A planned development for Polk Street in Marietta has passed its first hurdle.
The city Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday evening to recommend approval for the Cottages at Keeler Woods, a neighborhood of 27 detached, single-family homes on 6.6 acres off Polk Street between Mountain View and Burnt Hickory roads. That gives the project a density of about 4.1 units per acre.
Marietta-based Elliott Homes is planning the community in the same spot where a different developer scuttled plans for a denser neighborhood earlier this year. InLine Communities LLC first proposed building 57 homes at that location, then brought that number down to 46, then again to 37, but ultimately withdrew its rezoning plans following public outcry.
Attorney Adam Rozen, who represented Elliott Homes, said the new plan is less dense than the previous ones and also less dense than the city’s planning documents anticipate.
“Your council has seen these properties as being appropriate for and expected to be zoned in the future on your future land use map as medium density residential, which is five to eight units per acre,” he said. “Our proposal is under that. It’s just over four units per acre. It has been expected that this property will be zoned at a higher density than what it is now, and is expected to potentially be as high as eight units per acre.”
According to documents filed with the city, each home will come with three bedrooms and a minimum area of 2,200 square feet. In addition, the style of the homes will match that of other nearby Elliott Homes neighborhoods such as Keeler Woods and Anderson Farm. The homes will be constructed of materials including brick and stacked stone, and each lot will include two-car garage with decorative carriage style doors and 20-foot driveways wide enough to hold two more vehicles.
Rozen said the homes are expected to sell in the high $600,000 to $700,000 range and Elliott Homes has taken feedback from neighbors into account in designing the property.
But two neighbors said they’re not happy with the product.
Brian Daniel said he’s concerned the development will tank his home’s value.
“I’ve lived there a long time, my grandparents built there in 1938,” he said. “It has a lot of sentimental value. The building of these homes is going to ruin the value of my land and the enjoyment of my land, it’s going to be right in my backyard, so it’s not a good thing.”
Analyst Jane Isenbletter said she’s concerned the neighborhood’s sole entrance would be right across Mountain View Road from her home.
Isenbletter said the houses look to her like starter homes and questioned whether people would pay $700,000 for a home on a small lot without amenities like a pool or tennis court.
“I’m concerned that they won’t actually sell for that much, which will then drive the cost or the value of my home down, or it will vastly increase my property taxes,” she said. “I already pay over $6,000 a year in property taxes, and I’m pretty sure everybody else in historic Marietta pays similar.”
Rozen said he is confident the homes will appeal to prospective buyers because they are similar to other homes that have sold well in the area.
“This is a smaller size home, but the architecture that’s being proposed is what (Elliott Homes) has seen and we have seen by others to be successful. … We’ve looked at that, and it’s exactly what’s been successful in the past,” he said.
Rozen also said the previous attempts to build there have shown that the subdivision’s entrance should be on Mountain View rather than Polk Street.
“The common thread was that this is the best location for the entrance to be, it’s a safe location for the entrance to be, this is the least impact on traffic on Polk Street,” he said. “The difference between traffic on Polk Street and Mountain View Road is monumental. If you’ve driven down Polk Street, you know that, and to put more cars on Polk Street immediately out of this development, I think the answer was that a safety issue was there.”
The commission agreed and voted to pass the matter on to the council, whose next meeting is set for Dec. 11.
Councilman Johnny Walker, whose ward includes the proposed site, said he will hear both sides, but is optimistic about the plan.
“I’m looking forward to the presentations, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m pleased with the proposed development. … I think it’s quite an adjustment from what was previously suggested, and I think $600,000 or $700,000 homes do fit into that area since you have some right across street that are similar,” he said.