Drastic changes proposed in the City’s guiding planning document and zoning ordinances that threaten the character and integrity of our historic neighborhood.
Updated August 27, 2021
Comprehensive Development Plan
Every five years, the City of Atlanta is required by state law to update its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP). This document covers a wide range of topics and is intended to coordinate the planning policies of the various functions of city government. This document, once approved by City Council, sets the aspirational goals for things like land use and development. Specifically, the intention is that future zoning ordinances and variances must be consistent in some fashion with the CDP. The city planning department had initially been saying the CDP update this cycle would be “administrative”. However, when it was actually published, the proposal contained major policy changes in land use and development including the concept of a Transit Oriented Development zone around major MARTA stations which would encompass the west side of Ansley Park. Warning, this is a 159 page document with pictures. https://www.atlcitydesign.com/2021-cdp
Earlier this month in a surprising move, Councilmember Amir Farokhi, in conjunction with the City’s Planning Department, introduced three proposed ordinances which directly impact Ansley Park:
1) 21-O-0454 / Z-21-73 – Rezones 120 land parcels within a half mile of walking distance of MARTA stations from R4 (single family residential) to MR/MU including a significant portion of Ansley Park – FACT SHEET
2) 21-O-0455 / Z-21-73 – Amends the future land use of certain parcels in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) from single family to medium density residential. The stated goal is to allow the rezoning proposed in 21-O-0454; it should be noted, however, that medium density residential also allows various other zoning categories including RG3 (see recent examples on Piedmont) and categories with some limited commercial usage - ORDINANCE
3) 21-O-0456 / Z-21-74 – Includes various changes MR/MU, removes requirements for off-street parking, allows subdividing of lots, to separately sell Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). FACT SHEET - ORDINANCE
See the map for specific property lots that would be rezoned multi-family.
Ordinarily, enabling legislation would follow the adoption of the CDP. In this case, the legislation is being introduced even before the NPUs have approved the CDP.
These Changes Will Denigrate Our Historic Neighborhood
APCA has been concerned about the number of homes being torn down under existing applicable zoning regulations. Rising property values has made it profitable for developers to come in and purchase homes, particularly modest-sized and older homes, and replace them with structures that maximize lot coverage and built square footage. We believe this proposed rezoning will accelerate the loss of homes in the neighborhood due to re-development of existing homes into multi-family developments allowed in MR-MU (allowing up to 12 units per parcel depending on lot size and configuration). Demolition and higher land use intensity will lead bring a meaningful deterioration of the historic character of the neighborhood. The situation could be severely exacerbated if developers were able to further rezone properties in the future to even more expansive uses compatible with this new medium density residential land use designation in the CDP.
Given the high cost of the units in the newly constructed developments along Piedmont, we do not believe this rezoning will create meaningful amounts of affordable housing in Ansley Park, is one of the stated goals of these ordinances. Moreover, the neighborhood remains home to a large number of duplexes, carriage houses, small condos and apartment buildings which provide more moderately priced housing.
Since the 1960’s, APCA has fought to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood from encroachment of development from Peachtree, having already lost the section of the neighborhood along West Peachtree and Peachtree. Consequently, the neighborhood has drawn a proverbial line in the sand along the alleyway in between Peachtree Circle and Peachtree. This dramatically crosses that line. Essentially, Ansley Park would lose the uniformity of low-density zoning in the neighborhood core.
Many residents will recall that planners once wanted to run freeways through now cherished intown Atlanta neighborhoods against the opposition of residents. The call for rezoning Ansley Park in the name of density echoes this fight.
Call to Action-Recent Developments
Be on the lookout for e-News blasts from APCA plus notices and information posted on the APCA website. We will provide suggested emails to elected officials and decision makers at appropriate intervals.
On Aug.18, a number of concerned residents met with AOCA Board members to organize our opposition efforts.
On Aug. 25, the APCA Board, Zoning Committee and Ansley Park Forever met with Josh Humphries, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City to convey concerns about the CDP and proposed ordinances.
Earlier this week, our e-News request to the neighborhood resulted in over 150 emails being sent to the Mayor, the City Council and the City Planning Commissioner.
There are more action plans being formulated as the approval timeline progresses.
APCA will need additional financial resources to effectively challenge these proposals. We are going to need to pay printers, sign makers, and hire an attorney(s) with specialized expertise in land use law. Please consider a financial donation.
APCA is unsure of what is motivating these proposed zoning changes. Speculation surrounds recent private funding announcements from MARTA, potential upcoming federal funding opportunities, and good old fashion city politics in an election year as drivers of this hurried process.
APCA will try to convey dates as they evolve. City Planning has stated it will provide final versions of the ordinances in time for the NPU agendas for “Review & Comment” in September and a vote by the NPUs in October. NPU-E, of which we are a part, meets on the first Tuesday of the month, September 7th and October 5th, respectively. The Zoning Review Board is currently scheduled to review these ordinances including comments from the public and NPUs on November 4th or 18th. Ultimately, they will need to pass City Council which is currently slated for a hearing in November and a vote on December 6th.
However, please note that proposed CDP changes in ordinance 21-O-0455 which redesignate the future land use from single family to medium density residential are on a separate, more accelerated timeline. At the July 13th Community Development / Human Services Committee meeting, the committee, inc. chair Matt Westmoreland, voted to “hold in committee” this legislation until the 3rd Quarter CDP Public Hearing scheduled for September 27.