After 9 years of lobbying
Cobb County, Sidewalks were installed on the southern section of Canton Hwy in November 2018.

District 3's newest Park on Ebenezer  June 23, 2018


Canton Road Neighbors Inc. Is a Georgia Nonprofit, nonpartisan civic and neighborhoods-based organization of neighborhoods along the Canton corridor and our focus is on planning, zoning and other issues related to an aging commercial and residential community.  We have a five-member board of directors and twelve members on our neighborhood advisory committee  We offer these areas for volunteer activity either as a Board member or on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee:    Planning & Zoning, Community Gardening.     

This is the official website of Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. We do not host a Facebook site and do not post to Next Door.  Updates are posted to this site and  quarterly updates are sent via email to those who have signed up to receive our newsletter.

 June 23, 2019

Update on Ebenezer Rd Property Park Plan

Greetings, and thank you for participating in one or both of the Public Input Meetings for the Ebenezer Road Property master plan, and/or for subsequently submitting comments to us by email.  The next step in this process is to present the resulting proposed master plan to the PARKS Recreation Board at their next scheduled meeting, Tuesday November 12, beginning at 6:00PM.  This meeting will be held at the Cobb County Civic Center, 548 South Marietta Parkway in Marietta.  All Recreation Board meetings are open to the public.

Regards - 

Tom Bills

Cobb County PARKS

1792 County Services Parkway

Marietta, GA   30008-4026

o) 770-528-8807

Remembering Tim Lee

I met Tim Lee in 2002 when he was running for his first office: County Commissioner.  His campaign manager was David Poteet and Lee was in a runoff.  I placed a call to his campaign office and he invited me and neighbors to meet him at Laredo's so we could get to know him and hear about his platform.  We supported him in the runoff and he was elected to be District 3 Commissioner. 

One of his campaign platforms was the revitalization of the Canton Corridor.  He followed through on that and held a community meeting to get input on how to proceed.  The well attended meeting at a Baptist Church on Sandy Plains resulted in a lot of suggestions and led to the creation of the Canton Road Steering Committee in Spring 2004.  I was one of Commissioner Lee's appointed stakeholders.

The CRSC was an eventful and sometimes contentious year but I would like to think it led to the gradual changes on Canton Hwy.

Lee also started the Canton Road Business Association, later to become the Northeast Cobb Business Association.  The Commissioner and I did not always agree on issues, notably sidewalks funded by SPLOST, back in 2009, but we worked together on many other issues.

He was a leader but he was collaborative in his approach. You could talk to him.  He got his start in Civic Groups, notably East Cobb Civic Association and Northeast Cobb Homeowners Group.  As his career advanced he became less accessible to average folk than when he first started, but he had a lot on his plate.  He was a believer in public participation and he supported the Neighborhood Notification Initiative that I brought forward in 2012-2013, and gave the go-ahead to a series of Stakeholder presentations. While the idea was not well received by many of those who attended the stakeholder meetings, Lee and then-Community Development Director Rob Hosack made zoning notification available by email to anyone who signed up to receive it.  In the old days, zoning information was printed out and anyone wanting a booklet had to be on a list to receive the zoning books.  You had to drive to the Community Development building and pick it up.  Getting information used to be a lot harder than it is now.

Tim Lee supported purchase of green space for public parks and he supported transit.  The public was with him on parks but a majority did not support transit.  His support of the Braves was controversial with many, just like his support of transit.  But being the leader that he was, he forged ahead because he believed both were the right things for Cobb's future.

As our roadways become more dangerous and congested and as the air quality grows worse, public transportation won't be so hard to sell.

I am glad he got to see the success of the Braves, Suntrust Park and the Battery.  I am glad that he started the process of revitalizing Canton Corridor.

May his memory be a blessing.

Outcome of Offer to donate tract on Canton to Noonday Baptist

 The PARKS meeting at Noonday Baptist Church to discuss planning for the new Ebenezer Park was well attended. One of the people in the room was the owner of the 1.7 acre tract across the street now in for rezoning.  He asked several questions and then made a comment that got everyone's attention.  He said he was willing to donate the lot facing Canton "not to the county but to the church". Director Jimmy Gisi was discussing parking when Mr. Malak made his offer. 

This sounded very interesting to a number of people attending. Later in the week Mr. Malak discussed the idea with Noonday Baptist Church who declined the generous offer. The property did not connect directly to church property and there were other issues.  The County would not have wanted to have overflow parking for Ebenezer Park across the street at the busy Ebenezer/Canton intersection.  It would have been a dangerous crossing for pedestrians and kids, in particular.

The entire 1.7 acres will be in for a Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners Zoning hearing in September.

Recommended for Approval (Deleted to Low Rise Office) by Planning Commission on Consent Agenda 5-0

This was approved by the Board of Commissioners on the Regular Agenda, Deleted to LRO.  Vote was unanimous.

Ebenezer Park Meeting 2 Summary

 by Tom Bills

Greetings and thank you for attending one or both of the Public Input Meetings for the Ebenezer Property master plan.  At the link below, we have posted the master plan concept that was presented at the August 7 meeting, along with a summary of the comments that we received.   In the coming weeks, we will make final modifications to the plan prior to presenting it to the PARKS Recreation Board at a future meeting. 

The figures, comments, and schedule for the second round of meetings for other properties can be accessed at:



The site under development on the west side of Canton Hwy at the 2197 Distribution Center Drive is the new Extra Space Storage

Ongoing is construction of the new main driveway at Racetrac

Credit where Credit is due:  At least 40,000 drivers at the intersection of Sandy Plains with Canton Connector saw the mess made when a bundle of newspapers (MDJ) fell off of a truck and spread for several hundred yards. Adding insult to injury a litterbug decided to toss several bags of shredded books to add to the mess.  I spent plenty of time bagging some of it - thanks to D & K Power Tools for use of their dumpster - but there was more.  That Sunday afternoon I made another trip to the area to bag the rest of it and was amazed to see a red truck pull over and three young women jump out with large bags and start to collect litter.  I wondered if they were from KSU or with Keep Cobb or Marietta Beautiful, but no.  As they said :We just think it looks trashy and we want to help." That impressed me and definitely makes me feel hopeful about the younger generation.  When we wrapped it up, the area near the intersection was clean again.  Of the many people who saw the mess, those three women stopped to help and made a big difference!  Thank you!


AJC: Future Uncertain for Planned Marietta VA Clinic  by Meris Lutz

Delayed again is Z-48 4076 Ebenezer NS to NRC.  The applicant did not comply with the required mailing of notice to those within 1,000' of property being rezoned.  The hearing is scheduled for the September 3rd Planning Commission at 9 am.

Finally, a Site Plan re-submission by David Pearson Communities for 15 acres on Shallowford Road, first rezoned in 2015 as Z-37 and then Z-80.  It was zoned RA-6 and preserved green space along a stream. The site plan is shown below.  One of the stipulations was to restrict turns at the main driveway on Shallowford to right in and right out due to traffic speed and volume.  It appears that the revised site plan tried to remove that restriction but it was caught in time.  The Village at Shallowford will be in Plan Review on Thursday the 11th. We remember the important stipulations in zoning cases, even those approved four years ago.  There was a recent story about David Pearson Communities on 11Alive.  Here is the link:

    Community Affairs Officer Jegg at "Fish with the Commish" event at Ebenezer Park

On August 7th Parks will host another Planning Meeting for Ebenezer Park from 6:30 to 8 pm at Noonday Baptist Church.  4121 Canton Rd.

Credit where credit is due: Meridian Restoration Liberty Hill Rd.  Before and After.  Nice work!


A safety issue on Powell Wright Rd east of the RR tracks

Most of the long term residents of the area are aware that there is a creek at the foot of the hill on Powell Wright just east of the RR. Over time it has become very deep.  There is a very short distance from the edge of the pavement to the drop off on this narrow road.  With drivers sometimes being forced over to the side, there isn't much room for error.  Even long time residents may not be aware of how deep the tributary to Little Noonday has become.

We hope the DOT will finally take this seriously enough to start planning repairs.  Cobb Stormwater might want to look at this as well. The vacant lot on the south side of the road has natural springs and is a wetland.  The runoff coming down the hill on Powell Wright combines with the water from the vacant lot during heavy rain events and sometimes comes over the top of the roadway.  A few years ago a SPLOST project funded repairs to the creek area on Liberty Hill Rd.  Hopefully the same can be done on Powell Wright.  At minimum. some type of warning should be posted to alert drivers.

On Sunday afternoon I cut back some brush from the creek drop off and posted temporary orange markers to alert drivers to use caution in that area.

Photos below.



The long awaited improvements at Racetrac are underway

Next time you are at the Liberty Hill signal take a look at the bulldozer on the vacant lot. Seeing is believing.

The Oasis Car Wash in the business district on Canton Hwy will be replaced by the new Tidal Wave Auto Spa

The planned Extra Space Storage on the southern section of Canton Hwy will be getting underway this summer

Getting closer: The new Fire Station on Canton Hwy across from Kroger.  The County closed on the property last week.

Z-48 Canton at Ebenezer. Rezone from NS to NRC.  This was the property that was clearcut, next to Noonday Baptist.  Maybe the better choice would be to split the lot and rezone the parcel on Canton to Low Rise Office, less intense than NRC.  NRC works for the existing building on the portion of the lot facing Ebenezer.  This will be heard in July.  Continued until the August 6th Planning Meeting.  Lack of notification to public by mailings to those within 1,000'.

CRN Blog June 2, 2019

Will Managed Lanes solve the region's traffic gridlock?

The public was told that the NW Corridor lanes would relieve congestion on the general purpose lanes and that appears to be true. They are also heavily used and on Friday evening around 7:30 from the Canton Cloverleaf I looked up and noticed that cars in the Managed Lanes above me, headed north, were bumper to bumper and not moving. Traffic in the northbound general purpose lanes was moving slowly but steadily. Since the regional plan is now to build a network of Managed Lanes, maybe they should be wide enough to accommodate light rail in a dedicated lane. You can add trains a lot more easily and at less cost than you can build new lanes. The principle of Triple Convergence or Induced Demand suggests that they fill as quickly as they are built.

The 100 year anniversary of the Susan B. Anthony 19th Amendment is June 4th.

On June 6th the nation observes the 75th anniversary of D-Day, critical to defeating the Nazis in WWII, The bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach should never be forgotten.

The lesser known June 4th Centennial of the 19th Amendment should be observed as well. Passage of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment by Congress on June 4th 1919 marked the next-to-last step in a 70 year old campaign to give American women the right to vote. The effort was started at a convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who asked the attendees to discuss the issues of women's rights (could not own property, could not vote). She was later joined by Susan B. Anthony and both women would dedicate their lives to improving the legal status of women and securing the right to vote. Much of it was a long uphill battle and both women died without achieving their goal.

At the turn of the 20th century new leadership stepped forward, more militant in their demand for the vote, and soon, Suffrage became a mass movement. Leadership included Harriott Stanton Blatch, Anna Howard Shaw, Mary Church Terrell and others. Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt took different approaches to winning the vote. Catt used the more traditional method of lobbying Congress and President Wilson, while Paul encouraged women to picket outside the gates of the White House as Silent Sentinels. The picketing took place in the Wilson administration during WWI and was seen as controversial.

