Jul 29, 2014

Karate Atlanta Can't Teach at its Alpharetta Offices

The owners of the company, which has 11 martial arts studio locations, wanted to teach how they are successful at corporate headquarters, but Alpharetta City Council said no.

Karate Atlanta Can't Teach at its Alpharetta Offices

A corporate office for a local martial arts studio chain won't be holding classes in its headquarters because a majority of the Alpharetta City Council couldn't find a compelling reason to change the Windward Master Plan.

Karate Atlanta has its corporate offices within the 400 North Business Park at 1111 Alderman Drive, Suite 435.

Joy Kandrick of Karate Atlanta told Alpharetta City Council at its July 23 meeting that the classes would not be the same as at one of the company's 11 martial arts studio locations.

"This is going to be mostly business, a lot less kicking and punching," she said.

The owners of Karate Atlanta have 11 studios when many martial arts businesses are struggling to keep a single location open, Kandrick said. How Karate Atlanta's owners manage this success is something those other business owners want to learn.

In addition, the retired grand master for Karate Atlanta would teach exclusive, limited classes in the building, which had previously been approved for Habakkuk Christian Ministries.

The Alpharetta Planning Commission and staff supported the karate school use, but four City Council members disagreed. So the master plan amendment was defeated on a 4-3 vote, with Michael Cross, Jim Gilvin, D.C. Aiken and Mayor David Belle Isle voting against. Chris Owens, Mike Kennedy and Donald Mitchell voted for the school.

Belle Isle said a change to a master plan generally requires a compelling reason, but all he was hearing was that because offices were located here, it was convenient and would generate more income.

"I think if we're going to be consistent on maintaining master plans, we should be consistent there," the Mayor said.

Councilman Aiken agreed, saying there had to be a real reason other than they have the space there and to generate income.

Councilman Owens said he agreed that that master plan needed to be preserved, but said he was hearing the use of the corporate offices as a school was to offer business-to-business training and special events. He offered a friendly amendment to restrict Karate Atlanta to just those additional uses.

But Councilman Cross said he still had concerns.

"I'm not convinced  it's elevated to compelling need," he said.

"Nothing here has been shown to reach even a minor definition to that. If we are not careful to holding it here, where else are we going to draw the line?" Mayor Belle Isle asked.

So the amendment failed on a still fairly rare 4-3 vote.

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