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Developer proposing 57-unit apartment complex in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood

Decatur

Developer proposing 57-unit apartment complex in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood

A developer is proposing the construction of a 57-unit apartment complex in Decatur's Oakhurst neighborhood.  The apartment complex would be located at 750 East Lake Drive
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This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — A developer is proposing the construction of a 57-unit apartment complex in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood.

The apartment complex would be located at 750 East Lake Drive, which according to the city currently is home to 17 multifamily units. The property would need to be rezoned from single family residential to multiple family residential for the development to move forward. The applicant for the rezoning is BFG Investments, LLC.

The Planning Commission will consider the rezoning application at its Oct. 12 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Attendance instructions appear at the end of this article. Once the Planning Commission acts, it will ultimately be up to the City Commission to approve the project. City staff is recommending the Planning Commission defer taking any action until Nov. 9.

“The application submission is incomplete,” the staff report says, explaining the recommendation for a deferral. “An Inclusionary Housing Plan is required to show how the development will be compliant with mandatory inclusionary housing ordinance.”

Under the city’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, six of the 57 units would have to be affordable. Decatur’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance requires new residential developments of at least five new dwelling units to set aside 10 percent of the units for households making less than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) for rental units, or buyers making less than 120 percent of the AMI for owner-occupied units. When the Decatur City Commission added inclusionary zoning to the city’s code in 2020, the area median income was $82,700 for a family of four.

The developer cites affordable housing in its rezoning application to the city.

“We will be one of the first developments in the City of Decatur to following the inclusive zoning ordinance,” the developer’s application says. ” … In additional (sic) to providing affordable and work force housing units, it will help meet the growing demand for walkable urban living at a variety of price points.”

The developer says the project will provide the city with additional “missing middle” housing.

“The new development aims to mimic classic Virginia-Highlands missing middle buildings and to compliment the surrounding properties in respect to design and will be compatible in scale with the properties surround it,” the application says. “The proposal would be suitable as we are not adding any commercial, industrial, or any other use besides residential. Further, the proposed use will provide a housing type that will contribute to the diversity of housing alternatives in the vicinity and enhance the character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

The developer says the project will not adversely impact the surrounding neighborhood.

“The zoning proposal will not adversely affect the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby properties,” the application says. “We aim to keep the building dimension comparable to the existing structure, so the building will not seem out of place or out of scale with the neighborhood.”

Some residents already are organizing against the project due to its proximity to single family homes in the Oakhurst area. They also argue that removing 17 older units and replacing them with a 57-unit apartment complex that has six affordable units is actually a net loss of affordable housing.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. at the Decatur City Hall City Commission Room located at 509 North McDonough Street. People can attend in person or virtually. Here are the access instructions:

1. Attend in-person by coming to Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street. A  temperature check and wearing of a face covering are required for entry into the building.

2. Register in advance at https://zoom.us/j/96612899339. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (the 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link).

NOTE – This meeting will utilize virtual meeting technology. We cannot guarantee it will operate as planned. If your participation must be a matter of public record, attend the meeting in person or email your comments to Ryan Sellers, Senior Planner, at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 11th.

Members of the public may also view the live broadcast of the Decatur Planning Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video

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