Source: Alpharetta Revue & News
The first step in a long journey was completed Monday night when the Alpharetta City Council in a 6-1 adopted the City Center plan.
The $29 million bond for the 26-acre redevelopment passed overwhelming last November, now the plan designed by Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart will proceed. The only thing that will be built right away however is the 50,000-square-foot city hall.
The commercial sector will await more public hearings.
At the June 18 meeting, the last public hearing was held, and the new plan was tweaked to answer some objections that the 1-acre town green was not totally green and that the 5-acre park was shy several hundred square feet of a full 5 acres.
The “green” footprint was increased to 0.95 acres, with a sidewalk around it, and the Street E, also known as the old Haynes Bridge Road was shifted 20 feet west to bring the parkland to 5 acres.
Some of the mixed use buildings were taken out – one building at the far south end. It will remain open space. A second building that screened the parking deck on the east side was removed as well.
Councilman Jim Gilvin said he was concerned that there were too many trees taken in the plan and another concern he voiced was that the plan would generate 15,000 to 20,000 trips to the center daily. But no one could confirm that, because no traffic study has yet been done.
Other concerns raised were about handicapped parking and garbage pick-up at the new city hall. However, those details are to come farther down the road, Mayor David Belle Isle said.
“We are at the beginning of the process. Those things will be looked at farther down the road, but the concerns will be addressed,” he said.
Nevertheless, Gilvin’s was the lone dissenting vote on council. Tuesday, he declined to say why he voted against the project, saying he would respond to e-mailed questions. He did not respond before the paper’s deadline.
Others wanted to know what the breakdown of the mixed-use would be and if it would include residential components. Although the recommendation from the planners is to include residential, the council said that would be a subject for later public hearings.
The first-floor footprint of the commercial space is 70,000 square feet. With a possibility of as much as three stories, that makes the maximum capacity 210,000 square feet. But the planners’ recommendation was to limit the buildings to two stories, so the total density on the 23-acre site should be less than 200,000 square feet. That does not include the 450-space parking deck.
In other business, the city adopted the city’s budget as presented. There was no real tax increase, but the city will have to advertise it as one because of the way state law looks at various funds. Also $200,000 was transferred from the city’s new economic development fund originally set at $500,000.
This was done to ensure there was enough capital funds in the budget should tax revenue come in at lower than expected property values. If it does come in, the $200,000 will be put back into economic development.