Commission to take another look at North Point Ministries' east Cobb complex

·3 min read

Sep. 20—After an inconclusive August hearing, the Cobb Board of Commissioners will once again consider Tuesday the controversial mixed-use development in east Cobb backed by North Point Ministries.

The Alpharetta-based megachurch hopes to add a ninth location at Johnson Ferry and Shallowford roads to its roster of churches around the metro area. On top of the 125,000 square foot worship center, North Point has proposed to partner with a third-party developer to build dozens of homes on the surrounding acreage.

The project failed to advance when last considered a month ago. Commissioner Jerica Richardson moved to grant approval to North Point, but the motion failed 2-2. Richardson and Commissioner Monique Sheffield voted in favor of approval, while Commissioners Keli Gambrill and JoAnn Birrell voted against. Chairwoman Lisa Cupid was absent for the vote due to a death in her family.

Gambrill and Birrell took issue with the residential zoning category North Point had requested. Birrell also said she would prefer North Point bring the project's housing density below five units per acre. As of the August site plans, there were a little over five-and-a-half units per acre.

North Point appears to have heeded that direction. Earlier this month, the developer submitted a new model which reduces the total number of single-family houses and townhomes from nearly 130 down to 95. The resulting site density is now 4.98 units per acre, per the latest plans.

Despite the decreased density of the project—a flashpoint for opponents of the development—the hearing may still see significant turnout. Nearly 90 people attended the last hearing, the majority of whom were there in favor of its approval.

With that in mind, the Board of Commissioners has elected to divide the hearing into two segments Tuesday. While cases are typically heard one after the other with no set time for any given case, the board will hear the North Point complex, along with three other cases, in a morning session beginning at 9 a.m. To help reduce crowds, the day's next four cases will be heard in the afternoon.

Also likely to receive significant attention is a 99-home subdivision currently proposed for the Ebenezer Road area in northeast Cobb. Neighbors to the property—a largely undeveloped spread of rolling hills and a small lake—have charged the project's density was inconsistent with the surrounding area.

Developer Pulte Homes and their representative, Taylor English Decisions' Rob Hosack, have consistently resisted that characterization. With lot sizes averaging around 10,600 square feet, houses of around 2,500 square feet, and roughly 17 acres of green space set aside for recreational use, Hosack said the site was comparable with several nearby subdivisions.

Enough of the county's Planning Commissioners agreed for the proposal to advance to the Board of Commissioners in a 3-2 vote. Planning Commissioners Fred Beloin and David Anderson (the recently-appointed District 2 representative) voted against the motion.

The Board of Commissioners' hearing will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta. For more information on which cases will be heard when, visit https://www.cobbcounty.org/communications/news/important-note-tuesdays-boc-zoning-hearing.

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