Affordable Options for Retirees
Related to this, Isakson Living has never presented a needs analysis for this type of retirement community in East Cobb. Many retirees who can afford this type of community often opt for in-home nursing care. In addition, many have observed how oversaturated the retirement community market has become in East Cobb, with more than 10 retirement communities, many of which are not at capacity, within a 5-mile radius of the proposed development site of the Tritt property next to East Cobb Park. A new retirement community is also currently being built on East Piedmont near Sandy Plains, and it is worth noting that this property is similar to the Tritt property in that it was also on the potential list of property to be purchased with Park Bond 2008 (see images below).
Some Commissioners and Planning Commissioners have also noted that many Cobb residents suggest the Tritt property should be preserved as a park, and the reason is that the property is actually well-suited as parkland: It's next to small existing parks (East Cobb Park and Fullers Park), and the property has wetlands, floodplains, and very steep hills. The Tritt property was on the Park Bond 2006 and Park Bond 2008 list of potential properties.
Ironically, Isakson Living's Stone Mountain property has more buildable acreage than the Tritt property and yet it has fewer units on the property, which is surrounded by Stone Mountain and light industrial zoning. These facts beg the question: why is Isakson Living asking for more units on the Tritt property on less land, especially in light of the surrounding homeowners and park goers?
Only about 31 acres of the entire 54-acre Tritt property could actually be developed by any developer, which is why this property makes more sense as a park, rather than a large-scale retirement community. We welcomed the news that Isakson Living would donate 9 acres to East Cobb Park; however this is far fewer than the 23 acres of land, including possible wetlands, that could not be developed and should be preserved.
Why Isakson Living Rezoning Request Should Be Denied
To summarize, the Tritt property is not ideal as a large-scale retirement community for several reasons:
1. The abundance of Cobb retirement communities all located in this specific area of Cobb County means there is no need for an additional development of this intense scope and size in a mostly residential area that is already being served by other facilities.
2. Retirement communities are needed in many other parts of Cobb County; however, this expensive model is not an affordable plan for vast majority of Cobb County seniors
3. Buildings of 4-stories would be much too urban for East Cobb neighborhoods of single family homes or next to East Cobb Park.
The Tritt property is ideally suited to be a park.
1. The Tritt property most likely has more than 10 acres of state and federally protected wetlands.
2. A full 23 acres of the 54-acre property are actually wetlands, floodplain, stream buffers, and steep hills, and at the very least those acres should be fully protected.
3. The topography is too steep for a retirement community without significant grading, and the Sewell Mill Creek watershed aquifers are too fragile for flattening the property.