Wild­wood may be de­vel­oped af­ter all

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

The Wild­wood sub­di­vi­sion may get a sec­ond en­trance and more homes af­ter all.

Af­ter a meet­ing with city of­fi­cials Fri­day morn­ing, rep­re­sen­ta­tives with At­lanta-based de­vel­oper The Ar­dent Com­pa­nies plan to pur­sue build­ing a sec­ond en­trance to the Cov­ing­ton sub­di­vi­sion and will go be­fore the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil and ask to with­draw with­out prej­u­dice Ar­dent’s re­quest to amend the prop­erty’s zon­ing con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to Cov­ing­ton Fire Mar­shal Tony Smith.

The de­vel­oper had hoped to restart home build­ing with­out hav­ing to first build a sec­ond road en­trance and exit, which would be an added cost in an al­ready tough build­ing econ­omy. Smith said Fri­day the de­vel­oper will still need to reach a deal with Hamil­ton State Bank, which ac­tu­ally owns the prop­erty.

At Tues­day’s Cov­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion meet­ing, Smith and city plan­ning of­fi­cials made it clear they didn’t see any ap­pro­pri­ately safe al­ter­na­tive to build­ing that sec­ond road, which is called for un­der the pre­vi­ously cre­ated sub­di­vi­sion plans and re­quired by the In­ter­na­tional Fire Code.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion voted to out­right deny Ar­dent’s amended zon­ing re­quest, even though Ar­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive Todd Ter­williger asked for a de­fer­ral to have more time to speak with city of­fi­cials.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion does not make the fi­nal de­ci­sion, but its vote is con­sid­ered a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion to the City Coun­cil. The coun­cil will make the fi­nal de­ci­sion at its Mon­day meet­ing.

If Ar­dent plans to build a sec­ond road, it won’t even need any amend­ment to the prop­erty’s zon­ing con­di­tions. How­ever, if the coun­cil were to also deny

the re­quest, no other zon­ing amend­ment re­quest by any com­pany could be made for at least six months, ac­cord­ing to city or­di­nances, said Cov­ing­ton Se­nior Plan­ner Scott Gaither af­ter Tues­day’s meet­ing.

By choos­ing to with­draw its re­quest with­out prej­u­dice, the de­vel­oper could still bring other re­quests later.

Lo­cated on 256 acres, Wild­wood has 53 homes and 34 lots ready for homes; orig­i­nal plans called for up to 550 homes. The un­de­vel­oped por­tion went into fore­clo­sure dur­ing the hous­ing mar­ket col­lapse and has changed hands mul­ti­ple times.

Photo il­lus­tra­tion by Gabriel Khouli/the Cov­ing­ton News

While the cur­rent de­vel­oper’s plans are un­known, in red is the con­nect­ing road that was pro­posed in the orig­i­nal Wild­wood sub­di­vi­sion plans to pro­vide a sec­ond en­trance, ac­cord­ing to the New­ton County Tax As­ses­sor’s map­ping tool.

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