COVINGTON, Ga. – The Covington City Council voted unanimously to approve a special use permit for a multi-family senior housing development along the Covington Bypass.
Council members had tabled a vote on the same measure for the project at 11101 Covington Bypass in October after some members questioned the timing of a July study about how the development would impact traffic in the area with school in session.
The property is located between Indian Creek Middle School and the Highway 36 intersection. The applicant had added 10 percent to the July study to account for school-related traffic.
Councilman Josh McKelvey at the time, “I saw that it was conducted in July and obviously that intersection’s busiest time of year is during the school year. So, I did see the addition of school traffic, but what I see that 10 percent estimate looks very low.
“You know, from driving by – and this isn’t anything scientific, but just from me observing – but it looks like the traffic more than doubles during the school year, not a 10 percent increase.”
Attorney John Nix told the council Tuesday evening a new study showed that the development will have little impact on traffic along the corridor.
“Our engineer was asked to go back and do live traffic counts with school in session. You will remember that the first time it was done it was done as an estimate because they didn’t conduct the traffic count while school was in session,” he said.
”In addition to going out and doing a live count with school in session, they also included some additional information in the study to compare it to a commercial use which would be allowed, a shopping center of just under a half a million square feet of use, that would be allowed as zoned without a special use permit. In making that comparison, they concluded that traffic from the shopping center would be 72 percent greater than the traffic from the senior apartment housing.
“The final thing that they concluded was, and it pretty much is underscored in the initial report, is that the traffic generated by the senior apartment housing complex would be fundamentally negligible. In other words, the traffic count coming out of there and going in would be almost the same as if it were not there.”
McKelvey voiced support for the measure after listening to Nix.
“The traffic concerns, I thought, were valid,” he said. “I think that when you come back to us with numbers that a retail center could come here without any additional approval or additional input - there‘s not a special use permit required that’s required for a retail center - I think when you look at it that way that it puts it in perspective.
“If there’s not an apartment complex for seniors that goes in here, there could be something else that generates a lot more traffic and that’s everybody’s biggest concern.”