Forsyth County Commission Chairman Pete Amos hopes the plans for a luxury apartment complex near Cumming will spark some positive growth in an area that’s been called stagnant.
The commission on Thursday approved the sketch plat for a 152-unit complex on a site zoned for high density residential on North Old Atlanta Road.
The vote was 3-1, with Commissioner Todd Levent opposed and Commissioner Brian Tam absent on account of an Association County Commissioners Georgia meeting.
The property was rezoned to multi-family residential in 2000 to allow for townhomes.
Roberts Properties Residential filed for a site development permit in 2009 to build 154 condominiums, but work never began.
Since the site had the zoning, the owner needed only to file for sketch plat approval, which has less stringent requirements than a rezoning.
Attorney Ethan Underwood said the change in plan would allow the developer to build the apartment complex plan with several conditions worked on with neighbors instead of condominiums.
“The only condition that’s affecting this property says you’ve got to tell people that there might be a smell from the chicken plant downtown,” Underwood said. “There’s no restrictions on building materials, construction requirements … It’s just a raw zoning, and a lot of flexibility for things that the county may not want.”
Neighbors in Manchester Court and Manchester Park spoke in favor of apartments, stating that their suggestions and concerns had been incorporated into the plans.
A stone-pillar gated entrance, increased open space and exterior aesthetic requirements were among the conditions included in the complex.
The units will all have minimum 9-foot tall ceilings, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, Underwood said.
Most of the units will feature two bedrooms, at a minimum 1,200 square feet. But the complex will also include one-bedroom units with at least 850 square feet and three-bedroom units with at least 1,300 square feet.
Underwood said the plan should have less impact on schools than town homes, which would have included three or four bedrooms each.
The developer hopes the complex will attract employees of the nearby Northside Hospital-Forsyth, he said.
Residents near the site also said the area west of Ga. 400 near them hasn’t seen development in years.
They felt the complex would make a positive impact on the area.
Amos, the district representative, said the sketch plat changed the plans from an average town home development to a “class-A apartment project.”
“This area has been slow to developed, some say it could be even blighted,” Amos said. “We’ll start to see some growth in there.”
He thanked the developer for listening to concerns and what the community wanted to see.
The county has heard from several residents opposing high-density projects recently, but Amos noted this property had been zoned and the new plan resulted in about 160 fewer bedrooms.