Alpharetta approves downtown neighborhoods

‘Pipe farms’ to start development

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Two empty, partially completed properties near downtown Alpharetta may finally begin construction. Alpharetta Council approved projects for the “pipe farms” along both sides of Canton Street at their Nov. 18 meeting.

These two neighborhoods come as the city is seeking to increase residential density downtown, providing more of a “live-work-play” atmosphere, where residents can walk to city events, which are held most weeks throughout the year.

“There is a desire to add density downtown,” said Community Development Deputy Director Kathi Cook.

Olmstead Park townhomes will be 21 homes on 2.3 acres of property. In 2006, it was zoned for townhomes, but after the market crashed and the developer failed to make any improvements, the zoning reverted to the previous zoning.

The downtown master plan calls for residential in that area.

Alpharetta Community Development Director Richard McLeod said the proposed plan is the same as was given before. There will be six buildings facing Canton Street and five facing Church Street.

An interior street will be made private, meaning the property owners – in this case, a homeowners’ association (HOA) – will be responsible for its upkeep rather than the city. Given the small amount of residents the property will likely have, this worried council – maintaining roads is no small feat.

“We don’t want to come back in 15 years to redo the roads,” said Mayor David Belle Isle.

In their vote, council unanimously approved the project, including that the adjoining streets of Trailer Street/ Lily Garden Terrace be paved from their current gravel status. They also confirmed that the HOA would be responsible for upkeep of the roads.

At the same time, council approved a residential project across the street – The Georgian.

This project was in a similar limbo as Olmstead Park, sitting as a pipe farm for the past several years. It was previously approved for 43 townhomes, although the applicant came back asking for 54 on 5.4 acres of property. It would also feature private roads that would be maintained by the HOA.

Seventeen of these units would face Canton Street.

The council unanimously approved the development.

Also at the meeting:

A new housing development was finally approved for 4.48 acres of land on Vaughan Drive. It will have 36 townhomes.

Previously zoned for offices, the property is bordered on three sides by residential properties and one side by other offices and commercial. The landowners have tried repeatedly over the past several months to get homes approved on the lot, only to be repeatedly politely turned down.

Third time is the charm, apparently. It was approved 4-3.

The difference this time over last was the addition of some parkland to the development. That swung Councilmember D.C. Aiken, who had repeatedly voted against the proposal.

“There is green space and [the development] is smaller,” Aiken said. “It’s not a lot, but it’s enough.”

In his motion for approval, Councilmember Mike Kennedy raised the development.

“I think that this particular product is a better looking product that you’ve brought back,” Kennedy said. “I think this is a fit for that location.”