NPU-D Meeting Minutes

February 27, 2007

 

Meeting called to order by the Chair, Jim Martin at 7:30 pm

 

http://www.atlantaga.gov/government/planning/npu_agendas.aspx.

 

 

Chair’s Opening Remarks:  Jim announced that NPU-D secretary Karl Goodhew would not be at the meeting. He announced that there would be an off-agenda presentation by Eric Ranney, the chair of NPU-C, about issues related to the Perry/Bolton TAD and the Moores Mill shopping center redevelopment. He reminded the group about the Parks and green space conference on 3/19. He announced the Agape center community festival on 4/27, the Beltline quarterly review meetings on 2/28 and 4/13 and the upcoming Beltline quadrant planning meetings.

 

Meeting Minutes: Jim asked everyone to review the minutes from last month’s meeting. A motion was made to approve the minutes, and they were approved by a voice vote.

 

City Staff Reports

Police – Officer Appleberry reported that things in zone 2 had been pretty quiet recently. He reminded people not to leave things in view in cars. He was asked about staffing levels in zone 2. He reported that a few officers had recently been added to the zone, but he was not aware of the current number of unfilled positions. He also did not know specifically what the residents of zone 2 could do to improve the situation.

Fire – No report. Felicia Moore said that the firemen had gone on a call just before the start of the meeting.

Public Works – No report.

Code Enforcement – Jesse Evans reported that the old bank building at 2061 Marietta Pkwy had been demolished and that the owner of the burned-out house at 1985 Spink St was being taken to court. He said that he had issued 26 notices in the past month. He said that he was in the process of locating the owners of several abandoned properties. Jesse was asked about properties at 2144 Adams and 1905 LaDawn. Jesse said that he had issued a notice regarding the property on LaDawn, and that he would have to check on the status of the property on Adams. Lee Coker asked about “job boxes”. Jesse said that they were required for any work exceeding $2,500 in value and that they had to be displayed outside although contractors did not always leave them out in order to avoid vandalism or theft. Jim asked about the burned-out, open, and vacant property at 1921 Anne St, which had been discussed in January. Jesse promised to check on this.

Watershed Management – Sharon Matthews, Tim Mullins, and Bahman Firoozi were present to answer questions about the sewage odor problems and the pipe-banging problems that were discussed in January. Karyn Hudson said that the odor had been improving, but that the previous Thursday had been an unusually bad day. Sharon asked that everyone report odor problems to 404-350-4902. Tim explained that the problem was related to the fact that the lid had been removed from the 250 digester while there was still sludge in the bottom of the tank that could not be pumped out because of grit and sand. They are now trying to implement additional odor control measures until that material can be removed. Ed Freeman asked when the lid had been removed. Tim said that it was being done in sections over the last two weeks and that only two pie-slice-shaped sections remained. Tammy asked why the existing lid could not have been repaired instead of removed. Tim began to explain the nature of these repairs, but Jim interrupted the discussion because these issues had been addressed at previous meetings and the information was contained in the minutes from those meetings. Preston asked whether similar sandy sludge problems might exist in the other digesters including those without broken lids, and if this might impair their function. Tim explained that the sandy sludge was a result of the fact that the broken digesters were not functioning properly and had been taken off line. Preston then extracted a promise from Tim that there would be no future broken-lid or sludge-related problems with the plant now that the city engineers were again running its operations.

   Bahman Firoozi led the discussion of the pipe banging problem. He explained that it was not really a “water hammer” because it did not result from a surge in the mains, but was instead due to air entrapment in the lines that resulted from a car running into a fire hydrant some time ago. The problem was dealt with by opening fire hydrants to bleed the main at locations around the accident site. He said that homeowners might need to bleed the service lines to their houses by running water from their faucets for 10 to 15 minutes. He asked people to report ongoing banging problems to 404-658-7220. He said that they had only had one complaint in the last week and he thought that the problem had been fixed.

DA’s Office – No report.

Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services – No report.

