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Decatur City Commission holding work session on missing middle housing policy

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Decatur City Commission holding work session on missing middle housing policy

City Planner Kristin Allin gives a presentation on missing middle housing during the Decatur City Commission meeting on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission will meet on Monday, Dec. 5, for two work sessions at 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, as well as Zoom.

The work sessions will focus on the city’s ongoing conversation about missing middle housing, as well as the Better Together Advisory Board. Work sessions are open to the public, but the city commission does not accept public comment during a work session.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions:

To view the agenda, click here.

This meeting will be held in-person. Members of the public wishing to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting may attend the meeting in one of two ways:

1. Attend in-person by coming to Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St.

2. Register in advance at https://zoom.us/j/98019292618. 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 City Manager Andrea Arnold at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 5th.

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

The city has been working to once again allow duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes in city neighborhoods, which was a recommendation of the Affordable Housing Task Force. This recommendation was incorporated into the city’s 2030 strategic plan. This type of housing would have to conform to the size limitations of single-family homes.

The city commission is considering two proposals:

1. To allow construction of and conversion to duplexes (2-units) and walk up flats (3-4 units) in R-50, R-60, R-85, and RS-17 zoning districts by limited use, and to comply with same size and setback requirements of detached homes.

2. To require parking compliance of 1 space per dwelling unit – as is currently required for detached homes – and to allow up to 50% of parking to for duplexes (2-units) and walk up flats (3-4 units) to be on-street parking, so long as frontage space meets requirements, and on-street parking is allowed.

The Decatur Planning Commission previously voted to recommend the denial of the city’s application due to deficiencies the commission members saw in the current proposal.

The planning commission members went back and forth about whether they should “approve with conditions” or deny and ultimately voted to deny because of concerns related to design standards, square footage minimums, parking standards, unintended consequences of activities from private developers, and more.

The city commission is not expected to vote on the proposals this year. The board will consider voting on the missing middle housing recommendations on Jan. 17 and Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Both meetings will take place at Decatur City Hall.

“[House Bill]1405 amended the Zoning Procedures Law and states that for this type of zoning decision at least [two] public hearings must be held and the public hearings ‘shall be held at least three months and not more than nine months prior to the date of final action on the zoning decision,'” City Manager Andrea Arnold previously told Decaturish. “The two public hearing dates are October 11 and October 17, 2022.  Also, the zoning decision must be adopted at [two] meetings. In order to comply with these requirements, the dates to consider the proposed text amendments are January 17, 2023, and February 6, 2023.”

During the regular meeting, The city commission will consider a change order of $190,500 for cost increases due to unanticipated conditions and additional work on the Church Street cycle track project.

If approved, this change order would increase the contract amount with Lewallen Construction Company to about $3.2 million. The board will consider a proposal for streetscape improvements near the intersection of Church Street and Commerce Drive.

“Originally, we did not expect to make these improvements because of underground telecom utility conflicts,” Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon wrote in a memo. “During construction, we determined that these conflicts could be avoided. Generally, the changes provide for new, wider sidewalks, curb and gutter and a wider planting strip to replace painted curb extensions for these 3 commercial properties.”

A retaining wall at 235 Geneva Street also has to be replaced. It was built by the Georgia Department of Transportation in the early 1980s.

Writer Mary Margaret Stewart contributed to this article.

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