Development Report: Juxtaposing Alpharetta and Roswell

Well, real estate development is rolling right along in Alpharetta.   Not much new to report here except the following good news:   CLUP-15-13/Z-15-14 Beecham Group/Old Milton Pkwy Townhomes.  This item actually involved some additional tree-saves, thanks to discussion at a Planning Commission meeting and then a Council approval.  It’s nice to see Alpharetta’s Planning Commission and City Council embracing trees in this manner.

Also, of note regarding this item is that it is refreshing to see, and I use the term lightly, “affordable” housing being built in Alpharetta, along with all the $500,000 – $1,000,000 homes that are slated to be built.  In the case of the above referenced townhomes, they should be for sale in the mid to upper $300,000’s – which is affordable by Alpharetta standards.   Of course, the only access to these townhomes is on the cursed Old Milton Parkway, east of 400.  But then again, they are close to Alpharetta’s un-sung, yet glorious, emerging Jamaican/Brazilian food scene.


I’ve bemoaned the apathy in Alpharetta toward greater density and also how residents are un-involved with local politics.  It’s quite the different story over in Roswell.

I bring to your attention a pending item on city of Roswell’s Council agenda – the “Sassafras” development.

Amazingly, between Chaffin Road, Crabapple Road and Hembree Road, there are 21 wooded acres and developers would like to build 113 townhomes, courtyard homes and ordinary single family homes on these 21 acres.  Or should we say “cram” 113 homes onto this acreage?  I’m almost certain the developer will have Don Rolader, well known in Alpharetta City Hall, as the attorney making their case in this controversial situation. You see, there is a huge groundswell of residents who are complaining bitterly about the proposed development.  In fact, to date, 1122 people have signed a petition called “Stop High Density Development at Hembree and Chaffin Roads”.  

I’m rather familiar with this situation because my parents own a home in this area and will be directly impacted by the re-zoning/development should it be approved by the city of Roswell.  I know the area. I know the “developers”.

On the other side of this controversy is the writer/blogger (people?) over at New Urban Roswell, who can’t seem to sing the praises of the proposed Sassafras development enough.  In this piece, New Urban Roswell complains about the ranting residents who are opposed to Sassafras, but then proceeds to rant, with near religious fervor, about how great this development will be.

On their website, New Urban Roswell depicts one of the tudor styled homes, proposed to be built along Chaffin or Hembree, and says that it is “insanely better than what’s there today.”  Really?  Insanely better?  Do you know what makes me insane?  This makes me insane:  People who say we should tear down the architectural vernacular of the 1970’s, or 1960’s or 1950’s because what we have today is supposedly insanely better.   But, commenting on that folly is something for me to write about on another day.

Suffice it to say that what’s most interesting to me about the proposed Sassafras development is that Roswell residents intensely care about further density in their city – either for or against.  This is refreshing when compared to Alpharetta residents who don’t run for Council and the vast majority of whom don’t vote or show up at Council meetings to say they care about much of anything.


One Reply to “Development Report: Juxtaposing Alpharetta and Roswell”

  1. As Margaret Mead said:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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