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Sr. apartments OK'd as PTC caves to lawsuits

Facing not one but two lawsuits, the Peachtree City Council voted unanimously Thursday to rezone a 5.6 acre site for an age-restricted senior apartment complex off Newgate Road next to the Kedron Village shopping center. The rezoning approves 96 units,

The rezoning approves 96 units, all but two of which will be age restricted to persons 62 and over. The two unrestricted apartments will be occupied by facility employees who serve the residents, the City Council was told.

The age restriction requirement is incorporated into the deed for the property and will continue even if the property ownership changes in the future, said attorney Laurel Henderson, who represented the city in both suits. The city will be able to bring forth a zoning violation against the owner if it is ever determined to be in violation of the age restrictions, she added.

The rezoning was denied on a 4-1 vote last June, which led to developer NorSouth Companies filing a fair housing act lawsuit in federal court and also a zoning challenge in Fayette County Superior Court. The rezoning approved by council will result in those suits being dismissed.

Henderson noted that the city could face legal bills into the hundreds of thousands of dollars if it proceeded with the lawsuit.

Because the property was previously zoned limited use residential for a luxury townhome project that was never built, it was already zoned for multifamily use, Henderson said. It was also noted that the multifamily zoning is supported by the city’s land use plan, which calls for more dense housing toward the village center areas.

NorSouth attorney Kathy Zickert said the company would meet all the conditions it had previously agreed to.

Among those conditions were:
• A requirement for NorSouth and all future property owners to follow federal age restriction and verification policies, which include the use of a photo ID listing each residents’ date of birth.
• NorSouth will notify the city of any ownership or management change for the property;
• Provide covered parking for golf carts; and
• Screening of mechanical units.

The apartments are targeting seniors who earn no more than about $30,000 a year, and some have questioned what would happen if the company is unable to fill the complex.

The income limit is set due to a requirement of tax credits allowed for the project that are granted on the construction end to keep rents affordable. Anyone earning more than the income limit can rent one of the apartments at full market price, NorSouth officials have said.

NorSouth representatives have said they have never had a problem finding tenants for its similar properties. The company also has provided a tour of its Atlanta area developments for council members, planning commission members, city staff and the public.

The development would be surrounded on Newgate Road by an existing hotel, car wash, convenience store and gas station, officials said.

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