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Developer requests deferral from City Commission after Planning Commission votes against project

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Developer requests deferral from City Commission after Planning Commission votes against project

Decatur City Hall.

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Decatur City Hall.

This story has been updated. 

Developer Alliance Realty Services requested a deferral of its rezoning request for property that is being considered for annexation by the city of Decatur.

The City Commission heard the request at its March 19 meeting, which did not require any official action. The request has been deferred to the commission’s April 16 meeting.

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The request by the developer for a deferral follows a unanimous vote by the City Planning Commission on March 13 to reject the developer’s request for a land use change and rezoning for the property. The development is slated for the parcels currently being considered for annexation. The owners of the 11 parcels on east Ponce de Leon Avenue and Grove Place filed a petition with the city using the 100 percent method, meaning the owners of all properties in the affected area signed off on it.

The parcels near the Avondale MARTA station are zoned industrial, but Alliance Realty Services is planning a mixed-use project there, one that is rumored to include a Publix grocery store. The mixed use project will also include an apartment complex. Decatur Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers said a draft he saw proposed an apartment complex with 225 to 240 units.

Planning Commission member Melissa Manrow said there was “no second guessing at all” by her fellow commissioners when they turned down the developer’s request.

She said planning commissioners rejected the application because it was “not truly transit oriented” and had no affordable housing. She noted that planning staff for the county recommended denial of a proposal to change the land use designation of the parcels from light industrial to a “neighborhood center” designation.

“I personally told them I was affronted that they brought us the exact same project they took to DeKalb and failed to obtain approval,” Manrow said.

She said DeKalb County commissioners Jeff Rader, Kathie Gannon and Steve Bradshaw attended the meeting. Rader and Gannon spoke out against the application, Manrow said.

“They likewise commented that it was jurisdiction shopping and that an unacceptable project doesn’t suddenly become acceptable because it’s now in a different jurisdiction,” Manrow said. “Also the change from light industrial to mixed use forces out a segment of the business community that is having a harder & harder time finding space.”

The Decatur City Commission accepted the annexation petition for the properties at its Feb. 5 meeting.

Christine Hunsaker, who owns Your Pet Crematory on East Ponce, spoke during public comments at the Feb. 5 City Commission meeting and assured the city there would be “very heavy opposition” to the annexation proposal. She said the mixed use development will encroach on the industrial businesses near the proposed annexation area.

In the letter requesting a deferral, an attorney representing the developer said, “In the March 13,2018 Planning Commission meeting there were a number of issues that were presented which our team would like to address before proceeding. In furtherance of that effort, we would like to defer the consideration of the above mentioned items to the April 16,2018 City Commission meeting.”

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