Petition Z-37, 2008

Search Tags <Cooke Enterprises, GC, O&I, Johnson Ferry Road, Shallowford Road, climate controlled, Self Service Storage Facility, SSSF>
Cooke Enterprises, Inc., 678-797-9797, represented by Garvis Sams, Sams, Larkin & Huff, LLP, 770-422-7016, requests rezoning from GC to O&I for a climate controlled Self Service Storage Facility.
Property is located on the east side of Johnson Ferry Road, south of Shallowford Road (3148 Johnson Ferry Road); 16th District, Land Lots 469 & 470, Parcel 35.
Size of tract is 1.421 acres
Proposed Number of Buildings: 1
Total Square Footage of Development: 100,000 s.f. (formerly 109,525 s.f.)
F.A.R.: 1.62 (formerly 1.77). In a CAC or RAC, maximum floor area ratio is 0.75 for office uses and 0.25 for retail uses (accessory).
Square Footage/Acre: 70,373 (formerly 77,076)
Building footprint: 33,333 s.f. or 76.5% of site
Parking Spaces Required: 34
Parking Spaces Provided: 16
Current zoning: GC
Contiguous zoning is:
North: PSC (Shallowford Falls shopping center);
East: PSC (Shallowford Falls shopping center), CRC (Wal-Mart);
South: LRO (Community Bank of the South), CRC (Wal-Mart));
West: R-20 (Johnson Ferry Estates subdivision).
Current land use is Neighborhood Activity Center.
Case manager is David Hong
Planning Commissioner is Christi Trombetti
District Commissioner is Tim Lee
Proposed use: Climate Controlled Self Service Storage Facility.
The applicant is requesting the O&I zoning district to develop a climate controlled self-service storage facility. The proposed building would have an exterior of all brick, with EFIS accents. The building would contain three stories and have 550 storage units.
The hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
The applicant is showing contemporaneous variances which are:
  1. Reduce the required amount of parking spaces from 22 parking spaces to 16 parking spaces;
  2. Reduce the side setback from 15-feet to 10-feet along the south property line;
  3. Reduce the rear setback from 30-feet to 10-feet;
  4. Increase the maximum allowable Floor Area Ratio from 0.75 to 1.62.
Staff Comments:
Staff recommends DENIAL.
A. It is Staff’s opinion that the applicant’s rezoning proposal may permit a use that is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby properties. The applicant’s proposal is aesthetically pleasing, and would look like an office building. However, there are not any three story buildings along this portion of Johnson Ferry Road, and Staff is concerned with the four variances being requested (see Planning Comments).
B. It is Staff’s opinion that the applicant’s rezoning proposal may not have an adverse affect on the usability of adjacent or nearby property. Staff is very concerned with the intensity of the applicant’s proposal. Most of the basic zoning criteria ( F.A.R., setbacks, and parking) cannot be met, which indicates this property may be too small to support this proposal.
Staff is concerned that the size building would be out of character with this lower intensity commercial activity center; even the Super Walmart is much smaller than the Super Walmart prototype. 
This level of F.A.R. may set a precedent for other properties in the area.
C. It is Staff’s opinion that the applicant’s rezoning proposal will not result in a use which would cause an excessive or burdensome use of existing streets, transportation facilities, utilities, or schools. This opinion can be supported by the departmental comments contained in this analysis.
D. It is Staff’s opinion that the applicant’s rezoning proposal is not in conformity with the policy and intent of the Cobb County Comprehensive Plan, which delineates this property to be within a Neighborhood Activity Center. 
The O&I zoning district is intended to be within a Community or Regional Activity Center.
  1. It is Staff’s opinion that there are existing and changing conditions affecting the use and development of the property which give supporting grounds for denying the applicant’s rezoning proposal. The applicant’s proposal does not meet many of the criteria for the OI zoning district, as referenced in the Planning Comments. 
The intensity of the proposal with all the variances may be too much to be supported by Staff. 
The applicant’s proposal is not in accordance with the Cobb County Comprehensive Plan.
ECCA position: OPPOSED:
  • O&I is a non-conforming zoning category in a Neighborhood Activity. The petition should be rejected and no development activity allowed until the land is in a conforming zoning category.
  • The tract is no longer grandfathered as a gas station. It has not operated as a gas station for several years. Since the land is no longer grandfathered, it must conform to all current ordinances including F.A.R. and setbacks.
  • Proposed 3 story structure would be out of character with surrounding properties. The building is more massive than any other building in the NAC.  It has a F.A.R. of 1.61 which greatly exceeds any other building in the NAC.  The local Kroger (48,000 s.f.) and Publix (56,000 s.f.). It is 30% smaller than the Wal-Mart (130,000 s.f.).
  • The building should not be on the perimeter of the shopping center but placed where the impact of the bulk is reduced, in the center or to the rear of the development, following best architectural practices in the NAC,   The large box stores follow this rule and are set well back from the street. This building is right on the street frontage where its bulk will have the maximum effect.
  • The building is too large to fit on the site or in the NAC. The building cannot fit on the site without contemporaneous variances on three of the four sides. The side and rear setbacks must be reduced so the building footprint will fit on the site. If the setback variances are not granted, the 100,000 s.f. building will have to be at least four stories tall.
The northern side setback intrudes into the 50 foot stream buffer by 15 feet.
The southern side setback is reduced from 15 to 10 feet.
The rear setback is reduced from 30 to 10 feet and the stormwater detention facility covers the entire area.
The bank next door believes that the SSSF would be an undesirable neighbor.
According to the latest FEMA map, the entire tract is in a Flood Risk Zone.
  • A climate controlled, SSSF is a specialized, single purpose building. Once the building is erected, it is hard to find other uses and costly to retrofit. Should the business falter, the land could not be easily recovered.
We ask that this petition be denied. We would like to see this tract redeveloped into something that would be an asset to the neighborhood, follows best architectural practices, and fits into a NAC without further variances.
Planning Commission Action (August, unofficial): CONTINUED until the September 2, 2008 Planning Commission hearing.
Planning Commission Action (September, unofficial): CONTINUED until the October 7, 2008 Planning Commission hearing
Planning Commission Recommendation (October, unofficial): DENY, size and mass of building too large for a Neighborhood Activity Center. Vote was 4-1 for denial.
Board of Commissioners Action (October): HOLD until the March 17, 2009 Board of Commissioners Zoning Hearing. 
Staff to prepare a draft ordinance amendment allowing a climate controlled SSSF in a NAC, for possible adoption during the annual ordinance amendment process in February 2009.
Board of Commissioners Action (March): Continue until April 21, 2009

Board of Commissioners Action (April): Rezoned NRC with the following stipulations: 1)Maximum F.A.R. of 1.0; 2)Final site plan, architecture, modifications to be approved by the District Commissioner; 3) If the LDP is not pulled in 12 months and structural and vertical plans are not submitted in 18 months, land reverts back to previous zoning.