Councilwoman Felicia Moore – Felicia announced an ACERT (Atlanta Citizens Emergency Response Team) planning meeting on March 22nd. The meeting is an information session to discuss setting up training sessions in individual neighborhoods. Felicia updated the group on the Perry/Bolton TAD. She explained that the Fulton County commission had voted to attach conditions to the TAD, in additional to a problematic 40% affordability component, which the city found unacceptable. Although the TAD is five years old, there has still not been a bond issue. The city has set aside its increment of the tax dollars, but there is no increment from the county or from the school board (whose contribution is contingent on the county contribution). Currently Felicia is trying to identify other funds for the needed projects in the neighborhood such as the new fire house. Keith Sharp asked about the new conditions other than 40% affordability. Felicia explained the nature of the 40% condition and that the county had attached an onerous “audit provision” and demanded repayment of funds if the condition is not met. She explained that the county is also requiring the 40% affordability component in all new developments within the boundaries of the TAD not just those that seek TAD funding. Felicia explained that there was no way that this condition could be enforced and that the burden of enforcement would be placed on the city through the audit provision. Jim asked if the net result of all this would be to discourage new developments within the TAD rather than encouraging them as the TAD was intended to do. Felicia said that this was a possible outcome. Lee asked if all this was an indication that Fulton County did not really want this TAD. Felicia said that it was more likely to be a backlash for the city’s lack of enforcement of affordability conditions in the past. Keith asked if there was any precedent for a 40% affordability component. Felicia said that she thought that there was not, but that the county might make similar demands elsewhere for future bond issuances. Jim asked if there was any connection between this issue and the affordable housing ordinance. Felicia said that there was not. Jim asked if the lifetime of the TAD was gradually expiring while this issue was being argued. Felicia said that she thought that it wasn’t, but she was not sure of this.

Commissioner Emma Darnell’s Office – No report.

Representative Sheila Jones’ Office – No report.

Bolton Academy – Marilyn Taylor, principle of Bolton Academy, announced a student art show on Tuesday March 27th at 6:00. She discussed a community meeting that the school had hosted in Dupont Commons. She discussed collaborative efforts between the school and the Friends of Collins Park and between the school and the Top Dog Sports facility. Keith asked if the school was an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. Marilyn said that they were currently a candidate for this certification.

Parks – Debby Kelly and Diane Harnell Cohen announced the opportunity-bond-funded ball field renovation projects. She said that the Underwood Hills Park ball field would get new sod and would be closed for several months to allow for this. She said that the Parks Office and the Recreation Office would be merging and would centralize their reservations handling. To reserve event facilities people should call Gail Doherty at 404-817-6757. Debby also announced Camp Best Friends registration day on Saturday March 3rd. Jim asked about the grading in Underwood Hills Park and reported disturbance in the stream buffer. Diane promised to check on this. Danny Moore asked about whether the elevated manhole in the ball field would be repaired as part of this effort. Diane said that she would check on this. Diane asked those present to report all parks related problems and concerns to her by email at dharnellcohen@atlantaga.gov.

   Lee Coker updated the group on the activities of the Friends of Collins Park. He announced the park cleanup project on Saturday March 10th from 9:00 to 12:00. He encouraged everyone to use the Spink St entrance rather than the Collins St entrance in order to minimize traffic on the residential cul-de-sac. More information is available at  http://www.collinspark.org. With regard to Collins Park and elsewhere, Diane asked everyone to be on the lookout for illegal dumping and to report it.

Presentation: Ray Mock, The Chastain Park Conservancy – Ray explained that his group is currently involved in formulating a master plan for Chastain Park, which is the largest park in the city. He described the facilities that are available in the park and the improvements that the conservancy has already put in place. He explained that the park is a regional park and that they would like input from everyone in Atlanta. He encouraged everyone to take an online survey about the park that is available at www.chastainparkconservancy.org.

Planner’s ReportKarl Smith-Davids told the group about the upcoming Beltline meetings, the Park Pride event at the Botanical Gardens on March 13th, and the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency’s free tax preparation service. He presented the new NPU-D neighborhood boundary map for the group to review before it is declared to be the final draft. He said that the boundaries should be addressed by the City Council in the next month and would probably be official before the March NPU-D meeting.

