Roswell city council members voted 5 to 1 on Monday to approve a rezoning application for five acres of land at 9050 Nesbit Ferry Road.
The application by Dane Nesbit changes agriculturally zoned land to a new zoning category allowing 19 single family attached homes to be built with variances from city code that reduce building setbacks and increase lot coverages.
Councilman Kent Igleheart was the only negative vote.
“Anything that comes through that needs four variances and creates a zoning category we don’t already have for something that’s completely speculative doesn’t justify a rezoning,” Igleheart stated.
But his colleagues said they believed the plan put forth by Nesbit was acceptable.
“I would like to see smaller density, but frankly on the other hand I think the rights of the applicant are clear,” Councilwoman Betty Price said.
The new development would be surrounded on three sides by homes in the Devonshire neighborhood. At Monday’s public hearing on the rezoning application, Kathy Murphy, who said she was president of the Devonshire homeowners association, told council that the HOA board had given its okay to the development as long as certain conditions were met that gave some protections to the existing neighborhood.
Still, there was some opposition to the plan from individual Devonshire homeowners. Christine Turner, who spearheaded a petition against the development proposal, said she had concerns about increased traffic congestion on the two-lane Nesbit Ferry Road and potentially negative impacts to the environment and the Devonshire neighborhood.
“To me, all the variances are trying to put a square peg in a round hole and make something fir where it shouldn’t,” Turner said.
The current zoning on the property would allow estate-size single family homes or commercial uses such as kennels. Dane Nesbit said his family had tried to market the land under that zoning but weren’t happy with the offers they received, which all were for commercial development.
“We did not feel they were as compatible as the current plan,” he said.
The site plan favored by the family does protect some specimen trees on the acreage, which is why the attached homes are compacted and require variances, according to Daryl Cook, the engineer representing the family.
The Devonshire neighborhood has more building density than the proposed development, Cook said.