Many of the women picketing were arrested for blocking the sidewalk and jailed. Some were treated harshly in prison and force fed in a method that would not be allowed today. As news of the mistreatment spread, President Wilson ordered the women released and agreed to support the Suffrage amendment. After passage in the House, the Senate passed the measure on June 4th 1919. It then had to be ratified by 36 states. This was accomplished in August 1920 when State Representative Harry Burn of Tennessee voted Aye, and his vote concluded a 72 year long effort to give American women the vote. This Amendment expanded Democracy to 20 million American citizens.

Amendment XIX

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

As we reflect on the change a century later, we can look to changes in our local government. Cobb County has three women Commissioners, one of whom will be running for Chairman next year. Two county departments are headed by women: Ms. Erica Parrish, Director Cobb DOT and Ms. Jessica Guinn, Director Community Development. One hundred years ago this would have been unthinkable.

I remember the late Hilda Towery, co-founder of Bells Ferry Civic Association, telling me that when she first got involved in zoning issues in the mid 1970's, women were not allowed to speak at zoning meetings and were required to stand at the back of the meeting room.

There are many things we take for granted. That should not be the case. Many of the rights and privileges we enjoy as American citizens came about through years of struggle and sacrifices made by our ancestors.

Source: ( The Women’s Suffrage Movement, Wagner, Sally Roesch, Editor, 2019)

Link to Atlantic article


Link to AJC article



PENS Precinct 1: Using the Ring Neighborhood App

The increase in the popularity of home security video systems not only helps the individual home owner with the security of their property, but it can contribute to the safety and security of the neighborhood. The Ring Neighborhood App links together participating neighbors’ systems into a network that allows that participates to post videos of suspicious activity for others to view. This helps keep the neighborhood aware of any criminal activity that is afoot. These videos can also be viewed by detectives investigating these incidents and identify suspects. The app also allows police to map clusters of criminal activity so officers can concentrate patrols in these areas.

The more homeowners that participate in the Ring Neighborhood App the greater chance we all have in deterring crime and keeping our community safe. Please see the included links for more information about the Ring Neighborhood App.

LT. Zell

What is the Ring Neighborhood App and what can it do
How well the Ring Neighborhood App works when you partner with the Police Department
Local Witness Accounts Leads to Arrest of Burglar
Frequently Asked Questions
Tips and Help for uploading and sharing videos and photos to your neighborhood

Questions for Law Enforcement

Can the Police Department log in and look at my cameras in my home?
Absolutely not. Ring has gone to great lengths to ensure their customers' privacy. The only video Law Enforcement can see are the ones you share to the Neighborhood App or share directly with them.

What is the benefit for me and my neighborhood?
Unfortunately, Police Officers don’t know who is a stranger in every neighborhood but you do! Sharing photos and video allows detectives to link suspects to crimes, but more importantly prevent a crime before it happens.

How much does the Neighborhood App cost?
Absolutely nothing! Ring saw the importance of creating a bridge between you, your neighbors and the police. They then created the app so everyone could come together and share information to build safer neighborhoods.

How do I get the Neighborhood App?
You can download the app from the Apple App Store for free or from Google Play for free.

I don’t use Ring products can I still use this app?
Yes! Once you have the app you can upload video or still photos from your handheld device.

   That's all for now.

   Carol Brown


Canton Road Neighbors May 2019 Update

      A zoning case approved in September 2017 for a 4-sided brick building on the west side of Canton Hwy and south of the Racetrac, appeared to fall through. This month I received an email from Commissioner Birrell that had been forwarded from Site Plan Review. Another company had picked up the zoning and made it through the plan review process. It was only waiting on sign off from the Commissioner. It has been signed off and will now be the most expensive development south of Piedmont on Canton Hwy. It will be a large structure, over 100,000 square feet and three stories and will be built on the 3.39 acre site adjacent to the 2197 Canton driveway. This will be managed by Extra Space Storage which is one of the top companies in the US. The developer will build 633' of sidewalks in addition to street landscaping. See the front elevation below.

   In addition to being an attractive building, it will be a quiet business and generate very little traffic. An engineer from Travis Pruitt stated that they expected to begin construction within the next 30 days.

   On the same side of the street, we are STILL waiting for Racetrac and the County to begin construction of the improvements at Liberty Hill and Westerly Way. We were told that work should begin in May, and that date was pushed back to “summer”.


The next zoning on Canton Hwy which is likely to be of interest to the public is Z- 48, in July, the 1.7 acre tract at the corner of Ebenezer and Canton, across from the new Park. The application by Saw Holding LLC is to rezone from NS to NRC for "restaurants, grocery store and office", The intention is to split the lot into two lots as shown in the site plan.

Most readers in the area will recall that this was the property that was clear cut without a permit, on the side facing Canton Hwy.  The owner also encroached well into the stream buffer of Little Noonday Creek. Some trees have been replanted, but they don't compensate for the damage done to the environmentally sensitive site.

Possibly a good approach to the split lot plan is to Delete the request to NRC for the existing office and give the acreage on Canton LRO.  This would be most in keeping with the low intensity uses in the area and would do the least harm to the property.  It would be nice to see the church acquire the land. 



   Cobb County neighborhoods aren't the safe suburban enclaves they were years ago.
   We have read PENS describe entering auto crimes for a long time, and how important it is to keep your car   doors locked and to take your valuables inside. 
It doesn't really hit home until you and your neighborhood experience it, hit in the middle of the night by a team that stops at many houses to flip door handles to see if they are unlocked.  If they are and you have anything of value inside, your belongings will be stolen. The thieves are after wallets, credit cards and guns.
My neighborhood was hit on April 25th at about 2 am by a gang of at least 3 men (including the "flipper") and at least two cars. They had a few successful hits out of many homes, but the bad news for these guys is that many homeowners now have surveillance cameras and alarms.  On May 16th Marietta Police apprehended a flipper and he is sitting in the Cobb County jail.  Read the MDJ and AJC stories, links are below.    The individual who was captured looks a LOT like the person who showed  up on surveillance in my neighborhood.  KUDOS to the Marietta Police and to the two homeowners for acting quickly to call 911.  Keep those cars locked and consider investing in some type of home security.  Its well worth the money.





 Comprehensive Transportation Plan

Go to www.CobbForward.org        https://cobbforward.metroquest.com/

Take the interactive survey and give your input into Cobb's transportation needs going forward. 


The photos below were taken at the Tuesday May 7th meeting at East Cobb Senior Center on Sandy Plains Rd.


Perennial Garden on Canton Connector is in bloom

 The  daffodils have played out and the following plants can be seen: wild purple Verbena and Stella daylilies. Additional daylilies will bloom in early June and in the summer months Lantana will bloom. There are a few patches of Stone Mountain Daisies that bloom from late July through Labor Day.  A number of the Perennial Plants attract pollinators like butterflies, and so, it is also a pollinator garden.

May 11th 2019
  April 4, 2019
  April 4, 2019                 
  March 2019                                                                     

From the Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due Department:

Property owned by Mr. Tom Mitchell/dba Petroplex has finally improved one of Canton Corridor's most blighted old properties into something much better. Thanks to Mr. Mitchell, Commissioner Birrell, Ms Cathey Pickett and CRN for nudging this site from awful to not bad at all. Before and After photos are below.

The new Sunday bus transit service in Cobb will begin on July 1st, according to County Manager Rob Hosack.  On Tuesday the Board of Commissioners voted to approve the recommendations of the Transit Study for improving services and routes offered by CobbLinc.  Sunday bus services will be offered on all routes along with creation of Route 10X which will replace !0 A, 10 B and 10 C.  Read the MDJ article about the new service   CobbLinc's Sunday Service Addition
and scroll to the bottom of the page for the PDF summary of the service recommendations listed.

The Chairman's Town Hall at East Cobb Senior Center was held at 3 and 7 pm.  Chairman Boyce discussed the current and upcoming budget, the healthy SPLOST revenue generated in part by all the Braves "SPLOST dogs and SPLOST cokes" sold, the upcoming Comprehensive Transportation Plan update, planning for the next SPLOST, and results of the Transit Study.

There are differing opinions of what may and may not be done with SPLOST once approved.   A good way to fact check statements made is by referring to a
guide, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.  It is the SPLOST Guide for County Officials, 6th Edition. Scroll to the bottom of this page and the PDF can be downloaded. 

Nearly 100 residents attended Cobb PARKS open house planning session to give input into the design of the new 18 acre park on Ebenezer at Canton. Commissioner Birrell opened the meeting and was followed by Director Jimmy Gisi who responded to questions and comments from the enthusiastic crowd. 

Currently there is no funding to develop the park. That would likely be contingent on a new SPLOST getting voter approval in 2020.  Recalling the length of time it took Mabry Park to open to the public, from its purchase with the 2006 Parks Bond until the 2016 SPLOST funds were available,  several speakers wanted to know if the park would be open soon.  Director Gisi said that after an inspection for safety this winter, it would be open to the public for passive recreation. 

Suggestions from the crowd included adding a dog park, a splash pad for kids, a chalk drawing wall, an entrance on Canton Hwy, and fencing the park for security.  Most seemed to agree with a speaker who asked that it remain a passive park and as natural as possible.  Her comments were greeted with applause. The plan presented this evening featured trails through a wooded area along Canton Hwy and a trail around the lake.  A playground and 38 space parking area were also shown.

Information presented tonight will be posted on the Cobb County website.  We will make the link available here.

Racetrac Agreement signed and ready to go! 

2.9 years after the zoning, the agreement with Racetrac finally was signed on February 5th.Many thanks to Commissioner Joann Birrell, County Attorney Debra Blair, Ms Cathey Pickett and   . . . Racetrac.

Code Amendment changes appointees to Cobb Board of Ethics

I learned  today from Mr. Lynn Rainey Esq, Counsel for the Ethics Board, that the Cobb Code Amendment that changes the appointees to the Cobb Ethics Board is to comply with a decision of the Georgia Supreme Court.  The case was Decided on August 27, 2018.  A summary of the case follows 

Delay et al. v. Sutton  Synopsis Background: County commissioner with pending ethics complaints against her filed an action for a writ of quo warranto to challenge the makeup of county board of ethics and claimed that the statute delegating the power to appoint board members was unconstitutional. The Superior Court, DeKalb County, Asha F. Jackson, J., granted the writ. Board appealed.

[Holding:] The Supreme Court, Melton, P.J., held that statute allowing private entities to appoint four board members violated constitutional provisions requiring people control of government.

Election or appointment Statute that delegated power to appoint four county board of ethics members to county bar association, county chamber of commerce, leadership organization, and major universities and colleges located within county violated constitutional provisions requiring people control of government, where board wielded government power, and private organizations were not accountable to the people as constitution required.

What this means for all Ethics Boards in the State of Georgia is that members may not be appointed by private groups, which are not elected by and therefore not accountable to the people.  The appointments must be by those elected to office. Therefore, the two seats held by appointees of neighborhoods or HOAs, the Cobb County Bar, county employees, civil service board and board of elections and registration will be replaced by an appointee of Cobb Sheriff, Cobb County Solicitor General, Chief Judge of Cobb County Magistrate Court, Chief Judge of Cobb County Probate Court, Cobb County Tax Commissioner and Clerk of  Cobb County State Court. Cobb Board of Commissioners can continue to appoint a member. 

Cobb County's Board of Ethics has limited power. If it deems a complaint has merit, it can hear the case, and either dismiss, censure or reprimand. 

The Code Amendments will be heard on January 22, 7:00 pm by the Board of Commissioners. Additional Code Amendments will also be considered

The 2nd hearing is February 26 at 7:00 pm. Aditional Code Amendments will also be considered.

