High density development denied in Union City

Mon, 07/02/2007 - 8:34am
By: Ben Nelms

For Alpharetta developer John Blankenship, it might be better to take his high density residential development somewhere in north Fulton instead of bringing it to south Fulton. A request to rezone 18.63 acres on Ga. Highway 138 and Jonesboro Road met with strong concerns by residents and unanimous defeat June 25 when Union City Planning commissioners turned down the request to build 60 homes separated only by storage sheds. Next stop for the request will be the City Council on July 17.

Representing Cliftwood Development, Inc., Blankenship requested the property be rezoned from General Commercial to Residential Multi-family to accommodate the 60 homes he planned to build. Responding to statements from commissioners and city planning staff, Blankenship said the homes were attached by “dog houses,” a term referencing the small shed structure between homes. Asked by Chairman Marilyn McCain if he had considered detached homes as an alternative, Blankenship said he had, but to do so would mean the loss of eight to ten lots and would be difficult economically.

Prior to a motion and statements from nearby residents, Community Planning Director Ann Lippman provided a numerical listing of the types of residential dwellings currently found in the city. Union City has 3,615 apartments, 1,583 single-family attached units and 1,962 single-family detached units, Lippman said. Planning staff recommended denying the request.

Speaking in opposition to the request were several long-time residents of the area. Among those was Green Manor Restaurant owner Linda Johnson, who said she was totally against the concept.

“There are so many vacant apartments here. You’d be astonished at the number available for rent today,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s sentiments were echoed by Ruby Vinson, Reggie Williams and others, all questioning the wisdom of adding more high density housing that would add to traffic congestion, crime and other problems.

“There is enough traffic out there as there is,” said Williams. “To cheapen this area any more wouldn’t be good.”

After comments by residents Commissioner Vince Williams made a motion to deny the request, followed by a second by Commissioner Rick Ryles. The vote was unanimous to recommend denial of the rezoning request.

The request will be heard at the City Council’s July 17 meeting.

login to post comments