PORTERDALE — Members of the Porterdale City Council held a public hearing on proposed rezonings for redevelopment of The Oaks golf course Monday night but delayed a decision pending completion of a review by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.
Applicant Infinity Homes and Development LLC of Covington is seeking to amend the future land use map and rezone a total of 270 acres of the 18-hole golf course property at Brown Bridge and Crowell roads.
Of the total acreage, the applicant is asking that 263.24 acres be rezoned from R-2 (single-family residential) and CN (commercial neighborhood) to a mixture of R-2, R-3 (multi-family residential) and CG (commercial general). In addition, the applicant is requesting that 5.25 acres on Crowell Road be rezoned from R-2 to R-3 and CN (commercial neighborhood), and 1.5 acres on Crowell Road from R-2 to R-3.
The city’s planning and zoning board has recommended denial of the requests, based in large part on citizens’ complaints about the potential for increased traffic on already-busy Crowell Road, which is a feeder road for access to Interstate 20. The project has been designated as a development of regional impact (DRI), and as such is under review by regional planners who will report to the city sometime later this month. Regardless of the findings of the DRI review, the city will retain final say on the rezonings.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Brad Mitchell of Infinity Homes told the council that the developer intends to preserve The Oaks name and its golf legacy. Mitchell said the plans as proposed would reserve 62% of the property for greenspace and recreational uses, including a 9-hole golf course. Development plans include a commercial node at the intersection of Brown Bridge and Crowell roads, and a residential community with 142 single-family lots, 190 townhome units and 360 apartment units.
Infinity Homes and Development is also developing the Cedar Shoals mixed-use project on Covington Bypass Road in Porterdale. Together, the two projects could add hundreds of single-family and multi-family dwellings and as many as 6,500 residents to the city.
Ten people spoke out against the development, citing concerns about traffic congestion and increased demands on the school system and public safety. Debra Nolley, a resident of Crowell Road, said the increase in population would overwhelm Crowell Road and area schools.
“Crowell Road cannot handle all that traffic,” she said.
Several citizens said they don’t live in Porterdale, but they do use Crowell Road as part of their daily commute.
Lynn Pynckels, a real estate agent who said she drives Crowell Road twice a day, agreed that the traffic is a problem. However, she noted that the property will eventually be redeveloped, and she encouraged the council to “be smart” about the decisions they make.
Mayor Arline Chapman read a statement at the beginning of the public hearing, assuring residents that the council would “carefully consider the impact on Porterdale and the surrounding area.
“I think it is important that each and every resident in the area have a clear picture of what is proposed because of the amount of incorrect information that was circulated,” she said.
Chapman offered the following clarifications:
♦ The single-family residential component will be built to the standard of the first phase of Clark’s Grove in Covington.
♦ The amenties for the residential development will be incorporated into the design and approved by the City Council as part of the development review phase.
♦ The townhomes will have a minimum of a two-car garage for each unit.
♦ The apartment buildings will be designed and built to project an upscale development and be similar in character to those in Decar Shoals, another Infinity Homes development in Porterdale.
♦ Parking will not front Crowell or Brown Bridge roads.
♦ Commercial buildings will be designed to meet the minimum standards of Newton County’s Almon Overlay District that abuts the subject property.