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Alpharetta Council Gives Rucker Neighborhoods, Developer Time

A rezoning application for a 20-home subdivision off Rucker Road was tabled Monday night.

A developer and residents of two Rucker Road subdivisions have been given a chance to work out their differences about a zoning case before Alpharetta City Council votes on the proposed new subdivision.

David Hole, representing the development company he and his father own, presented a plan to build 20 homes on the 13 acres of the Cromen Ferguson property on Rucker Road. This is much less dense than the original 37-home subdivision originally proposed, and the 30-home plan the Alpharetta Planning Commission recommended be denied for zoning.

Rucker Road residents in this and other neighborhoods might want to attend tonight's public information meeting in which they can help plan the future for Rucker Road. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

"This plan has not been shown to the Planning Commission," said Kathi Cook of the Alpharetta Community Development Department, during Monday night's public hearing at City Hall.

The newest site plan did meet the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan for density, she said. Lot sizes would be 15,000 square feet.

City Council members said presenting a completely different plan than what the Planning Commission saw was one of the problems they had with the developer. Neighbors in adjacent subdivisions had no chance to examine the plans either.

Hole said "after a trip before Planning Commission that didn't go so well, we realized our plan wasn't really popular."

"We went back to the drawing board and stared over," Hole said. A "nearly new application" was submitted with 20 lots and a density of 1.5 units per acre, which he said was less than both Crabapple Chase and Spring Place subdivisions' density.

Homeowners in the neighboring subdivisions still had problems with the new plan, including placing a road only 10 feet from the property line, which puts the road next to some backyards.

Bob Williams, an engineer for the developers, told City Council the road was positioned that close to keep the creek crossing as perpendicular as possible, which was requested by city staff.

Garrett Smith, director of land acquisition for Pulte Homes, told City Council they plan to build homes with three-car garages and a minimum of 2,400 square feet of space. Price points will begin in the upper $300,000s, and go up to the low and middle $400,000s.

The homeowners associations for both Crabapple Chase and Spring Place hired attorney Wendy Butler to represent them in this zoning case after community meetings failed to be productive in their minds. She said none of her messages to Hole about the latest plan received responses.

Hole, on the other hand, said he received no calls from the 80 letters he said he mailed out with the new plan early this month, despite including his personal cell phone number.

Councilman D.C. Aiken told Hole there seemed to be some miscommunication between him and Butler.

"If we decide perhaps you and the homeowners' associations need to get together, and work out differences, would you be opposed to that," Aiken asked.

When Hole said he wanted to make sure the zoning isn't drawn out, Aiken responded that while he brought a plan that is more palatable than the previous plan, "We have a Planning Commission that you now have circumvented."

"Doesn't everybody have the right to look at the plan, and see how this affects me?" Butler asked.

Aiken said the Fergusons have owned their property as long as he's been in the area, and he grew up here.

"Just like Crabapple Chase and other subdivisions, there were animals, foxes, trees an everything. You all didn't seem to have a problem when your neighborhoods got built. The Fergusons lost those trees and animals...and that was OK," Aiken said.

The councilman said he didn't like how the new plan had been submitted, which didn't allow comment by neighbors beforehand.

"But if you are under the impression that nothing is going to happen and it's going to be park land, I suggest you talk to Mr. Ferguson to buy this property," Aiken said.

City Council tabled the rezoning application to give Hole and Butler to work out something that will please both sides. Councilman Mike Kennedy said he wanted to be at that meeting, and would like Kathi Cook also to attend.

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