ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell has approved an application for development of a daycare center on Crabapple Road, just south of East Crossville Road.
The request passed by a narrow 4-3 vote following two hours of discussion at the Sept. 14 City Council meeting.
Debate centered on whether one of the city’s busiest intersections could support additional traffic during rush hours. The city’s Transportation Master Plan reports almost 70,000 vehicles use the intersection daily, roughly 20 percent of them on Crabapple Road. The figures are from a 2017 traffic study.
Council members said traffic backups are routine along Crabapple near the intersection.
Attorney Ed Tate, representing Roswell-Crabapple LLC, said the site at 10901 Crabapple Road is ripe for development and that a daycare would provide one of the least obtrusive uses on traffic. Outside of a cemetery, he said, there aren’t many other businesses that generate fewer trips.
The application has been batted about for more than two months. In August, the City Council voted to delay a decision until the developers met with nearby homeowners who had raised concerns about additional traffic and noise. Residents said they feared additional backups on Crabapple would make entering and exiting their neighborhoods more dangerous than it already is.
Several residents spoke Sept. 14, saying an Aug. 27 neighborhood meeting with developers had not allayed their fears.
Tate said the daycare, Kiddie Academy, plans an enrollment of 167 children, ranging from infant to 4 years old, and would have 20 people on staff.
He said the daycare franchise has a standard practice of staggering times for drop-off and pick-up so vehicle visits are spread out in the mornings and evenings. Staggering patron visits is “a tried and true method of traffic control,” Tate said.
In total, he said, the daycare would add 169 vehicle trips a day to Crabapple, assuming some of the vehicles would not have taken the road en route to work anyway.
Tate also said plans call for altering the curb on the south side of the entrance to allow smooth right turns off Crabapple into the facility.
Councilman Marcelo Zapata proposed the daycare should alleviate the threat of backups by adding a right-turn lane along the front of the property into the driveway.
However, Roswell Deputy Director of Transportation Robert Dell-Ross said adding the turn lane would be classified as a system improvement, and the city would have to bear the cost. In addition, he said the lane would extend the property frontage, about 200 feet, and would not be adequate to serve much in the way of a deceleration lane.
Dell-Ross said staff recommendations call for the daycare to provide a morning and evening traffic officer to ensure safety and address any congestion at the entrance. The developer has already agreed to install a solid 6-foot privacy fence and add vegetation as a noise buffer to surrounding neighborhoods.
Council members Mike Palermo and Christine Hall voted against the proposal. Casting the decided vote, Mayor Lori Henry joined council members Matt Judy, Matthew Tyser and Marie Willsey in favor.