Fayetteville's city council decided to table a vote on a rezone that would allow an apartment complex to be built on Grady Avenue.
The decision to table sent a swath of people heading out the door early, as many nearby residents had showed up to voice their opinion on the matter. In the first public hearing regarding the project, multiple nearby residents voiced their concern about the potential traffic issues, the density of the project, as well as possible effects on crime levels.
Knotty Pine, LLC, the developers of the property have been trying to get approval for a rezone of the 38-acre property from MO (Medical Office) to PCD (Planned Community District), which would allow for the increased density. Their development would be called Stella Place and would include 276 apartment units, 29 townhomes and 43 detached cottages.
The developers had reduced the number of planned apartments somewhat since multiple trips to the planning and zoning commission. At the first city council public hearing on the matter, councilman Walt White that the design was still far too geared toward apartments.
Spurgeon Richardson, who spoke for Knotty Pines, said the apartments would be of “extremely high quality” and would maintain a price level that would attract "young professionals."
""We're marketing to professionals, and that's who we're going to get," Richardson said, adding that he had spoken to employees at Piedmont Fayette and garnered some interest. He also pointed to the potential housing needs associated with the arrival of Pinewood Atlanta Studios.
"What separates Fayetteville from everywhere else is Pinewood, that's the big elephant in the room. We've received calls from people with Pinewood asking 'hey, where are my people going to live?" Richardson said.
He also presented a traffic study that suggested the complex would not significantly impact traffic in the area. The Grady Avenue, Highway 54 intersection often becomes extremely backed up at peak traffic hours as a long line of cars waits to turn west onto Highway 54 toward Peachtree City. He also argued that impacts on crime should be negligible.
Nearby residents fairly uniformly expressed their wariness of the developer's promises.
""Ultimately, if you have apartments, you're probably going to have crime. Maybe not today, but ultimately, it's going to show up on your doorstep," said one resident, "I'm not sold on the concept, I think it's a disaster waiting to happen."
Another nearby resident and local developer himself said the highest "reasonable" zoning for the property would be R15, which would allow for around 100 residences.
"Even that would have a significant impact on traffic and on the character of the neighborhood, but we can't expect the owners not to be able to develop the property," he said.
The consultant who conducted the traffic study, Rob Ross, defended his study and said with recommended changes to the Grady/Highway 54 intersection, traffic could actually be better than it would have been with no apartment complex.
Typically the council would have heard a second reading on the matter Thursday and then taken a vote, but they chose to table it in order to allow more time to review and decide.