The Commons’ developer wants to change the plans for an 18-acre lot from 82 cottage-style units to 162 apartments, despite protests from neighbors.
City Planner Charles Griffin said Friday he had recently been contacted by David Schmit of Marathon Land Co., the developer of the Maple Street Commons, who asked to postpone the public hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Griffin said he would recommend to the Planning Commission on Tuesday that it postpone the hearing, and said that while the Planning Commission could choose to ignore his recommendation, it would likely follow his advice.
Schmit was unavailable for comment, but Griffin said Schmit had told him the reason for the request was to give him time reach out to the neighbors of Heritage Hills and other nearby residential areas who have opposed the request.
The piece of land in question, called “Parcel M,” was zoned for 162 apartments when the Planning Commission recommended the Commons’ master plan in 2005. But when the plan was given to the Carrollton City Council for final approval, the council specifically made Marathon Land Co., which Joiner represents, agree not to build all 162 apartments because of the same concerns expressed by citizens of Heritage Hills and other neighborhoods.
Marathon Land is now two meetings into the four-meeting process of asking the city for permission to change plans and allow a new subdeveloper, Campus Suites, to develop those apartments. The original developer, Landmark Development Properties LLC, is no longer associated with project.
Planning and Zoning does not have the final say as to whether the land-use change will be approved. It will make a recommendation to the City Council, which will would have decided the status of that piece of land on May 5, but now will likely do so at a later date.
David Joiner of Marathon Land said he understood area residents’ concerns, but reiterated that should apartments go in Plot M, they “would still be a high-quality product.”
Other residents of Heritage Hills said they were unmoved.
“It’s just not right what they’re doing,” said John Miller. “I guarantee if someone talked about putting apartments like this in their backyard, they’d be excited as well. We know they’ll eventually put something there; they bought the land ... We just want them to do the right thing.”
Bob Dangle, another Heritage Hills resident, said he was not only worried about visibility issues, about also rain runoff from an apartment complex into the lower-lying neighborhood.
The city recently fined Trey Robinson and Steve Wilson of Maple Street Development, another subdeveloper of Maple Street Commons, $4,500 for not doing enough to prevent soil erosion into Heritage Hills. Maple Street Development is appealing the fine.
Councilwoman Mandy Maierhofer, in whose district Maple Street Commons falls, said she was against apartments going in Plot M, too.
“I hate to see all the neighbors disappointed,” she said. “I agree with them. I don’t want apartments in my backyard, either. I’m not sure it’s the best use for the property.”
Other portions of the Maple Street Commons are under development as well. A drugstore and bank have already opened on seven acres of the property bought from Marathon by MetroGroup Development. CVS opened in January 2007, and River City Bank of West Georgia opened in a temporary building in November 2007. River City Bank will be starting work on the permanent building this spring.
According to its Web site, MetroGroup plans to develop the rest of the seven acres as a mixture of retail, restaurant, office and living space, with plenty of green space for aesthetics.
Marathon is currently building office condos behind the Texaco gas station which opened in the Commons in October 2007. Right now, three buildings, all duplexes, are under construction by David Reynolds Construction. Two of the buildings will span 3,200-3,400 square feet, and the third will cover 2,800 square feet, according to contractor Dave Reynolds. The buildings should be finished in April, he said.
Eventually, there will be 22 office suites in the complex that could be used for a variety of businesses. The area between the CVS and the Texaco will be the centerpiece of the Commons, “a lifestyle center,” Joiner said. The area will include retail stores, a day care and fitness center. The plans are to break ground in April on that tract and be in operation in late 2008, he said.
Staff writer Laura Camper contributed to this article.