It was standing room only at the City Council’s last meeting of the year on Tuesday, Dec. 19. The draw for much of the crowd was the expectation of a decision regarding the Roberts Properties, Inc. (Roberts Properties Peachtree Retail, LLC) rezoning application. It could be said that the main event of the meeting ended up not being Roberts Properties, but instead a last-minute amendment to the meeting’s agenda from City Manager Brian Johnson that led to the purchase of $6.9 million worth of land adjacent to Town Center.
When explaining the new agenda item to the City Council, Johnson stated that he negotiated a purchase and sale agreement of the 5.762 acres after being alerted that the owner, CFEXC, LLC, intended to submit an application to have the property rezoned to accommodate upwards of 225 apartment units. The registered agent for CFEXC, LLC is ANDERSEN, TATE & CARR, P.C.
During an interview, PeachtreeCornersLife.com had with Johnson the following day (Wednesday, Dec. 20), he explained that the Council had discussed the purchase during a previously held executive (closed) session and that the city will pay for the property with a 10-year bond.
“Here’s why. We just paid off all the debt on Town Center just a couple of months ago. And so we’re right now sitting at a low point in our disposable income,” said Johnson in that interview. “For two reasons. One we just got done paying off $11.5 million on the Town Center in cash. So there’s cash out of savings. Two, revenue streams for cities don’t come in like our paychecks, it ebbs and flows.” Johnson also explained that the speed to which the loan will be paid off will be determined by the Council.
During the Dec. 19 meeting, Mayor Mike Mason addressed the purchase by saying, “What will we do with that property? Now we get to decide. If we want it to be part of the tree canopy, it will be. If we decide one day in the future that’s where we should have a performing arts center, that’s what we’ll decide to do, when we decide to do it.”
The additional acreage abuts the 21-acre Town Center site currently under construction. A small portion of the acreage will be needed for the traffic roundabout which is planned for the intersection of Medlock Bridge Road and Peachtree Corners Circle. In a statement yesterday the city says they have no specific plans for the remaining acreage at this time.
Following the city’s land purchase, it was time to address the Roberts Properties, Inc. rezoning. Applicant Charlie Roberts and his legal representative answered a series of questions from council members, primarily Eric Christ, Alex Wright, and Phil Sadd, regarding the zoning history of the land, the economic viability of the hotel and apartments together and separate, and more. The public was invited to comment for over 20 minutes. Afterward, the council decided not to vote on the application.
Eric Christ, Post 2 said, “Having received yet another copy of the conditions today, the complexity of this project, and the potential change in dynamic for that area, I think it’s important that both the applicant and the residents feel that we’re not rushing to make a decision.”
The vote on the application has been tabled until the City Council holds its first meeting of 2018 on Jan. 16.