Council Approves Black Creek Preliminary PUD Despite Challenge From Sharp Attorney

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a preliminary Planned Unit Development (PUD) for "The Ridges" portion of the Black Creek development in Lookout Valley despite a challenge from the attorney for Helen Burns Sharp.

Attorney John Konvalinka said under the city code that the developers should have provided additional information required by the code, including details on roads, sewers and stormwater, even on a "preliminary" PUD.

Allen Jones of Ragan-Smith Associates said the project would include residential as well as an assisted living facility on two ridges above the Cummings Cove development and near the road up Aetna Mountain.

Greg Haynes of the Regional Planning Agency said the practice had been on preliminary PUDs not to require certain expensive detailed plans. He said the project would go back before the council later for the final PUD and the information would have to be included by then. Developers have two years from approval of the preliminary PUD to the final PUD approval.

City Attorney Mike McMahan said amending the code to correspond to actual practice was "a good suggestion," and he said the RPA staff is working on that.

Councilwoman Carol Berz said the council should only be voting once on a PUD - when it had been cleared by planning as having met all the requirements.

Councilman Peter Murphy said the council was basically making a land use decision and leaving the technicalities to the staff.

He made a motion to approve subject to the developers fulfilling any deficiencies on the application within a year.

It passed with six votes of approval. Opposed were council members Berz and Deborah Scott. Councilwoman Sally Robinson, whose son-in-law Mike Mallen is involved in the project, recused herself.

Ms. Sharp has also been a critic of $9 million in TIF financing for the Black Creek developers to build a road and sewer line to the top of the mountain, where a huge development is planned. 

Mr. Jones said of Ms. Sharp that "this person with the attorney is not a resident of the community." He said Black Creek residents support The Ridges" project, including the assisted living facility.

Approval for the assisted living must come from the Board of Zoning Appeals. 


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