Undeveloped land stirs up controversy in Cobb
by Rachel Gray
March 05, 2014 04:00 AM | 5389 views | 4 4 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The rebounding economy is spurring new construction projects, which has housing developers and Cobb residents going toe-to-toe over slivers of undeveloped land.

At the most recent batch of rezoning hearings for the county, developer Richard Duncan of Kennesaw requested approval to build nine homes on 4.2 acres of land in northeast Cobb.

The original zoning would only allow for seven homes on the north side of Mountain Road. The nine homes would bring the density to about one home per half acre.

Duncan said the homes would have a minimum of 3,000 square feet of living space, with basements and three-car garages.

The homes would line a long court just on the east and north side, leaving adjacent neighbors in the existing subdivision to the west complaining their backyards would face a new road.

Five people who live in the Highland Ridge subdivision appeared before the Cobb Planning Commission on Tuesday morning to oppose the construction plan.

Most of the complaints were concerns about light pollution from more street lamps, the extra traffic created by the new families and a loss of a scenic view overlooking a mostly undeveloped lot.

“Currently, we have a full cityscape view that is unblocked,” said Kelley Reis, who lives on the far north side of Outlook Way, which is a horseshoe-shaped road that encircles the property being rezoned.

With the new houses being built along a ridge, Reis wanted a stipulation added to the plans that would require homes butting against the back of her property to be one-story. A larger elevation of a two-story home would allow the new residents to peer into Reis’ pool area.

Unsafe traffic


Many of the opponents said the narrow, curvy Mountain Road is unsafe for any more vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

“The curves are extremely blind,” said Reis, and the new court would be built at a point where Mountain Road bends, between the two entrances for Outlook Way.

Residents also said the intersection down Mountain Road at Sandy Plains Road is a safety concern when trying to turn left.

The petitioners wanted any action by the Planning Commission delayed for a month, saying they only received a letter from the developer a month before the public hearing.

Planning Commissioner Christi Trombetti, who represents the area, said the two weeks until the Board of Commissioners meeting is enough time for the residents to discuss with Duncan the personal concerns and “my-back-yard issues.”

Other than that, it is a “straight-forward application,” Trombetti said. “This is not controversial in my mind.”

However, she said concerns from residents are common when the last piece of undeveloped property is sold in a residential area.

The board unanimously recommended, 5-0, to approve the new development, with the Cobb Board of Commissioners scheduled to have final say March 18.

No opposition to

senior living

Another small portion of land in south Cobb had an easier time getting the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation for approval.

Marietta resident Skip Harper said he has been wanting to broker a deal with the owners of a prime location for more than 25 years.

Finally, the owners of the Oliver Bridges estate, on the east side of Hicks Road south of Pioneer Trail, are ready to sell, Harper said.

The site in south Cobb would have 42 detached, single-family homes on the eastern side of the land, resulting in a density of 2.1 units per acre. The one-story homes with two-car garages would be priced between $230,000 and $280,000.

Eight acres of open space on the western portion would create a passive park, including a trail system and picnic area with 30-year-old pine trees.

Harper just completed a development of ranch homes for seniors called Cobblestone Ridge off Barrett Parkway.

Even though the plot discussed Tuesday would not be zoned as residential senior living, the development would be marketed to “active adults 55 and older.” But, 20 percent of the homes, or eight spots, may be purchased by buyers younger in age.

“We will be building to easy living standards,” with wider doorways and entrances without steps, Harper said.

He said there would not be a significant impact on traffic flow and the yards would be maintained by the homeowners association.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 06, 2014

This "I am entitled to tell my neighbor what to do with their property" mindset is unbelievable---but very pervasive these days. All of these people who are complaining have a decision to make, they can move somewhere else or not.

FYI to ding bats...if you want to maintain the view you have, you better buy all of the property around you that comprises the view that you want to have.
Cobb Res Forever
March 05, 2014
Some people are indescribable. Kelley Reis wants the developer to build only "one story" homes so as not to "obstruct her view" and so residents of the new homes won't be able to "peer into Reis" pool area." And oh, don't forget that "curvy" road. We certainly do not want people on curvy 2 lane, residential roads in Cobb County! Better to have a straight, residential road so you can get up more speed.

Do these people really think that vacant land near their homes will always stay vacant to make them happy? And the homes average out to being on 1/2 acre lots. Most homes being built in Cobb, even the $500,000 homes, are being built on 1/4 acre lots. And this Reis worries about traffic from a dead end street with 7 homes. I hope Reis does not travel much around that section of Cobb. They would be astounded!
March 07, 2014
Don't you people have something better to do them comment on an article about a place that you do not live in? In highland pointe and highland ridge they are cramming houses in wherever they can, filling it up to ridiculous proportions. Many times I have seen children nearly hit on that "curvy road" and I am sure if you could afford a pool you wouldn't want people sitting in their bathrooms starring at you sunbathing either. Dummies. The homeowners have a point and the roads are extremely dangerous-Kiki
Kelley Reis
March 07, 2014
The press is very good at taking excerpts of conversation and spinning it into a perception that takes the points out of context. First, I need to point out that of the homeowners who were present, NONE of us objected to the development, each of us were supportive of the subdivision. There were questions and concerns, which we discussed with the developer Mr. Duncan, and we were very pleased with his willingness to compromise and openness to discussion addressing our concerns. Privacy and views were absolutely a point of topic, it is important to point out that it was Mr. Duncan who actually suggested that the ranch style, one story homes be built on the back lots, not only because those lots were best suited for those houses (which he had planned to build already), but also in consideration of protecting the cityscape views of the Highland Ridge homeowners. Mountain Rd is a very narrow road with out curbing and consistent sidewalks. Also, with the recent addition of over 40 new homes off Mountain Rd, both pedestrian and motor traffic has increased, the curves are blind, speed is an issue, thus the increase in safety concern. Mr. Duncan is fully aware of these issues, and being so, he has positioned the entrance of the new subdivision further back to allow for further sight distance, and will be connecting the existing sidewalks, as well as providing ample lighting. And to address my pool-Is it outlandish to ask for landscaping or green screening to protect the privacy of a pool when the direct sight vision of a new home being built would be peering directly into a private backyard pool with children swimming? Im sure if it were your children, you may speak differently. None of the homeowners, including myself were oblivious to the fact these lots would eventually be developed, and again, I stress, we were not objecting to the development, merely asking if it were feasible to keep the property zoned as it was and build within its current zoning structure.
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