JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Planning Commission voted Nov. 7 to recommend denial of two rezoning cases that would bring 200 homes to State Bridge Road near Johns Creek High School.
The proposed devolvement, submitted by Atlanta-based developers The Providence Group, would convert six single-family homes spread across 19 acres to a 174-unit subdivision and a 4-acre undeveloped lot to a 34-unit subdivision. The units would be a mix townhomes and stacked townhomes.
The commissioners’ vote echoed the staff report, which recommended denial based on a lack of compatibility with the comprehensive land use plan and the impact on traffic, sewer systems, schools and the environment.
“We think it’s going to have a negative impact on adjacent properties,” City Planner Yang Chen said. “It’s much, much smaller than what’s surrounding it … However, if the applicant decided to propose single-family detached units of similar size and acreage, we think that the impact would be reduced.”
Six neighboring residents spoke in opposition to the developments, including representatives of the Glenhurst, Cameron Parc and Medlock Bridge homeowners associations.
“The citizens of Johns Creek who live around the proposed townhome development oppose the Providence Groups’s land-use petition to build 174 townhomes on State Bridge Road because the development does nothing to preserve the character of the existing residential neighborhoods in this area,” Glenhurst resident David Neuringer said.
Most of the property surrounding the proposed development is low-density, single-family homes. Across the street is a townhome community, Cameron Parc, and to the east is Johns Creek High School.
Kathy Zickert, an attorney with Smith, Gambrell and Russell representing The Providence Group, said that single-family homes were not an economically viable option for the land.
“These folks, also residents of Johns Creek, have been trying to sell their properties for over 10 years, and there has not been one single entity that has come forward to try to develop it for single-family detached product,” Zickert said.
She also said the issues raised as a negative public input were either not legally considerable in zoning cases or not enough to justify denial of the application.
According to the Providence Group, the majority of its clients are empty nesters in their 50s and 60s who would like to downsize while staying in the area, with a secondary interest in young families. The Providence Group has built several townhome communities across North Atlanta, including Merrimont, Abberley Towneship and Abbotts Bridge Place in Johns Creek in the early 2000s.
A community of mostly seniors would have less impact on traffic and schools, proponents of the development argued. However, the city staff challenged the assertion that the community would mostly service older couples, given the proximity to high quality schools and the lack of masters-on-main and the number of stairs in the floorplan.
State Bridge Road East, or zoning case RZ-18-006, is 19 acres with a requested zoning change from R-1, low density single-family homes, to a community unity plan district. The smaller property, State Bridge Road West, or RZ-18-007, would be a change from R-1 to a townhouse residential district. The latter is split from the others by a tract of land owned by the Medlock Bridge neighborhood.
The Johns Creek City Council will consider the rezoning petition Monday, Nov. 26 during its 7 p.m. meeting at the Municipal Court, 11445 Johns Creek Parkway.