Avalon, Goodwill, movies and a school

What do these unrelated things all have in common? They are issues that will come before the city of Alpharetta in the coming weeks. Some have the potential of being controversial. Let’s take a quick peek at each one.

Avalon

North American Properties has submitted plans for its first phase of Avalon, formerly known as Prospect Park. Hatcher Herd’s story in the Revue and News is the best source of information at this point (the city’s website almost never publishes things like site plans. Boo). According to Hatcher’s article, the project will have office, retail and hotel space, a 14 story building, 118 condos and 14 houses. But the strangest part… they want 250 apartments.

Alpharetta is already over its ratio of apartments. The folks at NAP are smart and they know this. I’m curious as to why they would even consider asking for them. My guess is that these change into more condos pretty quick. We’ll have to see.

Avalon’s phase 1 plan goes before the Planning Commission on March 1st.

Goodwill

Everyone loves Goodwill but no one seems to want them next door. Back in 2009 the city rejected plans for a Goodwill on Main Street near Cogburn Road. Now Goodwill wants to build down the road a bit at 495 North Main. An online petition from neighbors is already up and going. I expect objections this year to be the same as in 2009. Alpharetta’s Planning Commission will take up the matter on February 2nd.

At this very moment Goodwill is building a large store on McFarland Parkway in south Forsyth. This store is in a much better location and on a bigger road. My concern about a Main Street location is traffic. It’s clear that Alpharetta and Milton want less traffic and slower speeds on highway 9. A Main Street store would add 1500 trips each day. Sorry Goodwill, you need to keep looking.

Fulton Science Academy’s Impact Fees

Alpharetta’s embattled charter school will ask the city to waive impact fees on their $18 million construction project at Westside and Encore Parkways. The matter has been postponed once already and this issue has been overshadowed by the school’s charter renewal controversy.

City staff recommends that the FSA’s request be denied, requiring the school to fork over the impact fees. If the City Council agrees, will the school’s supporters use the same rhetoric from their BOE struggles? I can see the headlines now… “City denies award-winning charter school.” Tread carefully, councilmen.

Northpoint’s Movie Theater

I don’t expect this to be controversial, but it’s worth watching. On February 2nd the Planning Commission will consider the mall’s request to convert the vacant Parisian space into a movie theater. I expect we will learn the name of the theater at this time.

Photo credit: Dwight Burdette (creative commons)

15 Responses to “Avalon, Goodwill, movies and a school”

  1. JB January 30, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I noticed while out Saturday there is also a Goodwill located at Old Milton Parkway and Jones Br. Where the Outback is located.

  2. Kim January 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    What is the deal with the online petition? You have to pay to sign it? I don’t think so.

  3. Mala January 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    14 single family homes surrounded by a hotel, a few hunder apartments/condos, and a 14-story retail space?? That doesn’t sound very appealing.

  4. Travis Allen January 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    No you don’t, if you’re Kim Bailey, then your signature is recorded.

    The site first records your signature, then asks for a donation.

  5. Michael January 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    In all honesty, you should rename the blog simply “NIMBY.” Anything that isn’t associated with upper middle class and above just seems to pain you. The car traffic from a Goodwill shop won’t overburden the road and it seems to all come down to not wanting lower class things like a Goodwill or apartments.

    I see the density argument on here all the time and I don’t buy it. The Alpharetta/Milton area could clearly use more apartments and this area has some outstanding properties. It’s just like not wanting MARTA. After awhile, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the complaining is all about.

  6. Lee January 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    @Michael – Read the articles I’ve written under the NIMBY category. In most cases I’m critical of NIMBY attitudes. I’m on record supporting the Rucker Road mosque, Amana Academy on Windward, cell towers in Milton and other issues that were not locally popular.

    And for what it’s worth, I live much closer to the Goodwill on McFarland than the proposed location on North Main. The McFarland store is much better placed because it is on a four-lane divided road that can move much more traffic than it does now. It was built for growth. You cannot say that of Main Street in Alpharetta.

  7. Kim January 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Michael,
    The people who will have the Goodwill store “in their back yard” have every right to petition this. It doesn’t fit the “character” of what everything else around there.

    Why is it that you think homeowners should accommodate everything that comes their way, but the developers who propose noxious things around homeowners should not have to accommodate us? I guess you’d be OK with a landfill built next to your largest investment?

