Cobb Braves Stadium Plans Approved by Regional Authorities

June 26, 2014 9:56 am

by Jon Richards · 11 comments

Plans for a new Braves stadium near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285 have been approved by the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. Approval by the two authorities was required because the stadium is considered a ‘Development of Regional Impact.’

According to the Marietta Daily Journal, ARC and GRTA required planners to include pedestrian access and traffic management plans as part of the project.

While the study was completed last week, local governments were given a five day period to object, and none did.

“That period expired at 5 o’clock (Wednesday) and there’s been no appeal,” [Braves zoning attorney James] Balli said. “So the approval by GRTA and ARC is final and that process is now complete. It is important to note that every local government that could possibly be affected from Sandy Springs to Smyrna was comfortable enough and supported the project enough to where they did not appeal the approval and are in agreement that the project is going to be beneficial to the region.”

It is unknown at this time whether Agenda 21 recommended 12 foot sidewalks were made a requirement for the project.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ghost of William F. Buckley June 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I could just imagine what would actually happen if a major US developer clear cut the land needed for the Braves field, prior to ARC Development of Regional Importance (DRI) clearance. The uproar would be deafening and the injunctions would be fast and thick.

Not saying the project is a bad thing, but the DRI process might as well not exist – Factually, I cannot see how any future developer can be required meet DRI standards. If the DRI is given after the fact…

Really amazing how this thing got done! Only government can get away with cutting thru the red tape of government regulations!

Michael Silver June 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

The reason why its flowing efficiently is twofold:

1) Cobb County is generally very professional and efficient with development and land use designs. The Braves are going to be pleasantly surprised how much different Cobb is versus Atlanta. I’ve done zoning issues in both Cobb and Atlanta and the professionalism of Cobb is head shoulders above Atlanta.

2) The real reason the approvals are flowing is that portion of the county was designated to be a Regional Activity complex in the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The roads and infrastructure were designed and built with that land use in mind. The county was planning and waiting for this for a long long time.

I’m a neighbor of the stadium (I live near Powers Ferry) and think its going to be good for the county and even my neighborhood. Hopefully, the Commission work to keep the development up-scale and it will be a plus. We can’t afford to have Cumberland area turned a desolate area occupied only on game days.

notsplost June 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Doing the DRI clearance almost a month after the County BOC approved the project, including bond financing, certainly makes a mockery of the whole thing.

Speaking of mockeries, how about Cobb officials touting job gains due to the project? Their gain = Fulton County’s loss. So much for regionalism, it’s every man for themselves when it comes to this sort of thing.

Michael Silver June 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

The job gains aren’t necessarily all transfers from Fulton. Clearly, the Cobb Police will have more opportunities for off-duty and on-duty work. That is going to negatively impact Atlanta PD.

But, the development of the area will organic grow new development that didn’t exist before or in Atlanta (restaurants, hotels, stores). I’d bet the area will attract people from distant areas like Six Flags brings in out-of-staters because its a destination.

notsplost June 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Good luck with that one. If you take a look at the bigger picture, with soccer growing in popularity and MLB’s dwindling fan base, it may be the case that Cobb county is the perfect spot for a dying baseball team. Mayor Reed is going to look pretty smart in about 20 years.

pucillo.oscar June 26, 2014 at 4:03 pm

No need for that. People have been proclaiming the growth of soccer and the death of baseball for decades. Even if it does happen, it will not necessarily be a good thing for the culture.

Cobb County should be glad to have a Braves for its heavily suburban fan base. And Atlanta should be glad to expand the Georgia State footprint plus add some mixed use development to take the Braves place. Both areas are taking care of their respective constituencies and priorities to the benefit of both, and it is a good thing, not a bad thing. And as I believe that the city will benefit from Georgia State becoming a major urban university more than it will have ever benefited from the Braves, it makes it a lot easier to have a “let’s all just move on and get along” magnanimous attitude to our neighbors to the north.

pucillo.oscar June 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

So a Cobb County resident claims that Cobb County is head and shoulders above Atlanta. Wow. Big shock there.

Yes, Fulton will lose some (mostly low paying) jobs due to losing the Braves. But it will gain far more (including higher paying) jobs and permanent residents and tax revenue via the Georgia State University expansion.

The main issue: I hope that Cobb County does not indulge itself in irrational expectations over the benefits that they will get from the Braves move. While professional sports teams do generate revenue (despite the oft-stated belief otherwise) the next suburban community to be transformed by a sports franchise relocating there will be the first. And in those cases, the sports teams moved further out. In this instance, the Braves will be less than 10 miles from downtown.

So “But, the development of the area will organic grow new development that didn’t exist before or in Atlanta (restaurants, hotels, stores). I’d bet the area will attract people from distant areas like Six Flags brings in out-of-staters because its a destination” …

No. The area will not be the destination. The Braves games will be a destination. The fanplex will generate a lot of traffic when it is new. But after the newness wears off, there will be no reason to go there when no game is being played, and no reason to stick around after the game is over. Which is the same as it is with all pro parks, whether they are in the suburbs or not.

A lot of folks seem to believe that there are all these people who were dying to visit Cobb County but needed a reason to, and now that the Braves give them a reason it is going to get things moving. That presumes that A) everyone feels the same way about Cobb County as the people who live there (they don’t) and that B) everyone is just mad about the Braves (they aren’t). Or to put it another way: it takes seriously the notion that the only reason why the Braves aren’t this gigantic tourist magnet and revenue generator is because of their downtown location and Fulton County government. Which again, assumes that everyone feels the same way about Atlanta as the people in Cobb County do (they don’t). You know, as if Atlanta wasn’t one of the top tourist/conventions/major events cities or something.

The Braves stadium and its fanplex will be bustling with activity and excitement … when it is new. But after things settle in, it will be just another suburban ballpark (except much closer to the city limits and downtown than most suburban parks are). Cobb County should investigate the real impact that baseball parks have had in other suburban areas and adjust its expectations accordingly. If the Braves constitute some major economic boom for Cobb County, it will be a first.

Ed June 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm

If you’re talking about expanding to turner field that land isn’t even for sale yet and there are 4 parties interested in the plot. As for the loss of jobs there’s rarely a net transfer of jobs with stadium/sports deals.

SmyrnaModerate June 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I do have to agree that the alleged job gains are going to be overwhelmingly low wage retail/service sector jobs. Coca Cola already left the Wildwood area of Cumberland for downtown and moved thousands of high paying tech jobs, the City already won the “jobs” battle before one shovel went into the ground for the new stadium.

pucillo.oscar June 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Cobb should get some tangible benefit from the Braves locating there, but primarily if they can leverage the increased tax revenue and exposure that having the team there will generate. For instance, if they use the increased tax revenue that the games and the businesses around the game and the new development generates to improve their schools, improve/build new infrastructure, deal with blight etc. But the Braves moving there alone will not transform the area.

Incidentally, losing Coca-Cola is not that big a deal, either via losing it for Cobb or getting it for Atlanta. If 10 or 11 similar sized operations followed suit, maybe.

SmyrnaModerate June 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Genuine Parts Company considering moving headquarters out of Cumberland due to Braves stadium. Oh, and all those critical parking spaces the Braves need to use in the area office parks? Everyone is telling them no, including most critically Cumberland Mall

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2014/06/27/braves-parking-pitch-fails-to-connect-with.html?ana=sm_atl_ucp44&b=1403805696%5E14843421&page=all