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Historic Roswell home and acreage up for development
by Joan Durbin
December 04, 2013 01:46 PM | 2926 views | 2 2 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hidden away within walking distance of one of the busiest sections of Roswell’s Canton Street is a vintage 1857 home that few people know exists.

The 6,983-square foot house is part of an estate that once was the home of Francis Robert Goulding, an author, pastor and inventor who lived there until his death in 1881.

Subsequent owners restored and updated the home while retaining its inherent charm. Last year, the house and land on Goulding Place were put on the market for $8.75 million. Online real estate records now show it as sold for $6.9 million.

Now the first steps of the development process are underway. In October, the Historic Preservation board heard variance requests that, if granted, would allow the construction of new residential units around the existing historic home.

“We believe the design will result in a one of a kind development that will aid in preserving and highlighting a historic home in addition to bringing new residents to the area,” wrote Eric White, vice president of the Atlanta division of real estate development and management company FrontDoor Communities.

Zoning allows for up to 128 units at the site, but FrontDoor intends to build fewer than that.

“The current site plan calls for 40 new units: 13 single family and 27 townhomes. The historic house will remain and will be sold as a single-family residence,” said city planner Courtney Lankford.

Variances needed involve less space between buildings and reduced buffers. After several discussions and with preservation board members and site plan revisions by the applicant, the commission now supports the variances, said city planner Courtney Lankford.

“The HPC commends the applicant on saving the historic house on this property and recognizes that this creates additional issues in developing this site,” Lankford wrote in a Nov. 27 memo to the Board of Zoning Appeals, the application’s next stop on Dec. 10.

The site plan and concurrent variance requests haven’t been popular with residents who have homes nearby. Several turned up at the first preservation board meeting on the variances to express their concerns.

Even without variances, the traffic burden caused by so many new residences will be significant on their tiny street, neighbors said. There are 11 houses with Goulding Place addresses now, with a total of around 22 cars. With a net of 41 new units, that means around 82 more cars, resident Leslie Carruth said at the meeting.

Even if half of those vehicles use Goulding Place, that is an increase of almost 400 percent in traffic, and existing residents think that is unacceptable, she said.

Comments
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S535
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December 07, 2013
The HPC did not approve the new variances in a meeting, but at the sole discretion of it's director. The community did not have an opportunity to speak to the new design plan and variances. Goulding Place is a lovely narrow street-- enjoyed by joggers, baby strollers, and dog-walkers. It is part of what attracts so many to Historic Roswell. If this plan is approved, the historic street will become the driveway for a new development. Front Door Communities will profit at the expense of the current tax-paying residents on this street. Front Door Communities could act responsibly (and still profit) by cutting the number of dwellings to 20-25. This an appropriate amount for the topography of the land. Or, they could come up with alternative entrances to the development. This very narrow street cannot handle the additional traffic without peril to walkers, car noise to the residents, and headlights in the windows. Hoping for the HPC to stand up and do what is right for for our historic community and its residents!
Mary Dickinson
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December 06, 2013
I live off Canton Street and was here before Canton was cool. I'm glad businesses are doing well there, but traffic is a nightmare now. If you have 80 more people, cats, dogs, cars

trying to get on Canton how am I supposed to go anywhere?

My street is dead end so Canton is my only option.

Are you listening, HPC, Zoning Board, City Council members, Mr. Mayor, fellow residents?
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