    There is nothing remotely like this in that area and there is plenty of existing commercial space nearby that doesn’t back up to a residential area. No one is saying that we can’t have it in Alpharetta but why there? Why not a place that is more befitting for that type of establishment?

  8. Lee January 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    … and regarding the apartments at Avalon… approving this request as-is would violate Alpharetta’s land use plan, the one that was just approved in December, because of the home to apartment ratio.

    In other news…

    The city now has some Avalon info on their webpage. There is a rough scan of the siteplan and a chart. See this link: http://alpharetta.ga.us/index.php?p=465

    And the Patch is reporting that Goodwill is NOT behind the request on North Main Street. Sounds fishy to me.

  9. Nikki January 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    We do not need a Goodwill on North Main, nor do we need a stand-alone building built when there are sooooo many open retail locations on Main St. Isn’t this the 2nd time they have tried to get a location on Main St? Besides the location in Lee’s area, there is drop off at the Publix center at Bethany & Hwy 9 and drop-off located on Hembree at the recycling center, not to mention the drop-off/store on Hwy 9 near Mansell. I think we’re covered!

  10. Kim January 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    That Patch article does not make sense. And what is the stuff about the library??? And the park??? And the neighbors paying for a study for a park?? The dots aren’t connecting.

  11. Greg January 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    I just looked at the Avalon site plan. On the surface, it seems to be a truncated version of Atlantic Station, but with an ocean of parking lots surrounding it. Certainly not the pocket parks and water feature some of us were (optimistically) envisioning. It could still be attractive, though, if they incorporate some of the great architectural aspects they highlighted in their nation-wide Twitter tour.

  12. SCSA January 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I looked at the Avalon site plan. While I’m excited about ‘something’ going there and the finishing (FINALLY) of Westside Parkway, it looks like the Avenue with residential space. The Avenue Forsyth is great, but so far hasn’t lived up to expectations with the open office spaces above the stores. I agree, there is too much open retail space on Hwy 9 with at least 3 mostly empty strip malls. How much retail can they expect to move in there in this economy? How much money is being lost on those empty strip malls? How many Mexican restaurants and FroYo places will inhabit the Avalon? Just make it a park and open Westside Parkway already.

  13. JP January 31, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    “Just make it a park and open Westside Parkway already”. And that generates how much money for North American Properties? Zero. Hence why developers don’t pay hundreds of millions of dollars for prime real estate and make parks. I love parks, but we’re not getting them at Avalon.

    I went to downtown Woodstock Saturday night for the first time and was really impressed. Very nice bars, restaurants, etc. They were all packed! Hopefully, Avalon will resemble this in some ways.

    Of course, thriving office and retail is a city’s dream. And smart residents know this is what helps keep taxes low. Housing means children. Children mean more schools and higher taxes. Balance is key.

  14. Michael Cross February 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    One of the concerns often expressed about apartments is the additional burden placed upon schools when more apartments are added to a community. With the density allowed by apartments, it’s possible to increase a school’s population and, along the way, decrease per-student property tax revenues.

    As you dig deeper into the application materials, you’ll see Avalon proposes that the majority of the apartments will be one bedroom apartments. Presumably, one bedroom apartments are not likely to house school age children.

    So, as part of my ongoing analysis, I ask the community this question – would you rather have one bedroom apartments or three bedroom condos/townhomes?

    (I understand many would answer, “None of the above” if that were a choice provided, and it may be a choice available to our community and the Council. I’m really interested, however, in thoughtful analysis and commentary regarding the apartment/condo question as it relates to this development.)

    Michael Cross

  15. Shaun Hunt February 4, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Hi @Michael,

    I realize I’m always late to the posts but I actually live in the Winthrope Chase subdivision, routinely go to the small Goodwill drop-off at the Publix on Bethany and regulary drop-off and shop at the Goodwill at Mansell/Highway 9. So I have no problem with these supposedly ‘lower class’ things.

    However, I have a serious problem with the traffic in the area, on Saturdays and Sundays the road is near gridlock because of the one lane and numerous lights. And if you would be honest about this particular store the drop-off lines at this same peak time are several cars deep at the full service station at Mansell. So using any common sense the Goodwill is going to be extremely bad for traffic.

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