(Source: Newnan Times-Herald: http://times-herald.com/news/2017/02/city-approves-rezoning-for-new-development)
Newnan’s newest live-work-play community has gotten the green light.
After a public hearing during its regular meeting last week, the Newnan City Council voted to approve the rezoning of nearly 41 undeveloped acres to allow for the proposed Village Square at Newnan Crossing.
he proposed development would include 300 apartments, 35 townhouse units, 140 senior adult housing units, 270,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space, as well as nearly 21 acres for a city park and nearly two acres of community plaza space.
“Mixed-use zoning would be suitable, given what’s already existing in this area,” said Tracy Dunnavant, the city’s planning and zoning director.
The Newnan Planning Commission recommended against the rezoning in January, citing concerns about traffic, impact on local schools and whether the city would be willing to accept the gift of land for a park.
Results from a community impact study conducted by the applicants indicated that the development would not negatively affect the surrounding area, Dunnavant said.
The Coweta County School System’s enrollment in lower grades is on the decline, which would mean an increase in school-age population would not require school expansion. Emergency services and utilities have indicated they can absorb the increase as well, according to Dunnavant.
“This offers us a better opportunity to do something beautiful and special with this,” applicant David Edwards said during the public hearing portion of the council meeting. “We want to create something pedestrian-friendly, and that seems to be resonating with the community.”
Edwards said the city park would be for all residents, particularly those on the east side of the city.
“It can be programmed by the city to host events all year round,” he said.
The gated apartment community would be home to 300 units renting for $800-2,200 per month, a cost of $1.25 per square foot, according to Edwards. The complex would look like a “big house” from the street with three-story walkup units enclosed, 12 units to the acre, he said.
“It will have a clubhouse with leasing and business centers, a dog park, walking trails, a pool and a fitness center,” he said. “It will be highly amenitized, a top-drawer offering.”
Not every member of the community is thrilled with the plan, however. Gloria Porter, a nearby homeowner, spoke out against the development.
“I was elated when the planning commission rejected the proposal,” she said at the hearing. “They are not addressing the traffic that’s going to spill over.”
Porter also said she’s concerned about the noise when the land is cleared.
“I want to live, work and play, but I want to do it quietly,” she said. “That beast of an interstate creates so much noise, and I’m concerned that if they take down all those trees it will be worse. I think instead of a park, it would be better to build a soundproofing wall to block some of that noise from the interstate.”
Edwards said that while he appreciates Porter’s point, the noise was an existing condition when her home was built and purchased and that he thinks the development will actually help.
“It’s my opinion that once the buildings are constructed, they will deflect noise better than some 10-year-old pines would,” he said.
In a 4-2 vote, the council approved the rezoning, accepted the land for a city park, declined ownership of existing stormwater ponds on the site and ensured right-of-way for a proposed master pathway system.
“It would come right through where you are,” Mayor Keith Brady said. “One of the most important components is a walking bridge across I-85. We’re happy to accommodate you all we can, but we’d like some additional assurance that when we get ready to build that bridge you’ll be willing to work with us.”
“The pathway system will be a phenomenal amenity, and easy to accommodate,” Edwards said. “We want to work with the city.”