Sharp Residential has proposed the development of 31 homes on 21.885 acres of land on the south side of Mayfield Road directly across from Bates Road, which is referred to as the Johnson Tract. This is part of the overall plan to develop 108 homes on Bates Road and Mayfield Road. The second part of this development plan (77 homes on 56.664 acres making up the Burgess Property – which is located on the north and south sides of Bates Road).
The homeowners of Alpharetta along Mayfield and the surrounding area strongly oppose the proposed rezoning based on the rezoning request not meeting the standards set forth in the City’s Unified Development Code.
We ask the City Council to deny the request by Sharp Residential to rezone the subject properties to R-15 and cite points from the approved City of Alpharetta 2030 Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code in support of our request. The most significantconcerns are: (1) increased traffic congestion, (2) safety concerns, (3) small planned lot size and square footage of homes.
Traffic congestion was “the most vocal complaint that
Alpharetta residents have about their city” [2030 Comprehensive Plan, pg. 15]. We are extremely concerned about the impact of 108 homes on Mayfield Road going east to Highway 9 and going west to Crabapple. In peak morning hours, traffic already backs up on Mayfield Road from Highway 9 almost to Providence Road. Also, going east on Mayfield Road toward Northwestern Middle School and Milton High School in the morning, there is a long backup from the light at Freemanville Road through the stop sign at Bethany Road for half a mile. Not to mention, the impact in the evening traffic going north from Highway 9 turning left onto Mayfield Road. The developer did a traffic study (without utilizing black box traffic counters normally used for traffic studies) during the last week of July. We question the validity of a traffic study done during summer vacation months. This traffic is best monitored when school is in session and must include the increase in volume resulting from the proposed high density developments. The developer performed a second traffic study (again, without utilizing black box traffic counters normally used for traffic studies) on the Mayfield – Bates Roads intersection and the Mayfield-Bethany Roads intersection while school was in session. The Mayfield-Bethany Road intersection received an “F.” The addition of 108 homes will exacerbate this traffic problem. A major concern is that the first and second traffic study did not include traffic going east on Mayfield to Highway 9. Congestion is a big issue - a comprehensive traffic study must be done to determine the total effect that the entire project of building 108 homes will have on our streets and the traffic along Mayfield and Providence Roads.
Certain applicable policies from the Comprehensive Plan
are listed below as well as provisions of the Unified
Theme Use: Transportation
TPolicy2:Provide multi-modal transportation options.
TPolicy 6: Develop a network of interconnected streets to provide more access routes and less dependence on the arterial and major collector street system.
TStrategy 6.1: Support development of interconnected public street network within new developments that link new streets and neighborhoods to existing public streets and adjacent subdivisions, allowing for more than one way in and one way out as well as providing for multiple route options within the developments.
Per the Unified Development Code - City of Alpharetta:
Section 4.2.3 STANDARDS FOR ZONING CHANGES
e. Whether the zoning proposal will result in a use that will or could cause an excessive or burdensome use of public facilities or services, including but not limited to existing streets and transportation facilities, schools, water or sewer utilities, and police or fire protection.”
We also have safety concerns with the developer proposing to install the Johnson property development egress directly across from the intersection of Bates and Mayfield Road. With the nearby curve on Mayfield Road, it is already difficult and dangerous to exit out of Bates Road. Trying to exit with the additional cross street road traffic will make this intersection even more dangerous. Sharp’s proposal of a four way intersection, without stop signs on Mayfield Road, a traffic light, or even deceleration/turn lanes for westbound traffic turning right onto Bates Road or eastbound into the new development, is a major concern. Equally important, the difficulty of exiting onto Mayfield will surely cause significant traffic back up onto Bates Road particularly since this is the most direct route used during the morning commute due to the school traffic. Additionally, all homes should be in the confines of the neighborhood. The developer has 14 homes that face Bates Road with the driveway entering and exiting onto Bates. This will compound the traffic on Bates and will result in unsafe conditions.
The proposed plans allow only one way in and one way out. However, by increasing the lot size, the number of people and cars will be more manageable and more than one way in and out may not be needed.
