Horton development proposal opposed by residents

Mon, 08/20/2007 - 8:57am
By: Ben Nelms

Residents at Oakley Township subdivision on Oakley Industrial Boulevard are nothing if not persistent. Battling developer D.R. Horton on and off for years, the local homeowner’s association continued their tenacious ways Tuesday night as Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards, Rep. Virgil Fludd and Sen. Kasim Reed listened to residents’ concerns on proposed developments along Oakley Industrial and offered suggestions and advice on how to handle the issues.

Residents Walter Dawson and Micki Whitehead-Dawson provided the packed clubhouse with an overview of residents’ concerns. At the top of the list were current rezoning proposals by builder D.R. Horton to establish a retail shopping area on 7.3 acres adjacent to homes on Oakley and a residential proposal across Oakley Industrial that would include 465 residential units.

Dawson said the homeowner’s association wanted an in-depth traffic study of the area, rezoning of Horton’s 7.3 acres to either residential single-family or greenspace or to build something that would be mutually beneficial for the builder and residents.

Dawson told residents the 7.3-acre tract is currently zoned M-1 (Light Industrial) and CUP (Community Unit Plan). Horton’s request to Fulton County would have the site rezoned commercial to accommodate a number of retail shops and restaurants, he said. If approved, the retail businesses would add to the ongoing concerns of traffic congestion and would present new concerns such as added noise, the presence of rodents, odors and unsightliness of garbage dumpsters and late night alcohol consumption at restaurants. Those conditions would have a direct negative impact on nearby neighbors, Dawson said. Some of those neighbors have back yards that connect to the proposed site on Oakley Industrial, he added.

Continuing to express the concerns of the home owners association, Dawson said the other request ready to come before Fulton County’s Community Zoning Board is a residential proposal that would locate 240 apartments, 159 senior unites and 66 townhomes on property across Oakley Industrial from the Oakley Township property. Such a development, said Dawson, would add significantly to the traffic congestion experienced throughout the area.

Edwards, Fludd and Reed each responded to resident’s concerns, referencing their tenacity and urging them to stay directly involved in the issues. Those issues are the subject of local concern, with Fulton County responsible for making the decision on the future of the proposals, they said. Within that context and zeroing in on proposed retail development, Edwards reiterated that Horton has certain rights because it owns the property and those rights must be consistent with the county’s Land Use Plan.

“(Horton) hasn’t really started the process yet,” Edwards said. “But everything will be analyzed, including the traffic factor.

Edwards said meetings would be held with the builder and residents, adding that both sides should be willing to compromise since, at some point, the property would be developed.

Oakley Township homeowners said they will be present Aug. 21 when the two proposals are heard by Fulton County Community Zoning Board at the county’s South Annex on Stonewall Tell Road.

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