Ott reviews successful year for southeast Cobb district
by Jon Gillooly
December 17, 2012 01:07 AM | 4318 views | 19 19 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott (MDJ/Emily Barnes)
Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott (MDJ/Emily Barnes)
EAST COBB — Commissioner Bob Ott points out that over the last two years his district has seen $500 million in development projects that are under way or completed, more than any of the other districts in Cobb County.

A key to that success, Ott said, is planning.

Ott identified five corridors that he wanted to develop master plans for when he ran for office. To date the county has completed three of them.

“What we’ve seen is the three areas that seem to be the most active are the ones that we’ve done master plans in: the Johnson Ferry Corridor, the Powers Ferry Corridor and Vinings. And then of course the Cumberland core,” Ott said. “I would attribute it to the fact that the whole process of doing the master plan kind of brought attention to each of those corridors.”

Ott’s district makes up the lower half of east Cobb, with about 95 percent of the city of Smyrna, the Cumberland Galleria area, Vinings and about 30 percent of the city of Marietta. It has a population of about 172,000 people and a makeup that is about 57 percent Republican, about 20 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic, Ott said.

State Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb) represents parts of Ott’s district.

“I would say the district has benefited from Bob’s leadership, especially as it relates to encouraging responsible development and build-out of our infrastructure and commercial and residential property, and we’re thankful that our community has continued to grow in these economic times,” Hill said.

Ott said the county rolled out the Powers Ferry master plan two years ago, the Johnson Ferry master plan about a year ago and the Vinings master plan this year.

“One of the things that developers don’t like is uncertainty, and so with these master plans developed by the community I can meet with a developer and say, ‘hey, if you’re willing to develop in the confines of this master plan, you can expect the community to support you.’ So what’s happened is more and more as the developers see that that’s really the case you get their attention.”

This year, Merchant’s Walk finished up its $30 million, two and a half year renovation.

“It was kind of a village square/strip center that needed to be refreshed and updated, and so that’s what happened,” Ott said. “The county worked with the developer on some inter-parcel access, worked to get the Whole Foods in there. The county worked with potential tenants so they would come into the site.”

The county moved the library at Merchant’s Walk, selling the space for $1.3 million and moving it into the Parkaire Shopping Center on the corner of Lower Roswell and Johnson Ferry Road.

“We were able to kind of build a new library in rental space down at Parkaire, which is the East Cobb library, which is one of our busiest libraries,” Ott said.

The library opened in January 2010.

“So now at Parkaire the community sees shops coming in back there,” Ott said. “So now when you have Parkaire and you have Merchant’s Walk renovating their facades and Kroger rebuilt, and it’s worked its way up the streets to Publix (further north on Johnson Ferry) and some of the other shopping centers, everybody kind of wanted to keep up.”

The community along Powers Ferry and Terrell Mill roads is seeing the same thing with the opening of the LA Fitness in January.

“Some of the other strip centers on Powers Ferry went and repainted themselves, got new signs. So what happened is by working with a couple of developers and landowners in each of these corridors to redevelop their properties, the communities were able to get the other landlords or tenants to want to keep up,” he said.

Another key to the revitalization was revising the county’s development standards.

“It was one of my goals two years ago, and we voted on it I think in the beginning part of this year. What that did is that made redevelopment more economically viable,” Ott said.

He cites the LA Fitness as an example. The business was required to spend $1 million because of storm water.

“It was a 100 percent impervious site and because of the county rules at the time, this was prior to the change, they had to put an underground detention in which cost them $1 million,” he said.

Under the new rules, LA Fitness would not have had to do that.

“So then what happens if it’s more affordable and more desirable, what you can do is you get the development community back into looking at these places to redevelop instead of building new,” he said.

Another District 2 success has been the $22.5 million Sterling Estates Senior Living Community on Lower Roswell Road. The development is the first residential senior living project that the Board of Commissioners approved next to a neighborhood, and it sets the standard, Ott said.

District 2 has also seen its share of transportation projects.

The 1.5-mile stretch of Windy Hill Road between Cobb Parkway and Powers Ferry Road is undergoing a $25 million widening to six lanes.

In the meantime, work on the widening of Johnson Ferry Bridge to six lanes is expected to be complete by the end of the month.

“It’s … almost doubling the capacity on the bridge, and that connects to Johnson Ferry which goes to Abernathy, and it basically makes it more free flow for east Cobb traffic to get over to 400 and downtown.”

The cost of the bridge and Abernathy Road work is $18.5 million.

Another road project is the $8.6 million 3-mile Lower Roswell Road project expected to be complete in December 2013.

“It’s making some intersection improvements, it’s adding a multi-use trail on one side and a sidewalk on the other. It’s going from Parkaire Mall to the county line, putting a roundabout at Timber Ridge and Lower Roswell,” Ott said.

