Rezoning for 3-Story Apartments in Loganville Likely to be Tabled Thursday
Issues relating to fire safety raised at Monday’s council work session in Loganville were expected to result in tabling of the matter until the details could be worked out.
A rezoning that would result in a density reduction to the current rezoning of property adjoining Loganville High School, but added another story to apartments planned for the area, is expected to be tabled at Thursday’s City Council Meeting.
David Gussio, attorney for Mahaffey Pickens Tucker, LLP, presented the case for two rezonings of property between Old Zion Cemetery Road and Highway 78 adjacent to Loganville High School. The whole property is currently zoned RM-8 for two story apartments. One application would rezone 31.75 acres on the back end of the property to R22 for single-family homes. The second application would allow for three-story apartments on the 26.02 acres fronting Highway 78 instead of the current two-story apartment zoning.
“These two request go hand-in-hand – at the moment the entire property is zone for apartments,” Gussio said. “This rezoning is a net reduction in density of the land. “
Gussio said the apartments would be high end and both the single family homes and the apartments would be in a gated community. The plans included fencing around the entire property, including between LHS and the complex. A clubhouse, recreational and workout building and a swimming pool were included in the proposal.
The planning and development department and the planning commission had recommended approval of both rezonings, but the council had questions about the safety, particularly as it related to the three-story apartments. Fire Chief Danny Roberts said his main concern was the height of the buildings and whether the Loganville Fire Department was equipped to handle a fire in a three-story apartment.
“Currently, LFD’s ladder truck is 75 feet in length. This aerial can safely be used to fight fire in a two-story building,” Roberts said. “The main purpose of a ladder truck is to be able to be above the highest peak and rain down the water to extinguish the fire.”
Roberts said with the current equipment, the ladder would only be able to arch the water. The distance away from the building would also need to be taken into account and Roberts said he didn’t believe the current equipment would be sufficient to safely handle a fire in three-story buildings.
“The height is the problem – we also don’t want to be faced with someone trapped on the roof and we can’t rescue them,” Roberts said. “My main purpose was to bring this to your attention. We don’t want to be faced with a situation where we can’t handle something and you come back to us and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?””
Councilman Skip Baliles asked Gussio if the developer would be prepared to contribute to the cost of a new fire truck, which Roberts said would need to be a 100-foot aerial ladder. The cost for a top of the line, fully-equipped, 100-foot aerial ladder truck could go as high as $1 million.
The police chief also had some concerns about both traffic on Trident Trail and Highway 78 when school was in session as well as the man hours that might be involved in policing apartments. Gussio was prepared to meet with the public safety departments as well as members of the nearby Lake Hodges subdivision to see if issues of concern could be resolved.
Baliles reminded people that without any changes to the zoning, a developer could come in and utilize the whole property for two-story apartments. Since there were only a few days prior to the matter coming up for a vote, Gussio said he didn’t think it would be a problem to table the matter for a month. If that is the case, it would give the parties time to get together and see if a resolution could be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.