Sprayberry Crossing advances without recommendation in 'highly unusual' decision

·3 min read

Jun. 1—MARIETTA — The long-time-coming redevelopment of the Sprayberry Crossing shopping center is moving forward to a final vote before the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

In an unorthodox move, however, the proposal will go ahead without any recommendation either for approval or denial from the Cobb Planning Commission.

"Time is of the essence, and there is a time for taking action," Planning Commissioner Deborah Dance, who represents the area, said during her motion.

In spite of that sentiment, Dance reasoned that while she had promised the project would not be held any further, too many issues remained unresolved to render a judgment on Atlantic Realty's application. The motion was passed with a 3-0 vote by Dance and Planning Commissioners Fred Beloin and Stephen Vault; Tony Waybright and Michael Hughes were not present for the vote.

During his pitch to the commission, Atlantic's attorney Kevin Moore called on the body to "put Sprayberry Crossing to bed, put it to rest." The time had come for a vote, he said, "especially given the extent and breadth of which Atlantic Realty has gone to make concessions and compromises."

Speaking after the vote, Moore called the decision "highly unusual," saying he had only seen such a motion a handful of times in the last 25 years. Moore added he and Atlantic would be working diligently to resolve the remaining issues before the Board of Commissioners considers the proposal at its June 15 meeting.

Opposition remained mobilized against the redevelopment, as has been the case throughout the process. Tim Carini, a nearby resident who has been a consistent voice against Atlantic's proposal in recent months, reiterated his position that the design would be a traffic safety catastrophe for the area.

Of particular concern is one of the main access points to the property from Sandy Plains Road. Sitting directly across from Kinjac Drive, the access is blocked by the Sprayberry Bottle Shop. Visitors to and residents of the development would be required to cut through the bottle shop's parking area, or drive around the other side and take an indirect approach to the intersection.

Other access points near Post Oak Tritt Road also received attention from the planning commissioners, but the liquor store's access was the subject of the most intense discussion. The bottle shop itself sent an emissary in the form of Shaun Adams, an attorney from Andersen, Tate, & Carr, who said he was prepared to negotiate with Moore on the access point.

Moore countered the opposition by arguing all the traffic issues would exist with any project built in the area—including new businesses opened on the property without any zoning change. A redevelopment project, he noted, by definition does not operate from a blank canvas.

"Is this the most perfect design you could ever have for developing this property? No it is not ... (but) we don't have free rein here," Moore said. "What I would hate to see this commission and this county do, is let perfect get in the way of good."