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Decatur Commission to consider developer’s rezoning request for properties in annexation petition

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Decatur Commission to consider developer’s rezoning request for properties in annexation petition

Decatur City Hall.

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Decatur City Hall.

The Decatur City Commission at its April 16 meeting will consider a request for rezoning and an annexation petition for properties slated for a mixed use development.

The city’s Planning Commission already recommended denying the rezoning request from Alliance Realty Services for the 11 parcels on east Ponce de Leon Avenue and Grove Place. That prompted the developer to request a deferral at the commission’s March 19 meeting.

The parcels near the Avondale MARTA station are zoned industrial, but Alliance Realty Services is planning a mixed-use project there, one that could 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.

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Mayor Patti Garrett said she would not speculate on whether the City Commission would approve the rezoning at its April 16 meeting despite the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny the request.

“The Planing Commission makes recommendations that we can accept, alter or make a different decision [about],” Garrett said. “It would not be appropriate for me to speculate about the vote, mine or anyone else’s. I’m sure we will have a robust discussion.”

The Planning Commission’s ruling that the request should be denied was unanimous. The project doesn’t appear to be transit oriented, the Planning Commission determined, and has no affordable housing component. The developers first went to the county with the project, but planning staff for the county recommended denial of the proposal to change the land use designation of the parcels from light industrial to a “neighborhood center” designation.

DeKalb County Commissioners attended March 13 Planning Commission meeting and accused the developers of jurisdiction shopping.

Following the debate about the rezoning, commissioners could consider approving an annexation ordinance that would bring the 11 parcels into the city of Decatur. It’s not clear whether the annexation petition will move forward if the City Commission follows the Planning Commission’s recommendation and denies the rezoning request.

At least one commercial property owner in the area warned the commission that they would have a fight on their hands if they moved forward with the annexation and rezoning. 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.

The April 16 City Commission meeting starts with a work session at 6 p.m. to discuss the results of a study of the area around the East Lake MARTA station. The study shows that there is the potential for developing 430 multi-family units on the north and south side of the station. East Lake would become another MARTA Transit Oriented Development, a mixed-use project designed to increase use of the station. According to the plan, at least 20 percent of the units would be affordable housing. To learn more about it, click here.

The regular meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. City Commission meetings are held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

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