April 14, 2017 — Metro Atlanta pregame traffic looking northwest toward the SunTrust Park stadium. I-285 is to the left and I-75 is to the right. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Bob Andres/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cobb 2040 plan to address growth heads to vote amid some pushback

A state-mandated plan to guide Cobb’s future growth and development is headed to the County Commission for a vote Friday.

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan will update the county’s goals in a number of crucial areas such as land use, transportation, housing, economic development, natural resources and public safety. The planning document is intended to help shape policy and contains no budget or implementation mechanism.

Among other things, the draft plan emphasizes concentrating growth in activity centers, expanding public transit and addressing housing affordability.

“We're going to have to address the traffic issues here and the document reflects our openness to look at all options,” said County Chairman Mike Boyce. 

As for housing affordability, Boyce said the plan “signals that we're aware of the issue,” but “it doesn’t tell us exactly how we're going to solve it.”

Cobb’s explosive population growth of the past few decades is expected to slow, but the county will continue to add residents. Currently home to about 800,000 people, Cobb’s population is projected to reach 885,000 by 2040, with the number of adults 65 or older doubling. 

Reactions to the proposed plan were mixed.

Carol Brown of Canton Road Neighbors said many of the proposals were “common sense” measures to ensure that the county’s development patterns are adequately supported by its infrastructure. 

“A lot of it is aspirational in nature and just not going to happen for various political reasons,” she added.

Brown pointed to proposed wildlife corridors as an example of a good intention that’s not likely to come to fruition.

Others were concerned. 

State Rep. Ed Setzler said the plan encouraged denser development than appropriate for Cobb.

“I think you have ideologically progressive interests who dream of more high density developments where people can be pushed to use mass transit as a way of accomplishing their political objectives, as well as real estate interests who stand to make millions,” Setzler said.

Cobb Community Development Director Dana Johnson called the assertion that the county is increasing density a “false premise.”

“The acceptable zoning in the 2030 Plan is nearly identical to that contained in the draft 2040 Plan,” Johnson wrote in an email.

Friday’s meeting was rescheduled from last week due to Tropical Storm Irma.

Other items on Friday’s agenda include approving a FY18 budget and approving former Channel 2 Action News’ reporter Ross Cavitt as the county’s new spokesperson.