Megachurch gets clearance to build residential development in East Cobb

Cobb County commissioners this week approved a residential development to be built around a North Point Ministries church along Shallowford and Johnson Ferry roads in Marietta. (Photo provided/Cobb County)
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Cobb County commissioners this week approved a residential development to be built around a North Point Ministries church along Shallowford and Johnson Ferry roads in Marietta. (Photo provided/Cobb County)

North Point Ministries, an Alpharetta megachurch with satellite locations across metro Atlanta, will erect a new worship center in East Cobb.

The church group’s eighth campus will be built adjacent to a subdivision and include up to 95 single-family homes and townhouses planned to be developed just off Johnson Ferry Road.

Cobb County leaders this week approved rezoning for the development after months of negotiations and public scrutiny.

The vote was 3-1 with Councilwoman Keli Gambrill opposing it and Council Chairwoman Lisa Cupid abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

The approval came during a Board of Commissioners zoning hearing Tuesday and included caps on density, traffic and the impervious surface area allowed in the new development.

Commissioners discussed the project during a Sept. 21 zoning hearing and decided to postpone their vote for a second time to give developers more time to find solutions for stormwater runoff and an increase in traffic cutting through surrounding neighborhoods.

ExploreCobb planning commission tells church developer to tweak plans

Kevin Moore, a Marietta real estate attorney, presented North Point Ministries’ plans to build a 130,000 square-foot church along Shallowford Road. The church would have classrooms, office space, multi-purpose activity rooms and a two-story parking deck with 437 spaces. It would be able to accommodate 1,249 parishioners.

Just south of the church property, developers hope to build a subdivision with 51 detached single-family residences and 44 townhouses. That’s nearly a quarter less than the 125 town homes included in the plan originally submitted to the county in December.

The new plan also includes the relocation of Waterfront Drive, an arterial road that cuts through the neighborhood. Developers would extend that road to Shallowford Road to give residents who live west of the subdivision direct access to Johnson Ferry Road, the main thoroughfare.

“North Point Ministries has cared quite deeply about trying to meet the community’s concerns and address those concerns with this development of 33 acres,” Moore said.

ExploreCobb County puts brakes on new church development with 125 residences

The subdivision is in East Cobb’s Johnson Ferry-Shallowford road corridor, and is subject to the so-called “JOSH” plan. Commissioners finalized and adopted the master plan in September 2020 as a blueprint for future development in the corridor.

Commissioner Jerica Richardson formed a community group and appointed three JOSH-area residents, who will create a floodplain map in the area. The group will also weigh in on the final site plan for the church and residential development.

The commissioner also required developers to devise a strategy to limit traffic from the new subdivision cutting through the existing neighborhood. Options included creating crosswalks or a four-way stop at the intersection of Waterfront Drive and Waterfront Circle, and restricting non-emergency access to the subdivision from the neighborhood routes.

Gambrill called the developer’s plan “speculative,” saying it continues to change so sporadically that it was unclear to her which details commissioners were considering Tuesday.

“I’m very surprised at how this is being handled,” she said. “It’s a little disappointing, with all the community work that’s being done.”

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