To read more about the Supreme Court case go to


My particular interest in this amendment is because I served on the Cobb County Board of Ethics as a representative of homeowners for Districts 2 and 3, from 2006-2009.  I voluntarily stepped down at the end of one term because I believe that term limits are important, just as an Ethics Board is important.

CRN will join with others in asking that in all future Code Amendments, the Community Development Director list the Sponsors and Co-Sponsors of each amendment, along with a synopsis of what the code is and why it is necessary.  Legislation filed in the Georgia General Assembly lists sponsors. Cobb should do the same.

Carol Brown

Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.

Hello everyone

The fire station at Brackett Road off of Canton Hwy (near Shaw Park) will be relocating to Canton Road across from the Kroger. A vote by the BoC January 8th (approved on Consent Agenda), was to purchase lots at 3592 Canton and adjacent 3587 Centerview, 3586 Canton and 3582 Canton. This assemblage is at the corner of Canton and Chastain Corners. Four parcels owned by a local resident are being sold for $1.1 million; Bob Terrell is the Broker. The parcel on Centerview is being sold for $263,500. The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Birrell was absent.

The annual amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map will be heard by the BoC at their meeting on January 15th at 9:00 am. CP 3-1 Piedmont at Cajun received a 2-2 vote by Planning Commissioners . ZD 13 on Hawkins Store was recommended for denial and would remain LDR if approved by the BoC.

The next Coffee with a Cop will be January 17th at the Chick fil A Sprayberry at 2:00 pm

The February Code Amendments are out and the first hearing will be January 22nd at 7:00 pm.

A number of rezoning cases are in our area February and March. They are posted to our calendar page. In brief, one in February on Dorsey at Boyd and 4 in March., the largest being  rezoning the strip mall on Canton (across from Kensington). 

2019 and beyond

Residents (and business owners) in our area have seen many long term goals and priorities accomplished in the past 12 years.  The overall appearance of buildings on the corridor has improved. Sidewalks are in place on most sections of the five mile Canton Hwy on at least one side.  Improvements to major intersections: Piedmont/Canton, New Chastain /Canton, Jamerson / Canton were completed. Now, badly needed safety improvements at Shallowford /Canton are underway.

The Redevelopment Inventory list on Canton was reduced, but given the large number of standalone commercial properties in the area, vacancies will always occur. There is a lot of competition from the Town Center CID. There is probably not enough new residential housing (for younger families in the work force) to support all of the businesses along Canton Road. 

What keeps us motivated after achieving some major goals?  A couple of notable examples: the new owner of the tract at the corner of Ebenezer and Canton (across from the new 18 acre park) who clear cut the wooded lot without a permit, and encroached into the stream buffer of  Little Noonday. The owner also wants to park vehicles along the Canton Hwy. Drive by the site and you will see a field of tree stumps covering a muddy lot. There is a white van with a for sale sign parked in the mud.  Also not permitted. We believe this parcel should have to rezone. It is NS, Neighborhood Shopping, which is grandfathered (like GC) in the NAC land use. If the new owner had obtained a land disturbance permit before cutting the trees, it would have potentially triggered a rezoning.  The parcel was vacant for many months before ownership changed. If a rezoning is required it would likely be to NRC for use as Contractor. Saw LLC a construction remodeling company is the new owner.  Photo below.

Example 2# investors who come in and buy property that is blighted and think slapping a new coat of paint on, is enough.   It isn't. 

Some old aspirations and a few new ones should be added to a new list of goals.

Several could be considered for the 2020 SPLOST.

Currently on the Tier 2 list in the 2016 SPLOST is the long-awaited realignment of Liberty Hill with Westerly Way.  It was estimated at $3 million dollars.  The bad news is that the project is Tier 2 and very expensive.  The good news is that it has been half - solved (on the west side) by the Racetrac and County agreement to create a new driveway at the Liberty Hill signal and a new private access road that the public can use to get out onto Canton Hwy at the signal. The even better news is that the total cost is $245,000.00  The remaining challenge is to build a new road from Jewell or Hiawassee over to Liberty Hill so that the residents of Marietta-Canton can get out at the Liberty Hill signal. I am betting a solution can be found for well under $3 million dollars. That could be addressed in the next SPLOST or maybe even worked out in advance.  It has been on the DOT planning list for a very long time.

Also on the DOT wish list for ages is a plan to address the traffic at the Merge which is at Canton Road and the Canton Connector.  That would be a cost sharing venture between the County SPLOST and the State, since the Connector (a state road) ends just about at Kurtz Rd, and it then becomes a County Rd.

A lot of things could and should be done in this area to improve traffic safety and the overall appearance of the area. There also needs to be a way to calm traffic exiting the interstate, and slow drivers down before they cut through narrow neighborhood streets.

An unfinished infrastructure project needs to be completed.  That is the extension of a sewer line south on Canton down to the small office and retail complex at 2100 and to Mr. Sparky's.  This would allow businesses that are neighborhood-friendly, such as a deli, coffee shop or corner market to open at that location.  It is currently not served by sewer and is on septic. The current line stops next to Casteel Heating and Cooling. The sewer line is funded by Cobb rate payers.

At least one or two well placed Transit stops are needed on Canton Hwy. This would permit connectivity to the Cobblinc system and to ATL.  There should be room enough for a small park and ride.

We would like to see some progress made on trail planning along the Noonday Creek Tributaries. 

We hope to see much more quality growth, both residential and commercial, come to our area.


On a different note,  many residents have felt for a long time that each of the 4 Commission districts are simply too large and too diverse to be represented adequately by one Commissioner.  The ARC estimates that Cobb's total population is 755, 754 meaning that @ 180,000 + residents are represented by 1 Commissioner. If you subtract the population of Cobb's 6 Cities it leaves a population of 558,712 in Unincorporated Cobb, or @ 140,000 residents represented by each Commissioner on Community Development (planning and zoning) issues. The commission districts cover a lot of geography and encompass communities that range from affluent to moderate income.  One of the items on CRN's wish list has been creation of smaller districts which would result in more Commissioners (6 to 8), each of whom could focus more attention on a smaller area. Cobb County currently has 4 Commissioners and a Chairman. This gives them considerable power, but also creates challenges for residents and elected who try to address many issues in a “part-time” job. It has at times created disparity in how funds are distributed to each of the four districts.

Apparently, others feel the same way since there are two efforts to create new cities in Cobb; The Cities of East Cobb and South Cobb are each pursuing the feasibility of city-hood in order to gain more local control.  Each city would have a Mayor and Council Members. The City of East Cobb would have about 96,000 residents, less than half of the current District 2 population. Its an interesting proposition coming from a fiscally conservative area which has historically opposed “another layer of government”.

Approaching the Legislature after the 2020 Census and asking them to redraw more and smaller Commission Districts could result in 6 to 8 Commissioners and a Chairman.  This has the potential to create better representation for constituents and reduce a heavy workload for elected. While having a greater number of representatives on the BoC has the potential to create more dysfunction, the same situation could exist on a new City Council – and at greater cost. Its an idea at least worth thinking about, and one which would be more affordable for the taxpayers in Cobb County.

That's all for now.

Carol Brown

Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.


Canton Road Neighbors 2018 Year in Review

The past year brought substantial progress to the five mile corridor. After years of minor upgrade rezoning cases, requests for sidewalks, for safer access to and from Canton Hwy from neighborhood side streets and pleas to release the 2008 Parks Bond for green space purchase, it all seemed to happen at once. 2018 was the breakthrough year.

In late spring, Commissioner Birrell announced the purchase of a beautiful 18 acre tract with a lake at the corner of Ebenezer and Canton. In August the formerly blighted Uncle Bob's Storage was transformed by new construction of the Life Storage building at the merge. In September the BoC approved a fill-in- the-sidewalk gap contract from Rosedale, south to Kurtz Rd on the east side of the corridor. The sidewalks were completed just after Thanksgiving. On December 17th the BoC approved a contract that will build out the jointly funded driveway, road, signal and sidewalk improvements to the Racetrac at 2337 Canton Road.

There will be new residential development just off of Canton Hwy for the first time in years. The Enclave at Hawkins Store was approved in February for single family homes on a parcel across from the NASA soccer fields. Amelia Walk, a Residential Senior Living community, was approved with a modified, detached residential site plan. This tract is at the corner of Piedmont and Morgan Rd. and was originally approved in 2006 as RSL but deferred due to the Great Recession. There will be a new town home development at 1691 Bells Ferry Rd in the City of Marietta. Rezoning case Z-71 which was withdrawn in late 2017, received its land disturbance permit to build as zoned, R-20 on Hilltop Drive and on Suholden Cir. and is called The Overlook at Hilltop. The Grace Living personal care facility opened early this year at 2417 Canton Road.

Some minor cases: OB 23 at 837 Liberty Hill, will result in cosmetic upgrades to an older metal building which includes new paint, stacked stone around the base and awnings. The gas station at 2120 Canton was approved in March with agreeable stipulations as to improvements that the property needed. The canopies were removed and sidewalks built. Work on the site is still pending. The tire store at 2328 Canton has removed nearly 1,000 used tires from the back lot and the property has been upgraded with a fresh coat of paint. The used car and truck lots on two tracts at the corner of Westerly Way and Canton are no longer in business at that location. Ideally the land will be sold and redeveloped. On Shallowford west, a new two story brick office building was approved in July as Z-48.

An important new development just approved by Marietta City Council in December will benefit Veterans in north Cobb County. It is a planned 80,000 sq ft VA Outpatient Clinic which will offer a range of health care services to veterans. This is on a 13 acre site at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Bells Ferry – near Cobb EMC.


The year brought changes to the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners. Chairman Boyce's Planning Commissioner Thea Powell stepped down in late July and is finally to be replaced by Skip Gunther, Planning Commissioner for former District 1 Commissioner Bob Weatherford.

Planning Commissioner Mike Terry (appointed by Commissioner Bob Ott) retired in April and was replaced by Andy Smith. The election resulted in a new Commissioner for District 1, NW Cobb: Keli Gambrill, formerly president of PLAN, People Looking After Neighborhoods. Commissioner Birrell was re- elected to a 3rd term. In the spring Primaries, our own Jim Smith, a Veteran and retired Cobb County Water System employee, threw his hat in the ring as a Democrat. Jim was one of the most knowledgeable candidates in the field and we are proud of the campaign he ran. Jim continues to serve on CRN Neighborhood Advisory Board and to assist with zoning cases.

We are very pleased with the progress that has come about on Canton Hwy. We are also very appreciative of the hard work that Commissioner Birrell has done to help us get sidewalks, the new park and to work on the Development Agreement with Racetrac for the long overdue improvements.

None of the progress has been quick or easy. CRN was founded in 2005 and we have been working on the sidewalk issue since 2009. CRN was active in supporting the first Parks Bond in 2006 and again in 2008. We worked hard to get a 7 acre tract on Kurtz Rd. purchased for green space and came close, but close wasn't enough. The final choice on Ebenezer at Canton is the better choice and we are glad to have it. The Racetrac zoning improvements have taken 2.8 years to come to implementation. CRN has engaged in over 100 zoning cases and participated in many planning initiatives. We will continue to reach out and work with residents and with developers who can bring quality growth to the area. We will continue to work with Commissioner Birrell to keep the Canton Road Community a nice place to live. At some point in the new year Cobb will hire a new Director of Community Development to replace Dana Johnson, who is taking a position with Cobb Chamber. We hope that his successor will be able to balance the needs of business with the concerns of the community. It is not an easy task.

