Citizens voice concerns over Youngs Mill rezoning

Published 9:07 am Saturday, August 19, 2023

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On Tuesday, the LaGrange City Council will consider a rezoning request for a large housing development on Youngs Mill Road. The development has gotten some opposition from nearby residents who are asking the city to deny the rezoning.

The council is expected to vote on Tuesday on a recommendation from the Board of Planning and Zoning Appeals to combine and rezone three properties on Young’s Mill to develop a gated residential community.

The developers have requested that properties at 339, 389 and 425 Youngs Mill Road be rezoned from traditional neighborhood residential (TN-R) and suburban single-family residential (SU-R) to traditional neighborhood medium-density residential (TN-MR).

During the council work session on June 20, City Planner Mark Kostial told the council that the developers want to construct a phased residential development on the properties, but in order to do so, they all need to be rezoned to TN-MR.

Kostial said the plans for the development call for a mixture of units ranging from cottage homes to single-family homes to two-family dwellings and townhomes.

All three properties represent about 88 acres in total. Kostial said the site plan that has been submitted would not exceed 399 units.

Kostial said the developers have indicated that homes in the gated community would be market-rate rentals, but there wouldn’t be a multi-family portion.

A public hearing was held on Aug. 8 to hear comments on the proposed zoning change.

Only one resident spoke during the hearing in opposition to the rezoning. James Urban, who stated he lives across from the proposed development, said his main concern was the traffic.

“My concern is traffic. Traffic on Youngs Mill turning on North Bernard [Avenue], the number of wrecks there at the intersection where people fly over the hill and crash. Also, it backs up Young Mills Road when it comes into the city. Sometimes it’s backed up all the way to Hearthstone [Drive],” Urban said.

Kostial said the Youngs Mill Road and Hammett Road have been designated as primary transit routes for the northeast quadrant of LaGrange.

The LaGrange Police Department conducted a traffic study at the proposed development from June 3 through July 5 during which time the average daily traffic count was slightly more than 3,800 vehicles.

“There was every indication that if those traffic patterns remain consistent, that traffic associated with this pending development will be distributed both northbound and southbound,” Kostial said.

Kostial said the average speed during the study was 37.8 MPH. The posted speed limit is 35 MPH for the area. He said that only about 2% of motorists passed the area in excess of 50 MPH.

Nathan Swanson, who lives nearby and opposes the rezoning, has requested that the city do a second traffic because the one that was done might not be reflective of the overall traffic in the area due to when the study was held.

Swanson said that the study was held during the summer when school was out and many people were on vacation.

Swanson has also requested to address the council on behalf of the nearby Eleanor’s Pond Subdivision HOA with other concerns about the zoning change prior to the expected second reading and vote on Aug. 22. Swanson said he sent emails to the mayor and council indicating that he could not attend the Aug. 8 public hearing because he will be in Louisiana for the Troup County Recreation 12U baseball team.

Swanson said he was told that the mayor does not traditionally allow public comments during the second reading and vote but asked for an exception considering the circumstances.

Along with traffic concerns, Swanson raised concerns over the high volume of development that is being approved by the city and the potential crime it could bring to the community. Swanson also questioned whether utilities, police and the school system could support the additional homes.