Marietta V-2017-22 Appeal to Council - Uphold the BZA Vote!

This petition made change with 165 supporters!

        Above: MUST Preliminary Exemption Plat and site plan

Update on MUST plans for 1260 Cobb Parkway November 7, 2017

   By working together, by signing the petition and attending the BZA meeting, each of you helped to make a difficult situation better for your community. However much good MUST Ministries does in many areas, it is no secret that their Day Services/Street Outreach operation at Elizabeth Inn has been a large negative for Bells Ferry/Cobb Parkway neighborhoods and businesses. It has also placed a large burden on City and County Public Safety. It is estimated that the cost to the City of Marietta to police Elizabeth Inn and the surrounding area comes to $250,000 per year. It is likely that Cobb County incurs the same cost. This means a combined half-million dollars a year to send police and firefighters to the MUST shelter that serves 72 guests and provides Day Services to @50 unsheltered homeless campers every month. By comparison, it costs Cobb County $983,000 per year to police Suntrust Park during events. If you the residents, employees and business owners thought the homeless situation was out of hand, it wasn't your imagination. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty about having opposed the MUST Variance – particularly not those who work or volunteer at MUST and live many miles from the Elizabeth Inn. That includes Senior Staff and Board of Directors.

   As a result of community efforts since late May, the problems associated with the shelter have a higher profile with elected officials in the City and County. Police are now working with the nearby neighborhoods and several business owners. The situation with unsheltered homeless campers is slowly being brought under control, no thanks to MUST. Development is increasing in the area, and there will soon be fewer places where chronically homeless persons can camp. It is unfortunate that there isn't a facility in a heavy industrial area that can serve the people who apparently do not want treatment or job training. Street Outreach is not a good or appropriate endeavor near a residential community.

  There are recent developments with MUST Ministries' planned expansion and relocation. The new warehouse and distribution center at 1280 Field Parkway is now open. It is across from Georgia Ballet and adjacent to 1260 Cobb Parkway. See the brief article in the MDJ.

   After MUST withdrew their Appeal to City Council (to overturn the BZA vote to Deny) they decided to subdivide the 6 acre tract at 1260, in such a way that the Shelter is more than 750' from residentially zoned property. The preliminary site plan is shown on the drawing above this update. Shelter functions will be on the west side of the two parcels, near Cobb Parkway. Any non-shelter function such as Thrift Store, Day Care or administrative office could be on the east side of the two parcels. The City is still reviewing the plans. No overnight camping by unsheltered in tents would be permitted on site due to City ordinances.

  Saturday “feeding”or gifting events to homeless and low income persons are no longer permitted on the Orkin property, and are now more appropriately hosted by Shady Grove Baptist Church on Bells Ferry, Saturdays at 4 pm.

   What's ahead? MUST will almost certainly purchase 1260 Cobb Parkway if they have not already done so, and will build a new shelter facility. It will not be as large as MUST envisioned originally, and the local community is better equipped to deal with the unsheltered issues, if they should they start to get out of hand in the future. According to MUST's original plans, the shelter should be nearly complete, but it is only now going through initial plan review by the City. It will probably take a year before the new Elizabeth Inn is occupied by MUST. At that point we would expect to see 55 Elizabeth Church close and become the property of Cobb EMC, as well as MUST's 1407 Cobb Parkway location. In fact, one of the driving forces behind this relocation was a land swap proposed by Cobb EMC. The public will probably never know the details of the transaction.

    Most of the signers of the Change Petition live or work in the area and are mainly from four neighborhoods nearby. We are looking at ways to keep these neighborhoods informed about local developments, including MUST relocation. We hope that the neighborhoods will continue to stay involved and communicate with each other and with police and elected officials as needed.

   Going forward, updates such as this will be sent to the four neighborhoods by the HOA or neighborhood representatives. This is the final update that will be sent out via Change Petition.

Thanks for getting involved in this issue and please continue to make some time to stay involved in your community.