This recap of the year's activity summarizes information on the Canton Road Neighbors website

www.cantonroadneighbors.org/ Visit the site for updates, photos and site plans of interest to area residents and businesses.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year!

Carol Brown, MRP

Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.


December 17th 2018    The long overdue improvements to the Racetrac at 2337 Canton were approved as Agenda items 24 and 25
by the BoC at their final business meeting of the year.  Racetrac is expected to sign the Development Agreement with the County for a cost sharing venture to build a new main driveway that lines up with the signal at Liberty Hill.  There will be a left turn lane with directional signal, a southbound decel lane, a new interparcel access road to the main driveway on the vacant lot.  The public will be allowed use of the private road to access Westerly Way and Canton at the signal.  Construction is expected to begin this coming Spring.  Glossom was awarded the contract at a cost of $245,000.

Major development coming to Marietta Z-2018-32 Molasky Group for VA Outpatient Clinic corner of Cobb Parkway at Bells Ferry. The application was heard on Tuesday evening by Marietta Planning Commission and recommended for approval as Light Industrial, site specific, to Marietta City Council.  Marietta City Council approved the application 6- 1. 
  • The Clinic will be a one story 80,000 sq ft building and will be on a 13 acre site between Liberty Church and the Exxon.  It is expected to generate nearly 2,600 vehicle trips per day. The Site Plan is shown below

Canton Road Neighbors Fall Update

Congratulations Commissioner JoAnn Birrell!

Update on Racetrac new driveway at Liberty Hill and interparcel access road at Westerly Way

We are finally able to post this update on developments regarding Racetrac and Cobb County's partnership to build a new driveway to align with the Liberty Hill signal, create a new left turn lane into Racetrac with a directional signal, build a decel lane southbound into Racetrac, create a new interparcel access road from Westerly Way to the new driveway and build sidewalks from Canton down Westerly Way to the western edge of Racetrac property.  It was to be a cost sharing agreement that was originally approved in a rezoning case, Z-21 in April 2016.

Because Racetrac has not signed a Development Agreement with Cobb County, as of October 25th they were issued a Citation by Code Enforcement and have a Pending Court Date of December 6, 2018.

This is not the news we had hoped to bring you.  We will update you if any new developments take place prior to December 6th.

The future of the rezoned gas station at 2120 will depend on a new tenant or resale to an investor
willing to invest in improvements. It has been appropriately rezoned to LRO. The current owner has restored electricity to the structure and has recently completed sidewalks.

The tire store at 2328 Canton update:  The business owner sold his interest to another individual and the property owner gave the new owner a new lease.  The site has been cleaned up substantially (tires removed) but according to Code Enforcement, there is more to be done. It appears that a tire store will remain in business at that location.

Now, the good news. Commissioner Birrell has directed Cobb DOT to fill in the sidewalk gaps from
Rosedale south to Powell Wright Rd. On Tuesday Sept. 11th Agenda Item 29 Transportation authorized

Sidewalks coming this year!

Construction is estimated to start in mid November this year.
This has been a goal spanning 12 years for Canton Road Neighbors and has mostly been achieved by
participating in the rezoning process. Funds from the 2016 SPLOST will be used for the sidewalks,
which is an appropriate funding source. I will never forget Chairman Sam Olens's remark to me in
2009 during zoning case Z-21 as he stated “ You vote for SPLOST and you will get your sidewalks”.

In hindsight I should have asked which SPLOST, but better late than never.

Photo from 2009 push to get sidewalks built on Canton Hwy.
Sidewalks started on Nov 7th Powell Wright at Canton and north towards Piedmont Rd.

Thanks Commissioner Birrell!

The cracked and crumbling Powell Wright Rd will be considered for the 2019 Resurfacing List by the
Cobb DOT. This road is used as a cut-through by many (speeding) vehicles, including heavy trucks
which do not belong on a narrow 25 mph local road.

In fall 2017 a rezoning application by Loyd Development Services for a 12 acre tract on Hilltop Drive
was presented and later withdrawn without prejudice. Mr. Loyd decided to develop the challenging
property as zoned, R-20, single family residential. After seven months in the Site Plan Review
process , Loyd met the exacting requirements of 13 County Departments and was signed off for a Land
Disturbance Permit last Tuesday afternoon. The plan consists of 25 single family detached homes on
Hilltop Drive and a 5 acre tract on Suholden. The homes will range from the 400's to 500's and will be
built on lots zoned R-15 and R-20. This is one of only a few recently planned quality residential
subdivisions just off of Canton Hwy to be built at R-20. It is also a rare example of quality
development to be built without a rezoning process. Mr. Loyd has not requested a tax abatement for
The Overlook at Hilltop. The site plan is shown below.

A Code Amendment that was brought forward in February and withdrawn for lack of support, was reintroduced in September in scaled back form as the Workforce Housing incentive in the RM 12 zoning district.  The revised RM 12 (multifamily residential at 12 units per acre) would allow attached and detached town homes in addition to condos and apartments.  These are only allowed in High Density Residential Land Use and in Regional Activity Centers.  The builder could get a density bonus of 10% for setting aside 15% of the units as Workforce Housing. This means housing affordable to households earning not more than 100% of the Atlanta Metropolitan area median income of @$75,000.00 per year.  This could be thought of as a two income household including a firefighter and a teacher with two children. A three bedroom home would be capped at @ 230,000 and a 4 bedroom home at 260,000.  While there are existing homes for sale at this price point, there is a shortage of new construction in this range. 

I spoke in support of this amendment since the price of new housing in Cobb usually starts in the mid 300's and soars from there.  Prices in the 400's and up effectively shut out opportunities for home ownership for middle income families.  Although a Work Session presentation on Workforce Housing was scheduled for Oct 22nd it was tabled for further discussion.  The Workforce Housing incentive is still pending.

A proposal to approve professional parks master planning for the newly acquired 300 acres of park land, including the 18 acres on Ebenezer at Canton was approved by the BoC.

Slow Down when driving through our neighborhoods please!  The posted speed limit on local roads is usually 25mph.  These are residential areas and neighbors walk their dogs, exercise, and push young children in strollers. Unfortunately, many drivers are in a hurry and think nothing of barrelling through a neighborhood at 35 to 40 mph.  Use of neighborhoods as a cut through is a problem experienced in many areas.  Neighborhoods will find a way to discourage speeding if drivers won't voluntarily slow down.

Best regards,

Carol Brown, Chairperson
Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.

Canton Road Neighbors August 2018

  When CRN engages in one of Cobb County's monthly zoning hearings to address an application that will impact our community, we post the outcome of the vote. In many cases, a year or more passes before any new construction or remodeling is seen.  In a few cases, nothing ever comes to fruition.  It is very rewarding when an application turns out to have a positive effect on an area that has needed attention for many years. The new Life Storage building on Canton Connector at the merge, is the larges5t and most expensive project to be built on the southern end of Canton Hwy in at least twelve years. While the new Grace Assisted Living is an attractive facility, the Life Storage building has turned out to be a game-changer at the entrance to the Canton Road Corridor.

It started out as a Variance application in May 2016, unusual for a request to build a 3 story building.  The end product was a collaborative effort: CRN engaged in the County Variance process, worked collaboratively with the BZA appointee(Trombetti), County Staff and the owner/applicant, Sovran Realty.  This is why community participation is important.

Garden News

As we wrap up this soggy summer, with grass growing at least an inch a day, I am trying to keep the area mowed and the garden weeded to get ready for fall.

 The gravel strip in front of the garden had several large potholes. Who would have thought those guys driving the big rigs liked to pull over and look at the flowers?

For the 2nd time in 3 years Mr. Dennis Haring, a senior project manager for NW

Express Roadbuilders (HOV Lanes), has sent a road crew with a bucket of crush and run to fill the potholes! It looks great and is really appreciated. Keep Marietta Beautiful has made a donation to buy pinestraw, which is really appreciated as well!

 Over the next two months the rest of the daffodil bulbs will be planted in a strip at each end of the garden. Some of the bulbs were planted inside the borders as infill last spring.

Hopefully the hard work will pay off with a beautiful spring display of flowers.

Thanks to everyone for your help and generous donations!  

Carol Brown

A summary of recent developments on and near Canton Corridor:

Grace Assisted Living is planning a Phase II of its new facility on Canton Hwy.  It is currently in Site Plan Review.

Amelia Walk is in the Site Plan Review process.  The property at the corner of Morgan and Piedmont was rezoned as Residential Senior Living this year.

The Enclave at Hawkins Store is in Plan Review.  The tract on Hawkins Store west of Canton Hwy was rezoned to R-12 early this year by Loyd Development Services.

The tire store at 2328 Canton at Liberty Hill should be relocating at the end of August.

Is a new Lidl grocery store in our future?  It appears to be not too far from Canton Hwy, but we won't disclose the location. 

Z-48 was approved by the BoC.  Todd Chapman will be building a new two-story brick office building on Shallowford Road near Jamerson for his Tree Service business.

About the Planning Commission

     There are five Planning Commissioners and five appointees to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  In some cases an appointee will serve on both boards.  Along with other duties, their most public function  is Zoning. They review zoning applications and discuss them with Cobb County's professional staff of engineers and planners who have analyzed the application to ensure that it meets Cobb County standards. The Planning Commission receives comments on the zoning application from nearby residents or area civic groups – and will often meet with concerned residents to discuss issues.  The Planning Commission meeting is on the first Tuesday of the month and the zoning meeting is open to the public. After the presentation by the applicant or zoning attorney, the public has 10 minutes to address the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commissioners then deliberate the merits of the application and make a motion to recommend approving or denying the application.  From there, the case is heard by the Board of Commissioners two weeks later.  The Planning Commission only recommends a course of action, they do not vote to approve or deny. They give input on a range of planning issues including Transportation and the Comprehensive Plan, but typically do not weigh in on political issues. Traditionally Planning Commissioners are apolitical (unbiased or politically neutral) in their appointed role.

      From the Cobb County Code of Ordinances: Article II Administration and Enforcement; Division 2.

Planning Commission; Section 134-62 Membership; term of office;

Each member appointed by a member of the board of commissioners shall serve concurrently with and at the pleasure of the appointing commissioner's term of office . . .

     Since the Cobb County Board of Commissioners are not subject to term limits, their appointed Planning Commissioners may remain in place for many years.  In some instances a  talented Planning Commissioner may be appointed by another Commissioner if the original appointing commissioner is no longer in office.  In other cases, Planning Commissioners may simply choose to step down after many years of service. Recent changes to the Planning Commission began in 2017 when Christi Trombetti resigned to devote full time to her business.  Commissioner Joann Birrell then appointed Planning Commissioner Judy Williams to District 3.  Early this year Commissioner Ott's appointee Mike Terry resigned after years of service in Cobb and the City of Smyrna.  Ott then appointed Andy Smith as his new Planning Commissioner.   Further changes are likely this year: Chairman Mike Boyce will replace Mrs. Powell with a new appointment and in January 2019 Commissioner-elect Keli Gambrill may either retain Planning Commissioner Skip Gunther or appoint another person.

