LaGrange approves zoning change for contested Youngs Mill Road housing development

Published 9:30 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

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On Tuesday the LaGrange City Council approved a controversial rezoning that will allow for just under 400 homes to be built on three contiguous properties off Youngs Mill Road.

The council approved a recommendation from the Board of Planning and Zoning Appeals to combine and rezone 339, 389 and 425 Youngs Mill Rd. from Traditional Neighborhood Residential (TN-R) and Suburban Single Family Residential (SU-R) to Traditional Neighborhood Medium Density Residential (TN-MR).

The developers plan to build a large gated residential community with up to 399 units over 88 acres.

Multiple members from the surrounding community addressed the council to request that the rezoning be denied, citing concerns over traffic safety and the scope of the project, among others.

During the previous council meeting, resident Nathan Swanson asked the council to redo a traffic study on Young’s Mill Road that was conducted in June, saying since the study was done over the summer when kids are out of school and many families are on vacation, the results might not be indicative of the actual traffic in the area.

The LaGrange City Council agreed to delay the vote on the matter until the Sept. 12 council meeting so that a second traffic study could be conducted.

During the study period from Sept. 6-11, the average daily traffic volume was 4,294 vehicles, about 10 percent more than the average count in June of 3,845.

City Planner Mark Kostial noted during the council work session that although the traffic volume increased in the second study, the speeds of motorists decreased. The 85th percentile speed is less, the average speed is less and the vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit by 50 MPH or more is significantly less, he said.

Kostial said that without the zoning change, the developers could potentially place between 150 and 200 homes on the property.

“Currently, they’re looking at something not to exceed 399. So roughly, they could do about half of what they want on the existing zoning,” Kostial said.

Kostial said that a development of the size proposed would cause approximately 160 new students to enter the Troup County School System, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. It’s estimated that the development would create about 42 new car riders in local schools.

The zoning change was later approved by a 4-0 vote with Councilman Leon Childs not voting and Councilman Nathan Gaskin absent.