New townhouse complex planned

Apr. 27—VALDOSTA — A new residential townhouse development has undergone a major facelift without breaking ground yet.

In December, Valdosta City Council approved a request by Stoker Utilities for a 6.34 planned development of "single-family attached" townhouses along the east side of North Forrest Street Extension, between Knights Academy Road and Branch Pointe Drive.

The proposal consists of 42 dwelling units divided among seven different buildings. Each unit will still be two stories and contain a two-car garage with its own driveway for parking.

Now, Stoker has proposed an "amended" Planned Development Approval consisting of a newer, functional design: the complex will have clusters of townhouse buildings that all face each other, with the front sides of buildings facing a shared internal courtyard and the rear sides facing a shared driveway/alley system.

The amendment has also added a shared community center building with a private pool and cabana area. There will still be shared visitor parking, mailboxes, playgrounds, general open space, as well as a 25-foot landscaped buffer along its east boundary line.

Matt Martin, city planning and zoning administrator, told City Council that while the only real changes are the site plans, the request must be re-reviewed under a new public hearing process.

"The request back in December was for a non-conventional townhouse style development called 'single family attached.' That is still the request. What has changed is the site plan. That was an up change to the approved master plan. We need to bring it back to the public hearing process. So everything else is the same character, still a suburban area," he said.

Matthew Inman, senior project manager for Advanced Engineering Services and engineer for the proposal, told City Council that they went back to the drawing board to get the most out of the six-acre space.

"The biggest thing is we added parking. ... They're just going to be a better look and just better overall product. So with that, that's really the guts of it's just a better layout than the previous one we had," he said.

Mayor Scott James Matheson said he was impressed that the applicant added a "quality of life" aspect to the new site plans.

City Council unanimously approved the amendment.