Cobb commissioners reject bitterly disputed east Cobb subdivision

·2 min read

Sep. 21—MARIETTA — After Commissioner JoAnn Birrell expressed displeasure with the way she said a developer interacted with the East Cobb Civic Association, the county commission voted down the proposed development this week.

"This case has been very contentious to say the least," Birrell said at the zoning hearing. "There have been emails back and forth with derogatory comments, there have been accusations back and forth to staff, to ECCA that I don't appreciate and don't tolerate."

Commissioners then voted 4-0, with Keli Gambrill absent, to reject Green Community Development's proposal to build a 13-home development off Kinridge Court in east Cobb.

Recommended for denial by the Cobb Planning Commission in July, developer Christopher Hunt's initial proposal was for 16 homes on 7.5 acres. The development of LEED-certified, energy-efficient homes would have sat atop rocky high ground, a situation county zoning staff said could cause storm water runoff problems for the surrounding properties.

County transportation staff said the location of the development, wedged between two dead-end subdivisions, might cause adverse traffic impacts in the neighborhood. The Cobb Fire Department also weighed in, saying reduced road widths presented in the site plan raised concerns about emergency vehicles accessing the site.

Birrell, who represents the area, said she was disturbed by the animosity between Hunt and members of the East Cobb Civic Association throughout the application process, mentioning a meeting about the development at Mountain View Library as one example.

"Towards the end of the meeting, when name-calling started, I closed the meeting and walked out," Birrell said. "So this has been handled totally inappropriately from the very beginning."

"By ECCA," Hunt called out from the audience, to which Lisa Cupid, commission chair, responded, "Sir, that's not appropriate."

Birrell then directly addressed Hunt, telling him she would not be calling him back up to the lectern for further questions.

He had his hand raised in the audience, but citizens may only speak if called to the lectern by commissioners after the 10 minutes each allotted to proponents and opponents of a zoning application.

Hunt once again attempted to interrupt the meeting, which led the Cobb County police officer in the room to stand up, prepared to escort Hunt out of the room.

"I have a very high tolerance to this because unfortunately, we bear with this almost every BOC meeting, but I still ask for you not to do that," Cupid told Hunt. "It interrupts any positive consideration of your application."

Birrell said she did not support Hunt's application, noting the proposed development is already surrounded by a well-defined subdivision, and Hunt did not meet other requirements of the requested rezoning.

She added that the Cobb Planning Commission and zoning staff recommended denial before motioning to reject the proposal.