Emerson approves wake park variances to allow early construction
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 30, 2013 | 1955 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the approval of five variance requests during its Monday night meeting, the Emerson City Council is allowing Wake Park Atlanta to start construction of its Terminus Wake Park before the rest of the LakePoint Sporting Community & Town Center complex.

Construction on the LakePoint North Complex cannot begin until relocation work on part of Ga. Highway 293 is completed. Wake Park Atlanta did not want to wait that long, said Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett.

“Unfortunately [the road] project is slated to take eight to 10 months once it gets rolling, so it’s essentially a year out for it. These people would like to be swimming today. ... So they’re wanting us to accommodate them with some temporary facilities — infrastructure — so they can get rolling,” he said.

Wake Park Atlanta asked for variances on using a temporary gravel road and paved apron off Old Allatoona road, a temporary sewage system and a variance from the Bartow County fire marshal on how far the park can be from a fire hydrant. The council approved the road and fire hydrant variances, but delayed action on the sewage system issue until the city’s engineer can confer with Wake Park Atlanta’s engineer.

Other variances approved included cut and fill slope requirements, crushed stone backfill requirements for underground mains and a variance on undisturbed earth requirements.

Undisturbed earth requirements call for a sewer main to be set on solid earth that has already settled, so the mains do not shift and lose flow. As the Terminus and LakePoint sites are over old mining property that was filled in, both companies would have to dig down roughly 80 feet to reach undisturbed earth, which would be impractical, McBurnett said.

However, the company’s engineers believe there will be little settling on the filled-in earth after construction is finished.

“They have hired Geo-Hydro and had them, as their geo-tech engineers, will have them on site at all times. They’ll be evaluating the site,” McBurnett said. “They have done a soil sample in the area of study and they have determined ... the majority of settlement will occur while [they’re] doing the grading, the cut-fill operation. Afterwards ... there will be a few more months were they have settlement.”

The possible issues with the lack of undisturbed earth led the city to require a longer 60-month bond and warranty period rather than an 18-month warranty period and 24-month bond on all infrastructure that may be dedicated to the city, such as the stormwater system. Wake Park Atlanta and Lake Point asked the city to reduce the bond, but the council denied that request.

“What we changed it to on here was a 60-month bond and warranty period, so we’ve got a five-year warranty period. ... They have to pay [for repairs], or if they refuse to pay for it, we’ll call the bond and get it fixed,” McBurnett said.

McBurnett believed construction on the wake park could begin near the end of February or the beginning of March, with construction lasting one to two months.

The council also handled a number of variance requests from LakePoint for its north complex. While the council had previously approved a number of variances on property in 2011, the complex plans had changed, which required a new round of variance applications.

As with the wake park, the LakePoint variances were related to maintenance bonds, undisturbed earth requirements and cut and fill slope requirements. Additional variances for holding off on constructing certain sidewalks, what type of fencing is required for a detention pond and the spacing for storm drain inlets were approved as well.

The one variance the council denied was an application for 24/7 construction at the site.

“It was denied because we do not have a construction schedule that shows the necessity to be moving 24/7, and by their own admission, they said, ‘We don’t know what we’re going to do,’” McBurnett said. “‘We might not run 24/7; we haven’t even got it worked out on how we’re going to do that, what our timeframes are and if it’s even economical for us to do it.’ So we denied it at this time and told them we’d be willing to hear it again should they come up with a schedule that they have to be on 24/7.”

Other city council business included:

• Approving a zoning ordinance text amendment to create a new stone crushing condition under the conditional uses in the light industrial zoning category.

• Approving the rezoning of 80 Monroe Crossing from retail commercial C-2 to light industrial LI.

• Approving a conditional use permit for 80 Monroe Crossing.

• Approving a conditional use permit for 686 Highway 293.

• Hearing the first reading of a zoning ordinance text amendment regarding parking regulations.

The Emerson City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at city hall.