The Cumberland Community Improvement District is moving ahead with a master plan that will outline what kind of potential zoning and infrastructure changes need to be made to support future redevelopment in its core area.
In March, the Cobb Board of Commissioners gave the CID the green light to move forward with hiring a consultant to design such a plan. Commissioner Bob Ott expects 1,100 apartment units will be built in the heart of the Cumberland district over the next couple years.
“We’re bringing in 1,100 apartments, so that’s going to have a more than likely positive ripple effect on the area,” Ott said.
County leaders could wait for development to unfold naturally and see what comes of it, Ott said.
“Or you sit down ahead of time with some of the property owners and business owners and say, ‘Where do we want to be as we move forward with continuing to improve the area or grow the area or stuff like that,’ because if you think about it, it’s a pretty significant change that’s getting ready to happen with the 1,100 apartments,” he said.
For some time, developers like CID board member Barry Teague have been eyeing the parking lot sprawl that surrounds areas like Cumberland Mall and the 50-acre Akers Mill Square. Teague has said ideally the mall’s parking lot would be developed into housing, with parking moved into decks as was done at Perimeter Mall.
A study is needed to tell them how to go about such development, CID Chairman Tad Leithead said.
“We have a vision for enhanced density, but we absolutely don’t know the details, and we haven’t studied zoning categories required,” Leithead said.
The consultant, who will be chosen through a request for qualifications process, will be paid for by the CID, although the cost and timeline remain unknown at this point, Leithead said.
So far Ott has completed master plans for the Johnson Ferry Corridor, the Powers Ferry Corridor and Vinings.
They have each taken more than a year to complete, but have been worth the effort, Ott said.
“The three hottest areas in District 2 are where the three plans are,” Ott said. “The reason I think that they’re so successful is it tells the development community exactly what the community is interested in having there, and it gives them a guideline as to how to work with the community; because one of the big unknowns for a developer is ‘We have this great idea, well, what’s the community reaction going to be?’”