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Developer’s plans for townhomes on Azalea Drive facing scrutiny
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
March 26, 2014 02:57 PM | 1699 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A rezoning application to build townhomes along the Roswell side of the Chattahoochee River is fighting an uphill battle.

The application, submitted by Jason Yowell for 9.71 acres of land on Azalea Drive, calls for 22 townhomes and two single-family residences, one off Valley Ridge Drive and one off Spring Drive.

The land is now zoned single family and is mostly vacant except for one structure that would be demolished. The townhomes would be toward the bottom of the property with access from Azalea Drive.

The applicant is requesting several variances from the city and state agencies, including relief from steep slope and stream buffer requirements and permission to pipe a stream on the property.

In a recommendation for the application’s denial, Roswell planning staff said the site is “hindered by the steep topography.” Staff opposes any variance to the stream buffer, the piping of the stream and cites “inappropriate design of the property due to the topography of the site.”

Last week, the city’s planning commission voted unanimously to send an adverse recommendation to the city council, which is scheduled to have a hearing on the application April 14.

That date might change, however. Because it is in the river corridor, the plan is also being reviewed by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Roswell Planning Director Brad Townsend said the hearing could be delayed until the results of the ARC’s review are available.

Earlier in the plan review process, Yowell told the design review committee and the Roswell Recreation Commission that he is setting aside 60 percent of the land to be left undisturbed in a conservation easement. He would also be giving an acre of land on the river to the Atlanta Junior Rowing Club to build a new boathouse and expand its program.

Yowell, a longtime Roswell resident, has hired local engineering firm AEC for the project. The firm has expertise in maintaining natural settings, which is crucial to the engineering and layout of the property, he said.

“The average person looking at this site might think it is unbuildable, but to people like Steve Rowe of AEC and myself, the topography of this site presents exciting challenges that will hopefully yield the next generation in residential development that exceeds conventional expectations of tract-like townhomes,” Yowell said.

“It’s my desire to enhance and sustain the best of the natural environment with the elements carefully designed to elevate the residential experience for future homeowners as well as nearby neighbors.”
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