High Density Housing Proposed for State Bridge Road
A series of nine properties comprising 23.594 acres along State Bridge Road are the subject to two concurrent requests to change existing zoning from R-1 (Single Family, Dwelling District) to CUP (Community Unit Planned - for 19.324 acres) or TR (Townhome Residential - for 4.270 acres). The requests propose to build high density housing consisting of 138 townhomes, 22 stacked townhomes, and 48 quadruplex residences. There are currently six single family homes occupying the aggregate subject property.
The subject property is just west of Johns Creek High School, near the intersection of State Bridge Road and Medlock Bridge Road. The reason that there are two requests is because the Medlock Bridge subdivision owns a right of way between the two collective parcels.
On the north side, the proposed development is adjacent to the Medlock Bridge subdivision, which is zoned R-4a (Single Family Dwelling - up to 4 units per acre). Property to the west is zoned R-3 (Single Family Dwelling - up to 3 units per acre). To the east, Johns Creek High School is zoned MIX (Mixed Use). At 208 units on 23.594 acres, the proposed development will have a density approaching 9 units per acre (8.82).
According to the submitted requests, the proposals each state:
"The zoning proposal will not result in a use which will or could cause an excessive burdensome use of existing streets, transportation facilities, utilities, or schools."
As regular commuters and residents in Johns Creek are aware, this is the most highly congested traffic corridor in our city. The development will have three curb cuts for ingress and egress. Since State Bridge Road has a median, all traffic will enter and exit going west. Eastbound travel on State Bridge Road (toward Medlock Bridge Road/141) will require making a U-turn.
With traffic congestion high on the mind of most Johns Creek residents and commuters, it stretches credibility to suggest that development at this density won't have a burdensome impact - particularly given the congestion already present at State Bridge Road and Medlock Bridge Road/141.
Each proposal includes a "Trip Generation" projection based on the Institute of Transportation Engineers' (ITE) Trip Generation Manual, 10th Edition (2017). Based on that reference, the proposals estimate an additional 1,490 daily trips including 98 during the AM Peak hours, and 120 during the PM Peak hours. Peak hours are not defined in the study, but given the growing period that has come to define rush hour in Johns Creek, that is very likely an understated projection.
Another aspect of this development that requires consideration is the clear-cutting that will occur along with the loss of canopy. The subject area is heavily wooded, but that will change dramatically under the proposed development, to be replaced with new impervious surface area. Given the recently elevated visibility to our growing stormwater management problems, it's concerning that no provision or mention is made of a commitment to using environmentally-friendly materials.
Upcoming meetings regarding the proposed rezoning requests and development proposals will be held:
- Public Participation Meeting Date - September 13, 2018
- Planning Commission Meeting - November 7, 2018
- Mayor & City Council - November 26, 2018
Editorially and in the spirit of our motto - to Preserve Johns Creek - we must state our opposition to the rezoning requests as proposed. Adding 208 additional residences at nearly 9 units per acre is going to have a detrimental effect on our community - from the loss of trees, impact on stormwater management, the stark contrast in density compared to adjacent neighborhoods, additional load on our schools, and increased traffic on our most congested roads, these proposals are wrong for Johns Creek. We encourage residents to attend the upcoming meetings and voice your opinion. This is our community - be sure you're heard in the decisions being made about our future.