Townhome project in Stonecrest gets nod despite residents’ concerns

This is a rendering of townhomes that could come to Stonecrest.
Caption
This is a rendering of townhomes that could come to Stonecrest.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

The planning commission voted 3-1 to recommend the rezoning application, which will soon go before the City Council

A controversial townhome project in Stonecrest received a nod of approval from planning commissioners in spite of resident concerns about traffic and density.

Ray of Hope Christian Church Disciples of Christ is trying to build 73 townhomes at 4700 Browns Mill Road. The nearly 25-acre property is currently zoned for a similar residential project with the caveat that it must be a senior housing development. The church is trying to remove that condition.

Attorney Michele Battle, who represents the church, said developers are not interested in building a senior housing project on the site, since the property has sat vacant since 2005. She said the church can’t keep sitting on valuable property.

“This property has the ability to produce income that will allow for the church to continue its missions within this community,” Battle said during a Stonecrest Planning Commission meeting Nov. 9. “... Trust me, if we could get it (a senior housing project), we would do it. That’s what the vision was, but that has not proven to be fruitful after 16 years.”

ExploreStonecrest townhome project gets recommendation despite resident complaints

Developers can currently build up to 112 senior apartments, but the church’s new vision for the land includes farmhouse-style townhomes and park amenities. Battle said they hope each unit will sell for at least $250,000. The project also requires the townhomes’ buyers to participate in a homeowner’s association.

Caption
A rendering of the project site.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

A rendering of the project site.
Caption
A rendering of the project site.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Several residents voiced their opposition to the church’s plan. Bola Tolase said she’s concerned the property could be prone to flooding, given a creek cuts through its northwest corner.

“I’m concerned that innocent people and first-time homebuyers are going to buy homes unaware of the history of the land, even though they might have flood insurance,” she said. “When you have a lot of flooding, insurance can only cover so much.”

Battle said the project would be compliant with all floodwater requirements and would include retention ponds.

Residents also raised concerns about traffic along nearby Snapfinger Road. Battle said the Georgia Department of Transportation advised them to only allow right-turn access to and from the property to improve safety and limit traffic. Neighbors remained skeptical that the plan would stop drivers from making left turns anyway.

The Planning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend the church’s plan. Commissioner Cheryl Moore-Mathis was the lone dissenter, citing resident pushback as the reason for her vote.

Next, the project will go before the Stonecrest City Council, who will decide whether to grant the church’s application.

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