Developer offering parcel of land following east Cobb upheaval
by Nikki Wiley
January 23, 2014 12:23 AM | 5673 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The developer of a controversial 843-unit senior-living center plans to donate 9.5 acres to East Cobb Park in an attempt to appease critics concerned about the size of the development.

Plans from Atlanta-based Isakson Living originally called for a $200 million, 987-unit residential development on land off Roswell Road adjacent to East Cobb Park. The development, to be called Isakson Senior Living, would feature one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for seniors ages 62 and up. Homes were to range up to 2,500 square feet with four-story buildings atop a parking garage.

That plan drew the ire of some east Cobb residents who claimed it was too big for the area and inappropriate for the tract of land neighboring a public park.

The company has since scaled down its plan, reducing the number of housing units from 987 to 843 and lowering building heights from four stories along Roswell Road and Hidden Hollow to two and three stories.

Now, Isakson Living plans to donate 9.5 acres of land neighboring East Cobb Park to expand the park. That donation would double the size of East Cobb Park and connect it to Fuller’s Park, said Kevin Isakson, director of sales and marketing for Isakson Living.

About 70 percent of the 53.7-acre property would now be green space.

Isakson said the donation ensures a larger safeguard around the development.

“It allows for buffering between our residential buildings and the adjoining property owners,” said Isakson.

Though Isakson Living does not yet own the land and the donation is contingent upon receiving the go-ahead from the Cobb Board of Commissioners, Isakson said he’s confident it’s something the company can make happen.

The donated tract is on a portion of land that cannot be developed because it includes a stream.

“What better (land to donate) than the area that is the most protected?” Isakson said.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, wouldn’t comment directly on the land donation.

“It hasn’t been my practice for District 2 or most of the other commissioners to discuss zoning issues by press releases or news conferences,” Ott said. “That should be done at the public comment period during zoning hearings.”

Isakson Living withdrew its application for a re-zoning in October 2013 after hearing criticism from residents that the project is too large.

A re-zoning application is required because the company is seeking to use the land as a continuing-care retirement community, a use that is not allowed under current county zoning.

In November, the company resubmitted its smaller plan for approval by the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

Later that month, commissioners placed a moratorium on the continuing-care retirement community zoning category to allow county staffers to meet with commissioners and business leaders in the senior living industry and make recommendations on how the zoning category could be improved.

That moratorium was expected to last until April.

Still, Isakson said he’s confident the property will be re-zoned in his favor allowing the development to move forward.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Holt Road
January 27, 2014
Some want a park and have talked about it for years?!? So why didn't you raise the funds and purchase the land yourself? Something will be developed on that tract, given all the options a senior living facility will have the least direct impact. Sure most will not pay school taxes, but then they don't have school age children. The single house their now wasn't paying much, I am sure. Put typical homes on the land and gain school tax revenue but more peak hour traffic and who knows what else. Make it a park and gain no school taxes. I think East Cobb needs to wake up! This development is a win win for the community.
200-300 units
January 24, 2014
East Cobb neighbors make "claims" while Isakson presents facts. It is no question where the MDJ stands on the issue. There will be thosands of additional cars from employyees to visitors to residents themselves in an areas that is already traffic challenged. We need senior housing but not one the size found in inner city areas. Giving the park land that can't be developed anyway just benefits the complex by moving the park closer. I think 2-3 hundred units would be more appropriate for the lot size and the area.
Cobb Taxpayer
January 23, 2014
Just noticed that John Weiland Homes was the largest contributor to East Cobb Park ! Wonder what a wonderful and fitting single family development he could design next to our park.

850 old folks highrise apartments/condos is not what East Cobb needs more of - This is East Cobb and not NYC !
January 26, 2014
Who are the people behind Concerned Citizens of East Cobb who are opposed to senior residences here? I have received UNSIGNED emails from them. Who is funding them? Where do they get all this data their quoting? They emailed me (75yo, long time E Cobb resident) that they hope I can find a retirement community somewhere else! Here I have good shopping, big health care with WellStar, many churches. Where do they hope I go? A farm in N.Georgia, under a bridge downtown? They look like a secret lobbying group with an agenda of their own.
Just Wait
January 23, 2014
You might as well give up. Those East Cobbers are always right and everybody else always wrong. Oh wait, their Republicans.
Gringo Bandito
January 23, 2014
January 23, 2014
@Just Wait, the pro-growth, pro-business, pro-jobs East Cobb Republicans aren't the people opposing this. It's the anti-growth, anti-business, anti-jobs "not in my backyard" liberals who are raising the opposition.

A senior living center has zero impact on schools, likely zero impact on crime, and will increase tax revenue for the county. While there may be a technical bump in traffic in that immediate area, I doubt these 850 seniors will be out street racing or burning rubber at the stop signs. And, since most are probably retired, it would probably generate zero growth in rush-hour traffic.

Those opposing are very short-sighted and self-absorbed.

East Cobber
January 24, 2014
So many East Cobbers oppose the Isakson Living development that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives actually agree. This development would negatively impact schools, crime would increase, and any tax benefit would be offset by the surrounding homes losing value. A park would actually increase home values around it so much that it could equal what Isakson Living would pay, and a subdivision on this property would also add about the same tax benefit as the retirement community but with much less impact. Traffic from the Isakson Living development would be tremendous, adding 3,000 cars each day to the already busy Roswell Road, and this on top of the WellStar Health Park, which will add 2,000 cars each day once it opens. The East Cobb community has wanted to save the Tritt property as green space for years, and it was at the top of the Park Bonds list in 2006 and in 2008, when the owner wanted to sell it to Cobb County as a park.
January 25, 2014
@East Cobber

You're living in a fantasy world.

Crime increase when a bunch of elderly retired people move in? What are they going to go, run you down with their wheel chairs and whack you with their canes?

3,000 extra cars per day on Roswell Road is nothing. It's a drop in the bucket. And very few of those cars would be using the road during the critical rush hour time frame.

And name one single "negative impact" the schools would feel from this? Do these seniors have a lot of school-age children that will overload the schools? There will be zero impact on the schools.

If you don't like growth, East Cobb isn't the place for you. This area had been growing for 30 years. Maybe you need to move to Dawsonville or something and leave this area to those of us who appreciate growth and expansion.
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