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Decatur City Commission holding final vote on missing middle housing amendments

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Decatur City Commission holding final vote on missing middle housing amendments

Citizens voiced thier opinions concerning 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, Feb. 6, for a work session at 6:15 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. The regular meeting will be held in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, and virtually via Zoom.

The work session will focus on the parks and recreation master plan report. During the regular meeting, the city commission will hold the second public hearing and vote on the zoning amendments to re-allow duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes in single-family zoning districts.

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/92718168799. 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, February 6th.

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 plans to limit public comment to three minutes per speaker during the public hearing. A sign-up sheet for in-person attendees will be available. Participants on Zoom will be able to speak after the in-person attendees, and they will be taken as hands are raised.

At the Jan. 17 city commission meeting, the board held the first vote on the amendments and voted unanimously to approve the amendments. The Decatur Planning Commission previously recommended that the city commission deny text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance to allow duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in single-family residential zoning districts.

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 ability to build and maintain a single-family home will not change if the amendments are approved.

The city commission’s vote on Jan. 18 around 1 a.m. followed hours of public comment during the Jan. 17 meeting. A few changes had been made since the first public hearing in October.

According to a memo from former city planner Kristin Allin, here are the changes:

– A four unit walk-up flat may also have one accessory dwelling unit, and will be subject to the mandatory inclusionary housing ordinance.

– For every 20 feet of street frontage of lot width, one qualifying on-street space may be counted towards off-street parking requirements; previously proposed at 15 feet.

– The effective date for the ordinance is June 30, 2023.

– For a period of eighteen (18) months from June 30, 2023 to December 31, 2024, there will be in place a building permit limitation in place in which duplex and walk up flat permits will be limited to three (3) per each City of Decatur lower elementary school district, so as to provide sufficient time for the city to effectively implement the zoning changes in a manner that best serves the community and minimizes any adverse impacts on City residents.

Allin, who spearheaded the effort to re-allow duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes, in January started a job as a senior planner with the Atlanta Regional Commission.

In other business, the city commission will consider an agreement with Blue Line Solutions to create a school zone speed enforcement program.

“The goal of the program is to increase roadway safety in five (5) city school zones by reducing the number of speeding vehicles,” Police Chief Scott Richards wrote in a memo. “A reduction in speeding vehicles reduces the likelihood of serious crashes or injuries, especially for children walking, biking and riding to and from school each day.”

“The identified school zones are Scott Boulevard in front of Westchester Elementary, Clairemont Avenue near Clairemont Elementary, Church Street near Clairemont Elementary, South Candler Street near Winnona Park Elementary, and West College Avenue in front of Beacon Hill Middle School,” he added.

The city commission will also consider issuing alcoholic beverage licenses to three local businesses — BB.Q Chicken-Decatur, Cap’t Loui-Decatur and The Cereal Lab.

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