Still the planning commission last week recommended denying the land use petition for the property.
The Johns Creek City Council will have the final say in the matter with a vote Aug. 26. The commission’s role is to solely make recommendations to council.
The denial recommendation, however, was not based on issues with the proposed plan but rather was due to a technicality after the four commissioners at the meeting could not reach an agreement.
Commissioners Chip Floyd and Stan Hicks voted against denying the land use petition outright. Floyd suggested approving the project subject to conditions outlined by city staff and the developers, but Commissioner Susan Grissom voted against that motion and Hicks abstained from the vote.
The Abbotts Bridge Road mixed-use project has stirred up opposition in the community. An online petition against the project garnered 313 signatures between June 24 and Aug. 4.
Eight residents spoke up at last week’s public hearing in opposition to the plan. They voiced concerns of increased traffic, increased density and too much existing empty retail space.
“All the strip malls are empty,” said resident Janice Martin, who has lived in the nearby Hillbrooke subdivision for 21 years. “Why would anyone build another strip mall in that area?”
Though the property is currently undeveloped, Fulton County approved zoning for the site in 2006 with a plan for 50,400 square feet of retail and office space, a 6,000 square-foot restaurant and 28 residential lofts. Tucker said a traffic analysis prepared by Stantec Consulting Services shows the current plan with 74 apartment units, 8,720 square feet of retail and office space and a 6,000 square-foot restaurant would reduce traffic by 36 percent compared to the 2006 development plan.
The request for 105 units with 10,000 square feet of retail/office space and 5,000 square feet for the apartment’s clubhouse was revised after meeting with residents and getting feedback from city staff, he said.
“This is a good compromise,” said property owner Charles Roberts. “We needed 105 [apartment units]. It struggles to work at less than 105, but it’s a compromise.”
The city’s community development staff recommended no more than 55 residential units, but Tucker said that would not work economically.