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Isakson Living Rezoning Case Before Cobb Planning Commission Tuesday

Concerned Citizens of East Cobb group continues its grassroots effort to "protect the Tritt property from overdevelopment" and to "protect East Cobb Park from urban encroachment."

FrontvView of the Tritt property. Courtesy  Concerned Citizens of East Cobb
FrontvView of the Tritt property. Courtesy Concerned Citizens of East Cobb
Patch Staff Report

The Isakson Living rezoning case in East Cobb is set to go before the Cobb Planning Commission and Cobb Board of Commissioners, respectively, on May 6 and May 20.

Isakson Living is seeking to rezone from low-density residential on 53 acres on Roswell Road next to East Cobb Park to build a $200 million senior living facility.

The Isakson Living plans, which initially called for nearly 1,000 units, have been strongly opposed by nearby residents and the East Cobb Civic Association due to density, traffic and other concerns. 

Isakson Living is under contract to acquire that land from Wylene Tritt, subject to rezoning.

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The following is from
Concerned Citizens of East Cobb, which represents "thousands of East Cobbers who want the Tritt property to be respectfully developed or fully conserved for a park."


The sale of the 53.7-acre Tritt property next to East Cobb Park will impact this community greatly no matter what, whether it becomes a new Park, an 80-home subdivision, or a 748-unit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).  The Tritt property is one of the last undeveloped green space areas in East Cobb, and so its sale will have an effect on this area for years to come. 

If the Isakson Living East Cobb proposal is approved in the zoning process, the development would overshadow East Cobb Park, both literally and figuratively.  With buildings as high as 5-stories, the large-scale CCRC development would tower over East Cobb Park, nearby Fuller's Park, as well as all the adjacent homes in the area. 

In addition, Isakson Living has stated that their plan is to build this 1.12 million  square foot complex over 10 years. That means for an entire generation of children, construction noise would drown out the relaxing nature of East Cobb: The morning walks and pre-school playground playdates, the afternoon picnics, ultimate Frisbee games, creek wading and bike-riding adventures, each event would be accompanied by the sounds of chainsaws, bulldozers, and hammers. Just the traffic of the Isakson Living CCRC as well as WellStar would be literally more than 4,000 cars a day, and East Cobb Park would be gridlocked by traffic.

"Green Jewels"
A park is the green jewel of any community, and county planners have an obligation to protect these green spaces for the enjoyment of all citizens. As an example, 100-acre Jim Miller Park has enough space for concerts and other events and doesn't have large buildings bordering it.  The 80-acre Roswell Area Park is a great community park, and no tall buildings of any sort border the park.  Even the 189-acre Piedmont Park located in Midtown Atlanta also has no large buildings next to it; all high-rise buildings are across the street.  Even in the 843-acre Central Park in New York City, all the high-rise buildings are located across the street, not directly next to it.  Development in and around most every park is limited by zoning so that the Parks remain a relaxing place for all community members to enjoy. 

The East Cobb community sacrificed and worked so hard to create the now 20-acre East Cobb Park, which first opened in 2003, and the stated goal of the County at that time was to acquire more land to expand East Cobb ParkEast Cobb Park is a special place to walk, jog or push a stroller; a neighborhood place to walk the dog, to meet friends, relax, and play; a cozy place to have a picnic, celebrate birthdays, and other fun events.  So the loss of the Tritt property green space for such a high-rise CCRC development would be devastating, but so would losing the current relaxing atmosphere of East Cobb Park if towering buildings were allowed to be built next to it. Communities need reasonable development, and that includes parks and green space for everyone to enjoy. 

100 Year Flood Plain
Of the 53.7 acres of the Tritt Property, 15.7 acres is protected flood plain and stream buffers, and no developer can build on that part of the property.  In addition, about 3 acres of the property is too hilly to build on, so that leaves only 35 acres which could be built upon by any developer.   In other words, for any potential developer, at least 15.7 acres and more than 1/3 of the property, 18.7 acres, could be protected by donating it to East Cobb Park or putting it in a conservation easement. Above is an image of the 15.7 acres that is protected from development by any developer.

Therefore, many concerned citizens have asked Isakson Living to find another location  for their proposed CCRC, on land that has already been developed, rather than destroying the last remaining green space in East Cobb.  In other words, building on an already developed parcel of land that is under-utilized or not used any more at all and re-purposing it helps the community a lot more than developing the Tritt property, this last bit of green space right next to East Cobb Park, our community's "green jewel".