Presentation: Eric Ranney, Chair NPU-C – Eric described the problems that the plan to redevelop the old Moores Mill shopping center faced because of the dispute between the city and the county over affordability requirements inside the TAD. He explained that the project is currently in limbo because of this. He said that the developer could not make the project work with significantly more than 20% affordability, and that there was no support in the community for a more stringent affordability requirement. He said that the NPU-C task force had negotiated a reasonable set of zoning conditions for the site and that the developer intended to ask the ZRB to approve the application, but for the City Council Zoning Committee to hold it until the TAD situation is resolved. Eric also talked about the project to extend Moores Mill Rd to Marietta Blvd. In order to move this project forward the project concept plan report was already approved. Environmental and historic preservation reports must also be completed, and those are currently underway. Next, right-of-way must be acquired. Edens and Avant have agreed to donate a portion of this and would like to have the road extension project completed before the new Moores Mill development opens in 2008. There is currently $1.8 million in the city budget for this project. Lee Coker asked what sort of lobbying effort was being put together to push the road extension forward. Eric said that they were trying to keep the NPU-C task force together to push for it, but that there was a general sense of disillusionment in that group because of all the effort that had been expended on rezoning only to find that TAD restrictions would be a show stopper regardless of zoning. Preston Mason asked about the specific zoning conditions for the Moores Mill project. Eric said that there would be 345 residential units, a four-story building height facing Coronet Way and a five-story façade facing Marietta Blvd. The zoning will also be conditioned on a site plan and a variety of lesser features.

 

Zoning

 

Z-06-55 1921 Anne St: The applicants, Chris and Jamie Cochran seek to rezone the property from I-1 (light industrial) to MR-4A (eight-story multi-family residential). Jim introduced the topic as being one that was deferred at the last two NPU-D meetings for a residential development with a 1.48 FAR on a 37,000 sq ft lot. Jamie Cochran described the location at the end of an unimproved right-of-way adjoining a multiuse trail. She described the history of proposals that they had considered for the site. She described buildings containing 39 residential units that would be 52 feet tall and 42 feet above grade with 74 spaces of primarily underground parking. She proposed improving the entire dead end Anne St right-of-way to serve the project. She described many potential benefits that the development might offer to the neighborhood. She explained that they had met with the Bolton neighborhood association on February 21st and that the neighborhood had not approved their plan.

-A motion was made to extend the meeting past 9:00 and approved by a voice vote.-

   Karyn asked about the three-deep tandem parking spaces shown in the site plan. Jamie said that these would serve the three-bedroom units. Tierson asked about the lack of any apparent structural supports for the building above in the plan for the underground parking deck. Jamie said that there would be columns, but that if the column-blocked parking spaces were eliminated, the project would still be well above the required minimum number of parking spaces. She could not say how many that would be. Preston Mason asked what limits the zoning would place on building height and whether another zoning category would be more appropriate for the site plans. Karl explained that nothing below the requested designation would allow for the proposed FAR and that a building height could only be capped below 80 feet with a zoning condition unless the requested density was reduced to MR-2 which caries a 35-foot limit. Cindy pointed out that, in her experience as a realtor, tandem parking spaces are an undesirable feature of a condominium. Jamie said that these would appeal to the particular class of condominium buyer that the project was designed for. James Arpad asked if the city would approve the parking plan. Karl said that he thought that the city would approve the two-deep tandem spaces, but might have reservations about the three-deep spaces. Tammy Floyd complained that the site plans had been changed since the neighborhood meeting the week before and that the plans that were being presented to the NPU were not physically realistic. She said that it was unfair to ask the NPU to make a decision based on it. Jamie said that she believed it was reasonable to present an inaccurate plan because she had attached appropriate caveats to her description of the plan and had conceded that it would need to be changed. Rodney Kline complained that the parking problems would also create safety issues. He pointed out that fire trucks could already have trouble getting down Dunseath between parked cars. Lee Coker asked about the buffer and transitional height along the trail. Karl said that the underlying zoning of that section of the trail is I-1 and that there is no transitional height plane requirement. He said that the buffer does apply, but that a walkway like the one shown in the site plan could be constructed in the buffer. Karyn Hudson made a motion to deny the rezoning application, based on several factors, which she listed in a document provided to the City Planner and to the Chair. These focused on parking, traffic, incompatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, failure to properly address the street and the path trail, and failure to provide a transition between residential uses to the west and industrial and/or commercial uses to the east. The motion was seconded and passed by a vote of 28 to deny the rezoning, 1 not to deny, and 2 abstentions.