Garvis Sams Esq. attorney for MUST Ministries, sent a letter to Rusty Roth,  Director of Development Services for Marietta, yesterday afternoon 10/05, withdrawing the MUST Ministries Appeal of Variance 2017-22 to Marietta City Council.  Previously the appeal was scheduled for Oct 11th and MUST submitted a request that it be tabled until Nov. 8th.  The Community was opposed to further postponement of the appeal since the process had already spanned 5 months.  The reason given for the request to table until November 8th was to modify the daily lunch program.   The community realized this was not going to be a substantive solution to the problems caused by the unsheltered homeless, who are MUST's Outreach Clients.  MUST apparently realized that approval of the appeal may have been in question and withdrew the case.

MUST has several options but an appeal to Superior Court is not now one of them. 

MUST was awarded a $1,000,000.00 grant tied to 1260 Cobb Parkway by Community Development Block Grants last year, to be paid out over 4 years. That grant could perhaps be modified to another property or for construction if MUST chose to request it.  MUST also has ample space at 55 Elizabeth Church to build a new shelter. If  MUST decides to buy 1260 Cobb Parkway, the lack of a Variance to permit a Shelter within less than 750' of residentially zoned property will limit their ability to expand at that location.

Whatever the outcome, the community may still have to contend with problems caused by the proximity of unsheltered homeless to neighborhoods.  That was not going to change even if the Variance had been approved but it was likely to have intensified since MUST had planned to nearly double in capacity.

We believe that the neighborhoods will now be more proactive and better able to work together with the city and county to address a range of issues.  We hope that MUST can find a way to continue their dual mission as an Emergency Shelter and provider of Street Outreach to unsheltered homeless in a way that does not continue to create problems for the residential community.                                                                                                                               




Appeal of BZA vote will be heard on Wed. October 11 at 7:00 PM

MUST Ministries will appeal shelter plan in October
Ross Williams, Marietta Daily Journal 09/11/17

The fate of MUST Ministries’ proposed shelter at 1260 Cobb Parkway near Bells Ferry Road appears on the agenda for Wednesday’s Marietta City Council meeting, but it will not be heard then.
MUST has withdrawn its appeal temporarily and plans to come before the City Council Oct. 11. MUST said it always intended to do so, in order to have more time to prepare, but the city automatically scheduled the hearing for the nearest upcoming council meeting.
The meeting comes because MUST has plans to build a new shelter with 130 beds, replacing the current location on 55 Elizabeth Church Road near Cobb Parkway and the Canton Road Connector, which has 72 beds.
The plan was rejected by the Marietta Board of Zoning Appeals Aug. 28 after widespread outcry from neighbors . . .


Renovation of the 1280 Field Pkwy warehouse MUST acquired recently from Cobb EMC will begin soon. Batson-Cook is the Contractor hired by MUST for construction.


On August 28th the Marietta Board of Zoning Appeals had a chance to hear the concerns of residents and business owners in the Bells Ferry, Turner Rd and White Circle area, about the proposed expansion  and relocation of MUST Ministries Elizabeth Inn shelter.  It was a long hearing with many speakers on both sides.  Some on each side were emotional.  There were good presentations on each side and many signatures on petitions opposing the Variance to allow a shelter much closer to neighborhoods. The signers were either area residents or employees of area businesses.  When it was time to vote, the BZA heard the concerns of the public and voted to DENY V2017-22.

MUST Ministries' attorney appealed the BZA vote to City Council in less than 24 hours. City Council will hear the Appeal on Wednesday October 11 at 7:00 pm at City Hall. They will decide to either uphold the BZA vote to deny, overturn it and grant MUST the Variance, or grant MUST the Variance with some stipulations on it.

Please sign and ask Marietta City Council to Uphold the BZA vote to DENY V2017-22.  For information about the case, refer back to the previous Change petition at

Today: Concerned residents on Bells Ferry, Turner and White Circle is counting on you

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