Residents, developer in legal dispute with Johns Creek await rezoning vote

An image of Chelsea Walk in Alpharetta, a townhouse community by The Providence Group. The Providence Group and nine property owners partnered in a lawsuit against Johns Creek in 2018 after City Council denied rezoning for new housing. Credit: Hyosyb Shin
Caption
An image of Chelsea Walk in Alpharetta, a townhouse community by The Providence Group. The Providence Group and nine property owners partnered in a lawsuit against Johns Creek in 2018 after City Council denied rezoning for new housing. Credit: Hyosyb Shin

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Johns Creek property owners and a home builder who teamed up to sue the city may see their rezoning dispute settled soon.

The Providence Group wants to build 128 detached single-family homes and townhouses on 24 acres of land along an area of State Bridge Road. The planning commission approved the plan Tuesday. City Council is scheduled to vote on rezoning for the project July 26.

The firm sued Johns Creek in 2018 after City Council denied rezoning at the State Bridge Road location for different styles of townhomes totaling 208 units on 23 acres of land. But if Johns Creek City Council approves rezoning for the new plan, the lawsuit could be resolved, according to the law firm representing The Providence Group and nine property owners who joined the litigation. The owners wanted to sell their land to the developer in 2018 if the rezoning was approved and still do today, paralegal Cathy Ellington with the Smith, Gambrell and Russell law firm said Thursday.

Litigation is still pending but the complainants were not seeking monetary damages in the lawsuit. They were protesting the denial of rezoning in 2018, Ellington said.

The developer’s current proposal has less housing, only five units per acre. The 2018 proposal was nearly nine units per acre. The developer is now seeking a zoning change for the property that would allow more residential density than is currently allowed.

Medlock Bridge Homeowners Association, which had concerns about the 2018 housing plan is on board with the new proposal, Treasurer Anne Harriman said during Tuesday’s planning commission meeting. Harriman said the organization collaborated with The Providence Group on the new plan.

The HOA owned a one-acre strip of land that it sold to the developer. The developer has agreed to build only single-family homes along a property line of the proposed subdivision which abuts Medlock Bridge subdivision, Harriman said Tuesday.

“Our primary concern was the protection of the homeowners who live along that boundary,” Harriman said.

The Providence Group also agreed to ensure the housing plan stands if the firm sells the development to another company, she added.

Nearly 500 of the 630 homeowners in the neighborhood replied to an online questionnaire on whether they approved the new plan and nearly all were in favor of it, Harriman said.

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