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Published on August 26th, 2015 |

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Zoning, CDP changes OKed for 38 home cluster plan on Wieuca Road

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Friday morning with clarifications  regarding the development on Wieuca Road.)

The second time around for Southeastern Capital Companies’ plan to replace single-family ranch-style homes on Wieuca Road with an upscale cluster development of 38 homes was less controversial before the Neighborhood Planning Unit-B’s Transportation & Development and Zoning committees than the first time it was heard in March.

This photo shows part of Wieuca Road the way it is today.

This photo shows part of Wieuca Road the way it is today.

The reason for less opposition was that the developers listened to the neighbors and the NPU-B committees the first time and expanded the project from just the north side of the residential street to incorporate all of the properties on both north and sides of Wieuca Road, west of Roswell Road.

But that is not to say that there was no opposition. For one, the Chastain Park Civic Association, which voted 13-0-1 against the first proposal in March, still voted to disapprove of it Aug. 24, but this time by a vote of 10 against, 5 for approval and 1 abstention.

Attorney Jessica Hill explains the proposed 48 townhome development to the NPU committees.

Attorney Jessica Hill explains the proposed cluster development of 38 single-family homes to the NPU committees.

CPCA vice president of advocacy Kirk Oppenlander represented the association voicing objection to the new project—which will replace 16 residential lots and homes with 38 new residential units—primarily on the basis that it does not follow the association’s long-established land use and zoning policy of maintaining single-family homes.

The development grew from over 4 acres during the first presentation to 7.1 acres the second time around. Instead of 2 homes per acre, the proposed development would be 5.5 homes per acre.

There were two NPU-B committee meetings on this one application Aug. 25 because the planned development requires a change in the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan as well as a change in the zoning of the properties from R-3 to MR-2,

NPU-B Zoning Committee chairman Bill Murray, left, Transportation & Development chairman Jason Kendall, right, flank T&D member France Campbell.

NPU-B Zoning Committee chairman Bill Murray, left, Transportation & Development chairman Jason Kendall, right, flank T&D member France Campbell.

which allows for the greater density on the lots.

Morris Manning & Martin real estate attorney Jessica Hill, who has represented Southeastern Capital in both presentations before the NPU-B committees, told the committee members that “all parties in the participating properties are now in favor of this.”

The first time around, several of the residents in the homes on the south side of Wieuca—some of which were not owners of the properties but renters—were opposed to the plan because they felt it would adversely affect their properties, both in value and for attracting buyers.

Hill pointed out that this one-block dead end section of Wieuca is not really part of the Chastain Park neighborhood because there is no street connection to it. She said whatever is on the street will be a transition from the commercial properties along Roswell Road and the fire station on Wieuca to the established single family Chastain Park neighborhood.

T&D committee member Bill Bozarth voiced concern about reducing affordable housing.

T&D committee member Bill Bozarth, foreground, voiced concern about reducing  the amount of affordable housing.

Hill explained that the proposed development 38 single-family homes would significantly improve the street, replacing 1950-60s ranch-style homes (few of which have been renovated in years) that might sell for $350,000 with new single-family homesd that average 3,300 square feet and will sell for around $900,000.

NPU-B committee members Amy Hillman and Frank Toye both supported the new development.

NPU-B committee members Amy Hillman and Frank Toye both had comments regarding the planned new development.

The new homes will be on newly installed city sewers, where the properties now are on septic systems.

Zoning Committee member Frank Toye, who represents the Chastain Park area on the NPU-B board, told his fellow committee members that Chastain has a long-standing agreement not to convert single-family homes to higher density. He said he did not agree with the civic association’s position on this application, but brought their letter to the committee meetings.

(Editor’s Note: By way of clarification, Toye told BuckheadView he did not say he disagreed with the civic association’s position on this application. He said he responded to a question about his personal position on the CPCA’s position saying, “It doesn’t matter how I personally feel about it, I am here to represent the civic association’s position.” BuckheadView apologizes for the misunderstanding and inaccurate reporting of Toyes comment and offers this clarification.)

T&D committee member Bill Bozarth told the committee, “I am concerned about replacing affordable houses with homes that only wealthy people can afford.”

Amy Hillman, another T&D committee member, said, “The idea of putting septic houses on sanitary sewer is huge. I applaud the applicant for getting the other half of the street as part of the development.” (To read the earlier story, click here.)

While there were two women residents of the Chastain neighborhoods who objected to the development based on increased traffic and loss of tree canopy, a man building a home at 156 Lake Forest Lane called the development “a huge improvement.” He is in full support of it.

Atlanta International School Headmaster Kevin Glass explains the changes proposed for the school's camps.

Atlanta International School Headmaster Kevin Glass explains the changes proposed for the school’s camps.

In the end, the major argument that swayed the T&D committee to vote in favor of the change to the Comprehensive Development Plan by a vote of 9-1 was that Chastain Park has no other streets like this dead end cul d sac off of a major thoroughfare (Roswell Road).

Following the action by the T&D Committee, the NPU’s Zoning Committee took up the issue of changing the zoning on the properties from R-3 to MR-2. After a much shorter discussion that committee passed the zoning change by a vote of 10-0.

The Zoning Committee then went on to address an agenda of seven more items, including an amendment to the site plan to a Special Use Permit for the

Members of fhe Zoning Committee listen as Headmaster Kevin Glass discusses expansion of the school campus.

Members of fhe Zoning Committee listen as Headmaster Kevin Glass discusses expansion of the school campus.

Atlanta International School, 2890 North Fulton Drive, and a rezoning of property at 2544 Peachtree Road to eliminate a number of conditions on the property that no longer exist.

The International School is seeking to expand its campus (see earlier BuckheadView story here) and revise its site plan to expand the open space on the main campus by 32 percent. The school has worked with Garden Hills Civic Association, which is in favor of the plan.

Headmaster Kevin Glass, who lives in Garden Hills, told the committee members the new plan will enhance the buffer between the commercial development along Peachtree Road and the residential neighborhood.

The main questioning from the committee was from Bozarth, who was seeking a guarantee from Glass that the school would not again attempt to increase its total students for another five years.

The Zoning Committee voted to approve the school’s application with a unanimous vote.

Attorney Doug Dillard represented the owner of the property at 2544 Peachtree Road to change the zoning requirement from RG-4C to RG-4C with 5 conditions, as opposed to the present

A rendering of JPX Works' proposed 22-story condo design for the site at 2520 Peachtree Road.

A rendering of JPX Works’ proposed 22-story condo design for the site at 2520 Peachtree Road.

conditions which total 18-20.

Until a couple of months ago, this property was part of a package of two properties that had been joined together in the 1970s. At that time it was zoned for up to 244 units in 22-story building(s). The other property, at 2520 Peachtree Road, is under contract by JPX Works LLC, a company owned by Jarel Portman, which was recently approved to build on it a 20-22-story high-rise condo building. (See earlier story here.)

Therefore, Ruddy Harrell, the owner of the property at 2044 Peachtree wants to remove most of the conditions from that joint agreement that no longer apply to his property. His 1.49 acres will only allow a maximum of 40-60 residential units.

The Zoning Committee approved the application with a vote of 9 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention.

 

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