The Mableton redevelopment district now has a master plan, after the county commissioners unanimously approved the plan at their Tuesday meeting.
Dana Johnson, county planning division manager, said, “We’re not going to create something that’s brand new.”
The redevelopment district will allow Mableton residents to “age gracefully and grow up in a robust manner,” Johnson said at the meeting.
The Smartcode is a trade-marked form-based code that the Mableton form-based code will follow. According to the master plan, “the Smartcode keeps towns compact and rural lands open while reforming the destructive sprawl-producing patterns of separated use zoning.”
The Mableton Form-Based Redevelopment District is essentially the creation of a pedestrian-friendly town center in Mableton that will enhance the area and bring in businesses and developers, Johnson said at a public meeting in November.
South Cobb Patch obtained a copy of the 111-page Mableton Illustrative Master plan, and these are the highlights: neighborhood structures, proposed and existing transit networks/connections diagrams, proposed and existing thoroughfare networks diagrams, proposed greenway activity diagrams, walking loops and signage diagrams and civic buildings drawings and plans.
The redevelopment district will be broken into four areas or nodes: the north quadrant (which would be essentially the northern gateway to Mableton’s new town center), the town center quadrant, the south quadrant (includes the old town center area) and the new Mableton Elementary School quadrant.
Here are the master plan’s details on the main four areas of the redevelopment district:
- The north quadrant establishes “a sense of arrival” to the Mableton area and serves a northern gateway to the community. This quadrant will consist of apartment buildings, a clinic, a Main Street area and a community green.
- The town center quadrant, which lies around the intersection of Clay and Floyd roads, will create a sense of synergy between the current civic facilities that already exist there, like the Barnes Amphitheatre, the Mable House complex, the post office, the library along with the existing food depot and gas station. This area also includes proposals of: a farmers’ market, a green square, plaza, community gardens, green and a park.
- The Mableton Elementary School quadrant is the Church Street area around the new Mableton Elementary School, which is currently being built using SPLOST funds at the highest geographic point in Mableton. This area will include the existing church and cemetery and new school, new sports fields, gym, YMCA pavilion, a green area and a community garden.
- The recommendation for the Old Town Center area is that a new rail stop be established along Front Street. Old Town Center area is made up of Barnes Hardware store, existing stores, the South Cobb Community Center adjacent to Lions Park, existing church and cemetery, rail station, proposed church, main street, plaza and park.
“I think this is really important to the revitalization of Mableton,” County Commissioner Woody Thompson told South Cobb Patch. “We approved the actual vision.”
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents West Cobb, also said at the meeting that the passage of the master plan is “an important step” in allaying the fears of those who said, at the last public hearing, there were not enough defined plans or specifics to the redevelopment district.
The board also approved the planning commission’s code reccomendations, which included creating a purpose section which states “the area of the code section is limited” and clarifying that the code amendment only applies to Mableton, providing a map defining the exact boundaries of the Mableton Form-Based Zoning Area, suggesting the 500-acre map created for the Mableton design charrette, defining the parties with voting ability on the “Review Committee," clarifying how property owners may apply for rezoning under the regular zoning code if they opt to not use the Mableton Form-Based Code and clarifying that the county is not responsible for making specific capital or infrastructure improvements, nor condemn property using eminent domain to fulfill the form-based code drawings.
This meeting marked the second public hearing on the nearly 70 code amendments up for consideration by the board. The only two speakers, Mableton Improvement Coalition Chair Robin Meyer and the Northeast Cobb Homeowners’ Association Vice President Larry Savage, voiced their thoughts on the Mableton Form-Based Code.
Meyer again expressed that MIC fully supports the code, saying that she understands that the code is “not a silver bullet” and will take time for there to be an upswing in the economic climate, “but we’d like to be ready when it happens” and “this is a great tool for that to happen.”
Savage said that he and his organization would like a deferment on passage of the code so that more county residents could ensure there are “no more traps or hidden points of failure.”
“I am not even sure what ‘form-based’ means,” Savage said to the board. “There’s an awful lot more to be done with it.”
Savage said that he and his organization are not wishing to halt the process of redevelopment in Mableton.
“Nobody is opposing redevelopment in Mableton at all…Nobody was looking at Mableton because it didn’t affect them,” Savage explained. “When they saw that it could, they became concerned.”
He went on to tell SC Patch that one major concern is that “developers could exploit a loophole that’s been overlooked" and that people outside of Mableton were unaware of the public meetings and charrette held regarding the code and district.
"This is just a case of people wanting to be sure that what you’re doing isn’t going to have an unintended consequence on your area. It’s not about Mableton at all,” Savage said.