Though the area of the city does allow for a higher density of housing, city officials nixed the plan because the proposed development did not include non-residential building space, which is outlined in the new form based code that council approved in April.
“I don’t like the idea of approving a plan and then going against what was just approved less than a year later,” said Councilwoman Karen Thurman.
“The commercial space is what we believe is the value in this particular area,” said Councilman Joe Longoria.
Although the complex was designed so the ground floor of the three-story buildings could be converted into non-residential use, Pete Hendricks, a representative for the developer Crescent Communities, said the amount of commercial space the city requested was not economically viable.
“This is an extremely restrictive form-based code,” said Bob Preston, architect for the project. “It is the most restrictive form-based code that I’ve worked with.”
The developers previously brought a plan to council in 2012 for apartments on the 21-acre property. Council denied the initial plan, but the developers tried to appeal the decision through Fulton County Superior Court. In May, the court ordered the case to be brought back to Milton for reconsideration under the new form-based code. The developers adjusted plans for the property in attempt to meet the code.
Councilman Burt Hewitt said he was the only one to vote in favor of the project last year but hoped the developers would have brought back the plan with a mix of residential and commercial.
Some neighbors brought up concerns the apartments could decrease their property values and increase traffic problems and crime.
“I moved out of Sandy Springs due to the crime in apartment complexes,” said resident Lisa Bills. “I think [the proposed apartment complex] would be a negative impact.”