More apartments on Oakley are denied

Mon, 08/27/2007 - 9:33am
By: Ben Nelms

Fulton County zoning commissioners cast their lot with residents of Oakley Township subdivision Aug. 21 as the Community Zoning Board (CZB) denied a request to construct 465 apartments and other residences on Oakley Industrial Boulevard and another to establish 26,000 square feet of retail businesses adjacent to the subdivision.

Representing Carmichael Development, Jessica Hill said the proposed residential development included 240 apartment units, 159 senior living units and 66 townhomes to be located on 33.729 acres along the north side of Oakley Industrial and east of Oakley Road. The current zoning is M-1 (Light Industrial) and is proposed to change to A-L (Apartment Limited) with a use permit for senior housing. Such zoning accommodates 13.79 units per acre. Carmichael requested a variance on the senior housing portion from 223 parking spaces to 139 spaces.

Hill also represented Oakley Township builder D.R. Horton’s request to rezone 7.341 acres adjacent to the subdivision for retail use. Located on the south side of Oakley Industrial, the area is zoned M-1 and CUP (Community Unit Plan), Horton requested C-1 (Community Business) zoning. The acreage was proposed for 17,400 square feet of retail and 8,600 square feet of restaurant space, Hill said.

Most of those attending the meeting were residents of Oakley Township. Addressing the board, Micki Whitehead-Dawson said single-family residential would be more appropriate for the proposed apartment setting, though if approved, Oakley residents wanted a maximum of 100 townhomes, 180 senior residences and no apartments. She and husband Walter Dawson cited massive traffic congestion in the area as a key reason to reject the proposal. Even the paving of Oakley Road to Ga. Highway 138 near the intersection with I-85 would not stem the already heavy flow of traffic along Hwy. 138 or Oakley Industrial, Dawson said. Community concerns were shared by Commissioners Bruce Moody and Sandra Hardy.

Residents addressing the proposed retail development cited traffic congestion, market saturation, restaurant alcohol sales and the potential for rodents and excessive noise as reason to deny the proposal.

Though not a resident of the immediate area, Old National resident James Dowd agreed with the many Oakley Township residents attending the meeting.

“It seems like this is industrial property and it should remain so,” Dowd said.

After discussion, both proposals were denied by planning commissioners. The residential request failed by a 4-1-1 vote while the retail request failed by a 5-1 vote.

Board members were adamant that developers meet with residents to attempt to reach a compromise prior to the issues coming under consideration by the Board of Commissioners Sept. 5.

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