By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
What are the latest plans for the Westshore development in Cumming
Westshore 2 031319
Site plans for a mixed-use development with 322,000 square feet of commercial space, 348 rental units, 20 single-family units and 130 townhomes proposed by Atlanta Realty Development, LLC.

After a lot of changes and a challenge from Forsyth County, a planned mixed-use development has been approved by city leaders.

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, members of the Cumming City Council approved 4-0, with Councilman Christopher Light recused, an annexation and rezoning requests for Westshore, a planned mixed-use development at the intersection of Market Place Boulevard and Turner Road.

The entire rezoning was for about 151 acres on both sides of Market Place. For Westshore, about 58 acres on the west side of the road were rezoned to planned urban development district (PUD), while the remaining 93 acres were rezoned to highway business district (HB). There are currently no plans for the HB portion.

The request before the city council looked a little different than what had previously been discussed.

“The planned unit mix for the entire development is the same,” said Sean Courtney, a zoning attorney representing the development. “The change is the fact that there are going to be more two- and three-bedroom units in the back where the club district is and more of the studio and one-bedroom units will be in the town green section in the front.”

In terms of residential changes, studio units will make up 10-20% of the residences, two-bedrooms will be 25-40%, three-bedrooms will be 0-10% and combined one-bedroom units will be 40-60% of the units.

A portion of the residential units will be for a senior community.

The development will also include 322,000 square feet of commercial buildings, a town green and two outparcels for either restaurants or retail.

Courtney said the second phase of the development will include senior-living, a hotel, office space and a medical office building.

Issues surrounding the development go back to 2018, when the annexation request went to Forsyth County Commissioners.

The request was ultimately withdrawn amid several issues, including that certain lots of the proposal had only requested the portion west of Market Place to be annexed, meaning the original request was only for 57 acres instead of the entire 151.

County leaders said at the time that since some of the parcels stretched across Market Place, the request would need to include the entire acreage.

Commissioners objected to a second annexation request for the entire 151 acres because the city’s planned urban development zoning allows more density – up to 10 units per acre instead of six – than the county’s master-planned district (MPD) zoning; the HB zoning does not match the county’s zoning for the area; and concerns about collecting impact fees and infrastructure.

Developers and members of the commission settled issues before going to an arbitration board.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard previously said the agreement with the developer would include that 120 units of senior living units planned for the development be used for assisted living and paying the county $200,000 “to offset our impact fees loss.”

 

New parking for city center, Forsyth Central

Also during the meeting, the council unanimously approved awarding a bid worth about $1.8 million to Vertical Earth for construction of a parking lot to be used by the upcoming Cumming City Center and students at Forsyth Central High School.

The city had previously received four bids for the project but the council opted to negotiate with the two highest bidders – Bartow Paving and Vertical Earth – at a meeting in December.

City Administrator Phil Higgins said the city saved about $141,000 from the original bid.

The project is expected to be completed before the start of the 2020-21 school year and is planned to open by fall 2021, about two years after the groundbreaking for the project.

The city center will be located on Canton Highway and will abut Forsyth Central on a 75-acre plot of land. The development is planned to have a classic “Main-street America” theme that will feature an amphitheater, a trail system, parks, a lake with two fountains, green spaces and 117,000 square feet of space for retail, restaurants and offices, including a 15,000-square-foot space for the Cumming Police Department and the city’s municipal court.

Across Canton Highway, about 14 acres will also be donated to the city and will include other walking trails.