Cobb County Planning Commission

Judy Williams (Chair) District 3 Birrell

Skip Gunther  District 1 Weatherford

Andy Smith District 2 Ott

Galt Porter District 4 Cupid

vacant    Chairman's appointee

 And finally

      As most people know, Cobb Board of Commissioners approved an increase to the millage rate for the County General Fund last month.  The good news is that if you are a long-term homeowner with the Homestead Exemption, the increase shouldn't have much impact on your budget.  The other good news is that the County will be beefing up its Road Maintenance division in the DOT by creating 4 new maintenance crews: one crew for each commission district.  For the first time in recent memory, Cobb's right of ways will be mowed on a regular basis and litter picked up. 

Hopefully there will be ample money in the new budget to repair potholes promptly.

That's all folks!

Carol Brown,  Chairperson, CRN


Cobb's Budget Crisis-FINALLY ADDRESSED ! 
Thank you Chairman Boyce, Commissioners Cupid and Weatherford

Cobb County Commission votes 3-2 to raise taxes LINK to AJC article

Cobb Commissioners vote to approve 1.7 millage increase to the general fund LINK to MDJ article

Cobb raises water rates, takes millions for general fund AJC by Meris Lutz LINK to article

Proposed Cobb tax increase galvanizes residents for and against AJC by Meris Lutz  LINK to article

Change.org Petition

Cobb residents refute need for tax increase in alternative Town Hall  MDJ by Jon Gargis   LINK to article

Cobb County Board of Commissioners
are used to posing for photos with shovel in hand at ground breaking ceremonies. For the next month they will be using shovels to dig out of a financial and public relations hole that several unwise votes helped to create.  As just about everyone knows, Cobb is facing a $30 million dollar budget shortfall and there are efforts to educate the public about the need for a millage increase - or for cuts to services and programs loved by the public.

CRN realizes that a millage increase to the General Fund is needed and long overdue.  There is good information about the budget and how the county got into this mess: LINK to Cobb County's presentation, Cobb's Budget Journey
There is a millage rate increase calculator at the end of the presentation that is very helpful and informative. For the majority of homeowners with the Homestead Exemption, the rate increase would not be a large amount and it would prevent cuts to the Animal Shelter, Libraries, Parks and Senior centers.

This is a link to the MDJ article about the Monday Town Hall meeting at East Cobb Senior Center. Overall, the standing room only crowd seemed to lean towards supporting the proposed millage rate increase.

Here is a good letter submitted to the MDJ by Jim Smith.  Lowest taxes around but at what cost?

Because it is very important to the future of Cobb County to bring the millage rate back to where it needs to be, CRN has started a petition asking Commissioner Birrell and others to support the increase on July 25th.

Link to Petition

Cobb Commissioners please vote for a millage increase on July 25 and save our County!

There will be 3 public hearings: Tuesday July 10 at 9 a.m.,Tuesday July 17 at 6:30 p.m. and
Wednesday July 25 at 7 p.m.


Check out the newly completed Life Storage Building - looks great!
The new building resulted from two Variance hearings in 2016.
This was heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals.  CRN worked with then-Planning Commissioner Christi Trombetti, Code Enforcement Manager Ms. Pickett and the applicant, Thomas Willett of Sovran Realty.  It took two years, but it was worth the wait!
site of former "Uncle Bob's Storage"

The public hearing was opened, and Mr. David Braswell, Mr. Thomas Willet, and Ms. Carol Brown addressed the Board. Following presentation and discussion, the following motion was made: MOTION: Motion by Trombetti, second by Gay, to hold V-70 until the June 15, 2016 Board of Zoning Appeals Variance Hearing. VOTE: ADOPTED 5- 0

CONSENT AGENDA MOTION: Motion by Gunther, second by Williams, to approve the following cases on
the Consent Agenda, as revised:
V-70 THOMAS M. WILLETT (Sovran Realty Company LP, Sovran Acquisitions, LP, and Mini Storage Partners, owners) requesting a variance to: 1) waive the front setback from the required 50 feet to 25 feet; 2) waive
the maximum impervious surface in a Neighborhood Activity Center from 70% to 78% ( Existing); and 3) waive the maximum building height from one story to three stories in Land Lot 733 of the 16th District. Located on
the east side of the Canton Road Connector and on the west side of Canton Road ( 1987 Canton Road). ( Previously held by the Board of Zoning Appeals from their May 11, 2016 Board ofZoning Appeals hearing until the June 15, 2016 Board ofZoning Appeals Hearing.)
To approve V-70, subject to:
1. Landscape and site plan emailed from Mr. David Braswell on June
14, 2016( attached and made a part of these minutes)
2. Building rendering dated June 4, 2016 ( attached and made a part
of these minutes)
3. County Landscape Architect to approve the final landscaping plan
for the property   --------------------------------------------------------

There is more to celebrate! Come preview Cobb's newest Park at 4055 Ebenezer Rd, just off Canton Hwy. Saturday June 23 rd from 10 am to 12:00 pm. 

This is just north of the Hawkins Store Rd intersection at Canton.  The next right is Ebenezer.  It has taken TEN years since the Parks Bond was approved to get District 3 a new park, but thanks to Commissioner Birrell's diligent effort
that park is now part of the Canton Road community.  Be sure to congratulate her and say thanks for the good work!

Finally, we are also proud of the way the Perennial Garden (on the Connector) has grown. 

April 2010, Ken Dixon, Beverly McMurray and Carol Brown

below: June 2018

Plan to attend the Park Preview this Saturday the 23rd !

Carol Brown
Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.


In 2004-5 Commissioner Tim Lee began the process of corridor planning for Canton Road. 

There was an appointed Steering Committee consisting of a well rounded group of stakeholders from business, schools, neighborhoods and the Cobb Chamber.  The document that resulted from the process was the Canton Road Corridor “Main Street” Design Principles Plan & Recommendations 2005.  Some excerpts from that document are quoted below.  An additional Corridor study was made to look at roadway improvements that could be made using funding from SPLOST.                                                                                                       

In 2008, following up on the 2005 document, Canton Road Neighbors organized a new stakeholder group to draft Design Guidelines for the Canton Corridor. The group was composed of stakeholders from the local business community, the real estate profession, community groups, and had feedback and advice from Planning and Community Development.  The Design Guidelines were adopted by the BoC in early 2009.  Since that time those guidelines have been applied to many rezoning applications on the Corridor.

In 2012, Commissioner JoAnn Birrell created the Canton Road Redevelopment Foundation with a small group of members primarily from the business community.  I was the sole representative for Neighborhoods.  The CRRFI had assistance and feedback from Cobb County Community Development. Its mission was focused on filling an inventory of vacant, mostly older properties along the corridor. It also considered ways to promote and facilitate business in the area. Many of the buildings in the redevelopment inventory came back in to rezone when new owners or tenants were found for the properties.  The stipulations approved by Commissioners suggested  a way to spruce up the appearance of the exterior, making reference to the Design Guidelines. The BoC also asked that sidewalks be installed.  

Very few of the sites actually resulted in new development or redevelopment.  However, the cumulative effect of rezoning and upgrades resulted in overall improvements to the appearance to the corridor when combined with new infrastructure funded by SPLOST.  Progress has been uneven over the 5 mile corridor.  In the 2005 Corridor document the area was divided into three sections.  Some excerpts from that document are below, followed by a visual overview of photographs and commentary comparing changes from 2005 to 2018 between the northern "Campus District"  and the southern "Loft District ".  The Commerce  District has not seen significant change during the period.


“In October 13, 2003, Commissioner Tim Lee held a Town Hall Meeting at Sandy Plains Baptist Church with the over 100 members of the Northeast Cobb Homeowners Group (NECHG) in attendance to discuss the potential of developing a corridor plan for Canton Road.”

“In the meeting, the primary concerns vocalized by the public related to Canton Road were specific to regional traffic during peak travel periods, unsightly buildings and signage along the corridor, continuing code enforcement issues to address, and increased community desire for more diverse and neighborhood-oriented businesses along the corridor.“

“The majority of the buildings situated along the corridor are General Commercial (GC) zoned prefabricated “Butler” buildings with metal facades and roofs. The business owners have been persistent in placing promotional banners, illegal signage, neon paint colors, trampolines, hot tubs, etc. near the right-of-way of the roadway to promote their respective commercial establishment “ The other central theme in the evening input session was the statement, “No median on Canton Road!”

Steering Committee convenes May 2004                                                                                                                                                                                           

"In July 2004 the Canton Road Steering Committee members were ask to complete a questionnaire, and then be interviewed by a member of the Planning Division staff, regarding the improvement of the corridor. During interviews with the Canton Road Steering Committee members regarding improvement of the corridor, the following general themes and recommendations emerged."

July 2004 Steering Committee Interview/Questionnaire Summary

􀂃 The overall appearance of buildings along the corridor should be enhanced. This should be achieved by creation and use of design guidelines requiring higher quality exterior materials (more use of brick), uniform signage, etc.

􀂃 The general streetscape along the corridor should be improved. This should include more landscaping, addition of street trees, placement of uniform lighting fixtures, and installation of street furniture.

􀂃 During times of peak travel, traffic congestion should be alleviated. Ideally, more interparcel connections should be created to avoid cars having to re-enter Canton Road to travel to nearby businesses.

􀂃 During times of low car volume, reduced speed along the route should be a goal. Visually, this should be accomplished by widened sidewalks, colorful brick-colored street treatments, and landscaping.

􀂃 Mixed-used developments built in order to achieve a live-work-play atmosphere would be welcomed. Such developments would give the corridor more of a village feel and offer residents the chance to reduce car use.

􀂃 Office complex construction should be sought along Canton Road. This could provide an opportunity for economic development as well as offer residents an increased chance to work closer to their homes.

􀂃 Public transportation in some form would be beneficial. Whether this should be accomplished by means of regular bus service, Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail, or localized trolley service should be determined at a later time based on funding and other county, regional, and state plans.

􀂃 Increased greenspace is needed in the area. Greenspace in all forms (pocket parks, bike/running trails, passive parks, and preserved open land) should be a priority.

􀂃 At least one community center featuring activities for all ages is needed. This community center with recreation facilities should be easily accessible.

􀂃 In order to establish an identity for the corridor, a gateway/gateways should be established. Well-designed monument signage announcing arrival to the corridor should be placed at a strategic location(s).

“The Planning Division discussed the potential of narrowing the existing vehicular through-lanes to 11’ wide, which will provide a less comfortable driving experience at higher rates of speed, thus causing the driver to slow their overall traveling speed. The technique of narrowing existing travel lanes as part of a resurfacing project provides a “traffic calming” benefit by narrowing the existing lane widths towards the center of the roadway, where the additional pavement along the edge of the roadway serves as a “bicycle-friendly shoulder” for Class-A bicyclist mobility. “

“The Steering Committee voiced their concern about high density residential projects being considered in the redevelopment areas, with a particular emphasis on the southern location adjacent to the Sandy Plains Connector. The group stated that high density residential or mixed-use development in the southern redevelopment area location would force existing elderly residents to be displaced from their homes and forced to making other living accommodations.”

“The proposal to add parallel access roads on both sides of Canton Road from Blackwell Road to Piedmont Road received criticism from existing property owners living near the proposed road alignment. In particular, the proposal to add Skyland Drive to the proposed access road alignment scenario received vocal objections from some existing property owners. Staff stated the road would be constructed as a condition of a rezoning process.”

