Seniors, churchgoers on move in Acworth
by Noreen Cochran
ncochran@mdjonline.com
November 29, 2012 12:57 AM | 2233 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ACWORTH — Seniors and churchgoers will have more room if the Acworth Board of Aldermen at its Dec. 3 meeting approves recommendations from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday night.

In 5-0 decisions, the commission recommended approval of a rezoning requested by Stonehaven Capital to expand a senior-living community complex at 3370 Mars Hill Road at Cobb Parkway, and a special land use permit request by Life Bridge Church for 3102 Loring Road at Cobb Parkway.

The church seeks an exemption from the zoning ordinance requiring five acres or more for a church campus.

The subject site is at the Acworth Lakeshores Shopping Center, which occupies slightly less than three acres, according to a site plan by Roswell-based Structural Design Inc., and is zoned Community Retail Commercial.

It is the former location of a children’s playtime facility, DACKids Pirates Cove, and contains three suites, which will be combined for a total of 12,700 square feet.

The church would rent the space from owner Dan Khalili.

Church elder Tom Bloemker of Kennesaw said his congregation of about 180 people has outgrown its current meeting site at the NCG movie theatre in Acworth and is running into scheduling conflicts with Sunday afternoon movies.

“We’ve been in the community for eight years. We’re excited to be considered for this parcel and go to the next phase of our growth,” he said. “We’ve been looking for the right place to set up shop and do the good work we’re supposed to do.”

City Community Development Director Christine M. Dobbs said the shopping center has adequate parking, and her staff recommended approval.

Commissioner Vince DiCecco asked about the hours the church will keep.

Bloemker said there will be two Sunday services; weekday office hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; youth events on Wednesday nights; and Saturday meetings of affiliated groups like Stop Hunger Now and a single mothers’ forum.

“The more we can use the facility, the better,” he said.

The mall are a laundromat, a pawn shop and an appointment-only hair salon, Dobbs said.

In the other item, Mike McMahan of Kennesaw-based Stonehaven Capital LLC requested a rezoning from low rise office to residential conservation subdivision near the intersection of Mars Hill Road and Cobb Parkway.

“This is a retirement community,” McMahan said. “It got in trouble a few years ago and the bank took it over.”

The owner, Greenville, S.C.-based CertusBank, hired Stonehaven as a general contractor in 2009 for the senior community called Stonehaven Villas, McMahan said.

“It’s gone fairly well. I’m trying to buy out the remaining blocks, as the bank wants out as quickly as possible,” McMahan said.

In 2005, he said, 1.3 acres were zoned behind a shopping center anchored by Johnny’s Pizza as a commercial “pad” under the Low Rise Office designation.

“There were no takers. There’s an egress problem getting on and off Mars Hill Road,” McMahan said. “It made more sense to make it part of Stonehaven Villas.”

Dobbs said there will be demand for the end product.

“There are four units per building, and they’re selling fairly well,” she said.

She also said the egress issue McMahan cited will not be a concern.

“The subject property will have frontage on a cul-de-sac so it will not have to have access to Mars Hill Road,” Dobbs said, referring to Ansbury Place.
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