Oakwood City Council gave its OK Monday night to a rezoning that enables a 302-home subdivision and some 20 acres for commercial development.
In a public hearing on the matter, residents mostly peppered the developer and architect with questions about the development, which will be off Ga. 13/Falcon Parkway at Pauline Drive and Martin Road.
But a few of them stated concerns over traffic and impact on schools and wildlife.
Flowery Branch High School is “already over capacity,” said Alan Cate of neighboring Warren Road.
“If these students all come to Flowery Branch, instead of having eight trailer units, we’ll probably have 20 or 30 trailer units,” he said.
Brent Kenney, also of Warren Road, said, “My concern is we have a family of falcons living (in the area) and they’re an endangered species.
“If we cut all these trees down, what are we going to do with all the wildlife? What’s going to happen to the falcons?”
The council approved two applications from 985 North Real Estate Partners for the development, a total of 122.49 acres. About 20 acres of that would be for commercial development to be built along Martin Road and the rest for the subdivision.
The previous zoning would have allowed about 1,000 apartment units, “with the proper plan,” City Manager Stan Brown said.
“The intensity of what’s being proposed is less than what could be done already,” he said.
Plus, “anybody that develops the property would be required to address the traffic and all the impacts with their development plans, which would go through a review process,” Brown said.
The council didn’t spend much time discussing the matter.
“They could walk in in the morning and get permits to do those (apartments),” Mayor Lamar Scroggs said.
Eric Brown of Moreland Altobelli Associates, the project architect, told the Oakwood Planning Commission at its Feb. 17 meeting that the developer might not even build 302 homes “due to topography and storm drainage ponds.”
He said homes could be up to 3,000 square feet in size, and the project would be done in several phases over “quite a few years.”
The developer “wants to get started on a phase of perhaps 37 lots, get that going and see how sales go,” Brown said.
985 North Real Estate Partners is part of Denver-based The Pauls Corp., which has developments in Denver, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and San Francisco.
Christopher R. Manley of 985 North Real Estate Partners told the council that homes could be in the $200,000 range.
“We are very excited about our commitment to Oakwood and being able to build a fine community (in the city),” he said.
In an answer to one resident’s question, Manley said there’s no planned start date for the project.
“Most of it will be market-driven in terms of when the home prices can justify building the homes,” he said.
“We’d like to start as soon as possible, but given a project of this size, it’s a six-, seven-, eight-year buildout. It won’t be 300 homes in the course of a year.”