"As a component of the Market Study, the Planning Division broke down the Canton Road corridor into three distinct segments due to the rather expansive acreage within the initial study area. The 4.5 mile section of Canton Road included a theoretical “Loft District” from the Sandy Plains Connector to Piedmont Road, the “Commerce District” from Piedmont Road to New Chastain Road, and the “Campus District” from Chastain Corners to Jamerson Road. The names for the districts were derived based on the land use successes for the areas in question. The Loft District has an existing grid street network which promotes residential-type uses in this portion of the corridor, similar to the Brumby Loft development theme in the City of Marietta. The Commerce District is based on the existing retail and commercial enterprises from Piedmont Road to New Chastain Road, and the Campus District draws from the success of existing office and educational land uses on the northern portion of the corridor study area."

Comparing progress in the northern Campus District with the southern Loft District 2005-2018

A visual overview by Carol Brown

The Campus District

The Canton Jamerson intersection was once one of Canton Corridor's most blighted areas. Over the past ten years it has been revitalized thanks to the Redevelopment Inventory, CRRFI, rezoning, new restaurants, implementation of SPLOST projects and use of Canton Design Guidelines for new development. Below: The Canton Jamerson intersection 2012.                                        


     Above: May 2018    

In 2007 Z-57 was approved and would become the site of Vespucci's and later, Roy's Donuts. Discussions were taking place about some type of design guidelines for the Corridor at the time Z-57 was approved.

JUNE 5, 2007 PAGE 12
Z57 MOHAMMAD NOWROOZZADEH ( Canton Jamerson, LLC, owner) requesting Rezoning from NS and GC to NRC for the purpose of Retail in Land Lot 60 of the 16th District. Located on the west side of Canton Road, south of Jamerson Road.
The public hearing was opened and Mr. Mohammad Nowroozzadeh and Ms. Carol Brown addressed the Commission. Following presentations and discussion, the following motion was made:
MOTION: Motion by Trombetti, second by Williams, to recommend approval of Rezoning to the NRC zoning district subject to:
  • site plan received by the Zoning Division April 3, 2007, with the District Commissioner approving minor modifications ( on file in the Zoning Division) 
  • architecture to consist of a combination of brick and stucco 
  • enclosures for dumpsters to be constructed of same materials as the building 
  • HVAC to be screened from view 
  • awnings to be placed on storefront windows and doors 
  • if a tenant is a restaurant, then an area for outdoor seating and patio would be set aside and subject to Plan Review approval 
  • ground based monument style signage ( no aerial or portable signs or billboards allowed) 
  • the following uses are prohibited: convenience food store with self service fuel sales; full service gas stations; automotive repair; radio, television and other communication towers and antennas; self-service laundry facilities; pawn and title pawn shops; pool halls, billiards and tattoo shops 
  • Fire Department comments and recommendations, Water and Sewer Division comments and recommendations, Stormwater Management Division comments and recommendations, Cobb DOT comments and recommendations, owner/developer to enter into a Development Agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. ~36-71- 13 for dedication of system improvements to mitigate traffic concerns 
  • inclusion on Consent Agenda for the Board of Commissioners zoning hearing of June 19, 2007
VOTE: ADOPTED unanimously
JUNE 19, 2007 PAGE 4
MOTION: Motion by Lee, second by Goreham, as part of the Consent Agenda, to approve Rezoning to the NRC zoning district subject to:
  • site plan received by the Zoning Division April 3, 2007, with the District Commissioner approving minor modifications ( attached and made a part of these minutes) 
  • hours of operation limited - all businesses to close by midnight 
  • architecture to consist of a combination of brick and stucco 
  • enclosures for dumpsters to be constructed of same materials as the building 
  • HVAC to be screened from view 
  • awnings to be placed on storefront windows and doors 
  • if a tenant is a restaurant, then an area for outdoor seating and patio would be set aside (subject to Plan Review approval) 
  • ground based monument style signage ( no aerial or portable signs or billboards allowed) the following uses are prohibited: convenience food store with self service fuel sales; full service gas stations; automotive repair; radio, television and other communication towers and antennas; self-service laundry facilities; pawn and title pawn shops; pool halls, billiards and tattoo shops 
  • Fire Department comments and recommendations, Water and Sewer Division comments and recommendations, Stormwater Management Division comments and recommendations,
  • Cobb DOT comments and recommendations owner/developer to enter into a Development Agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. ~36-71- 13 for dedication of system improvements to mitigate traffic concerns
VOTE: ADOPTED unanimously
The blighted structure below was on the Redevelopment Inventory site. It was demolished and in 2013 Waffle House applied with case Z-53.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

Z-53 WAFFLE HOUSE, INC. ( David B. Mizelle and Dana Mizelle, owners requesting Rezoning from NS to NRC for the purpose of a restaurant in Land Lot 85 of the 16' District. Located on the west side of Canton Road, south of ]amerson Road and north of Old Noonday School House Road 4797 Canton Road). 
To approve Rezoning to the NRC zoning district 
subject to: 
NRC tor purpose of redevelopment for Waffle House restaurant 
Planning Division comments and recommendations
Fire Department comments and recommendations 
StormwaterManagement Division comments and recommendations 
Water and Sewer Division comments and recommendations
Cobb DOT comments and recommendations Owner/developer to enter into a Development Agreement
pursuant to O.C.G.A. §36- 71- 13 for dedication of system improvements to mitigate traffic concerns

Above: Canton Road Redevelopment Foundation 2012: Stakeholders meeting Clockwise: Commissioner Birrell (Government), Planning Commissioner Trombetti (Government), Frank Wigington (Business) Maureen Kozol (Education), Carol Brown (CRN Community Representative), Chuck Martin (Business). Photo by Patch 2012
The infrastructure projects at the Canton-Jamerson intersection and on Jamerson Road to Lee Waters were funded by the 2005 SPLOST. The photo above, looking north at the intersection from Canton Road, is before the SPLOST project was implemented in 2012.
Note the sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks, median at turn lane and upgraded traffic signals below.

An area can also be shaped when an application is rejected.  In 2011 the progress on the northern section of Canton Corridor was threatened by the application Special Land Use Permit 3, Snapfinger Properties LLC for a scrap metal processing plant.  The applicant proceeded with his plan prior to the mandated review by the ARC as a Development of Regional Impact, which was required before the case was heard by the County.

This application was opposed by a coalition which included Canton Road Neighbors, East Cobb Baseball, East Cobb Civic Association, Northeast Cobb Coalition and parents of Kell High School students. The ARC recommended approval for this intense use, but the Planning Commission recommended Denial and the BoC rejected the application. 
SLUP-3 SNAPFINGER PROPERTIES, LLC ( owner) requesting a Special Land Use Permit for the purpose of Operation Of Steel, Metal, And Iron Processing And Transfer Station in Land Lots 131 and 132 of the 16th District. Located on the west side of Lee Waters Road, south of Jamerson Road; and at the northeast intersection of Canton Road and Fowler Circle. Chairman Lee announced that Commissioner Birrell would recuse herself on this petition. 
The public hearing then was opened and Mr. Parks Huff, Ms. Carol Brown, Ms. Jill Flamm, Mr. Jim Smith and Mr. David Allen Roberts addressed the Board. Following presentation and discussion, the following motion was made: 
MOTION: Motion by Lee, second by Otl, to reiect Special Land Use Permit, with directive that Code Enforcement action be delayed for 120 days, and that Planning Division staff review area for possible amendment(s) to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Map. VOTE: ADOPTED 4-0- 1 ( Birrell abstained)   

The applicant took the case to court, withdrew the appeal, and the property was sold. The current occupants are Bulk's and Property Masters. Those businesses are a much better fit next to East Cobb Baseball and near Kell High School.
Now, a new residential neighborhood is under construction across from Property Masters and East Cobb Baseball on Lee Waters Road. Logan Park was approved in April 2017. It would never have been built across from a metal scrap yard.                                                                                                          

One of the largest and eventually, most attractive developments in the northern section was Z-47, Sigma Thermal on Deen Road off of Jamerson and Canton Hwy.  An undeveloped site adjacent to GA NE Railroad, a cement plant and a busy commercial node, it had been used by some to dump old tires and other waste.  The site was across from a residential area, just off Jamerson and   near Kell High School.  A large challenging property, it took a zoning and multiple Other Business applications before the plan was ready to be built out.  This industrial headquarters was a rare win-win for the owners, the residents and the county.  The owners installed nearly 800 linear feet of sidewalks, attractive fencing, heavy landscaping and an attractive office building for their corporate headquarters.  For the first time, students walking to Kell High School could walk there safely on sidewalks.                                                                                                                                                   


 Another large tract that had been brought in several times to rezone for convenience store with fuel sales was finally approved in early 2016 for Racetrac at the corner of Canton and Shallowford. This busy station added traffic to a challenging intersection.  Safety improvements to the intersection are planned to be built with the 2016 SPLOST.

Other improvements have been made near the Hawkins Store intersection and in 2018, Cobb County purchased 18 acres of greenspace on Ebenezer, just off of Canton. 

The Loft District

While improvements have taken place just south of the Piedmont Canton intersection, much remains to be done on the southern section of Canton Corridor.  The renovation of Bay Breeze and construction of Heath Linebeck Engineering stand out as major contributors to the changes in the area.  Racetrac upgraded their station at 2337 Canton in 2016 but the public is still waiting on a new driveway and signal at the Liberty Hill intersection.

South of Liberty Hill to the Merge, these photographs present a stark difference to the improvements that have taken place on the rest of the corridor.  In addition to the lack of quality growth, an inadequate SPLOST project budget and a budget shortfall in the County's General Fund contribute to this area's challenges.  The overall appearance of this section is a disincentive to investment.  Perhaps if more effort had been made to assemble parcels for redevelopment rather than focusing on marketing older vacant properties, change could have come about more quickly in the current market. An Enterprise Zone designation has not brought about the desired result and has largely been beneficial to a single industrial firm.                     

2377 Canton

2328 Canton

Right of Way 2200 block Canton

2120 Canton

Rib Ranch closed December 2017

2100 Canton

There are some takeaways from this Corridor study: If there is to be redevelopment of a fairly large area, it will take time, at this point, 13 years and counting. Planning needs to be in place and commitment is needed by decision makers to adhere to it in a consistent way. It helps to have buy-in from a diverse group of stakeholders.  Progress on Canton Hwy is inadequate in the southern section. Even without more private sector investment, the appearance of the area could have been improved greatly by county investment in sidewalks and streetscape. They could have been more proactive in use of nuisance abatement, extending the sewer line south, improved roadway safety measures, and acquiring greenspace.  These were all recommendations by the Canton Road Steering Committee in 2004 and 2005, and we are still waiting for results.                                                                    


May 15 Update - Zoning

With the Primary Election just 10 days out and voting well underway, we wanted to post information about all Candidates for the District 3 Commission Race. For the first time in 24 years residents of this area who are Democrats will have a choice of Democratic Candidates as well as GOP. Below are links to two articles and links to two You tube debate videos. Commissioner Birrell was not present at the CCCC Debate and of course, is GOP. 

CRN also sent out a questionnaire to all four Candidates since we are not hosting a Meet and Greet or Forum this year.  As in the past our questions are mainly focused on Planning, Zoning and Community issues. Democratic Candidates Ms. Holko and Mr. Smith responded but GOP Candidates Tom Cheek and Commissioner Birrell had not responded as of this post.