Then there is the widening of Cobb Parkway from Chattahoochee River toward Akers Mill Road, a project expected to be complete in December 2014. The road is being widened from four lanes to six.

A major problem for the Cumberland area has been the lack of residents to support a retail market, but Ott says that will change as a projected 1,500 people move there over the next few years. He believes Cumberland will average 300 to 400 upscale apartment units opening per year.

For the coming year, Ott said he intends to work with Lisa Cupid, who unseated Commissioner Woody Thompson and takes office in January, as they eye doing a master plan for the Cumberland area and for South Cobb Drive.

“We’ve talked to some of the folks in Smyrna about starting to look at potentially doing master plans over in the South Cobb area, working with Smyrna and the council,” Ott said.

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon said Ott is easy to work with.

“He’s very good about keeping us informed about issues that are going on,” Bacon said. “I’m pleased with Bob and what he’s done because he has kept us in the loop on almost everything.”
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mary kirkendoll
December 18, 2012
There is nothing that will get better in Smyrna, until the dictator (mayor) retires.

He showed his utter disdain & disrespect for citizens at last nights council meeting!

And he's also quoted that people rights should be thrown out the window.

I believe the mayor is having a mental breakdown!

Smyrna Guy
December 18, 2012
You seem to be the one headed for a breakdown with all your "foaming at the mouth" ranting and raving.

People can always find what they want in any situation. If you want to find the negative things then you will go looking for it. If you want to find good, you will seek that out as well. It is a shame we have so many "glass half empty" people.

I don't know if I have ever seen you post a positive comment. Activists seem to be a very angry and sad group of people.
mary kirkendoll
December 17, 2012
Ott, you speak of 'potentially' doing a master plan of South Cobb Drive? This is nothing but lip service to appease.

There are no businesses coming this way!!!!!- the area has been de-valued for just too long , now!

The mayor, Bacon, has been mayor for 26 years!

He has intentionally left that corridor to ruin.

Same w/ Windy Hill & the Spring Road corridor.

This is how it works 'round here,... if you are part of the 'clique',.. the 'country club',.. the 'mafia',... you & yours will be taken care of.

If you are nothing but a taxpaying citizen w/ no connections,.. your future in Smyrna is a roll of the dice.

You can tell a mans honesty when they look you in the eyes.

The mayor of Smyrna won't look me in the eyes.

Sad! Sad for the citizens that deserve better.
December 18, 2012
There you go again, MK. Bringing up your beloved Max--in an article written about Ott. I wouldn't look you in the eyes either, so on that Max is not alone. You really do have a crush on the man, don't you? Try yoga to get your mind on something other than Bacon.
JR in Mableton
December 17, 2012
I like Bob Ott.
December 17, 2012
To Ott Supporters-It must be nice living in lala land. He is nothing but a politican and nothing more and loves to throw his weight around in apects that you do not see. He chooses to walk over any county employee becuase he thinks he can. He just not found the right one to put him in his place.

I have voted against him over and over as with other east cobb and vinings residence.
Marietta Resident
December 17, 2012
Wheres the blurb on ole Bobbo's useless citizen oversight committee? Put it all together to try and find "overspending" only to find nothing. And to ignore the few things that could have been changed. Mr do nothing but complain because it gets me more votes. No ideas whatsoever.

Told by the committee that pay rates where too low for most employees and what does he do? Votes to keep them lower! Way to keep up morale!

Yeah Bob. Keep moving and shaking for East Cobb and Vinings(who wants to become part of Fulton! Wow thats low!). Those rich people sure do love you! Just what the world needs, another Republican that caters to the rich only. And they wonder why they lose to such a horrible president in the re-election.

Not everyone in Cobb makes 100K . Maybe you should worry about them a bit too?
December 17, 2012
Marietta Resident you sound like you don't like living in Cobb County. If things are so bad, please depart.

It sounds like that you are an unhappy Cobb Bureaucrat!
Marietta Resident
December 17, 2012

Moving to Cherokee county within the next 6 months! Hope everyone enjoys Cobb turning into the next Fulton(with all the taxpaying cities forming their own cities so they don't have to pay to fix up anywhere else). If you guys don't see the writing on the wall then you're insane. Bob is just setting himself up to be the next mayor of East Cobb or Vinings. He doesn't care about the people, just his further politcal career. I can't believe no one wanted to run against him and take that spot.
December 17, 2012
Glad to see you go, can we pack your bags?

Sounds to me like Ott is only doing what he was elected to do, represent District 2.
Too Little Too Late
December 17, 2012
The Johnson Ferry Bridge widening should have been the first project completed, before the unnecessary roundabout on Holly Springs Road and the left turn lane into Wendy's.

