Walton Communities received another unanimous vote against its zoning request at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. The developer was denied its request to change the zoning of almost 24 acres of property on Spring Hill Parkway between Paces Ferry Road and Mount Wilkinson Parkway from single-family residential to multi-family residential.
The Board of Commissioners sided with the Planning Commission, . The decision has some residents of nearby neighborhoods relieved, especially Frank Savini, the president of the Paces Homeowners Alliance, a neighborhood organization that represents Orchard Gate, Vinings Heights, Paces Ferry Park, Vinings Walk and Vinings Chase.
"This would have completely changed the character of the neighborhood," he said. "And that would have initiated a domino affect bringing more encroaching developments within the neighborhood. Once this starts its irreversible and cannot be changed. For homes that are four to five bedrooms, 3,500 to 4,500 square feet on lots over a half acre that only see other similar homes, a 70-foot-tall building towering over the neighborhood that’s 720 feet long is anything but positive."
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott evidently agrees. The Marietta Daily Journal reported that when Walton Communities’ attorney said that a 700-foot-buffer between the neighborhood and the complex would conceal the sturcture from view, Ott rebutted saying that the second-largest buffer in the county separates his backyard from Wildwood office park.
"The buffer that was discussed starts in my backyard," he said. "The buffer consists of 200 feet of undisturbed buffer, extended out to 300 feet of buffer that you cannot build anything higher than the trees … What you didn’t see (in Moore’s presentation) is the 16-story I.M. Pei office building in the Wildwood office complex that towers over my neighborhood. There’s 500 feet of buffer in my neighborhood, and a lot of my neighbors still see the office building."
Savini told Smyrna-Vinings Patch that about 100 of his neighbors attended the meeting to show their opposition to the zoning request. Savini said he welcomes development that’s in keeping with the character of his neighborhood and harbors no resentment toward Barry Teague, the owner of the 24 undeveloped acres.
"He is well respected in his company and is known for great projects," he said. "In this case the project was not the proper fit for the neighborhood. I extended the same offer to him that I did after the Planning Commission hearing; if he builds single-family detached homes on the property, my neighbors and I will help him break ground."