Marietta denies request to build 206 rental units near Kennestone Hospital

A developer is pitching a mixed-use development for Marietta that would create more than 200 residential units.

Credit: City of Marietta

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A developer is pitching a mixed-use development for Marietta that would create more than 200 residential units.

Credit: City of Marietta

A mixed-use development project that received resident pushback will not move forward in Marietta.

SK Commercial Realty pitched a five-story residential building near Kennestone Hospital that would include more than 200 apartments and townhomes. Rob Hosack, the developer’s attorney, tried to sell the project as a draw for healthcare workers who want to walk to work, but the Marietta City Council didn’t see that as a viable argument, especially given the number of neighbors against the project.

“What stops (these units) from being rented by people who don’t work there (at Kennestone), and so your purpose will never be met,” Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson said during Wednesday’s council meeting. “... It appears to me that this is just hope. You’re hoping that the right people move there.”

The unnamed development project was proposed for 16 small parcels along North Avenue, Roselane Street and Burnap Street. The site, which is primarily vacant commercial property, spans less than three acres and is located about a half-mile away from Kennestone.

“It is striking how much vacant land is available for development in such a seemingly prime commercial and residential area,” the Cobb County-based developer said in paperwork submitted to the city.

The company’s vision included 206 units consisting of 10 two-story townhomes and studio, one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments. Roughly 14,000 square feet of medical office space was also included in the proposal.

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During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents spoke against the development, citing traffic, density and aesthetic concerns.

“It’s just kind of mindboggling to us that we could consider that many apartments on this small amount of land,” said Rick Springfield, who spoke on behalf of the property homeowners association for the nearby McLaren Gates Townhomes.

Janice Hoover, another resident, complained about the three variances requested by the developer. Marietta doesn’t allow mixed-use developments on tracts smaller than five acres and only 5% of mixed-use residential units can be rentals. The developer wanted to make every unit a rental.

“These are big asks,” Hoover said. “... There are no other developments in our neighborhood that are 100% rental. This is a complete reversal of the city’s ordinances.”

The council unanimously voted to deny the developer’s rezoning request, killing the project and receiving a round of cheers from those attending the meeting.