Alpharetta City Council Settles Zoning Dispute By Picking a Site Plan
After a few homeowners rejected a third site plan for a Rucker Road subidivsion since the Planning Commission heard the rezoning request, council members picked a plan that didn't move a road quite so much.
No one was likely to be completely happy about the final decision by Alpharetta City Council over a proposed subdivision, but both the developer and neighbors of the development walked away with something they wanted.
The result was approval of a 20-home subdivision with lots sizes of at least 15,000 square feet (R-15 zoning), with improvements to Rucker Road in front of the subdivision adding left turn lanes. An increased landscape buffer to separate the new and existing subdivisions was a part of the compromise reached after City Councili tabled the zoning decision on Feb. 25.
For the residents of Spring Place and Crabapple Chase subdivisions, increasing a landscape buffer around the Cromen-Ferguson property on Rucker Road to 20 feet wide that will be planted with a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees was a gain.
The developer also agreed to install left turn lanes for the new subdivision and St. Thomas Aquinas Church, which is across Rucker Road from the property.
An interior road that has to span a stream on the property will be moved farther from the property line, which was the goal of the Spring Place homeowner whose property is next to the part of the new subdivision where the road nearly touched the property line
City Council members weren't pleased with either the developer or the Spring Place homeowners – and their attorney, Wendy Butler – who came to the March 18 meeting having seemingly taken a step back in their compromise.
While a Spring Place homeowner got what he wanted with moving the road away from his property line, he rejected that site plan because it would have lots with houses on them abutting his backyard.
The developers, Bill and David Hole, were on the receiving end of council member's displeasure because they said a site plan that was just three weeks old no longer would work, even though they submitted it to the city.
"It seems like the issue here tonight is for one person," said Bill Hole. "And the road did go over toward his house and [headlights] shined in, and that was a big issue for him and I can understand that."
Hole said the third site plan did what the Spring Place homeowner asked, which was to move the road away from his proerty line.
That homeowner, Rick McGilliviray, said his understanding from the first of two meetings held since Feb. 25 was that the subdivision's interior road would be moved, but not as much as what was shown in the third site plan submitted. That plan moved lots against the Spring Place property line, and added a 21st lot.
Councilman D.C. Aiken directed his ire to all the parties in the compromise after they seemed to reach agreement, only to lose that at the last minute.
"Ms. Butler, I will tell you that I don't appreciate this last second issue," he said, referring to the news that one of her clients apparently made up his mind to reject the compromise on Monday.
At the same time, he let the developers know they weren't making him too happy, either, after rejecting a site plan they submitted to the city just a few weeks earlier.
"They were fine with that, and say, 'Well, now that doesn't work.' What changed? Three weeks ago, that plan was fine."
Councilman Mike Kennedy had asked the developer if they could still develop follwing the site plan submitted March 4 to the city. His motion to approve the zoning request requires the developers to use that plan.
Council approved the rezoning 6-1, with Councilman Michael Cross voting against it.