At its Jan. 16 meeting, City Council discussed a hefty agenda that included a decision on the Roberts Properties, Inc. (Roberts Properties Peachtree Retail, LLC) rezoning, a presentation on the Highway 141 Grade Separated Crossing, and ordinances.
After Councilman Eric Christ was sworn in, City Manager Brian Johnson and Community Development Director Diana Wheeler gave a presentation on the Highway 141 Grade Separated Crossing. Included was a summary of information gathered over the past three years through analysis and community input on design, function, and price. Two new renderings of the bridge were displayed: one showing the structure during the day and the other at night. The project is estimated to cost $3,972,835.
Roberts Properties Zoning Approval
Following the presentation and the approval of an alcohol beverage license for The Taz Bar & Grill, the Council conducted a second read and consideration of the Roberts Properties, Inc. rezoning request. Johnson briefly summarized the three condition options the council had to vote on regarding the request.
Option 1: Staff recommends that rezoning be approved but the residential portion be restricted to townhomes or an assisted living facility. This option also includes conditions to the appearance and structure of buildings.
Option 2: Planning Commission recommends approval of the rezoning with staff conditions, but added that apartments be acceptable for the residential portion. A condition was also added that the final building elevations and site plan be submitted to the Planning Commission, Mayor, and City Council for final approval prior to the issuance of the permit for construction.
Option 3: This option incorporates conditions that the developer, staff, and Planning Commission all agree to. It allows multi-family units to be a permitted use and includes the 95 conditions, which includes some submitted to the city by Roberts Properties, Inc., which were vetted by staff over the last month. Highlights from this list of 95 additional conditions include the following.
- No more than 169 apartments, 102 of which would be 2-bedroom and the remainder 1-bedroom
- No 3-bedroom floor plans
- Covered parking in a 2-level concrete podium with apartments on top and elevators directly to hallways
- Conditions on all aspects of apartment construction, appliance type, crown molding, etc.
- Trash chutes will be included so residents do not have to take trash down the stairs
- All apartments must have separate electric meters to accommodate the possibility of conversion to a “for sale” unit in the future
- Required participation in the Crime Free Multi–Housing Program
- Hotel and apartments can be built at the same time, but for every feature of the apartments that is built, the hotel must first pass inspection for that aspect of construction. “To the untrained eye, it will look like they’re coming up out of the ground at the same time, but the hotel has to be the leader throughout the entire project. Every inspection that the apartments may need we would require that the hotel have gone through that first,” further explained Johnson.
- A certificate of occupancy (CO) for the apartments will not be issued until a CO is issued for the hotel first. Prior to the issuance of a CO, the developer must fund a pedestrian walking trail from their property over the nearby stream to the Town Center
- Roberts Properties, Inc. must contribute $113,775 toward the design of the Town Center Botanical Garden
- If construction does not begin in 60 months, zoning reverts to commercial use (Councilman Phil Sadd proposed an amendment to this condition. The amendment was approved and the condition was changed to 48 months.)
The rezoning request was approved. Council members Phil Sadd, Alex Wright, and Jeanne Aulbach voted against the request.
New Ordinances, reflecting City Charter changes
Next on the agenda was a second read and consideration of ordinances regarding the salaries of the Mayor and Council members, a millage rate cap of 1 mill, and establishing public-private and public-public partnerships as the preferred service delivery model. All three were approved. Both the Council and Johnson made it clear that the ordinances were being established to replace items that are being removed from the charter (except the millage rate cap, which will remain in the charter and as an ordinance, per the request of State Rep Scott Hilton).
The ordinance states that the salary for the mayor will be $9,000 annually and the salary for council members will be $8,000 annually. Johnson reminded council and attendees that changes to salaries, in either the charter or the local level ordinance, can be made merely through a vote by City Council. The council could remove or change the language of the charter on this point at its discretion. However, changes would not go into effect until after the next election.
Millage Rate Cap
Because of the questionable enforceability of a millage rate cap in the charter (this too can be changed through a vote by City Council), Council requested an ordinance setting a 1 mill rate cap with a referendum requirement.
Johnson explained that if the city wanted to go above 1 mill in the future, it would have to go before residents in the form of a referendum in which the council explained their rationale for increasing the millage rate. The community would then decide if it was allowed. This level of restriction (regarding a referendum on the millage rate cap) is not currently in the charter. The city has a current millage rate of 0.
This ordinance establishes that public-private and public-public services are the preferred service delivery model of the city. A change to this service delivery method can be made following a recommendation from the city manager, a detailed financial analysis, a public hearing, and a vote by City Council.
Intergovernmental Contract and Bond Authorization
The meeting concluded with the approval of the resolution to authorize a contract with the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Peachtree Corners (DDA). This agreement states that the DDA would purchase and hold the 5.762 acres of land at the corner of Medlock Bridge Road and Peachtree Corners Circle.
To accomplish this, the city council approved a resolution to create an Intergovernmental Contract between the Authority and the City. With that approval, the Authority agrees to issue a Bond to provide funds to finance the acquisition of the 5.762 acres purchased by the city.
The resolution stated that the principal amount of the Bond would not exceed $7,175,000, the interest rate could not exceed 5.50%, with the final maturity of the Bond ending on or before December 31, 2033.
The city also agreed to pay the Authority, per the resolution, “from its general fund or from the “proceeds of a tax levied on all taxable property located within the boundaries of the City, at such rate or rates, not to exceed one mill per dollar (or such greater amount as may hereafter be recommend by the Mayor and Council of the City and approved by a majority of the eligible voters in the City by referendum), as may be necessary to make the payments to the Authority for its services as called for pursuant to the Contract in amounts sufficient to pay the principal of, redemption premium and interest on the Bond.”
Additional notes from Rico Figliolini
Alex McCray is a freelance writer/reporter for Peachtree Corners Life. Contributing to the award-winning, student-run newspaper and magazine publications at Georgia Southern University sparked her passion for storytelling. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she joined Atlanta Best Media, where she continues to work today. When she isn’t glued to a keyboard, her pastimes include pursuing her only bucket list item of seeing all seven continents, working out, and trying new restaurants. She can be reached at: Alex@PeachtreeCornersLife.com