Petition Z-86, 2007

Search Tags <Cornerstone Development, PSC, GC, CRCI, Lower Roswell Road, Johnson Ferry Road, CVS, drug store, pharmacy>
Cornerstone Development Partners, 770-690-2440, represented by Rob McKerrow, 770-690-2440, requests rezoning from PSC, GC to CRC.
Property is located on the south side of Lower Roswell Road, north of Johnson Ferry Road, and on the west side of Johnson Ferry Road, south of Lower Roswell Road (685 Johnson Ferry Road and4473 Lower Roswell Road); 1st District, Land Lot 69, Parcels 14 and 31.
Size of tract is 2.17 acres
Contiguous zoning is: North:R-20 (Mt Bethel baseball park);
East: GC; South: PSC, GC; West GC.
Current land use is Community Activity Center.
Case manager is Marvin Shams
Planning Commissioner is Bob Ott
District Commissioner is Joe Thompson
Proposed use: Retail.
Building architecture: Brick, stucco
Contemporaneous variances: None
Combining two existing parcels. Demolition of older non-conforming buildings. Existing GC zoning is old, rezone/combine 2 parcels to CRC. Update infrastructure, curb cuts, landscaping, etc. to current Cobb County standards.
Staff Comments:
Staff recommends APPROVAL subject to the following conditions:
  • Site plan received by the Zoning Division July 5, 2007, with the District Commissioner approving minor modifications
  • Fire Department comments
  • Water and Sewer comments and recommendations
  • Stormwater Management comments and recommendations
  • DOT comments and recommendations
  • Owner/developer to enter into a Development Agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. 36.71-13 for dedication of system improvements to mitigate traffic concerns.
September 2008
Staff recommends APPROVAL subject to the following conditions:
Site plan received by the Zoning Division July 5, 2007. with the District Commissioner approving minor modifications
Fire Department comments
Water and Sewer comments and recommendations
Stormwater Management comments and recommendations
DOT comments and recommendations
Owner/Developer to enter into a Development Agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. 36-71-13 for dedication of system improvements to mitigate traffic concerns
ECCA position : Combining and rezoning 2 parcels to CRC, then developing 24 hr CVS
September 2007
Recommend denial, because:
There are significant traffic issues related to the site’s proximity to the busy intersection at Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell Rd. These concerns might be partially mitigated with modifications to the median on Johnson Ferry(closing the median cuts across the face of this property), and by acquiring an easement from Craig Automotive for the entrance on Lower Roswell. However, we believe that even with these modifications, there is still a significant probability that the proposed development creates traffic issues.
We would also like to express our concern that the site appears to be predominantly impervious surface (at or near the maximum allowable limits) with little if in any landscaping proposed. Further, this development brings an additional 24 hour business to an area that has few 24 hour commercial operations currently. 
And finally, we think it is unfortunate that this area is becoming over-saturated with automotive service, fast food restaurants, small consumer retail and banking developments … all designed to service the public without requiring us to leave our vehicles. When we met with Cornerstone earlier in the year they shared our concerns regarding development trends along the Johnson Ferry Corridor.
But apparently they have had a change of heart and now see a compelling need for a third CVS within a 2 mile stretch of road.
Recommend denial
The East Cobb Civic Association opposes this petition for the following reasons:
The use is unneeded by the community. 
Currently, there are six pharmacies in the nodes and Johnson Ferry corridor between Roswell Road and Lower Roswell Road. Another pharmacy will open in the next 3 months (SuperTarget). This petition seeks to an additional pharmacy, the third in this 1.7 mile corridor from the same company. That would provide a pharmacy every quarter of a mile, on the average.
All of the pharmacies are located within general merchandise stores, whether grocery or drug store. There are many other general merchandise stores in this corridor, who have not sought to provide a pharmacy, and struggle to survive. To say we have too much retail would be to understate the current situation. This is borne out by the number of vacant store fronts.
The revitalization of the corridor is impeded.
