Could just one of those planned John Wieland home sites be moved to allow nearby neighbors at the Wellington Place condominium community to maintain their current tree buffer? This was one question put to Bryan Musolf, director of land acquisitions with John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods at a rezoning meeting last week.
More than 30 Dunwoody residents attended the meeting and at least six were from Wellington Place, a 50-unit condominium community on Pernoshal Court, directly across from the 19 -acre planned development which includes a gated community and a 5-acre park.
“We just don’t want to see a big building,” said Merry Leigh Giarratano, a Wellington Place homeowner for the past 15 years. “We have a beautiful wooded area setback here and we want to keep it.”
Musolf told the residents, who were viewing artist renderings of the development, that the specific plot of land was a lot and not a house.
“We will have an opportunity to plan a buffer,” said Musolf. “I think we’re incented to do the same thing because everyone likes privacy.”
Residents also told Musolf that they’ve had to purchase flood insurance because of flooding from nearby Nancy Creek and that sinkholes were forming.
Musolf advised that the new development includes a detention pond for storm water.
“Instead of water being directly released into the creek like it is right now,” said Musolf, “it will be going into the detention pond first and then released.”
Jane Burdette, president of the nearby Wren’s Cross Condominium Homeowners Association, said that Wren’s Cross had been flooded several times from the Nancy Creek tributary before the hospital site was demolished.
“Removing the hospital has made a tremendous difference,” said Burdette.
Claire Botsch, a member of the city’s community council, told the Wellington Place residents that they could also attend a community council meeting to voice their concerns.
Warren Hutmacher, city manager, gave a brief overview of the project and said that 5 acres of the 19-acre parcel, on the south side of Pernoshal Court, has a ground lease until 2022. The city cannot do anything with those 5 acres until the ground lease is up on a few existing buildings.
“We’re going to sit on that property for awhile and then a future city council will determine what the eventual use is for that five acres,” said Hutmacher. “It could range from anything from a municipal complex for police, city hall and court. It could be an extension of commercial along North Shallowford Road or possibly just take that 5-acre park and make it a 10-acre park just as easily. That will be a decision by a future council because we can’t bind a future council at this time.”
Musolf said that John Wieland has built homes in Atlanta for 40 years and is a huge fan of Dunwoody.
“When the potential to put this project together was brought to his (Wieland’s) attention, he was really excited,” said Musolf. “It’s a great area, great location and we feel we can do great things here to help revitalize the area and add to an already terrific area.”
On the 16-acre site, Musolf said he envisions a community that will appeal to young families and empty nesters. For the 19-acre parcel, Musolf said that the homes will probably be geared more toward the average empty nester.
“It’s going to be a gated community, “said Musolf. “It’s going to have more security and we think the price point and the average home size will be a little bit larger, but that will also be available for young families as well.”
As far as timing is concerned, Musolf said that the plan is to have the project area fully rezoned by September at which time the developer is under contract to begin to purchase the land from the city.
“We think that realistically, the first purchase will probably happen in October because the zoning will happen towards the end of September,” said Musolf. “While we’re moving through the rezoning, we’re currently working through the engineering so that we can submit for building permits. We’re hopefully going vertical or at least horizontal this year, 2012.”
Since the 19-acre site is not owned entirely by the city, “we’re going to start on the 16-acre site,” said Musolf. “We’ll probably build there for two years before we start on the 19-acre site.”
When asked about price points, Musolf said that square footage, architecture and the price of the land typically affects price.
“The minimum size home will be 2,100 square feet and most will be much larger,” said Musolf.
Musolf said that he thinks the price for many of the homes will be in the high $200,000 range, but the homes that border the outside and that are geared to empty nesters will probably start in the $400,000 range.
“Those homes are just under 4,000 square feet, but not by much,” said Musolf.
Some residents attending gave feedback on the meeting format which was initially planned by Hutmacher to be structured like an open house where residents seek out city staff and council members to ask questions. Councilor Denis Shortal asked Hutmacher and Musolf to open the meeting with a brief presentation.
“I was surprised that it wasn’t a more central presentation,” said Eve Schneps. “I don’t live in that area, but I am interested in the project and wanted to hear all of the questions and replies.”
Schneps said that she hoped the city would accept this feedback for future public meetings.
Sue Maran, Village Oaks resident, said she was disappointed in the format of the meeting.