Residents express concern about proposed development

Geosam Capital representatives held a community meeting about the company’s proposed development Thursday night in front of First United Methodist Church in Griffin.

A development company’s proposal to build houses and condominiums adjacent to the Coldwater Creek subdivision and The Dairy subdivision has drawn interest — and concern — from area residents.

Representatives from Geosam Capital US LLC, which has an office in Duluth, held a community meeting on Thursday night to introduce their proposal and get feedback from area residents.

About 60 residents attended the meeting, which was held in front of First United Methodist Church.

Geosam, which recently purchased about 170 acres in the area, plans to eventually go before the City of Griffin Board of Commissioners to seek a PRD (planned residential development) zoning. Currently the land is zoned LDR-B (low-density residential).

Geosam Asset Manager Patrick Brooks told attendees that the company is “open to suggestions” about how to develop the property.

“That’s why we are here,” he said.

Several audience members voiced strong opposition to the project, saying that it would create additional traffic and put a burden on area schools. Audience members also raised concerns about the project’s residential density.

When asked about the project’s impact on traffic volume and schools, Brooks said the company will not know the impact until the number of units has been determined.

Once the number of units is determined, Brooks said, studies will be done to determine the project’s impact on traffic volume and schools.

“Once a unit count is determined the city will determine what needs to be done to ensure that traffic is as safe and efficient as possible,” Brooks wrote in a meeting summary email sent Friday to meeting attendees.

Under the current zoning, Geosam would be allowed to build 197 single-family units on lots that would be at least a half-acre.

Brooks said Geosam is working on a plan that calls for about 280 units if it gains rezoning approval.

“If our zoning application was passed by the city council it would carry the full weight of our own imposed zoning conditions. … We have gone above and beyond to add these restrictions to help ensure a quality development that will withstand change,” Brooks wrote in the email.

Among Geosam’s self-imposed zoning conditions are the construction of a stone column or columns at each entrance to the community; minimum front setback of at least 35 feet; and minimum square footage of 1,600 square feet for a single-story home and 1,800 square feet for a two-story home.

Single-story condominiums would be sold for $220,000 and up, two-story condominiums would be sold for $240,000 and up, and single-family houses would be sold for $270,000 and up, according to Brooks.

Mestipo Kiento, who lives in the Cedardale neighborhood and spoke at Thursday’s meeting, said he is most concerned about the resulting increase in traffic.

“That’s going to affect everybody the same,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “Traffic affects safety and crime.”

Even though he has concerns about the project, Kiento said he was glad that Geosam officials held the community meeting.

“I thought the developers were pretty forthcoming,” he said. “They did not have to come out here.”

In the meeting summary email, Brooks said Geosam representatives will try to have another community meeting within the next 45 days in order to provide a project update.