Approved more than three years ago but never built, mixed-use development Venable Hall received changes Thursday for a more residentially-focused plan.
The site that fronts Hwy. 9 and Castleberry and Majors roads has been divided among developers, with Front Door Properties acquiring 173 of the original 243 acres in the plan.
The developer sought zoning condition amendments and a variance from Forsyth County to reduce commercial space from 25 percent to 10 percent of the total project.
County commissioners voted 4-0, with Chairman Pete Amos recused, to grant the changes requested.
Amos recused himself from the vote because he owns property that was rezoned with the original master planned district.
Marietta-based Front Door plans to build 326 single family homes and 94 town homes, for a total of 420 units, on the 173-acre site, as well as 184,000 square feet of commercial space.
The original 243-acre plan, approved in September 2009, called for 727 residential units and nearly 1.1 million square feet of commercial space.
Attorney Joshua Scoggins, who represents Front Door, said the result of the changes would be less density, even when factoring in the homes requested for the neighboring site.
SR Homes has a pending rezoning application for 125 homes on 55 acres that was formerly part of the Venable Hall plan.
“When you look at this in conjunction with an adjacent project,” Scoggins said, “you have a net reduction in density of 183 units and the commercial is reduced by almost 900,000 square feet.”
The plan also calls for nearly 40 acres of open space and about a dozen park areas, he noted.
A condition, which in the 2009 plan limited the amount of homes that could be constructed before retail space, has been removed.
Commissioner Todd Levent, who represents the development’s District 3, added a condition to the approval that an 8-foot privacy fence be built behind the commercial component prior to construction.
The requirement was in response to Majors Road residents who spoke against the plan.
Two residents expressed concerns about light and noise pollution from the development, but primarily with the entrance and exit adding traffic onto the two-lane road.
Forsyth’s engineering director, John Cunard, said the developer will have to make road improvements as determined by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which detailed those conditions in a two-page report.
The report includes requirements for turn lanes at major intersections.