Someone needs to set priorities by need. Or, whoever decided on some of the other projects first needs to be fired.
December 17, 2012
I believe the JF bridge project is a Federal DOT project and not a county one. If i remember right, it took Senator Isakson to get the Fulton side together and then to get the dollars to make it happen. I don't believe it is a county project that they can have any influence over.
mary kirkendoll
December 17, 2012
...and let me add this.

I have numerous 'affluent' clients in Vinings. They ALL say, that if Smyrna ever tried to annex them,.. or change their city address to an unincorporated SMYRNA address ,.. they would FIGHT it.

As of now, Vinings is an Atlanta address.

The folks there say they would prefer to be annexed into Fulton county.

They want no connection to Smyrna. It hurts their home values.
mary kirkendoll
December 17, 2012
Yes, Bob, you have helped support the folks in (south)East Cobb & Vinings, as they are involved w/ protecting their neighborhood & community.

The citizens w/in the city limits are being kept in the dark & DON'T get involved!!

Businesses AVOID Smyrna. I think it's clear to say Max Bacon's plan for his city is a failed plan.

There is no information stream or outlet in Smyrna.

If the folks were INFORMED , they might get get more interested & ACTIVE.

As it stands ,... OUR tax money in Smyrna is Max's poker game money.

This city is approving new homes in the low 200,000's. (unlike East Cobbs 600 & 800's /Vimings 700's to 1 million). So where does that leave the 1,000's of ranch homes that SHOULD be fetching close to 200?

Leaves Smyrnas neighborhoods full of homes w/ NO value! 75,000-125,000- there is NOONE in Smyrna protecting our HOMES! Our most important investment!!


The town is looking more and more like a cheap circus!

Come see the ridiculous lights in fromt of the government kingdom.

$758,000 for 120 lights,.. then turn 1 block in any direction,.. and see poor conditions.

Belmont Hills ,.. toughted as this great mixed use, though now w/ 1,000 elementary school kids bused in daily,.. the ONLY approved building is an apartment building. The builder stated the money isn't even there to support a parking deck!

And where are you, Bob, w/ the 20 million dollar Concord Road SLUSH fund?

WHY did WE, the taxpayers, buy out a guy's car wash for $750,000,.. just for one single property along that roadway,..(that still sits empty & abandoned) . Altho' I did notice last week they chopped down 8 or 10 MORE big , glorious old oak trees --

There is NO HOPE for Smyrna, Bob,.. and I am sure you understand that.

I'm just asking for honesty from Smyrna.

The citizens DESERVE better!!!
Mary Quite Contrary
December 17, 2012
It is obvious you have an issue with where you have chosen to make your home. Maybe you should step up to the plate and work the system to fix it rather than rant at Bob Ott. East Cobb is the way it is because the community got involved years ago, before there was ever a Bob Ott on the scene. And the folks in Vinings have used the same play book. Get over yourself and DO something constructive.
December 17, 2012
Mary's idea of being constructive is obsessively complaining. She knows every tree that gets cut down and every rock that gets turned over, yet she is not informed? If I were the mayor, I would sue Mary for defamation of character with her constant character assaults. Oh, well, the major probably just takes her with a grain of salt if he even acknowledges her at all. (Someone needs to inform Mary that property values are down across the entire nation--not just Smyrna.)
Boot Bacon
December 17, 2012
Mary Quite Contrary - she's fighting a corrupt system. She can't fix it. Don't think you're clever by saying East Cobb is that way because of community involved. That's what she's been advocating for years.

anonymous - the property values in Smyrna are down (like every where else) plus some. The city is destroying itself.

And those lights on Atlanta Rd. Coney Island on acid.
Another AHA
December 17, 2012
Another Angry Hippie Alert... and based off the punctuation and structure, I think we may have seen this Angry Hippie post before (Smyrna Diesel post?). Aaaand, once again over your quota of Exclatmation Points of Feigned Indignation.

If this area is as bad as your comment indicates, I'm trying to figure out why you haven't moved. But once again, I'm not against you.. It is good for people to hold their government accountable... but please save the exclamation points, you're making them an endangered species!!!!!!!! :-)
Smyrna Guy
December 17, 2012
MK, Try this remedy to relieve your constant case of whining.

1. Load your belongings into a moving truck.

2. Head south on South Cobb Drive (South Atlanta Road is also an option) to I-285.

3. Head east on I-285 until you get to Hwy 78.

4. Turn inside the perimeter and proceed to your glorious Decatur.

5. Rejoice and count trees with the croissant and cappuccino crowd.

Do this immediately and it will make you and the rest of us feel better.

Enough already.

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