Link to Candidate Questionnaire 

Commission seat pits Cheek, incumbent Birrell for GOP spot; two Dems seeking to advance

MDJ by Jon Gargis 05/11/18


Cobb money crunch prompts warning from rating agencies

AJC by Meris Lutz


Cobb Commission District  3 Democratic Candidate Debate Youtube Link   56:00  May 7, 2018

Cobb Commission Districts 1 and 3 Candidate Debate May 1, 2018 Cobb Civic Coalition

Youtube Link    runs 90:00   https://youtu.be/L2jivvLxDxA

Two of the most important issues facing Cobb County the next few years are the budget and development of regional transportation. The Commission Candidate debate hosted by Cobb Civic Coalition on May 1 saw challengers express a range of views on the issues. Unfortunately the incumbents were not present to weigh in. It has become very predictable for conservative and ultra-conservative candidates to suggest that either there is more fat to be cut from the budget or that the deficit is exaggerated. The bottom line for many conservatives is that Cobb does not need to raise the millage rate: instead, services need to be cut.

There are also divisions about the need for transit, not just along party lines. The range of opinions can be heard in the 90 minute debate which is available on YouTube, at this link.

Following the news that while rating agencies Moody's and Fitch let Cobb's AAA rating stand for the time being, they issued a warning about Cobb's financial outlook. Cobb has not been in this situation in past decades and the current crisis is largely self-inflicted. It can be fixed.


OB 23 approved 4-1  Contractor in NRC    You tube Link below 1:55:00 to 2:21:48


Life Storage construction progress

Construction of new metal industrial building (in NRC) for contractor Quality Plumbing Z-32 2015, OB 006 2016


Code Enforcement Actions Pending

Below- 2270 Canton Hwy, the vacant lot next to the Day Care facility, was heavily clear cut without the required permits. "Tree Service" not allowed on site.  A Stop Work Order has been issued. Sign removed.

Tire Store 2328 Canton has multiple code violations including1,000 old tires on site.  We learned that the business may relocate in the next two months.
Other Business 23. Meridian Restoration for use as contractor in NRC.  Use should be limited to Contractor office.

Deja Vu all over again . . . .

Cobb DOT SPLOST Open House  

The 2 major improvements are shown below: Canton at Shallowford and a right turn lane from Piedmont to Canton.

If you were unavailable to attend or if you did attend and have more suggestions, download the information packet and send your feedback to Ms. Karyn Matthews at Karyn.Matthews@cobbcounty.org or Cobb County DOT, 1890 County Services Pkwy, Marietta, 30008.  Comments are being taken from now until May 15.

April 23 Update

Earth Day weekend – CRN adds bulbs to perennial garden, fishes old tires out of the right of way and does litter patrol on Canton Rd.

CRN recently received a substantial donation of daffodil bulbs to be planted in the Perennial Garden on the Connector.

The garden was started on Earth Day 2010 by our group, as part of GDOT's Adopt A Hwy program. The 950 sq ft garden is planted with daffodils (early spring blooming), daylilies, iris, daisies and other plants loved by pollinators. Our last major addition to the garden was in Summer 2015 after receiving a grant from the Community Foundation. The new addition of bulbs will provide a long blooming seasonal mix of color and variety to the garden.  

The right of ways on Canton Road and Powell Wright sprouted a different type of crop the past week – a half dozen tires and three mattresses dumped in addition to the usual accumulation of water bottles, beer cans, fast food wrappers and building materials blown off of service vans. Kudos to Cobb Road Maintenance for the quick response and help removing the large items. There is a very simple solution to the litter problem: use a trash can to dispose of waste.

Canton Road corridor Public Information Open House

The Cobb County Department of Transportation will hold a public information open house concerning improvements at the intersections of Canton Road and Shallowford Road/Highland Terrace, and Canton Road and Piedmont Road.
The meeting will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday,
May 1, at Blackwell Elementary (3470 Canton Rd, Marietta). There will be no formal presentation, citizens are invited to learn more about the project, view maps, ask questions and provide comments.
Editor's note: In discussion with Commissioner Birrell, I heard that there will be no improvements south of Piedmont Rd. There is
potential funding for sidewalks south of Piedmont on Canton in 2019.

Cobb Greenways and Trails Master Plan has been released

After a series of meetings with the public to get suggestions on possible areas for new trails, Cobb DOT's Planning Division has released a Draft Master Plan for review.

CRN sponsored a small stakeholder meeting with CDOT last July at Covenant Presbyterian and are pleased that some of our suggestions are included in the Draft. We recommend downloading the Executive Summary at

County purchases two tracts on Ebenezer at Canton for Greenspace

In March Cobb County acquired two parcels, 4055 and 4057 Ebenezer Road, for District 3's first purchase from the 2008 Parks Bond Referendum.  

CDOT Director Jim Wilgus resigns Link to AJC Article below


Whatever happened to Racetrac's new driveway at Liberty Hill?

Z-21 was approved in April 2016 and a lot of folks have been wondering when the new driveway and connecting road from Westerly Way were going to be built. Turns out the County legal department and attorney Parks Huff are haggling over a cost sharing agreement between Racetrac and Cobb DOT, who will be jointly building sidewalks, a decel lane and new driveway at 2337 Canton Hwy. In the meantime, Racetrac has completed several new stations.

RSL at corner of Piedmont and Morgan Rd Approved

Other Business Item 15 was approved by Commissioners on Consent April 17. This was an update of the site plan and stipulations first approved in 2005 for 16 attached Residential Senior Living dwellings at the corner of Piedmont and Morgan Road. The land remained undeveloped and was brought in this year by Craig Wrigley of Palladian, who submitted a revised plan for 16 detached dwellings.

Reminder: the Democratic and Republican Primary election is May 22

Election FAQ Rules for voting in the May 22 Primary: Choose a Democratic or Republican Ballot not both. LINK to Cobb Elections
Vote by Mail Rules (Absentee Ballots) - LINK to Cobb Elections page
Get a sample Ballot for the Democratic or Republican Primary at www.cobbelections.org

If you live in one of Cobb's cities (Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Acworth, Austell, Powder Springs) you can vote for the 
District Commissioner in Unincorporated Cobb as well as your City Officials. But residents of Unincorporated Cobb can't vote for
City Officials.

Televised Debate TV23 District 1 and 3 Commission Candidates May 1, 7-9 pm

District 3 GOP candidates are Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and challenger Tom Cheek;

Democratic candidates are Jim Smith and Caroline Holko.

April 3 Update

Planning Commission Chairman Mike Terry resigned April 3rd, from his appointed position (Bob Ott District 2).
Terry had been a planning commissioner for many years, including time in the City of Smyrna. His successor is Andy Smith.
District 3 Planning Commissioner Judy Williams (JoAnn Birrell appointed) will become the new Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Election FAQs  Rules for voting in the May 22 Primary: Choose a Democratic or Republican Ballot not both.  LINK to Cobb Elections
Vote by Mail Rules (Absentee Ballots) - LINK to Cobb Elections page 

If you live in one of Cobb's cities (Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Acworth, Austell,  Powder Springs) you can vote for the
District Commissioner in Unincorporated Cobb as well as your City Officials.  But residents  of  Unincorporated Cobb can't vote for
City Officials.                                                                                     

There will be a televised debate between the Commission Candidates on TV 23 on May  1. 

Life Storage is rapidly completing the new storage facility  It it is supposed to be "skinned" or finished with stucco, brick and EFIS. The Elevation approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals in June 2016 is below.  A photo of the building from the Canton Connector side is also shown.   


OB 11 Denied after a hearing, to extend the Special Land Use Permit to sell used vehicles at 2377 Canton (Letsos). The extension would have been for 36 months. The motion allowed the current tenant (truck sales) to remain on the property until 12/31/2018.  When an application is denied, a period of 12 months is needed before any new application could be filed..  The existing SLUP expires on April 21 of this year.  Therefore it would be 04/21/19 before a new application could be filed.  There are many good uses available to the owners as it is zoned CRC.  There is really no need for them to rezone for a restaurant, bank, vet florist, etc.
Link to the video on  Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4lFFhLmazM
it starts 2 hrs 10 minutes and runs to 2  hrs 25 minutes

Casteel has taken an office/warehouse across the street at 2197 Canton.  This may remove the need to build on the adjacent site but they do plan to keep the current site for their operation. This leaves the fate of the 3 vacant acres adjacent, owned by former Casteel CEO John Hillis in question.

I requested that Cobb County visit the vacant lot at 2270 Canton next to the day care center to see whether the owners had received a Land Disturbance Permit.  There has been a good bit of clear cutting onsite and the parcel is currently zoned NS, and would need to rezone to a more current zoning category.  As you know, some individuals act first without the required permission.  No response yet to my inquiry.

The tire store at 2328 Canton has a new court date in May for failing to address violations.  Additional actions needed to clean up this site are pending.. 

Z 87 was approved on Consent.The only hitch came with the suggestion to prohibit backup alarms.  Go to Youtube and watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4lFFhLmazM  

The brief segment starts at 10 min and runs to 13 min 56 sec.  No thanks to Mike Boyce.  Backup Alarms are the province of OSHA and not a state or federal law.  They are not required on all vehicles in all situations. Some communication with Cobb County is needed.

A rendering of the proposed front facade of the building at 2120 Canton (Z-87 Petroplex) is shown below.

That's all for now.

Carol Brown



2018 Elections: Qualifying to run for office in Cobb is March 5th - 9th. There are two announced GOP candidates for Commission District 3: JoAnn Birrell and Tom Cheek. Jim Smith, who has been an active member of CRN for 7 years, qualified to run as a Democrat on Monday.  He will step off of the CRN committees while he is a candidate. On Thursday another Democratic Candidate qualified: Homemaker Caroline Holko.  Primaries are May 22 and the General Election is in November.

Link to AJC article:

Cobb financial troubles hang over commission races 

Canton Road Neighbors February update

Just when you thought the southern section of Canton Hwy was going to improve: I learned Thursday the 8th that the Storage Development facility approved on Consent last fall (south of Racetrac), will not happen. The investors backed out. Too bad - it would have been one of the nicest new developments the blighted southern section of Canton Hwy has seen since Heath Linebeck was built ten years ago.

But we do have another (blighted) property about to be approved: Z-87 PetroPlex, the old gas station at 2120 Canton.


Feb 21, 2018 — After Commissioners heard presentations by the applicant for the old gas station at 2120 Canton Hwy. and by CRN, the case was HELD until March 20. The applicant sent in plans to the county the evening before the hearing, which was not sufficient notice. The applicant only plans to paint the canopies to match the brick. That will not be enough to meet Development Standards. The applicant was directed to come up with a reasonable plan to improve the old building.

  LINK to Z87 Hearing Video     Starts 4 hours 13 min to 4 hrs 33 min





There is a proposed Code Amendment to the Neighborhood Retail Commercial district that is very important to support. In 2010 that Neighborhood-friendly zoning district was opened to much more intense uses, such as Contractor, at the request of local property owners. The amendment to NRC will remove the intense uses and return NRC to what it was prior to 2010. The Commission recommended Denying this. The 2nd Public hearing is Tuesday Feb 27th at 7 pm. Email Commissioner Birrell and other Commissioners to support the Code Amendment to NRC at minimum remove Contractor as a Special Exception when adjacent to reside tial neighborhoods.

