Commissioners vote 4-1 to approve rezoning, annexation for proposed Kroger Marketplace development
Members of the Cartersville Planning Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday evening to approve a rezoning request from an applicant looking to bring a 200-unit apartment complex to the Kroger Marketplace shopping center.
Applicant Cherokee Main Street III, LLC — represented by Rome-based developer Robert H. Ledbetter, Jr. — seeks the rezoning of 16.7 acres off East Main Street from general commercial to MF-14 multifamily residential.
A conceptual site plan depicts five buildings on the property, which are anchored around a pool amenity. City of Cartersville documents indicate the final product would consist of 68 one-bedroom units, 76 two-bedroom units and 36 three-bedroom units, along with 20 studio apartments.
“During the development and the construction of the Kroger, we had initially envisioned this parcel to be a retail development,” said Joshua Cox, a civil engineering consultant. “But as you know, brick and mortar retail isn’t what it used to be — multifamily is much more feasible now.”
The commission also voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the annexation of 1.945 acres of County property into the City of Cartersville. A third vote saw the commission recommend the approval of rezoning that parcel from M-1 mining to MF-14 by a 4-1 margin.
Commissioner Jeffrey Ross represented the lone opposition in all three votes.
“The annexation piece, which is about two acres, is solely for the expansion of a detention pond, which we would encroach with this proposed development,” Cox said. “That’ll just make it much simpler when it comes to permitting, entitlements, maintenance, etc.”
The proposed site of the apartment complex, Cox added, is already padded and has utility stubs available.
Ledbetter told the commission that the average price point for rental units would be about $1,500 a month.
“The cost to build what we’re looking to build is not cheap,” he said.
City documents indicate the proposed development would have 424 parking spaces with direct access to the complex via the Main Street shopping center and an as-of-yet unconstructed and unnamed private street.
The development would be required to comply with design standards included in the City’s Main Street Overlay District regulations. The future land use map classification for the parcel remains mixed-use commercial.
Cartersville Planning Commission Chairman Larry Pinson asked if there was any data available on the ratio of owner-occupied to renter-occupied residences in the municipality. City of Cartersville Planning and Development Director Randy Mannino guesstimated the split was close to 50/50, counting those who rent single-family homes.
“As of 2018, for Bartow County — not necessarily the City of Cartersville —owner-occupied is 66%, and rental is 34%,” said Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell.
City documents indicate the requested rezoning may have a “low degree of impact” directly on Cartersville City Schools. Representatives from the school district asked how the project aligns with other multifamily developments recently approved in the City.
“Is someone watching the overall number of units being approved to make sure we have not set ourselves up for rapid growth that could put unintended consequences or possible constraints on our services in a short amount of time?” City documents read.
Ledbetter said he addressed that issue by personally taking Cartersville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Marc Feuerbach — and an unnamed school board representative — on a tour of a similar apartment complex in Rome.
“We did our best to at least try to cover all our bases,” Ledbetter told the commission. “We’ve had a very interesting cross section, demographically-speaking, of renters. They tend to be young professionals all the way to retirees.”
A first reading of the rezoning and annexation requests are slated for a Cartersville City Council hearing scheduled at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 at 10 North Public Square. A second reading — and subsequent council vote — is set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 at the same location.