Stratford annexation quietly moves forward
Avondale Estates’ Planning and Zoning Board on Monday held a public hearing about annexing 154 town homes into the city limits, but the board members didn’t hear much.
There was a healthy turnout, including many of the people who have been carefully watching the city’s annexation efforts. But if there’s any widely-held view against bringing Stratford Green Townhomes into the fold, it wasn’t represented at Monday’s meeting.
The Planning and Zoning Board, looking skeptically at the quiet crowd of people in front of them, called for public comments several times. There were two in support of the Stratford petition, and no one spoke against it.
Annexation normally generates more of a discussion in Avondale. It’s been a hot topic for several weeks.
Much of the controversy stemmed from former mayor Ed Rieker asking state Rep. Karla Drenner to introduce an annexation bill in the 2014 session without holding a public hearing or a vote by city commissioners. The bill, which would’ve required a referendum, never made it out of the 2014 session.
Apparently news about the bill didn’t make it out of the session either, because many people affected by it didn’t know until late September.
There was a work session on Oct. 1 that drew hundreds of people and several news cameras to city hall. Rieker resigned as mayor the next day to take a university teaching job, leaving Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager in charge of leading the city’s annexation effort.
Since taking over as mayor, Giager and other commissioners have visited neighborhoods identified in the original bill. One neighborhood affected by the bill, Decatur Terrace, has asked to be removed from Avondale’s plans. Commercial property owners around the Rio Circle and the owner of the DeKalb Farmers Market have asked for the same thing. Rio Circle property owners are asking to join Decatur, while Robert Blazer, the owner of the DFM, wants to stay in unincorporated DeKalb.
Compared with all that, Monday’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting on the Stratford petition was pretty straightforward.
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Board members decided to recommend that Stratford be admitted under planned development zoning instead of multifamily zoning.
City Planner Keri Stevens said Planned Development Zoning is tied to Stratford’s site plan, meaning if its current plan doesn’t change then nothing will change for Stratford property owners. If its site plan does change, it will require approval by the Board of Mayor and Commissioners.
“If the site plan changes then you are required to go back and get it approved again,” Stevens said.
Commissioners will have a first reading of the Stratford Green annexation ordinance at their special called meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 12, which will begin at 7 pm. Commissioners will receive an annexation update during the work session following Wednesday’s special called meeting.
According to a financial analysis published by the city, Stratford would bring in $133,449 in tax revenue while costing the city $28,271 to provide services.
After the first reading on Nov. 12, commissioners will have a second reading of the ordinance on Nov. 17 and a final reading on Dec. 15.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date for the final reading of the Stratford annexation ordinance. The date will be Dec. 15.