 Z-32 2015 2487 Canton Contractor as Special Exception in NRC. This use is not really neighborhood retail.  Commissioner Birrell supports leaving this in NRC.
 In 2013 Z-15 was approved for a Contractor(HVAC) in NRC.  A neighborhood is behind.  Many improvements were made to the previously industrial site.  It only took about 3 years for the business to become heavy industrial in nature. What the code says is "Neighborhood retail uses means commonly found low scale and low intensity retail uses (with square footages in accordance with the use limitations established within the individual zoning districts of this chapter) that offer basic services and frequently purchased goods to the immediate surrounding residential areas," "All special exception uses allowed within the NRC district must be contained completely within an enclosed building. No uses are to be conducted outside, except for those allowing outdoor display of merchandise." "Contractor (specialized) without heavy equipment (subject to 35-foot landscaped screening buffer adjacent to all residentially zoned property)." 
Casteel Heating and Cooling also expanded and grew from a family owned HVAC to an intense industrial use adjacent to      a residential neighborhood.  Contractor was previously limited to GC and Heavy Industrial.  There are many industrial parks in Cobb that need tenants. These uses do not belong in NRC next to residential neighborhoods.

Other Code Amendments of interest - The Business Incentive program . The pro-business county crosses a line from time to time, and by adding this incentive, it has gone more than a few steps across that line.

Acceleration of public hearing dates for rezoning requests, special use permits, variance requests, and requests for changes in zoning conditions, pursuant to compliance with state law “

What this does is to create uncertainty for the public, which is accustomed to receiving a letter about zoning cases if they live within 1,000 feet of the application, and to seeing yellow zoning signs posted 30 days before the Planning Commission Hearing. Georgia law on zoning hearing procedures (OCGA 36-66-4) allows for signs to be posted for as few as 15 days prior to the hearing and has no requirements that a letter be sent to residents within 1,000 feet.

This proposed incentive places business at a distinct advantage over residents potentially affected by a zoning. It also makes the zoning process arbitrary and creates a system of advantages for some applicants and not others. It is a bad idea and should be rejected.  The Planning Commission agreed and recommended removing this proposal.

The Planning Commission recommendation on other Code Amendments: They voted to recommend Denying the NRC Code Amendment and the Workforce Housing Ordinance, among other things. The Public has another chance to speak on Feb 27th at 7 pm.


It is nearly 3 years since the SLUP for used car sales on Canton at Westerly Way was approved and it will appear again on March 20 as OB 11.

There will be a public meeting with Cobb DOT at Gritters Library on Wed March 7 from 2-4 pm. Topics include a transit study, 2016 SPLOST update and area traffic concerns. Commissioner Birrell informed me that there is no money for Sidewalks in the 2016 SPLOST.

2018 Elections: Qualifying to run for office in Cobb is March 5th - 9th. There are two announced candidates for Commission District 3: JoAnn Birrell and Tom Cheek.                                                                       

The winter took its toll on our trees, gardens, right-of-ways and health. Hopefully warmer, sunny weather and a lot of work will repair the damage. There is still no excuse for the volume of trash along the Corridor right-of-ways but CRN made a dent in it recently. 


That's all for now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Carol Brown, Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.

Canton Road Neighbors 2017 / Pursuing progress in 2018

There were many unexpected developments this eventful year; the highlights are listed (not ranked) below:

  •  Rib Ranch closes Christmas Eve 2017
  •  Two properties on the short list are removed from Parks Bond consideration
  •  Marietta BZA Denies MUST Ministries Variance for a shelter / MUST goes ahead with new shelter
  •  Walmart Neighborhood Market closes December 4
  •  A new residential developer comes to Canton Road; Staff recommends Denial of all 3 zoning cases.

 A friend called several weeks ago to tell me that the Rib Ranch was closing. I was shocked and he sounded sad and concerned. We did not know at the time that the issue was with the lease on the property and not due to a lack of customers. The Rib Ranch was a landmark like the Big Chicken; it was a community favorite, not only for the good food but for the friendly, welcoming atmosphere. About the only downside was getting in and out of the driveway. A group of concerned citizens met in the side room in April 2005 and decided to incorporate as an organization, Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. In the summer of 2008, several civic organizations met to draft the Canton Road Design Guidelines which were adopted by the BoC in early 2009. CRN held many lunch and dinner meetings at Rib Ranch as well as meetings to discuss zoning cases. The last large meeting we hosted was in December 2015 to discuss Z-95, the new Racetrac on Canton at Shallowford. A smaller group met in August to discuss Z-50, the new self storage facility which is to be built across from Casteel.

The closing of Rib Ranch followed the closing of Walmart Neighborhood Market by only a few weeks. While Walmart was open for 5 years, Rib Ranch had a 35 year run. We don't know what the property owners have in mind for that location, but Rib Ranch will be a hard act to follow and it will be missed.


Zoning 2017 11 Rezoning cases (Z-11, Z-21, Z-50/S10, Z-71, Z-87, Z-83 were significant), Variance Marietta V2017-22 was also significant .

Public Meetings: Z 50/SLUP10 and Z-71, Attendance at Gritters to discuss Z-71 was 26. Casework assistance on Z-87 was provided by Jim Smith and an online petition had 129 signers.

CRN requested a stakeholder meeting to learn about Cobb Greenways and Trails Planning. This was held at Covenant Presbyterian.

Ending the year on a positive note!

Atlanta Piano is a welcome addition to Canton Road businesses.  Located next to Bay Breeze. 

Briefly . . .

The long delayed new driveway at Racetrac 2337 Canton has been delayed another 8 weeks.  This time Cobb DOT is slowing it up.  Maybe someday a new driveway will be under construction. 

A Huge new Racetrac is under construction at Church St Extension near Wellstar - NOW we know what is causing the delay on the Liberty Hill Driveway!       

Z-71 Hilltop Drive has been withdrawn without prejudice.

Z-87 PetroPlex  2120 Canton Hwy was recommended for Deletion to Low Rise Office with other stipulations.  Applicant to ask for Continuance until February 2018.

Z-83 Loyd Development Services, Hawkins Store Rd: HELD until February Planning Commission Meeting.



Dec 15, 2017 — The Planning Commission recommended Deletion (changing) the Zoning request from NRC to Low Rise Office for professional office use only. The motion follows:

MOTION: Motion by Williams, second by Gunther, to recommend deletion of Z-87 to the LRO zoning category, subject to:
1. Professional office use only
2. LRO use to be approved by the District Commissioner
3. Building be brought into compliance with the Canton Road Design Guidelines
4. District Commissioner to approve architectural style of the building and any minor modifications
5. Pole signage to be removed and replaced with ground based monument sign
6. Installation of sidewalk
7. Removal of the southernmost entrance on Canton Road
8. Adherence to the 70% impervious surface
9. No overnight parking of commercial vehicles
10. Staff comments and recommendations, not otherwise in conflict VOTE: ADOPTED 5-0

The applicant called Commissioner Birrell to discuss this and see if it would be possible to get the NRC. Since the applicant does not have a tenant, a site plan, building elevations or a letter of agreeable stipulations, he is not ready and the case will be continued until the February BoC Zoning meeting.

We think the Planning Commission recommendation was appropriate at the time and we will keep you posted on developments.

Canton Road Neighbors Fall Update 2017

Ever wonder about what happened to those good developments that were supposed to take place because of a rezoning case, or what's coming online in the next few months?

That is the focus of this update.

A number of changes are taking place on Canton Hwy:

The WalMart Neighborhood Market at the corner of Canton and Blackwell Road will be closing on December 4th. No word yet on a possible new occupant.

Casteel Heating and Cooling, a locally based company, was acquired by Horizon Services, based in Delaware. Casteel will continue operations using the Casteel name. 

The 2nd phase of the Racetrac development at 2337 Canton Hwy is about to get underway. Racetrac's expansion was approved in April 2016 and the store closed for remodeling. It reopened in Jan. 2017, but plans to relocate the main driveway to align with the traffic signal at Liberty Hill were put on hold.

Also planned is the creation of a private drive from Westerly Way to the new driveway. This will allow drivers to have access to the signal on Canton at Liberty Hill. A land disturbance permit was just given to Racetrac, so construction should begin soon.

The Racetrac at 4400 Canton (at Shallowford) opened recently and it features the new, expanded store design. It was approved as Z-95(2015) in February 2016.

Life Storage at 1987 Canton Road (formerly Uncle Bob's) was approved to build a new 3 story self storage building on the existing site in June 2016 (V-70). Construction is in progress. Expect to see a more modern and attractive design for the new building, including landscaping on the Canton Connector side.

Z-50 and SLUP 10, approved in September for Storage Development Group, will be built on a 3.39 acre tract in front of the 2197 Canton Distribution Center, south of Racetrac. Plans call for 4-sided brick architecture, 35' high, no outdoor storage or parking of heavy vehicles, street landscaping and sidewalks. Construction should begin early next year and wrap up by September 2018. 

Grace Living, an attractive new assisted living facility at 2417 Canton Hwy opened for business this summer.

Just up the road, the former Jennings Music is under new ownership and features new sidewalks.

To the north on Canton near Hawkins Store Rd, Fontis Water, rezoned as Z-95 in December 2016 has a new warehouse under construction.

Remember the “Turkey Barn” on Hawkins Store Road which had multiple rezoning and Other Business applications? It took nearly 7 years for the exterior to be completed and then sat empty for a long time in search of a new tenant to finish the interior. Finally in 2017, Titan Sports Academy purchased the property, completed the interior and is open for business. We wish them well! 


Not all of the prospects along Canton Hwy's commercial area are encouraging. Early this year the old tanks at the vacant service station at 2120 Canton Hwy were removed and the site was purchased by Petroplex Joint Ventures LLC. Because the station had been vacant since 2002, (built in 1979-80) it needs to be rezoned from General Commercial to Neighborhood Retail Commercial (or LRC or LRO). The application will be heard in December for a “Kitchen and Cabinet Showroom”, however the “existing (building) will remain”.

While the market for new homes is thriving in other parts of Cobb County, neighborhoods in the Canton Road area have not been competitive – until this year. In March 2017 Developer John Loyd applied to build new homes on Lee Waters Road, across from East Cobb Baseball, and just up from Kell High School. Approved in April with a modified site plan, Mr. Loyd is not wasting any time and construction is already underway. A half acre lot will be added to the existing tract if approved this month. For families looking for a reasonably priced new home, close to good schools and recreation, this location is ideal.

As more upscale developers turn to Commission District 2 to build homes starting at $800,000. and up, Loyd Development likes the Canton Road area and sees opportunity for infill in the older existing neighborhoods. Z-71, Hilltop Drive in the Addison Heights neighborhood and Z-83 on Hawkins Store are pending, both to be heard in December. For long time residents who are wary of commercial encroachment or noisy industrial uses, these medium density, reasonably priced subdivisions are an option long overdue.

There were two rezoning applications approved for First Center (David Pearson) on a large tract at the corner of Shallowford and Jamerson in 2015 and upgraded again in October 2016. Mr. Pearson is apparently taking his time and construction has not yet begun.

We are still going to keep an eye on Spring 2018 when Planning for the 2016 SPLOST Canton Corridor projects gets underway. This time, Canton Hwy needs to get its fair share of sidewalk construction. After all, the 3rd SPLOST should be a charm. Also pending are SPLOST funded renovations to Gritters Library.

We are not pleased to learn that Cobb County is using the Public Library system as a political football in an attempt to cover a budget shortfall. There is something callous about balancing the budget on the backs of average citizens and their kids while throwing money at large corporations.

Overall though, progress continues on and near the Canton Road Corridor. By working together we can keep the momentum going and ensure that our community continues to be a great place to live, work and play.

Carol Brown

Chairperson, Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.


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