Greentop rezoning denied
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to deny a request to rezone property on Greentop Road to a higher density for a residential development.
NCTI LLC/Jim Mottola was seeking to rezone the 120-acre tract to the county’s RI-B Single Family Residential Infill District medium density zoning. The plan was for 226 units on lots as small as one-fifth of an acre.
The project would have been served with sewer by Newnan Utilities, and would have featured open space.
Under the current Rural Conservation zoning, the proposed homes could be built at a density of 1.6 acres per home, though the homes themselves could be on smaller lots, with green space set aside.
Under Coweta’s regulations, a residential development with one entrance can only have 49 units. A second entrance would be required in order to go over 49 units.
A public hearing on the rezoning proposals began on May 20.
The tract is located adjacent to the Heritage Hills and Lake Hills subdivisions, and a large number of Lake Hills and Heritage Hills residents arrived at both meetings dressed in red in opposition to the project.
Stephen Frey of Golfview Club Drive, who is an attorney, said that “the notion that the property is not zoned for its highest and best use – is a term that appraisers often like to use. It is not the law. That its current zoning has no economic return is immaterial.”
The Coweta Planning and Zoning Department recommended approval of the rezoning. Frey said the recommendation is flawed. He doesn't think the report put enough emphasis on the preservation of existing neighborhoods.
He also took issue with the statement that the proposed development is similar to the “residential neighborhood to the south.” That would be Calumet, which is located in the city of Newnan. The subject property backs up to Calumet, with a railroad track located in between. “I don’t believe there is anyone from Calumet offering support,” Frey said.
Though the proposed development might be similar to Calumet, it’s “a great deal dissimilar” to Lake Hills and Heritage Hills, Frey said.
“I feel if they develop this they ought to develop it similar to the communities that are beside it, instead of like the development that is on the other side of the railroad tracks,” said Jennifer Burns Barber.
Approving the rezoning would set a precedent, said David Granroos. All the land next to it could then also be developed more densely, he claimed.
“Do we want Coweta County to become a densely populated metropolitan area? Or do we want to keep it a rural area?” Granroos said.
“This petition is terribly flawed,” said Robert Ziifle. “It simply does not satisfy or meet many of the specific ordinance requirements” to qualify for RI-B. “I believe it is a misinterpretation … of the whole infill area concept.”
Ziifle echoed Granroos’ sentiment about the adjacent property. There are 300 to 400 acres to the east. "If you grant the application here, there is no reason to assume or to expect that the rest” of the property owners wouldn’t seek RI-B zoning. “What reason would you have to deny them?” Ziifle asked.
Commission Chairman Bob Blackburn made a motion to deny the rezoning. It was seconded by Paul Poole and the vote was unanimous.
In other meeting business:
• “Vaping” won’t be allowed at county facilities under an amendment approved Tuesday by the commissioners. The amendment clarifies that the ordinance prohibiting smoking on county property includes e-cigarettes and other products that produce a vapor.
The amendment also authorizes the creation of a designated smoking area at the Coweta County Justice Center for jurors and members of the public. County employees can still only smoke in their private vehicles.
• Pat Hannon and Stephen Daniel spoke to the commissioners about West Georgia Technical College. Daniel is the new president of the college, and took office on June 1.
The new Coweta campus opened last fall. For spring semester, there were 1,027 students, including those at the Central Educational Center. That number is up from 637 last spring.
“We are growing. We’re looking to continue to grow,” Hannon said.
• The board approved a proposal for architectural services for a 4,000-square-foot “comfort station” at the Central Park soccer fields. The building will feature restrooms, heated and cooled vending space, and a 2,000-square-foot open air pavilion. Associate County Administrator Eddie Whitlock said the cost would probably be around $350,000.
• The board approved a development agreement with Southern Trust Capital LLC for the Fischer Crossing property. The property has been under a development agreement dated May 20, 2008, with Fischer Crossings Development Group LLC and Fischer Crossing Development Group II LLC.