Planning commission hears about proposed Martha Berry, Silver Creek developments

In this Oct. 5 file photo, more than 50 people who live near the proposed Pleasant Valley Preserve attend a Rome-Floyd County Planning Commission meeting at the City Auditorium to oppose the project.

Residents of several neighborhoods bordering a proposed massive residential development near Silver Creek are asking that necessary infrastructure improvements happen before the city considers the proposal.

The Rome City Commission is slated to take up the proposed annexation and rezoning of request by JTG Holdings during its Monday meeting.

The proposal is to put 1,018 single-family homes on 264 undeveloped acres roughly bounded by Hampton Boulevard to the north, Tom Bing Road to the west and Boyd Valley Road to the east.

Just under 200 acres bordering the Twickenham, Hampton Preserve and Hampton East communities are already part of the city and zoned suburban residential.

While the residents of nearby neighborhoods may or may not oppose the project as a whole, the city will only be considering the annexation and rezoning of approximately 70 acres bordering Pleasant Valley Road.

Nearby residents have submitted numerous letters and petitions opposed to the project and over 50 people attended a Rome-Floyd Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 5 to speak against the project.

There were two votes. In the first, planning commission members split 4-4 on the request to annex the 70-acre portion of the 260-acre property into the city. But approved in a 5-3 vote the rezoning of the property to suburban residential. The tie vote moves forward to the city as no recommendation.

Questions and requests

There are several issues with the population boom resulting from such a large development, Hampton Preserve resident Chris Barbieri wrote in a 12-page summary of concerns.

The changes are “incompatible with the existing rural residential community,” Barbieri wrote.

Referencing a Rome/Floyd/Cave Spring Comprehensive plan adopted in 2018 which states that developments should be located along major corridors, he said the main roads that would service residents of the development don’t fit that description and aren’t up to the task.

“Neither Chulio nor Pleasant Valley Road are major corridors. Both are best characterized as windy two-lane country roads,” he wrote.

“Numerous impact studies are needed before this land is annexed and rezoned: traffic, needed road improvements, water and sewer, stormwater management, environmental and school system,” he wrote.

During the Oct. 5 planning commission meeting, a JTG representative at the meeting said they planned to have the first homes built and ready within two years, with the entire development completed in a 5- to 7-year timeframe.

Andrew Bishop, the acquisition manager for JTG Holdings, said they have a traffic study in progress which should be completed prior to the city commission meeting Monday.

If commissioners choose to not annex and rezone the 70 acres, Bishop said JTG may decide to continue the development plans on the other 190 acres already zoned and within the city.

The increased traffic on Chulio and Pleasant Valley Road is just one concern. Dean Avenue, which already suffers from traffic issues, especially during the pick up and drop off period of the day at East Central elementary, will see a glut of traffic from the project, he wrote.

Alongside an already packed East Central Elementary school, potential stormwater drainage issues, sewer and water concerns nearby residents also voiced concern if the project, once started, will even be completed.

“The Hampton Preserve development similarly had grand plans with multiple phases and amenities planned,” Barbieri wrote. “However, market conditions changed and construction stopped after about 10 houses...residents in the community around this proposed annexation/rezoning/proposed development do not want to see the disaster of the Hampton Preserve development repeated on even a larger scale.”

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