Land use planners cite the importance of a sense of place in building a community. One way of doing this is to create architectural distinctive buildings at important intersections. The Johnson Ferry corridor has two nodes which fit the definition, Roswell Road and Lower Roswell Road. The iconic buildings should have mass and substance beyond just architectural features. Without these structures to anchor the redevelopment, the efforts would be made much more difficult. Do we key the architecture and land use of the corridor on a single story, “Castleberry” design drug store? To do so would be to surrender to a plebian, strip shopping center redevelopment rather than stepping forward to a mixed-use community.
Revitalization is a long journey, but this petition would lock up the land for 99 years. The average commercial building has a half-life of 25 years. In that time, half of the existing commercial structures are renovated or taken down and rebuilt. The economics of this building say the payback period is 20 years. There is scant incentive to redevelop in the next 30 years.
A redevelopment plan for the Johnson Ferry corridor calls for the best efforts of the citizens, the Commission and county staff. It cannot be just a set of “architectural standards” and a zoning change. That approach brings to mind a picture of cosmetic enhancement of porcine features. It is better to have a studied approach that yields greater results.
Traffic flow is becoming a greater problem.
Traffic has always been a problem in East Cobb. Redevelopment must ensure that current and future flows are taken into account when redevelopment occurs. It is becoming more clear that roadway capacity is less of the problem, and congestion and inefficient flow at intersections is a greater part of the problem. Your travel time is determined not by how fast you can travel between intersections, but by how quickly you can pass through the intersections in your path.
Consider the market area served by this corridor. It stretches from Fulton County to Old Canton Road along Roswell Road and Lower Roswell Road. It is from Cherokee County to the Chattahoochee River on Johnson Ferry Road. That is an area of more than 30 square miles from which traffic is drawn. Our intersections must be able to control and swiftly pass traffic through, without building queues of cars waiting their turn. 
The intersection of Lower Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry is one which must be watched closely. There is a lack of stacking capacity for both left and right turn movements on Lower Roswell Road. What may do for the next five years may not serve at all well as redevelopment occurs. Land use and transportation are inextricable intertwined and one cannot proceed readily without the other.
I hope I have provided information to inform your decision making. This is not a “bad” project, just one that will taint any redevelopment and lead it down a path that we wish not to travel. It is the wrong project at the wrong location at the wrong time. Please reject this petition.
August 2008
Recommend denial, primarily due to concerns related to traffic:
  • Proximity to the major intersection
  • Access and egress problems
  • Increased intensity on nearby side streets ( i.e., Woodlawn and Power Rd)
  • Speed of traffic on Johnson Ferry Road
  • Bend in the road for South bound traffic on Johnson Ferry Road, and
  • Drop in elevation on Johnson Ferry Road just north of the site
We would like to point out that the original site plan proposed an easement across a neighbor’s parcel for access to Lower Roswell Rd. This was designed to address concerns regarding negative impact on Lower Roswell Rd traffic flows near the busy intersection, and to address the anticipated problems with the left turn stack lane (east bound, turning north). 
We are certain in our belief that the revised site plan does not adequately addresses these issues, and are surprised that Cobb DOT would see otherwise.
Finally, we are not in favor of more single purpose, drive-in (or stay in your car), commercial developments with non-descript architecture on the Johnson Ferry corridor. The community believes the Johnson Ferry Corridor is already saturated with too many:
  • Small consumer retail
  • Banking
  • Automotive service, and
  • Fast food establishments
This project, as proposed, will contribute to the further decline in overall community atmosphere for East Cobb, which is in desperate need of revitalization. It is not integrated in the least with the surrounding residential neighbors that it desires to sell to.
There are several alternative locations in the immediate area, which would be more appropriate for such an intense project, and could be developed so as to have a favorable impact on the community (rather than hastening its decline).
Planning Commission Recommendation:  REIECTION of rezoning without prejudice. The submitted plan is incomplete and does not address the identified problems. It does not appear that a 30 day hold could resolve the problems.
Board of Commissioners Action (September, 2007):  CONTINUED until the October 16, 2007 Board of Commissioners zoning hearing.
Board of Commissioners Action (October, 2007):  CONTINUED until the March 18, 2008 Board of Commissioners zoning hearing
Board of Commissioners Action (March, 2008):  HELDuntil the September 23, 2008 Board of Commissioners zoning hearing.
Board of Commissioners Action (September, 2008; unofficial):  APPROVED with stipulations.