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Company makes pitch for senior apartments in Kedron area

A company wanting to build 110 age-restricted senior apartments off Newgate Road in north Peachtree City made its case before the city planning commission Monday night.

NorSouth Vice President Brendan Barr said the 5.6-acre tract was ideal because of its proximity to the adjacent Kedron Village shopping center and also nearby medical offices.

The apartments would be restricted to people 62 and over who can live independently, but in practice the company’s average client is closer to 70, Barr said.

Most of NorSouth’s clientele live alone, and those in two-bedroom units typically use the second bedroom as a guest room, office or den, Barr said. The age restriction is audited by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and grandchildren may not live on the property with a grandparent, Barr said.

Several commissioners asked NorSouth what might happen should the project flop. Barr said the company, which has developed seven senior apartment projects in nine years, hasn’t had any such failure, so it was hard for him to say what might happen.

Another NorSouth representative noted that the tax credit requires NorSouth to enter a land use restriction that all the amenities offered by the apartments will be in existence for at least 15 years.

Planning Commissioner Patrick Staples suggested that city staff look into similar projects that might have gone bad so the city can determine any additional protections or assurances that are needed, either through a rezoning or development agreement on the property.

The project is aimed at seniors with a retirement income not much larger than $30,000 a year, Barr said. But seniors who earn more will be able to rent an apartment there also, just at the full market price, he added.

Barr said NorSouth’s apartments would not be a subsidized rental program such as “Section 8” housing. Instead, the development uses tax credits during construction to make the rents lower.

Interim Community Development Director David Rast said the city can also add restrictions that run with the land via a development agreement or perhaps another type of zoning.

The 5.6-acre tract NorSouth wants for the apartments has been cleared and is zoned limited use residential for 21 townhomes. The tract is listed as multi-family in the city’s land use plan. The site is off Georgian Park, near the Holiday Inn motel.

NorSouth was also asked if it had looked into two other undeveloped tracts that have previously been zoned for senior developments. Representatives said they did, but both of those tracts are not expected to be developed in the near future.

NorSouth is hoping to break ground for construction by next summer.

Among various comments by the commission, one suggestion was to make sure the development plan had enough golf cart parking spaces along with charging stations.

Commissioner Lynda Wojcik said she also wants to see more greenspace on the plan.

Examples of existing NorSouth senior apartment communities are Princeton Court in College Park, Highland Court in Kennesaw and Norman Berry Village in East Point.

In addition to various amenities, NorSouth will also have maintenance staff on site 24 hours a day to deal with any issues that may arise. There will be no cafeteria on the property, but there will be a kitchen area that can be reserved by tenants who wish to host a party, Barr said.

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