Wesley Chapel Road subdivision rezoning gets final approval

Wesley Chapel Road subdivision

An 81-home subdivision proposal on either side of Wesley Chapel Road gained final approval from the Cobb Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The vote was a unanimous 5-0, and residents of nearby communities that had voiced opposition for density, traffic and environmental reasons were generally in support after the developer added a number of stipulations.

(You can read the case filings here.)

The 49 acres of property is bisected on both sides by streams that feed into lakes at the Loch Highland community to the south, and is between Mabry Park and Garrison Mill Elementary School.

Brooks Chadwick Capital, LLC, an East Cobb-based developer, offered new stipulations on Sept. 9 (you can read the letter here) and on Monday met with the homeowners association of Highlands at Wesley Chapel, which surrounds what would be called Willis Woods, to iron out more differences.

The developer was seeking R-15 zoning, which would have a smaller density than nearby subdivisions.

Among the stipulations include tree preservation, increased setback areas along the rear edges in exchange for smaller setbacks at the front and additional green space around the creeks.

Kevin Moore, the attorney for Brooks Chadwick, said the county code allows for lots to come much closer to the streams than what his client was seeking.

Springmill runoff
A photo of runoff in the Springmill neighborhood, just below the proposed Willis Woods subdivision.

Stormwater issues have been a problem in the area for years, especially on the eastern side of Wesley Chapel, where streams and creeks feed into the Loch Highland lakes.

Debbie Fisher, speaking on behalf of the the Loch Highland Homeowners Association noted during Tuesday’s zoning hearing that residents there have spent more than $1.5 million dredging the lakes, much of it due to stormwater runoff upstream.

“We are the recipient of runoff for 2,400 acres, from Sweat Mountain on down,” she said.

During her presentation, she showed pictures of the effects of runoff from the nearby Springmill neighborhood.

“We have lost trees and some people have lost parts of their yard,” Fisher said, “and this is only going to be exacerbated.”

She asked for additional stormwater-releated stipulations and perpetual tree buffers and wanted assurances that the Loch Highland HOA would “have a seat at the table” at any kind of settlement discussions over negative impact of silt and runoff accumulations.

One of the stipulations agreed to by the developer is to allow no more than 35 percent of the developed area to be impervious surfaces.

The property falls in the districts of East Cobb commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell. Ott said most of the stormwater issues fall on the east side of Wesley Chapel, which is in his district, and in his motion to approve included items from the developer’s stipulation letter.

He also added a condition that would require the county’s stormwater management chief to determine mediation steps for negative impact assessments, and also stipulated that the developer could not make any variances to the impervious surface provision.

A nearby resident said the density of the development was still too much, and said more than 1,000 people had signed an online petition in opposition.

But the Highlands at Wesley Chapel HOA president specified conditions to some of the revised Brooks Chadwich stipulations that he said would earn the support of his community.

“The applicant has addressed their concerns and that’s important,” Ott said.

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