Henry County commissioners approved a rezoning this week for the countyâ€™s portion of the Reeves Creek mixed use development planned east of Interstate 75 in Stockbridge. The motion to rezone 317 +/- acres from RA (residential agricultural) to MU (mixed use) was passed 4-2 (Wilson and Barham opposed).
The Reeves Creek mixed use development has been proposed by Forest Development Group of Ellenwood, GA and contains 465 +/- acres. Other portions of the project are in the city limits of Stockbridge and unincorporated Clayton County.
The project plans to build an extensive collection of residential, commercial, and office uses. The conceptual site plan also includes land set aside for Henry County to build a convention center and 10,000 seat arena, if commissioners elect to move forward with their construction in the future, and a mass transit station.
The most recent site plan, dated August 21, includes 1,643 residential dwelling units. This is comprised of 282 single-family homes on 82.8 acres, 130 townhouses on 18.0 acres, a senior care community consisting of 431 units on 32.1 acres, and 800 apartment units on 32.4 acres. The senior care community includes a mixture of independent living, assisted living, memory care, cottages, and duplex units.
The site plan also includes two ten-story office towers, seven hotels (four located in unincorporated Henry County), a medical office park, and over seventy acres for restaurants and retail development.
Moving Henry Forward founder Clayton Carte spoke in opposition to the project, raising questions about the ongoing feasibility study for a convention center, pedestrian access and walkability throughout the site, and public safety concerns. The closest existing fire stations to the project are station 8, where a new location is under construction on Jodeco Road, and station 9 on Rock Quarry Road.
Commissioner Johnny Wilson, a retired firefighter, asked the applicant if they would be willing to include a land donation and funding towards a new fire station and police station within the project. Gary Furrow, representing Forest Development Group, stated he could work with the county for land but a financial contribution would be unlikely.
The Atlanta Regional Commission raised similar concerns about walkability in their development of regional impact review, stating â€œthe layout of uses and buildings within this site could be made more urban and walkable, creating a stronger sense of place. In general, ARC recommends a more â€œfine grainâ€ mixing of uses on the site wherever possible.â€ ARC staff also commented â€œmost buildings and facilities within each district are separated from each other by extensive surface parking lots, further distancing people from destinations and therefore creating automobile dependency for internal site circulation.â€
When asked by the board about the convention center feasibility study, Henry County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews explained the report has not been received by the county. The consultant completing the report was hired by the developer, not Henry County, and it was originally due to the county by September 1.
The rezoning request was approved with eighteen (18) conditions as recommended by county staff. Some of the conditions included:
- a master sign plan shall be developed and approved by county staff prior to the issuance of the first sign permit,
- a prohibition against any industrial development or uses,
- apartment complexes shall be developed as gated communities,
- one-bedroom townhomes shall have a minimum of 1,000 square feet, two-bedroom units shall have a minimum of 1,500 sq ft, and at least 200 sq ft for each additional bedroom;
- the development shall not exceed 1,643 dwelling units,
- the four-lane Reeves Creek Parkway shall be constructed prior to development activities on-site generating two-thousand vehicle trips per day,
- and the owner / developer shall complete transportation projects identified by Attachment A of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Notice of Decision.
The GRTA attachment A references sidewalks adjacent roadways internal to the development, turn lanes along SR 138, and coordinating widening and turning improvements along Walt Stephens Road between the proposed Reeves Creek Parkway and Flippen Road.