The proposed plan is to build smaller homes (2500 sq. ft. minimum) on smaller lots (15,000 sq. ft.) as compared to adjacent and nearby subdivisions. We strongly object to this proposed density which will give an urban appearance and will adversely affect the “horse-farm and estate” character of this Northwest neighborhood. Currently, the land in question is zoned as Agricultural (AG). The developers are requesting rezoning to Low Density Residential - R-15, or minimum 15,000 sq. ft. lots. The Johnson Tract plan, as proposed, is not compatible with the character of the nearby neighborhoods, built since 1998, of Harrington Falls, Harrington Oaks, Gransley, and Providence Place, which are 1+ acre minimum (Zoned R) nor the older adjacent neighborhoods of Alpharetta Estates (30,000 sq. ft. minimum) and Mayfield (20,000 sq. ft. minimum). The Johnson Tract should be zoned “R” 1+ acre, similar to the lot sizes of homes built in this area since 1998. This would follow the character of existing neighborhoods and not “adversely affect” those communities.
At the developer’s September 5, 2012 meeting, he said that although the plan states the homes will be a minimum of 2500 sq. ft., they usually build homes that are 3500 sq. ft. The developer’s plan should reflect what they are actually going to build. In order to conform to the character of adjacent and surrounding neighborhoods, the Johnson Tract should be compatible with the newer homes built in this area
Another concern is the proposed building line setbacks in the front of 35 feet. The setback does not conform to the existing setback in the adjacent neighborhoods. Setbacks should be the same as Alpharetta Estates and Mayfield which are 50 feet.
Certain applicable policies from the Comprehensive Plan are listed below as well as provisions of the Unified Development Code.
General Description: Northwest Neighborhoods Character Area is defined largely by single-family, detached residential subdivisions with a lot sizes ranging from large residential estate to smaller-lot. The “horse-farm” and estate area should be preserved… [As defined in the 2030 plan, “residential estate” is a lot with 3 or more acres.]
Intent: MAINTAIN and ENHANCE established neighborhoods, the character of residential estate properties as well as connectivity to corridors and activity centers with vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
Future Development should emphasize connectivity enhancement, maintenance of neighborhoods, maintenance of estate lot character while also creating a pedestrian-friendly environment by adding sidewalks and encouraging bicycle use with infrastructure that make biking safe, convenient and flows in conjunction with the new "Down Town" plan the City is implementing.
Vision Themes: Land Use
LU Policy 4: Preserve and protect the quality of existing neighborhoods proactively through code enforcement and land use decisions that protect neighborhood integrity of these areas.
LU Strategy 4.1: Preserve residential estate properties in Northwest Alpharetta and the Big Creek Overlook community by maintaining development densities that are generally at much lower levels than that of the rest of the city (see Part 2: Character Area Policy for detailed policy for each area). In addition, investigate opportunities to provide incentives through zoning, services, taxes, etc. to preserve the estate land use densities.
LU Policy 5: Require subdivision design that fosters a sense of community and promotes pedestrian mobility, community recreation and an abundance of public open space.
LU Strategy 5.1: Ensure that roads and sidewalks designed for new suburban neighborhood developments connect with adjacent established neighborhoods to provide connectivity to parks, greenspace, community amenities and commercial services.
LU Policy 7.0 --- LU Strategy 7.2: …building setbacks and minimum lots sizes that are compatible with surrounding homes.
Vision Themes: Housing
H Policy 3: Preserve the character of distinct residential areas.
H Strategy 3.2: Protect the rural northwest part of the city from urban development and incompatible land uses.
H Policy 5: Design quality and long-term value into residential development to maintain appearance and property values.
H Strategy 5.1: Ensure that at the very beginning of the design process, consideration is given to the natural environment (i.e. topography, tree preservation, creek flows), and accommodations and made for amenities (i.e. sidewalks, lighting, open spaces), in order to support a high quality residential product.
Per the Unified Development Code - City of Alpharetta:
Section 4.2.3 STANDARDS FOR ZONING CHANGES
“A.2. The Planning Commission and the City Council shall consider the following standards in considering a rezoning application, giving due weight or priority to those factors particularly appropriate to the circumstances of each application:
Whether the zoning proposal will permit a use that is suitable in view of the zoning, use and development of adjacent and nearby property.
Whether the zoning proposal will adversely affect the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property.”
The current proposed plan by the Sharp Residential Company to develop the above properties does not meet the City of Alpharetta 2030 Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code and therefore should receive a NO vote.