ALPHARETTA, Ga. —On Jan. 28, city leaders denied a request from developers of Alpharetta’s Tech Village to extend the time they have to seek building permits for some 276 apartments before the site reverts back to its previous zoning.
TPA Group had requested the City Council consider changes to conditions granted in 2017 on the mixed-use development at Haynes Bridge and Lakeview Parkway. In addition to an 18-month time extension, TPA Group had also proposed eliminating plans for an 8-story hotel on the site.
The original plan approved by the City Council in May 2017 provided that the apartment element of the mixed-use development file for building permits by May of this year or the land would revert back to its earlier zoning that allowed for-sale residential. The developers had originally sought to move that deadline to July of 2020, but they said Monday they could be ready by December of this year.
Attorney Don Rolader, representing the developers, said the owners had named North American Properties as the master developer for the project. North American was the firm behind development of Alpharetta’s Avalon, the mixed-use development on Old Milton Parkway at Ga. 400.
Rolader said Tech Village is a $250 million project “ready to go,” but in order to achieve its full potential, he asked that the deadline for apartment building permits be extended.
Richard Munger, partner and senior vice president in residential development with North American Properties, said a quality project takes time to design.
“The current May 27 date can be made, but it would not be in the best interest of the development nor would it be in the best interest of the city for us to push through and make that current date,” Munger said.
Tech Village, he said, has assembled a “dream team” of designers who understand that every detail matters in delivering a quality development the city can be proud of.
“It just takes time to get everything right,” Munger said, adding that the apartments are restricted to one- and two-bedroom units.
Members of the City Council, however, indicated they were in no mood to accommodate the project, which had been approved by a previous council.
Mayor Jim Gilvin pointed out that North American Properties had originally proposed no apartments in its second phase at Avalon when it came before the City Council for zoning approval in 2012.
Rolader, who worked with North American on that phase of the Avalon project, said he also recalled there were no apartments contained in the original plan in 2012. Ultimately, the second phase plan called for 275 apartments.
Councilman Jason Binder said he was concerned that the city has no shared document with the developer that specifically details the site plans. He said apartments are one thing, but for the city to move forward on a project without a finalized detailed plan both sides can agree upon is asking too much.
One resident, Martine Zurinskas, spoke against allowing the extension, saying city officials must respect the original conditions placed on the development.
“These conditions were put in place for the two-year timeline for a reason,” said Zurinskas, a member of the Alpharetta Planning Commission. “And to protect the city, residents and community, we need to respect those.”
The council voted 6-1 to deny the request, with Councilman Donald Mitchell opposed.
In his dissent, Mitchell said the horror suggested that the apartments at Avalon would flood the school system with students has proven false. The result has been fewer than a dozen students were added to classrooms because of the Avalon apartments, he said.