Archive for March, 2009

UPDATED – 525 Moreland Project in East Atlanta Heads to Vote, Again

The 525 Moreland Project proposing a new mixed-use development at the intersection of Glenwood and Moreland in East Atlanta again goes to the Land Use and Zoning Committee of NPU-W for a third special meeting and vote.  The architect’s plans can be found here and here.

The second NPU-W committee meeting ended with a vote of 10 in favor of the project and 18 against.  Amid criticisms from all sides, the committee called a third special meeting to allow for additional public comment and another vote.

The project pits the East Atlanta Business Association against residential neighbors.

This Third Special Meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 31st at Branan Towers, 1200 Glenwood Avenue.  From 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM the architects of the project will be available to answer questions.  The formal meeting will begin at 7:00 PM with public comment beginning at 7:30 PM.  A vote will occur following conclusion of all public comments.

UPDATE:  The special subcommittee voted 47 For and 53 Opposed to the project, with 6 absentions.  The proposal now goes to the NPU-W Land Use and Zoning Committee.


Expansion Plans of Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead Heads to NPU-B

After a month of negotiations between Cathedral of Christ the King and Peachtree Heights East Neighborhood Association, the Cathedral’s proposed plans to expand the parking deck into the neighborhood and for an increase in the square footage of other proposed buildings heads to the the Development and Transportation Committee of Neighborhood Planning Unit B on April 21.  From there the plans go to the next NPU B Zoning Committee meeting and then to the full NPU B board.

“We’d been talking to the cathedral for 18 months and we were surprised to learn that the permit details were different than some of the plans we’d talked about,” said Sue Roberts, president of the neighborhood association.

According to the association’s letter, “after many months of discussions that were long on expansion concepts and short on specifics, the Cathedral filed its applications without our support. The applications detailed a greater scope of expansion than had previously been revealed to us.”

The Garden Hills neighborhood supports the Cathedral.

Roswell May Re-Write Zoning Ordinance For Chickens

The mayor of Roswell thinks he has seen the chicken scratches on the wall.

“No way we are going to be looking good regardless of what comes out of the court,” [Mayor Jere] Wood said.

Because of this media and community firestorm, Roswell may initiate a rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance dealing with keeping livestock as pets.

Georgia Court of Appeals Sets Aside Rezoning Decision Made Without Site Plan Where Local Zoning Ordinance Required Site Plan And Consideration of Specific Criteria

The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a Banks County rezoning decision as violative of its zoning ordinance where its county commission approved a rezoning application that did not include a site plan.  The Court of Appeals held that the local zoning ordinance required county officials to review rezoning applications based on specific criteria, such as the land use, development suitability, and the impact of the rezoning on nearby property. The Court of Appeals noted that without a site plan, officials had little information about the rezoning applicant’s actual proposed use and how that use would affect the property, hindering their ability to analyze the required criteria.

The Court of Appeals held that the county officials neglected to obtain the required site plan from the rezoning applicant, thus ignoring mandatory zoning requirements and depriving themselves of key information relating to the proposed development.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded the rezoning decision to the county commission for further consideration in compliance with its order.

Keep reading for GZB’s summary of Harden v. Banks County, 294 Ga. App. 327, 670 S.E.2d 133, decided November 8, 2008.

Continue reading

Hearing Set for Roswell Chickens – UPDATED

On March 19 the Roswell Municipal Court Judge Maurice Hilliard will decide whether Andrew Wordes can keep his chickens.  Mr. Wordes lives off of Alpharetta Street in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.  Mr. Wordes is charged with violating the city zoning law by keeping chickens in a residential district.

The citation hinges on a section of the city zoning code that defines permitted uses in residential districts. In estate zoning, “livestock raising, not including poultry and hogs,” is allowable, but not in any other residential zoning.

On its face it would seem that would mean that poultry could be permitted because it isn’t included in the prohibition against livestock.

But according to a legal opinion from the assistant city attorney, poultry is defined by the state as livestock.

He goes on to say that “if one were to read the [Roswell zoning] provision to mean that raising chickens and hogs is permitted in all residential zoning districts, then one must alter the plain meaning of ‘livestock’ to take poultry and hogs out of the general definition. This stands the provision on its head.”

Mayor Jere Wood, an attorney by profession, is on Wordes’ side. “Mr. Wordes keeps pet chickens,” Wood wrote in a memo to council and the city administrator. “If his birds are illegal, then every citizen with a canary, parakeet and other pet bird is violating our zoning code.”

Former Governor Roy Barnes represents Mr. Wordes.

UPDATE:  The hearing was delayed until mid-May.

City of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit Recommends Denial of Conservation Subdivision Ordinance

NPU-B voted unanimously to reject  a conservation subdivision ordinance proposed by the city’s Bureau of Planning and Department of Watershed Management. 

The proposed Planned Development Conservation Subdivision ordinance would allow for greater density in exchange for water quality improvement and protection of greenspace in new subdivision developments.

NPU-B rejected the ordinance because the ordinance’s language was not clear.

“My major concern is there’s still too much gray area in the ordinance,” said Sally Silver, board vice president. “It needs iron-clad wording and intent. The definitions relating to architecture are not as clear as they need to be. With city elections coming up, we’ll be having a new city administration interpreting these standards.”

“There’s a level of anxiety in other communities and on other NPU boards,” said Jeff Shell, NPU B chairman.

The ordinance now goes to the Zoning Review Board at its first or second meeting in April. The board will make recommendations to the city council zoning committee, which will make recommendations to the City Council for a vote.

DeKalb County Defers Suit Against Dunwoody . . . Again

In a sixth deferral, the DeKalb County Commission voted 7-0 to again to table the decision on whether to a lawsuit challenging the incorporation of Dunwoody, deferring a decision on whether to sue until April 14.  Commissioners, spurred by the loss of as much as $16 million in tax revenue to the new city, hired former Gov. Roy Barnes to draft a legal challenge under federal voting rights laws that protect racial minority voters.

Commissioner Lee May filed the legislation authorizing the suit in May.

May has said legal grounds for a lawsuit could range from lack of racial representation at the polls to the distribution of funds from business and property taxes.