Cobb Commission roundup: Braves liaison, open space zoning, parks

The Cobb County Commission took several notable actions at its regular Tuesday meeting in regards SunTrust Park, parks and a controversial zoning category.

Braves liaison

Michael Murphy, the chairman’s assistant for special projects, was appointed the county’s official liaison to The Atlanta Braves. There is no additional financial compensation for the role.

Murphy will be tasked with ensuring both sides live up to the development agreement signed by the county and the team for the construction of SunTrust Park and The Battery.

“It’s a lot of moving parts,” said Chairman Mike Boyce. “That’s why the board wants to be kept informed about the Braves stadium.”

Boyce said Murphy would help coordinate everything from “how we’re going to pay for the $14 million” the county has agreed to pay the team for infrastructure, to complaints about fireworks late at night.

In the past, this role has been filled by the county manager. Cobb recently appointed an interim county manager after long-time manager David Hankerson retired last month.

“Far be it for me to speak for the county manager, but I know from my perspective that if I had the day-to-day responsibility for almost 5,000 employees, I would say that his plate is not only full but probably running over,” Murphy said. “Whatever I do representing Cobb, I have the opportunity to share of course with the county manager as well as the commissioners.”

Murphy has previously served as head of the Austell Community Task Force and was Commissioner Lisa Cupid’s appointment to the library board.

Open Space Communities 

The board voted to suspend the acceptance of new applications seeking to rezone property as an Open Space Community (OSC), a zoning category that has come under fire from some residents.

While OSC is intended to encourage developers to leave large green spaces undeveloped, critics say it has become a tool for subverting limits on density.

The freeze, which does not apply retroactively to applications that have already been submitted, will remain in place until September 1 or the until the board approves amendments to the code.

Community Development Director Dana Johnson said he expected to hold public hearings on proposed changes in June and July.

“We need to work this out so we can have a little more smoother process,” said Commissioner Bob Weatherford.

Commissioner Bob Ott echoed Weatherford.

“The initial intent [of the OSC category] and what’s happening now are kind of different, so I think a change is definitely necessary,” Ott said.


Representatives from the tenacious Cobb Parks Coalition were also in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, demanding the county fund the full $40 million voters approved in 2008.

Chairman Boyce revealed that the county has already approached property owners, but that it was not in a position to negotiate. The county is barred by law from paying more than the appraised value, he said.

“We’re doing our best,” Boyce said. “We’ve come up with the money but ultimately it’s in the hands of the land owner if they’re going to accept our offer or not … We’re having some issues right now with some property owners.”

Find the full agenda here.


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