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Property Across From The Forum to Be Developed

A large apartment complex is slated to be built on the undeveloped acreage on Peachtree Parkway across from the popular Peachtree Corners open-air shopping center.

Editor's note: A correction to the story posted on Monday, Jan. 14. Only the engineers and the permitting department will have any control over the building plans. If the plans meet the conditions, there is no intervention required by the city. Jan. 16, 2013.

 

It's long been the dream of many in Peachtree Corners that the 20+ acres across from The Forum would be developed into a multi-use area that all could enjoy.

That dream is about to end.

Charlie Roberts, the owner of the coveted land, and the last undeveloped acreage in the city, has announced he will soon sell the property to Lennar, a Miami, Florida-based company to be developed into a high-end multi-family complex of some 250 or so apartments.

Despite a decade-old fight to keep apartments from being built by community activists including the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA), a large apartment complex is planned for the property. Construction could start as early as May, 2013.

"It's not the best use of the land," agreed Gray Terry, Vice President of Land Use for the UPCCA. The civic organization had been fighting against the property being developed into an apartment complex.

The UPCCA fought to keep the property from being developed into apartments. Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners denied Roberts request to rezone for apartments to keep apartments from being built on the property. Then Roberts took the county to court.

"It went through the courts," said Terry. "The Superior Court of Gwinnett County ruled in favor of the property owner."

Diana Wheeler, the city's Community Development Director, said the ideal mix of homes to apartments for a city is somewhere in the 70-30 to 60-40 percent range. The city is currently at 50 percent homes, 50 percent apartments, the additional 250+ apartments proposed for the property will put the city over the current 50/50 mark.

The land was originally zoned residential (R-100 and R-75), but Roberts later was successful in getting the property rezoned for apartment use (RM-13).

Roberts had planned to develop the property himself some five or six years ago but the 2007 recession forcing him to delay his development plans. The purchase price for the property is nearly $7.6 million.

"The community had hoped it would be developed into a mixed use area," said Wayne Knox, the former V.P. of Land Use for UPCCA.

The development falls within the Simpson Elementary School district so students living in the new apartment complex will attend the Peachtree Corners school.

Because the property falls inside the Overlay District established in 2007, the City of Peachtree Corners does have some control over the development, explained Knox. The development must adhere to the signage, architecture and landscaping controls of the Overlay District.

Wheeler said no plans have been filed with the city.

Are you disappointed that the land will be developed into an apartment complex? Use the comment box below to let us know.


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Jimmy Neese January 17, 2013 at 03:03 PM
You have a great point there Judy. Its a crying shame the commissioners in Gwinnett County who were doing the land dealings didn't think the same way. They filled their pocket with their neighbors cash and none have gone to jail but one. Sad to see them still walking the streets among their Neighbors. Does seem to leave a little bad taste in your mouth. Especially at times like this and tax time. We hope that our city officials will remember they live among their Neighbors. Over a period of time things will change just look at whats in Washington. It doesn't usually start out bad but it sure has ended up very corrupt. Big money makes people do strange things. Just need to always keep the checks and balances in place. No one treats your money like you do. It seems once its given to politicians its forgotten where it came from. It comes from the people who put you in there. Funny how Amnesia sets in and makes it so easy to spend and remember where it comes from.
Sandra Hetlage January 21, 2013 at 02:16 AM
I for one do not want more appartment in Peachtree Corners. Our schools are over crowded with appox. 26 children per class room at Simpson already, How does this make any sence for the well being of our comunity. Life as we know it will change with the congestion alone. We need to put pressure on our elected city concil to do the right thing and fight to keep our comminity a wonderful place to live
Rusty Taylor January 29, 2013 at 08:45 PM
If we want to keep apartments from being built their is only one sure fire way to do that. We need to get the funds together and BUY the property.Then the city can do with it as it pleases.
debi February 04, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I am not sure but is there a zoning of Apartment or is it Multi Family - can the new city of ours require the multi family be Condo and not Apartment? - Not that i support multi family but condo has some investment by the occupant where apartment does not.
Veritatem February 04, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Good question, debi. Unfortunately, the property owner can use the land as allowed by the zoning and the city cannot force the owner to build condos if apartments are allowed by the zoning, which is the case here. Lennar wants to build apartments that the zoning allows and, subject to buying the property, the city apparently cannot stop Lennar. The city may be able to require the use of certain materials, setbacks, green space, etc., but I'm not even sure if, or to the extent, it can even do this. Unless something different happens we'll have over 250 more apartments in the city, and a total of apartments way, way more than city planners and residential real estate professionals believe is good for any city.

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