An online petition against plans for the nearly seven-acre property garnered more than 600 signatures and 15 neighbors spoke in opposition of the proposed development at Monday’s public hearing.
Neighbors expressed concerns about increased traffic and that the development did not fit in with the character of the surrounding area. Many said the site plan’s density of residential units per acre exceeded guidelines in the city’s comprehensive plan.
“[If approved], what you’d be allowing is a massive change to the comprehensive plan in what is the gateway to our town,” resident Eric Logan told the council. “This would set a horrible precedent.”
David Kornbluh of the Johns Creek Community Association said residents were satisfied with the plan already approved for the site seven years ago by Fulton County, which included 28 residential lofts, 25,200 square feet of office space and 25,200 square feet of retail space.
Lee Tucker, a representative for property owner Charlie Roberts, said there is no longer a market for the volume of commercial development originally requested in 2006.
“[That original plan] doesn’t work today,” Roberts said. “I didn’t cause … this recession, and a lot of changes happened in six or seven years.”
Roberts told council members the plan approved in 2006 could possibly be viable 18 months from now, but he could get started on building the complex with 74 apartments, 8,720 square feet of retail and office space and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant within 90 to 120 days.
He envisioned the complex to attract young professionals and older empty nesters and that it would serve as a transition from the commercial activity at the intersection of Abbotts Bridge and Jones Bridge and the nearby single-family subdivisions.
Roberts first requested the city approve a site plan which included 105 apartments but scaled down the number of units as a compromise after receiving objections from neighbors.
Mayor Mike Bodker said he did not think the proposed mixed-use development would be appropriate for that location due to the density and the difference in character.
Councilwoman Karen Richardson, who made the motion to deny the changes to the site plan, said she was concerned with the potential impact to the surrounding area. She said she trusted the opinion of the city’s community development staff who recommended denial of the site plan.
The Johns Creek Planning Commission and City Council are scheduled to hear zoning cases in September for an exercise training facility on Old Alabama Road, a 105 single-family subdivision on Technology Circle and a mixed-use development on Hospital Parkway.