Residents aren’t pleased with the pivot. They’d rather see restaurants, shops or greenspace than a residential project that they said won’t immediately benefit them.
“If the owners want to develop, let them do it under the current zoning,” Harold and Patricia Smith wrote the commission.
The townhome project would consist of two- to three-bedroom units that vary between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet. The buildings will be two stories tall and include a garage. Battle said the townhomes will likely sell in the upper $200,000s.
“Some of the things that allow commercial development to come into a community is seeing new development come in from a residential context, particularly at a higher price point,” Battle said.
Residents worried the project wouldn’t be upscale enough to attract residents who might spur developers to bring retail and restaurants to their area. Resident Faye Coffield criticized the developer for not making it a gated community and not including many amenities, such as a clubhouse or pool.
“We should stop just taking whatever anybody brings to us and start looking at what is best for the community,” Coffield said. “This is not best for the community.”
Battle said the townhome project would generate roughly half as much traffic as the proposed 25,000-square foot shopping center that never got off the ground. The project was going to include more than 90 townhomes before the developer heard residents’ concerns, but both residents and members of the planning commission remain worried about density and traffic.
“If you have ever, ever been on Thompson Mill Road at 2:30 p.m., you would see traffic like you’ve never seen before,” Commissioner Joyce Walker said.
Walker and the other commissioners asked the developer to consider conducting a traffic study, and Battle said she’d mention that to her client.
“We have done everything we can to show that this will be a quality community,” she said.
City planning staff back the project with the contingency that the developer create a mandatory home owners association for the community. The planning commission, which makes zoning recommendations to the Stonecrest City Council, decided to take more time before making a decision. They voted 4-1 to table it until a later meeting, with Commissioner Cheryl Moore-Mathis being the lone dissenter.