COVINGTON — Zoning modifications that would reduce the size of a development and the number of housing units constructed were approved by the Newton County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 5.
The development, known as Mt. Pleasant, will be built adjacent to Georgia State University’s Newton campus in the eastern portion of Newton County. Under the modifications approved last week, Mt. Pleasant will be reduced from a development of 230 acres to 55 acres, with the balance of the acreage placed in a conservation easement. In addition, the development will have 267 residences, as opposed to the 750 residential units approved under the original plan in 2007.
At last Tuesday’s public hearing on the zoning modifications, resident Terrell Godfrey spoke out against the changes, saying residents in the mostly rural area were promised in 2007 that there would be no apartments in the development.
District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards noted, however, that apartments have always been included in the project plans, but, under the requested modifications, the number of multi-family dwellings allowed will actually be decreased from 322 to 190.
Edwards said if the modifications were not approved, the developer, Rob Fowler, could proceed with the project as it was approved in 2007. Without the modifications, said Edwards, the options that Fowler could pursue are “unacceptable” to him.
Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the modifications, with District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan absent.
The request to modify the zoning was first presented to commissioners at the Oct. 1 BOC meeting. At that time, about 60 people showed up to express their opposition, and Edwards asked that a vote on the zoning modifications be delayed for 30 days so that he could address the issue with his constituents. Edwards subsequently held a town hall meeting on the issue in Mansfield that was attended by about 30 people.
As it is now planned, the Mt. Pleasant project will include the following:
♦ Cottages: There are 80 cottage lots in the plan. Cottages will have a minimum of 900 square feet and lots of 4,000 square feet.
♦ Estate lots: There are five estate lots. Estate homes will have a minimum of 1,600 square feet on lots of 6,500 square feet.
♦ Mansion house apartment buildings: There will be 12 mansion houses built along the college entrance parkway, housing a total of 48 to 60 apartments. Vinson said these buildings will be designed to look like stately Southern homes. Each one will house four or five “very high end” apartment units or condos.
♦ Townhomes: There will be 20 townhomes with a minimum square footage of 1,200.
♦ Midrise condos/apartments: There are 46 condos/apartments of 700 minimum square feet each.
♦ Mt. Pleasant Rental Cottages: These student/senior flats or “tiny houses” will have a minimum of 500 square feet. Vinson said the plan calls for them to be developed overlooking 179 acres of conservation land adjacent to the development, giving them a “resort-like retreat” appeal.
In addition to residential construction, the Mt. Pleasant development will include 4,800 square feet of mixed-use space and 18,000 square feet of commercial.