Council members unanimously denied the developer’s requests to rezone the property from R-1 and R-2 to R-THA and for concurrent variances to allow for the project as designed.
The plan was to build the community with homes ranging from $450,000 to $600,000 — leaving 60 percent of the land undisturbed, creating pedestrian trails to the river and dedicating property abutting the river to be used as a park and space for the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association to have a dock and boathouse, said developer Jason Yowell.
He also planned to pipe a portion of a creek leading into the Chattahoochee, which he said was negatively impacted with trash and sediment.
“The things that concern me [include] the piping of the stream,” said Councilman Rich Dippolito. “I’d rather see it cleaned up than piped. The other concern I have is the heights of the retaining walls.”
He said he was apprehensive about how the development would look from Azalea Drive.
Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said the plans presented did not seem very clear.
“I think the concept is very interesting,” she said. “I think it shows a lot of creativity, and I admire all the work that’s been done on this. I just think it’s not finished.”
Several neighbors spoke of their opposition to the development.
“We’re extremely concerned about the piping ... of the stream close to the property,” said resident Denise Forbes. “There are a number of city variances and challenges with this property, which compromise the integrity of the city’s building standards.”
Said resident John Forbes, “It’s zoned appropriately as R-1 and that’s the way we would like it to be.”
However, community members at the meeting also voiced opinions in support of the project.
“My wife and I are the most immediate neighbors to this,” said resident Steve Jordan. “I think it’ll be an asset to the city.”
“[The] plan will reserve a tremendous amount of greenspace, which we appreciate.”
Said resident Dave Thomas, “I see an exceptional amount of greenspace [and] a lot of consideration for neighbors.”
Yowell said Monday if council did not approve the rezoning and variances, he would still continue with developing the land but plans would have to be altered to build just single-family homes as allowed in the original zoning. He said the alternative plans would reduce the amount of conserved land and increase the number of trees removed and he wouldn’t necessarily be able to create the park space for the community and the rowing association.
Also at Monday’s meeting, city council heard the first readings of the proposed budget of $110,355,385 and the proposed property tax rate of 5.455 mills for fiscal year 2015.
Council will hold another meeting on the millage rate June 16 at 6:30 p.m. The second readings of the budget and millage rate will be June 24 at 7 p.m.