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Decatur City Commission to consider extending mask ordinance, approving TAD funding request


Decatur City Commission to consider extending mask ordinance, approving TAD funding request

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: A long time street corner vendor in unincorporated DeKalb County shifted his focus from selling t-shirts to masks, gloves and sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission will meet on Monday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. for a work session and at 7:30 p.m. for a regular meeting. The meetings are held in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, as well as Zoom.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions: 

Participants must register in advance through Zoom to receive the meeting link. To register, click here.

The meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s website.

To view the meeting agenda, click here.

During the meeting, the City Commission will consider extending the city’s face mask ordinance until Dec. 6. The board reinstated the ordinance on Aug. 16 and extended the ordinance on Sept. 27. The ordinance expires at midnight on Nov. 1.

The ordinance requires residents and visitors to wear face masks while in any business, store or other place where goods and services are sold. The requirement does not apply to places of worship or polling places.

Employees of establishments in the city are also required to wear a mask, and those who are in outdoor public spaces are required to wear a mask when they cannot social distance.

Businesses in the city must post a clearly visible sign near the front entrance notifying patrons of the face mask ordinance and a potential civil penalty. However, business owners can opt out and not consent to enforcement of the ordinance on their property.

Establishments that opt out have to post a sign informing customers they do not consent to enforcement of the ordinance.

Individuals who don’t comply with the ordinance can face a civil penalty of up to $25 on the first offense, and up to $50 on the second offense and any subsequent offenses, according to the ordinance.

Also, on the agenda:

— During the regular meeting, the City Commission will discuss a tax allocation district fund request from developer Northwood Ravin. The developer has proposed a mixed-use development, called Halo East Decatur, located at 725 E. College Avenue. The development would consist of 372 multifamily units, including six live/wok units, a café and coworking space, over 17,000 square feet of first floor retail space, a 545-space parking deck, including 50 public spaces available for retail, Affordable Housing Fellow Kristin Allin wrote in a memo.

At least 41 units will be set aside as affordable rental units at 80% of the area median income. The project includes public improvements as well, with a greenspace that will be about one acre, and extending Freeman Street, connecting Sams Street and New Street.

Northwood Ravin has requested about $6.5 million in funding from the TAD over an eight-year period to obtain the right-of-way for the Freeman Street expansion and the one-acre park; the design, grading, landscape and hardscape at the park; and for work related to sidewalks, curbs, gutters, street trees and street parking. The TAD funds would also go toward construction of the Freeman Street expansion; relocating existing stormwater and sewer infrastructures on Freeman Street; constructing a woonerf; building the 50 public parking spaces in the parking deck; and for the retail courtyard.

The City Commission approved the use of tax allocation districts within the city in 2010, which uses tax increment financing to encourage desired development by allowing the city to reinvest future taxes from real estate project development back into a project area and as a way to fund public infrastructure, according to the memo.

The East Decatur TAD was created in 2015 to collect the tax digest growth resulting from private development in the area. The city established the East Decatur TAD No. 1 Redevelopment Plan to guide implementation of the reinvestment and to tie these public improvements to the Livable Centers Initiative, the Strategic Plan, and other studies completed to guide redevelopment in Decatur.

The current TAD has a value of about $88 million. The city may use TAD funds for sewer expansion and repair, stormwater management, street construction and expansion, park improvements, curbs, sidewalks and streetscapes, grading and earthwork, and parking. The East Decatur TAD Redevelopment Plan also allows funds to be used for street connections, pedestrian infrastructure, stormwater management improvements and greenspace.

— The City Commission will consider approving a sidewalk plan that would create a new sidewalk on the west side of Shadowmoor Drive and the north side of Hilldale Drive. The plan aims to improve the pedestrian connectivity in the neighborhood between Winnona Park Elementary School, Talley Street Upper Elementary School and Legacy Park.

The board approved the concept plan for the sidewalk improvements in September 2020. The new design will help eliminate gapes in the sidewalk system, provide safer routes to city schools, and prioritize ares of high pedestrian and traffic volumes.

The final design is consistent with the layout that was approved in August 2020, as well as resident comments that supported protection of pedestrians in a way that minimized impacts to trees, yards and on-street parking. The design includes narrowing vehicle lanes to provide traffic-calming and green stormwater infrastructure, such as bioswales to improve water quality, Assistant City Manager David Junger wrote in a memo.

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