Developer unexpectedly withdraws application for 32 north Cobb townhomes

Nov. 15—A north Cobb townhome development was unexpectedly withdrawn at the last minute during Tuesday's Board of Commissioners zoning hearing.

Last month, planning commissioners recommended approval for the proposal by KM Homes to build 32 townhomes on 8.4 acres along the 4000 block of Wade Green Road, across from Pitner Elementary.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted 4-0 to withdraw the case, with Commissioner JoAnn Birrell absent from the meeting,

Parks Huff, the attorney representing KM Homes, told the MDJ Tuesday the withdrawal resulted from a "contract issue" between the developer and the property's owner, the Deavers family.

The withdrawal came as a surprise to Huff, commissioners, and nearby residents opposed to the development.

Commissioner Keli Gambrill, who handled the vote on behalf of Birrell, initially moved to withdraw the case with prejudice, meaning the applicant would need to wait a year before coming back with a new proposal. After some discussion, however, commissioners agreed to withdraw the case without prejudice, noting the late request for withdrawal and the sudden demise of a proposal nine months in the making was unusual but not worthy of punishment.

Opponents of the development did not attend the Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 4, when that board unanimously recommended approval of the proposal.

In an email shared with the MDJ, the Bells Ferry Civic Association told planning commissioners it had opted to stay home during the October zoning hearing.

"Frankly, the BFCA has never encountered a zoning case such as this one, that has continued for 9 months with very little, if any, progress made," the group said in the email.

The civic association said at the time that KM Homes demonstrated its unwillingness to further reduce the number of proposed units prior to the Oct. 4 hearing, a sticking point for the group. It said economics was the primary motivation for KM Homes keeping the number of townhomes at 32, adding, "That is their prerogative."

At Tuesday's meeting, Tullan Avard, the association's executive director, said the group was prepared to wait until Cobb commissioners met to once again express its opposition.

When she and 13 other people appeared to make their case before Cobb commissioners Tuesday, they did not expect the case to be withdrawn. However, Avard is prepared for the possibility that a new development on the same land is proposed soon.

"They said a sign has already gone up for sale again on the property, so this could come back, just under a different rezoning request, a different developer," Avard said. "I don't think it's over."