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Posted: August 17, 2013 8:30 p.m.

Wildwood may be developed after all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Ardent plans to build a second road, it won’t even need any amendment to the property’s zoning conditions. However, if the council were to also deny the request, no other zoning amendment request by any company could be made for at least six months, according to city ordinances, said Covington Senior Planner Scott Gaither after Tuesday’s meeting.

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

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

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