What we can do:

1. Sign the Online Petition.  The petition will be presented to the Commissioners at the May 6 and May 20 Board of Commissioners meetings.

2.
Email the Commissioners to Protect the East Cobb Community from Overdevelopment.
 
3. Attend the Tuesday, May 6 at 9:00 AM and Tuesday, May 20 at 9:00 AM zoning meeting in the Cobb County Government 100 Cherokee Street /2nd Floor/ BOC Meeting Room in Marietta Please plan to attend these meetings if possible because united we can make a difference! This grassroots effort to protect the Tritt property from overdevelopment also wants to protect East Cobb Park from urban encroachment. Please join this effort to save East Cobb Park from the urban sprawl of the Isakson Living plan.
paul johnson May 07, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Thank you for the clarification Hunt. Weisbrot stands corrected.
Weisbrot May 07, 2014 at 10:39 AM
I haven't deleted any of my own comments. Replies are not displaying, but there have been no deletions made by me.
Weisbrot May 07, 2014 at 10:46 AM
All comments on the thread, including replies, will display when selecting the "comment" button on top left. This includes those that were thought to be deleted. My apologies to the editor; when they did not display in the thread view I also assumed they had been deleted. "Replies" also display in the "recent comments" scroll on the home page.
East Cobb Realist May 07, 2014 at 04:49 PM
Weisbrot - If you want to talk about objectivity, what's clear is that you have a considerable chip on your shoulder to go along with a perceived ax to grind with the Isakson's, hardly the dynamics of an open mind but I'll come back to this. To William's point, seniors wish to remain in their community I can personally attest to this with my own parents. Those opposed to the development threaten their ability to do so. Further, many of those opposed have suggested that housing such as Isakson proposes should be relegated to Cobb Parkway or Windy Hill, for example. Please forgive them should they find this a less than hospitable attitude. But what's most interesting is your obvious hostility towards the Isaksons and those that support them. From what I heard, they had about 100 supporters at yesterdays zoning hearing who also took time out from work and daily lives to attend, William may have been one of them. And they did so because they desire a housing option not available to them today. I suppose, in a sense, having more options is profiting but I don't think that's the context you intended. While there have been opposing views, the discourse regarding this issue has been pretty respectful in this venue these last 10-12 months although you have managed to go out of bounds with just about all your posts in my opinion, which leads me back to where I started. I'm not going to question your motives because I don't presume to know you but regardless Isakson, it seems, is in your head and the very thought of their coming to east cobb is one that gnaws at you. Nonetheless, I hope you can one day come to terms with whatever the source of your anguish is and thereby achieve some measure of peace.
Weisbrot May 07, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Sure, and calling everyone who opposes this monstrous development “anti-old people” must be your idea of extending an olive branch. I’ve followed the comments in this publication since the proposal was first made, and quite obviously those who support this ill-advised development are vocal and disrespectful to any who disagree. So, please save your faux anguish and pop psychology for someone who thinks it matters or is even truthful. As for seniors and their concerns, seniors can already stay in the community. There are plenty of facilities in the area, and NO ONE opposes more of them to fit the needs and realistic financial capability of seniors in Cobb. Your “from what I heard” in reference to your lack of attendance speaks volumes to your actual level of commitment to the process. Many of those who did attend yesterday, and were in support of the development, were easily identified as those who will profit from the development moving forward. Those who spent their morning to attend and voice opposition were all citizens asking the County to simply follow its own rules. Instead, IL was given a continuance to regroup and resubmit, instead of a recommendation being made as called for by established procedure. You wish to excuse this type of behavior, as well as the obviously inept and arrogant tactics of the IL group that were plainly identified from the podium by Mike Terry and other members of the commission. They called it the “worst zoning application process ever”, in reference to IL’s dealings over the past year, and they made it clear that this was strictly the fault of the Isakson Living group. It was plain to see that the Planning Commission merely submitted to political pressure in allowing IL yet another chance to submit. This in spite of the County’s own established code being very clear that a development of this size is not allowed under any zoning, including CCRC, that Cobb has established. It’s also clear that polite discourse isn’t going to convince the county and the IL group to merely play by the rules, and to heed the concerns of the more than 2,500 East Cobb residents who have spoken out against this exceedingly inappropriate development. Gnaw on that slice of realism for a bit, and perhaps you’ll come to terms with the fact that this development, at anywhere close to its proposed size, is not needed, wanted, or even allowed in Cobb County.

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