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Decatur City Commission approves preliminary plat for cottage courts on Forkner Drive

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Decatur City Commission approves preliminary plat for cottage courts on Forkner Drive

Footprint Properties is planning to build a cottage court with six homes behind the apartments at 258 Forkner Drive in Decatur. Photo obtained via Google Maps.

Decatur, GA — A private cottage court development will soon be coming to Decatur. The Decatur City Commission approved the preliminary plat for a subdivision related to the project.

Footprint Properties is intending to construct a cottage court with six cottages at 258 Forkner Drive. The single-family homes would each be between two and three bedrooms. One cottage will be set aside as affordable according to the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance. The cottages will be about 1,500 square feet and 1.5 stories.

The property currently has an apartment building with 10 two-bedroom units. The preliminary plat subdivides the lot into eight parcels: one for the existing apartment building, one for a common space owned by the homeowners’ association, and six separate parcels for each cottage. 

The project does not require any variances. The property could be developed as a single lot, but because the intention is to sell each cottage, the lot needed to be platted in a way where each home was on its own lot, Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said.

“When we’re creating four or more new lots in the city, that’s a major subdivision, and it needs to come through a preliminary plat process just like this one, so planning commission [making a recommendation] and then city commission taking the final action on the preliminary plat,” Threadgill said. “When it comes time to the final plat, once it’s constructed, and getting close to certificate of occupancy, that final plat will come back through for that final approval.”

Erik Pawloski, an owner of Footprint Properties, said 258 Forkner Drive is being redeveloped in two phases.

“The first phase, the rebuild of the apartment and attend workforce housing units is complete,” Pawloski said. “The second phase, the installation of the land development infrastructure, and construction of six cottage court, single-family homes has already begun with the submittal of drawings for the initial permit process.”

The plans also include adding an underground stormwater management facility to treat the required water quality volume and control the release of stormwater from the property. Footprint Properties also plans to preserve about 50% of the existing tree canopy, transplant some of the existing trees and plant back 9,000 square feet of potential tree canopy.

One resident asked about how this project fits within missing middle housing. Pawloski said that it’s a housing option in between a large single-family house and government-subsidized affordable housing.

“By the nature of their size they would fall in that requirement of what I, and many other people, would define as the missing middle housing,” Pawloski said.

Threadgill added that missing middle housing focuses on housing types and housing options, and inclusionary housing or zoning looks at household income.

“I believe that this project is meeting both by providing that missing middle housing type that we do not see in the city very often, which is these smaller cottages, especially as new construction,” Threadgill said. “Of course, this development will be required to meet the inclusionary housing ordinance, whereby one of these cottages will have to be set aside for households earning no more than 120% area median income because there is the intent that these cottages be sold.”

In other business:

– The city commission approved a deferral request from CitySwitch regarding its proposed telecommunications tower. The city commission will consider the application and hold a public hearing at its meeting on Nov. 27.

CitySwitch has proposed constructing a 150-foot telecommunications tower on CSX right-of-way that would be accessed by Maediris Drive.

The application from CitySwitch to build the tower would be on land in the CSX railroad right of way and would involve a modification of setback limits from the property line and a modification to the landscape buffer requirements, according to the Planning Commission’s staff report.

The planning commission unanimously recommended the city commission deny the conditional use permit. Residents spoke in opposition to the proposal during the planning commission meeting on Oct. 11, and a petition against the tower was submitted to the city with 236 signatures.

Janelle Alleyne, a legal representative for CitySwitch, said CitySwitch requested the deferral in order to have more time to look into concerns raised by the planning commission and residents, particularly when it comes to the height of the tower and possibly lowering the tower.

“Unfortunately, given that we’ve only had four days since the application presentation to the planning commission, we haven’t had time to work through all of those issues and figure out what exactly the applicant can do to address those issues,” Alleyne said.

Commissioner Lesa Mayer agreed that four days is a short period of time.

“I think it’s reasonable to allow for a deferral to give them an opportunity to present any changes that they want to present to the community,” Mayer said.

Commissioner Kelly Walsh also noted that she had thought about whether to recuse herself from the discussion of the telecommunications tower. The tower is proposed to be located near the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and Walsh serves on the YMCA community engagement board.

“However, based on the nature of the board and my service, it’s a volunteer board. We don’t have fiduciary responsibilities. We don’t approve budgets. We don’t hire or fire executive directors or staff,” Walsh said.

She added that she discussed the topic with the city manager and city attorney, and due to the volunteer nature of the board decided not to recuse herself on Monday night.

– The city commission established a project budget of $88,000 and awarded a contract in the amount of $84,329.21 to CGS, LLC for renovations to the Public Works Annex.

“The proposal includes construction of an ADA restroom, drywall installation, carpet tiles, paint, a drop ceiling, heating and air system and fire suppression sprinkler head adjustments. This renovation will create four workspaces and a small meeting space,” Felix Floyd, assistant public works director, wrote in a memo.

Writer Anila Yoganathan contributed to this article.

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