezoned in 2000 for Dunkin’ Donuts. The condition had related to the driveway for the site, located on Andrey Bailey Road at Hwy. 34 East.
• Approval of a development agreement with HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Newnan LLC.