The Stockbridge Planning Commission considered a request for a new subdivision off Brannan Road on Thursday night. The applicant, Neil Koelbl of Liberty Communities, requested a rezoning from RA (residential agricultural) to R-3 (single-family residential).
The planning commission tabled the request until 2021 to allow the applicant to schedule a second community meeting with area residents. The applicant’s attorney indicated they previously held one community meeting with approximately thirty-five attendees in a virtual setting.
The property consists of 73.71 +/- acres; however, development would occur on only 47.49 +/- acres due to existing conditions. The site includes a cell tower, pond, and floodplains.
The applicant proposes to build 147 lots. The R-3 zoning district in Stockbridge allows minimum lot sizes of 12,000 square feet. The applicant presented plans for an average lot size of 14,195 square feet. About half of the lots are proposed between 15,000 sq ft and 20,000 sq ft. Eleven lots adjacent to Brannan Road will measure at least 15,000 square feet to mirror lots across the street. In addition, the applicant proposed a minimum home size of 2,000 sq ft.
The proposed development has a net density of 3.08 units per acre and a gross density of 1.99 units per acre. The Stockbridge land use plan identifies the property for low-density residential development, specifically between 1.25 and 2.00 units per acre. In contrast to the county land use plan, the density threshold appears to be based off the gross density and not net density. This results in more lots for the applicant.
Site Access and Traffic
The proposed subdivision includes one entrance off Brannan Road. City staff stated the applicant removed a second proposed entrance off North Salem Drive following concerns about sight distance and curve radius at the proposed entrance. Planning commission members expressed concern about the one entrance. The city could recommend a second entrance off Brannan Road as one option.
Dialogue between the commission members and applicant focused on traffic concerns, even though state case law does not allow local governments to deny rezoning requests over traffic. A traffic counter placed on Brannan Road in February 2018 recorded 3,838 vehicles per day. A two-lane local road can facilitate up to 14,600 daily vehicles and maintain an acceptable level of service.1
The subdivision’s entrance will align with the existing entrance to Clark Meadows subdivision. A traffic signal is unlikely at the location. Instead, if the final traffic study recommends a solution more than turn lanes, the city and applicant could consider a roundabout.
The planning commission asked the applicant to submit a traffic impact study now, but the request is extraordinary. Local governments generally require traffic impact studies after approving the rezoning request, but before issuing land disturbance permits.
The planning commission will hold their first meeting of 2021 on Thursday, January 28. Depending on scheduling for the community meeting, the case may be heard that evening for a public hearing and recommendation.
The Stockbridge city council will hold a public hearing and make a final determination on the request after the planning commission makes its recommendation.
1. Generalized Annual Average Daily Volumes for Use in GRTA’s DRI Review. The concept site layout is credited to Moore Bass Consulting.
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