 

Z-07-07 2612 & 2622 Peyton Road N. W. (requires CDP Amendment), The applicant, Alliance Real Estate Ventures, LLC/ Rod Batiste, seeks to rezone from R-4A (Single-Family Residential) to MR-2 ( 2-3 story Multi-Family Residential) and to amend the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) land use designation from  “Single Family Residential” to “Low-Density Residential”. The application was presented by Rod Batiste. He explained that this would be for the addition of five single-family (three-bedroom, two-bath) residences to the Burtz St development that would be consistent with the adjoining portions of the development that had already been rezoned. Keith Sharp made a motion to approve the rezoning conditioned on the site plan as presented. The motion was seconded and approved by a vote of 19 in favor and 0 opposed. Keith Sharp made a motion to approve the CDP amendment as stated in the agenda. It was seconded and approved by a vote of 19 in favor and 0 opposed.

 

Z-07-08 1901-1913 Hollywood Rd. N. W. (requires CDP Amendment), The applicant, Burtz St. Development LLC/ Rod Batiste, seeks to rezone from R-4A (Single-Family Residential) to L/W (Live Work) and to amend the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) land use designation from “Single Family Residential” to “Low-Density Commercial”. The application was presented by Rod Batiste. He described a row of nine attached brownstone-style dwellings with a single primary entrance off of Burtz St to rear entry garages and parking. These dwellings will be across the street from the residential portion of the Burtz St development. Storm water will be detained in a small pond on site. The project will have a 20 foot green buffer on the side of the adjoining single-family residential. Jim asked why the CDP amendment request was not for “mixed use”. Karl said that the requested designation was the least general category that would accommodate the planned development and limit the density to a minimum. Keith Sharp asked what the CDP recommendation for the parcels on the other side of Hollywood Rd was. Rod said that it was “medium density commercial” and that their zoning was MRC-2. Preston Mason expressed the opinion that the site plan did not include enough parking for its commercial clients. Rod answered that there could be additional on-street parking. He also said that there would be additional spaces available under the decks at the rear of the units. Tierson explained that the Riverside Neighborhood Association approved of the development and had faith that Rod would provide for sufficient parking beyond what is required by the zoning category. Tierson made a motion to approve the rezoning contingent on a condition requiring additional parking spaces. There was considerable discussion of how this condition should be stated (total spaces, spaces per unit, or configuration of spaces). Rod suggested that the condition be that there be on-street parking on Hollywood Rd in front of the development pending an approval by the Department of Public Works. Tierson accepted this phrasing and amended his motion accordingly. The motion was seconded and approved by a vote of 18 in favor and 0 opposed. Tierson made a motion to approve the CDP amendment as stated in the agenda. This was seconded and approved by a vote of 19 in favor and 0 opposed. 

 

Subdivision Review: SD-07-03 2171 Spink Street, The applicant, Keith Roseberry, seeks to subdivide 22,928.26 into three lots.   The application was presented by Mr Roseberry, who explained that he would like to reconfigure three existing R-4A lots into three new conformal lots in order to build on the property.

 

Ordinance Review: Z-06-144/06-O-2697 Text Amendment (requires NPU vote), An Ordinance by Council Member Carla Smith to amend chapter 28 of part 16 of the Atlanta City Land Development code to provide for density increases in exchange for affordable workforce housing; to define certain terms; to provide limitations and requirement; and for other purposes. Jim explained that this ordinance would provide a 20% density bonus across a broad range of zoning categories in exchange for 10% of new development being built as affordable workforce housing. Tierson expressed the opinion that a 20% increase would not knock new development way out of scale. Karyn expressed concern that many new developments were already pushing the limits of what neighborhoods consider to be acceptable density. Several people expressed concern over the enforcement of the affordability requirement and about the fact that the specific circumstances of a development are not considered in determining the density bonus. Eva made a motion to disapprove the ordinance. The motion was seconded and approved by a vote of 16 to disapprove and 3 not to disapprove.

 

Meeting adjourned at 10:10 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

James Martin, NPU-D Chair

404-351-6949, james.martin@me.gatech.edu