Despite the pristine weather Sunday afternoon outside, dozens packed a room inside the to express concerns over a proposed $1.5 million soccer complex planned for undeveloped land off South Johnson Ferry Road.
The plan introduced by the Concorde Fire Soccer Association to build two practice fields and one regulation soccer field, a 4,376-square-foot clubhouse, and about 150 parking spaces on 12 acres of land zoned residential, outraged hundreds of residents in communities adjacent to the Johnson Ferry Road and Ashford Dunwoody corridors and prompted a group to create a website and collect hundreds of names on a petition opposing the move.
The meeting Sunday afternoon included a presentation from Corcorde’s attorney Kathy Zickert, who attempted to answer questions and dispel what she referred to as 'common misconceptions' of those who oppose the field. Chief among those concerns are traffic, environmental implications and noise.
“We’re not going to have much more than 80 people at a time,” Zickert said at yesterday’s meeting. Zickert said the organization has conducted a traffic study which shows minimal traffic impact to the already congested roadway.
Neighbors like Fay Ann Sherris, however, said she is skeptical. Sherris, who lives in Fielding Park Court, and her neighborhood's representative of the Stop Concorde Fire Soccer Complex in Brookhaven committee said she is highly concerned about the traffic and the safety of the children slated to use the complex.
“We absolutely want them to have soccer fields. We absolutely want them to have what their original plan was for, but they’ve picked the wrong location,” Sherris said.
Sherris said the trees provide seclusion and privacy, as well as a buffer of much of the noise created by nearby traffic.
“I can walk around in my pajamas in my kitchen, but once the trees are gone, I can’t enjoy my own home anymore,” Ferris said.
The group's website sites as its chief environmental concern is that the proposed complex sits in a flood zone on the banks of Nancy Creek. "This entire proposed complex was under five or more feet of water not once, but twice last year. Homes and businesses downstream were also flooded and damaged," the site states.
A document released by Concord at yesterday's meeting indicates that the club must obtain all applicable permits per the Erosion Control Act and the Georgia Storm Water Quality Act.
"Concorde Fire shall have a qualified engineer prepare a comprehensive stormwater management plan and floodplain demarcation report, as well as a qualified consultant to prepare a wetlands delineation," according to the document.
Conversely, Elaine Moore, said many of the residents concerns are unfounded.
“Will it impact? Some. But it’s not going to impact as much as what [the opposition] imagine it will be. I think the apartment complexes being built near Publix will be a much bigger deal that this. I can’t believe there’s going to be even 100 cars, to tell you the truth.”
Moore said the positive impact of the soccer club ‘far outweighs’ what may be minor inconveniences that come with such a project.
"[The Concorde Fire Soccer Association] isn't gaining anything from any of this. They're just good people who want to give our children a place to play and have fun."
The group's special land use permit is scheduled to go before the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on July 26. Zickert said the association has requested a deferral so that the group can continue to meet with area residents to quell any concerns and answer questions.