Luiz Urizar asked the board to change a 2.5-acre tract of property located on Six Flags Parkway east of Bishop Road from residential to industrial to allow him to store and repair his business’ semi tractor-trailers there, his attorney John Moore said.
There are currently two vacant houses and several outbuildings on the lot.
Four people spoke in opposition to the zoning change: attorney Kevin Ross, representing the Silver Creek subdivision; Courtney Edwards of Austell, who lives in the nearby Silver Creek subdivision; Cupid, and Robin Meyer, vice president of the Mableton Improvement Coalition.
Meyer said the proposal was “not the sort of high-quality, sustainable development the community needs,” and Cupid said the area in question has continuing conflicts between residential and industrial properties, but Moore said the county’s land use plan calls for the property to be priority industrial and pointed out that the county staff and Planning Commission recommended approving the zoning request. He also said the request had already been continued three times.
“(Cupid) was the one that was working with the community down there trying to work this out, and so she kept asking me to continue it to meet with the community, and we did meet down there twice,” Moore told the Journal after the meeting. “I was just trying to accommodate her and the community.”
While Cupid asked that the proposal be continued until the next zoning meeting, the commissioner she unseated in the Democratic primary, Woody Thompson, whose term ends on Dec. 31, called for the zoning change to be approved, which commissioners did in a 4-1 vote with Bob Ott opposed.
“I think holding it is more appropriate,” Ott said.
Were Cupid to have been on the commission, she still would have needed Tim Lee, JoAnn Birrell or Helen Goreham to have switched their vote for her request to have been upheld.
After the meeting, Cupid said she was disheartened by the vote.
“I cannot even express to you all the optimism I had in moving into this role, and how it sometimes may seem there’s a disparity between the district and the others is just a matter of perception or only a matter of the history of south Cobb’s development before the other areas, but today just seemed to communicate that there’s something greater going on,” she said.
Cupid questioned whether commissioners were making up their minds on issues before the meetings.
“What I was very shocked about is that there was no deliberation, no communication about the opposing comments, not a bit after (Ross) made such a compelling argument, not one iota of thought towards what he shared and the impact this could have on the community of residents,” she said.
“What is perhaps an eye-opener for me today, it just seems when one commissioner votes one way, everyone follows along without discussion, and it just gives me the thought that decisions are made prior to that meeting.”
It is not uncommon for some commissioners to bring a prewritten statement from which they read to the audience when justifying their votes.
Cupid said she needs a majority of votes to approve projects that will help south Cobb, and she risks hurting her ability to get those votes by speaking out against her fellow commissioners.
“I’m very concerned about that,” she said.
The good news, she said, is that Tuesday’s disappointment will make her a better commissioner.
“It makes me very sensitive for when other people bring up issues that pertain to their communities because this happened in my backyard, and I’m an incoming commissioner,” Cupid said. “If this could happen to me, then it means I’m going to have to be either more sensitive and diligent in investigating the comments and concerns of other constituents.”
Cobb Superior Court Judge Gregory Poole is scheduled to swear in Cupid to office at 2 p.m. on January 4 in the Commissioners’ meeting room.