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Tucker attracts new construction, businesses

Business COVID-19 Tucker

Tucker attracts new construction, businesses

Tucker's City Hall. Photo provided by the city of Tucker
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

Tucker, GA – At the May 11 City Council meeting, Mayor Frank Auman announced Tucker received 14 new business license applications since mid-April. Eleven of the applications are commercial businesses.

“We just can’t keep them out of here,” said Auman.

Using social distancing guidelines, Tucker last night introduced two first reads, presented in person for the first time in almost two months.

The meeting covered a rezoning ordinance to build a townhome community, a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) for a home-based sound studio, and the approval of two pavilions at public parks.

Courtney Smith, Tucker director of planning and zoning, presented the first read of a rezoning ordinance and two concurrent variances to develop 1409 Ashbrooke Trace. Applicant Rockhaven Homes owns the sliver of land — 3.6 acres between other residential developments of detached, single-family homes and townhomes.

Rockhaven Homes wants to build 13 attached, single-family dwellings and a pocket park. The variances address sidewalk regulations and landscaping, and reduction of the width of each unit from 25 ft. to 24 ft.

The land lot has a long history. In 2001, DeKalb Co. identified the land between Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery and Roadhaven Drive as one development with permission to build 490 apartments.

But since 2001, the number of homes allowed on the Ashbrooke development has been consistently slashed. In 2001, land was approved by DeKalb Co. for 11 units per acre; by 2018, when it fell under the city’s jurisdiction, it was 6 units per acre.

Now Rockhaven wants to develop the remaining 3.6 acres. A second read of the rezoning and accompanying variances is scheduled for May 26.

City Council heard from Sean Carney, owner of Frequency Blu, who requested a SLUP to maintain a home-based sound studio with limited client-facing contact. Neighbors joined via videoconference to express both support and opposition.

Those in support of the application said Carney invited neighbors into his home to demonstrate his operation, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and has no public signage or advertisements with the address.

Sarah Christian, Carney’s next-door neighbor in the Oakengate neighborhood, said, “We enthusiastically and wholeheartedly support the approval. With the current stipulations in place, we believe approving his request would not particularly increase traffic here, nor would it set any precedence for higher impact ordinance variances … Sean Carney has always been, and will continue to be, no doubt, a helpful and considerate neighbor.”

Opposed to the SLUP, neighbor Arthur Czerwonky asked, “Why is it that Tucker would want to have Oakengate disrupted to include a business and essentially become a mixed-use business community?”

A second read of the SLUP is scheduled for May 26.

City Council members unanimously approved the construction of two park pavilions. Parks and Recreation Director Rip Robertson said at Johns Homestead Park, the construction of a pavilion and picnic tables to hold about 25 people will cost $70,610. A smaller pavilion, 10 ft. by 10 ft., will be erected in Smoke Rise Park for $34,036. Contractors JOC Construction and The Gordian Company are scheduled to complete the work.

Lastly, city council unanimously passed a Supreme Court-mandated ordinance for hotels/motels to remove the following requirements: a hotel/motel must provide a guest list to police without probable cause or a warrant; a guest must show an official government identification to rent a room, and can be fined if they do not.

Tucker City Council announced a special called meeting on May 13 to discuss reopening parks and recreational areas including summer camp, swimming pools, and Tucker Rec Center. With Memorial Day approaching, Auman said, “We need to start making some decisions.”

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