The Douglasville City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to approve a zoning change that will allow a new subdivision to be built at Timber Ridge Drive and Prestley Mill Road.
The proposed development will be called Somerset at Timber Ridge and will include 238 single-family homes on the 83.3-acre site. Thirty-seven% of the land will be left as green space under the proposal.
The rezoning approved Monday changes the property from R-2, which limits a development to two houses per acre, to Planned Unit Development (PUD) which gives the developer more leeway.
Ward 1 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Terry Miller and Ward 2, Post 1 Councilwoman Nycole Miller voted against the change. Ward 2, Post 2 Councilman Mark Adams was not present.
Nycole Miller thanked the developer for holding meetings to get citizen input on the development and acknowledged something would eventually be built on the land.
Miller said she had received a number of emails from constituents concerned about the number of houses proposed in the development and the traffic that the neighborhood is expected to bring to the area.
Mayor Rochelle Robinson said the development would be built in phases over about seven years, allowing the city time to add to its police department, maintenance and sanitation department and other areas to serve the new residents.
Lisa Reaves lives in Kensington and was one of three residents who spoke against the project Monday.
Reaves raised concerns that the proposed subdivision doesn’t “conform” to existing subdivisions in the area where homes are on larger lots. She also raised questions about endangered plants on the proposed site.
Kenneth Wood, president of Planners & Engineers Collaborative, said the smaller lots would “disturb less land.”
“We do want to make it more like the Tributaries and a lot of the different areas so that you have closer lots, community, and you’ll also be able to have less maintenance,” Wood said. “That’s the reason we’re able to leave so much undisturbed area on the property. That’s really what we’re trying to do.”
The potentially endangered plants were first brought up during meetings last week. Wood said they are committed to transferring the plants to a different part of the property.
City Attorney Joel Dodson said the issue before the council Monday was just the rezoning issue, and he called plans submitted by the developer showing proposed lot sizes and other details that were heavily debated during multiple public hearings on the development “essentially a preliminary sketch.”
He said the builder will submit a comprehensive development plan in the future that will detail “setbacks, and square footage and lot sizes and to some degree exterior conditions.”
Kensington resident Scott Daniell was perhaps the most vocal critic of the project over the past month. Daniell spoke Monday about the density of homes and concerns about whether the proposal was in compliance with city code.
Robinson said the city’s legal staff had determined Daniell’s concerns were “not relevant to the proposal.”
After the meeting Daniell said that while things didn’t go the way he wanted, he was happy with the number of residents who came to the public hearings and impressed with the questions the city council members asked throughout the process.
“It’s a win in our opinion in that our city fathers and mothers will now be watching very closely on what goes in along Prestley Mill,” he said.