Planning Commission to discuss proposed 36-unit apartment building off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a new residential cluster off Old Summerville Road and rezoning for Georgia Pacific’s new ‘wet deck’ for paper mill.

Planning Commission to discuss proposed 36-unit apartment building off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a new residential cluster off Old Summerville Road and rezoning for Georgia Pacific’s new ‘wet deck’ for paper mill.

Aerial view of property up for rezoning request for new apartment building.
Architect rendering of proposed 36-unit apartment building by Cash Construction Co.

A new 36-unit apartment building proposed for the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Gibbons Street in Rome by developers Patrick and Edward Cash will be a big topic for discuss at this Thursday’s Rome-Floyd Planning Commission meeting at 2:30 p.m. in Sam King Room at City Hall. Although the project would help meet the increasing housing demand in Rome, the Rome-Floyd Planning staff are recommending a denial of the project according to agenda documents. Agenda

The Cash Family is requesting rezoning to Urban Mixed Use for five parcels totaling 1.5 acres in the City located along MLK Drive and Gibbons Street. The parcels:

  • 0 Martin Luther King Dr., Floyd County Tax Parcel J13O059, to be rezoned from Community Commercial to Urban Mixed Use.
  • 0 Gibbons St. Floyd County Tax Parcel J13O060, to be rezoned from High Density Traditional Residential to Urban Mixed Use.
  • 17 Gibbons St. Floyd County Tax Parcel J13O061, to be rezoned from High Density Traditional Residential to Urban Mixed Use.
  • 19 Gibbons St. Floyd County Tax Parcel J13O062, to be rezoned from High Density Traditional Residential to Urban Mixed Use.
  • 0 Gibbons St. Floyd County Tax Parcel J13O063, to be rezoned from High Density Traditional Residential to Urban Mixed Use.
According to planning documents, “the applicant is seeking to merge the five parcels and rezone them from a mix of Community Commercial and High Density Traditional Residential to Urban Mixed Use for the purposes of building a three-story, 36-unit apartment building. The apartments would reportedly be in the $1,300/month range. The applicant and his architect came up with the proposed design and then approached the Planning Department about how to make it fit within the ULDC.”
Multi-Family Residential (M-R) zoning was initially discussed, but it would only allow for a density of 10–14 units per acre. The combined size of these parcels is approximately 1.5 acres, which would only allow for about 21 units, significantly less that the desired 36 units. Therefore, the developer is seeking U-M-U rezoning which will allow for higher density.
Documents state, “Staff is concerned that the proposed development alters the character of the area and is of inappropriate size and scale. This area is also not urban, with the adjacent uses being a suburban strip center, a car wash, detached single-family homes, a wooded and undeveloped lot and a church. Staff has noticed a concerning trend where almost every multi-family developer is seeking U-M-U zoning for all multi-family developments in an effort avoid the density maximums, setbacks, landscaping, parking requirements, etc. Staff has talked with developers interested several areas of the city and county that are wanting U-M-U. The applicant is a well-known and respected local builder, who is better known for suburban residential developments. Staff applauds his effort to think outside the box and offer additional housing options, which are greatly needed. However, staff believes the proposed development is misguided and would be burdensome to the residents of Gibbons Street. Staff recommends denial.”
Other agenda items for property located within city limits include:
  • Request for a special use permit for backyard chickens for the property located at 2 Sagewood Drive NW, Rome, GA 30165, Floyd County Tax Parcel H12Y006. Applicant/Owner: Francisco De La Cruz. Staff recommends denial.

     

  • Request rezoning from Multi-Family Residential/Community Commercial to Multi-Family Residential for the property located at 706 Lee Avenue, Rome, GA 30161, Floyd County Tax Parcel J14 G018. Applicant/Owner: Howard Alexander. The applicant/owner is now asking to rezone the rest of the parcel to M-R, which would allow for an expansion of his existing townhouse development, known as Cherry Hill. The proposed expansion would create two additional units. The Fire Marshall’s Office commented that they would need to see more detailed plans in order to be able to formally evaluate and approve. Staff recommends approval.

     

  • Request rezoning from Community Commercial to Low Density Traditional Residential for the property located at 202 Lavender Drive, Rome, GA 30165, Floyd County Tax Parcel I13X283. Applicant/Owner: Adan Escutia. The owner would like to convert the building, which was a former daycare center, into a residental home. Staff recommends approval. 
One of two options for ‘Old Summerville Village’ development off Old Summerville Road in Armuchee.
The Planning Commission will consider rezoning and special use permits for three projects in the County.
  • Property owner Walt Busby is requesting a special use permit for a residential cluster for property located at 1595 Old Summerville Road in Rome. The Residential Cluster Option is intended to allow development of clustered dwelling units as a means to increase the stock of affordable housing.
    • According to Planning documents, “The smaller scale, single-family homes would also be more visually conducive to the Future Land Use Map, which designates this parcel as Low Density Residential. The smaller footprint of the individual homes, allows for increased density, while still having the characteristics of a suburban area. However, Planning staff believes that there is a better design for the space, something more similar to a neighborhood like Pear Street, rather than a parking lot being the focal point. The Fire Marshall’s Office concurred that it would like to see better access to the individual residences. Planning staff envisions more of a one-way, circular drive with houses on either side.” Staff recommends approval with the understanding that any final plans will need approval from the Fire Marshal’s Office, amongst others.
  • General Shale Products, LLC is requesting rezoning from Suburban Residential to Heavy Industrial for the portion of the property shown on the plat at for the property at 0 Turners Bend Road, Rome, GA 30165, Floyd County Tax Parcel F14X008.
    • According to Planning documents, “Georgia Pacific, has entered into an agreement to purchase 65+ acres of a 97+ acre parcel, being the western side of parcel. GP plans to develop a new “wet deck” for their lumber and paper mill at 380 Mays Bridge Road. A “wet deck” is a facility that allowers for temporary storage of cut timber prior to its being processed at the mill, where it is kept wet to keep it fresh. Currently, GP uses property at International Paper for a ‘wet deck’ but that contract is not being renewed. The proposed development has quick and easy access to and from the bypass and that stretch of Turner Bend Road, from the bypass to Mays Bridge Road was developed to accommodate commercial truck traffic. The ULDC requires a 200 foot buffer when H-I zoned properties are adjacent to single-family residential properties.” Staff recommends approval. 
  • Rome Solar, LLC and Estate of Ray Whaley are requesting a special use permit for a solar farm for property located at 2767 Calhoun Road in Rome (Floyd County Tax Parcel L12X015).
    • According to Planning documents, “The 23 acre parcel, which is currently zoned Suburban Residential. The SUP would allow the applicant to develop the parcel as a solar farm. The parcel is currently used as a pasture for livestock. The eastern side of the property is also located within a flood plain and appears to stay relatively soggy. It is common for solar farms to be developed on flood prone properties as the solar panels can be erected high enough to remain above any potential floodwaters. It is also somewhat common for solar farms to be erected on agricultural land because the solar panels can be erected high enough to continue to allow for some forms of livestock to graze under them, thus preventing the need to weed eat or cut grass. Solar farms are generally considered to be good neighbors as they do not produce additional traffic, noise, odors, etc.” Staff recommends approval. 

 

The Planning Commission will also be considering a text amendment to the ULDC: 
To amend the Unified Land Development Code to allow for craft or micro distilleries, breweries and wineries as a principal use in the Community Commercial, Urban Mixed Use, Central Business Commercial, Heavy Commercial and Light Industrial zoning categories.
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