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Newton board OKs early plans for 300 apartments and 150 home lots
Home Construction

COVINGTON, Ga. — Preliminary plans for more than 300 new apartments and 153 new lots in two single-family subdivisions have gained Newton County Planning Commission approval.

Planning commission members also voted on Oct. 27 to recommend the county board of commissioners approve a new daycare center inside a church near the site of the new Eastside High School on Ga. Hwy. 142.

The new apartments will be in a new complex named Cobblestone on a site adjacent to the new Ginn Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership on Access Road west of Covington.

The planning commission on Oct. 27 approved a concept plan for the complex with 318 units in 11 buildings on a 35-acre site at 3655 Fairview Road.

The site is undeveloped despite being zoned to allow multi-family development for almost 40 years, according to planning officials. Other neighboring developments include Silver Ridge Farms subdivision, a single-family residential development, on the south side; other single-family residential uses on the west side; and undeveloped land on the east side.

It will have frontage on a proposed new road called Cobblestone Lane and access to Fairview Road and Access Road, according to a staff report.

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments are planned, along with a clubhouse, fitness center, car wash area and dog park, said Chris Harrell of Summit Engineering Consultants.

Apartment sizes will range from 650 square feet for a one-bedroom unit, to 1,000 square feet for a three-bedroom unit, Monthly rents will range from $1,100 to $1,500 and will not be government subsidized, he said.

"These will be renters by choice," Harrell said.

Zoning requirements include 50-foot buffer areas between the complex and adjacent properties.

In other action at the Oct. 27 meeting, the planning commission voted to recommend the Newton County Board of Commissioners approve a conditional use permit for a daycare center inside Covington Christian Church at 141 Highway 142.

The nonprofit Living Grace will operate the facility from 2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week, said applicant Lisa Madaris of Jackson, Georgia.

She said the facility will accommodate between 30 and 50 children up to age 13.

The planning commission can approve daycare centers with six or fewer children but only makes a recommendation on a conditional use permit if more children are planned. The county commission gives final approval and will consider it at its December meeting, staff members said.  

Also at the Oct. 27 meeting, county planning commissioners voted to approve a preliminary plat for a fifth phase of Riverwalk Farms subdivision on Dearing Road near Covington's southeast city limits.

The plan includes 134 lots on 51 acres and has been revised from an earlier configuration to create a third entrance to the development, said Richard Cooper of Atlanta-based The Pacific Group.

Cooper said Riverwalk has been developed in phases since 2002 and includes 450 homes. The 51 acres in the fifth phase is the last undeveloped part, he said.

Homes are planned to be around 1,550 square feet each, he said.

County planning commissioners also approved a preliminary plat for Rocky Chase subdivision off Rocky Plains Road near the Yellow River in southern Newton County.

Rocky Chase's plan calls for 19 lots on a 21-acre site already partially developed as part of a subdivision in 2005 before its construction was abandoned by an earlier developer, the planning staff told commissioners.

John Wayne Maddox, representing the new developer, said homes would be a maximum of 1,550 square feet.

"I don't think people will buy bigger houses there," Maddox said.

He said the surrounding area includes two scrap yards and a trailer park.

Development Services Director Judy Johnson said the planning commission is not scheduled to meet again until January when it likely will see plans for a new truck plaza at I-20 and Ga. Hwy. 11 near Social Circle.