Commissioners deny senior apartments on 34 East – Newnan Times-Herald

Plans for a two- or three-story senior living apartment complex on Highway 34 East were unanimously denied by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.

The applicants, Heritage Baptist Church, (now known as Real Church Coweta) were asking to rezone 7 acres on the highway from Rural Conservation to RRCC, Coweta’s Residential Retirement Care Community zoning.

RRCC is Coweta’s densest zoning category, and the proposal was for 80 apartment units on the 7-acre tract.

Landscape architect Dennis Drewyer spoke for the church, which is the property owner.

When asked who was planning to buy the property, he said that the developer was local, but would not name names. The unnamed buyer would then sell the development site to Low Country Housing, a senior independent living developer.

The apartments would be for those 55 and over. The development will be independent living only – no assisted living, memory care or the like. There will be no subsidized or government housing; all residents will have income requirements and leases, he said. Less than half of the residents would have cars, he claimed.

The application says the complex will offer retirees a “high quality, secure property at an affordable price.”

All units will be “accessible and adaptable” and ADA compliant. The complex will be nestled behind trees, and there will be amenities including a community raised garden.

“Many of us may not be able to afford Wesley Woods or a full cottage at Timberbrook,” Drewyer said of other, drastically more expensive senior housing options in Coweta.

Commissioner John Reidelbach said he looked into Low Country Housing and said the community does a lot of low income housing. “I’m sorry, they call it affordable,” Reidelbach said, to some laughter from meeting attendees.

“It’s not low income,” Drewyer said.

“Affordable is very different from low income.”

Reidelbach said he thinks the buyer/developer should be disclosed in a public hearing.

“We have to have some place where our police officers, our numbers, our teachers can retire on their Social Security and live in a first-class, high end apartment such as this rather than having to buy a $400,000 cottage in Timberbrook or somewhere else,” Drewyer said. “These people that it serves are our most important people.”

The development was proposed for three stories. But the elevation on part of the property is quite high, and county staff were concerned that the three-story building would dominate the landscape. A condition was proposed to limit it to two stories and 56 units.

Drewyer said they were fine with two stories, but there is no need to reduce the number of units. Under the zoning district, up to 85 units could be allowed, he said. They can still get 80 units in two stories. “I’m not sure why staff recommended a reduction to 56 units,” he said.

The land is no longer suitable for single-family residential use, and the senior apartment would be the “ideal passive, transitional zoning,” between homes and medical offices and commercial development.

The property is adjacent to GO Church, and the church is in support of the request. It also adjoins residential subdivisions on two sides and across Highway 34. No one spoke in opposition to the rezoning.

Commissioner Paul Poole made a motion to deny the rezoning and it was approved unanimously.