Isakson sues Cobb over denial of zoning change

Developer wants to build assisted living facility on 54 acres

Isakson Living, a company owned by Sen. Johnny Isakson’s son and brother, filed a lawsuit Thursday against Cobb County over the denial of it’s request for a rezoning that would allow it to build a huge assisted living facility along Roswell Road in East Cobb.

Wylene Tritt, whose family has owned the 54-acre tract for about 140 years, is also a plaintiff in the case. Tritt agreed to sell the property to Isakson Living on condition of the zoning change being approved.

County Commissioners denied the application in March, after the project was stalled before the Cobb Planning Commission for about two years.

The lawsuit alleges that the denial is unconstitutional and discriminatory against senior citizens, and says other nearby developments in the area are intensive uses such as retail, office and commercial.

Kevin Isakson called the county’s action “unconscionable given the intense development along” Roswell Road.

“Within close proximity to the subject property and along Roswell Road can be found major commercial centers, including … the Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center; and major retail … big box centers such as Home Depot and Target,” the lawsuit says.

A county spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company wants the zoning changed to a continuing care retirement community, which would offer homes, apartments and on-site facilities for dining, entertainment, fitness and health services to seniors age 62 and older.

“This property is going to be developed … so what are the realistic alternatives?” Isakson said in a prepared statement. “A senior community as proposed would generate the least traffic, would not put additional burdens on our schools and would fill a need for seniors in our community.”

The proposed complex would include 481 apartment units, 65 large single-family homes and a 75,000-square-foot fitness center. The rezoning was rejected by commissioners 3-2, with Bob Ott, JoAnn Birrell and Tim Lee voting against.

The suit will result in a mandatory mediation between the company and county officials. Ott said he would be personally involved.

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