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City of Atlanta proposes Kirkwood rezoning for affordable housing

Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL Trending

City of Atlanta proposes Kirkwood rezoning for affordable housing

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

By Patrick Saunders, contributor 

Atlanta, GA — The city of Atlanta is pursuing zoning changes that it claims would bring more affordable housing options to Kirkwood and other areas of the city near MARTA stations.

The city’s Office of Zoning and Development called the changes “incremental,” according to a project overview it provided at the Aug. 10 Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization meeting. But Nazeer Kutty, zoning chair for the KNO, called them “significant” at the group’s monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The rezoning would affect several areas around Atlanta, but the changes in Kirkwood are contained to an area north of Delano Drive, east of Rocky Ford Road, south of DeKalb Avenue and west of Winter Avenue. The East Lake MARTA station is just north of this area on College Avenue.

The rezoning would change the unit allowance in that area from 4 to 12 units to 1 to 4 units; allow multiple structures to promote more flexible housing options; create an affordable housing density bonus; and create more flexible options for accessory dwelling units, according to the project overview.

KNO President Katie Kissel encouraged residents to get engaged in the rezoning process at a number of upcoming events.

“This is an important part of what we as a neighborhood do,” she said.

Atlanta City Councilmember Amir Farokhi hosts a zoning virtual town hall on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The Atlanta Department of City Planning will host a virtual public event on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m., and residents will also be able to weigh in at the monthly NPU-O virtual meeting on Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Those last two virtual meeting links are not yet available.

The Atlanta Zoning Review Board and City Council are expected to vote on the zoning changes in October.

In other news from Tuesday’s KNO meeting, the group voted to approve a letter of support for safety upgrades at the intersection of Emery Place and Rocky Ford Road.

“It’s right on a curb where cars tend to speed up without even noticing it,” said Rebecca Serna, KNO’s Transportation Committee Chair.

KNO also voted to approve paying about $500 for insurance for the project. The rest of the project’s funding is coming from grants and the city, according to Kissel. The project installation date is scheduled for Oct. 16, with a rain date of Oct. 31.

KNO was able to hold a modified Spring Fling on July 31 for the first time in two years. But the event fell short of revenue goals, according to KNO Spring Fling Chair Andrew Feury. They hoped to make about $15,000 profit on the event, but instead made about $3,000.

A number of factors played into that result, according to Feury. They included having less time to organize, no barbecue, no Tour of Homes and no alcohol sales by KNO. A decrease in sponsorship money also played a major role.

“I think we can all point the finger at COVID right now and say it’s really creating friction for everybody,” Feury said. “Everyone really scaled back what they were able to do.”

Feury added that the all-volunteer-led event was “one of the most smoothly run festivals we’ve ever had.”

KNO is looking to fill its open vice president spot for the remainder of the term, which runs through the end of the year. Interested parties should contact Kissel at [email protected].

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