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Decatur City Commission to consider proposals for cell tower, cottage court development


Decatur City Commission to consider proposals for cell tower, cottage court development

FILE PHOTO: Members of various country dancing groups, including the Chattahoochee Country Dancers, raised concerns about increased parks and recreation fees during the Decatur City Commission meeting on Aug. 21, 2023, at Decatur City Hall. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission will meet on Monday, Oct. 16, for its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a dinner session at 5 p.m., an executive session at 5:30 p.m., and a work session at 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, and virtually via Zoom.

The work session will focus on the Better Together Advisory Board. While executive sessions are not open to the public, the community can join to see the city commission enter into the executive session and adjourn. The city commission will discuss legal and real estate matters.

During the regular meeting, the city commission will consider approving a conditional use permit for a cell phone tower near the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and a preliminary plat for a subdivision for a cottage court project on Forkner Drive. The planning commission recommended denial of the conditional use permit, but approval of the preliminary plat.

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/92309208294. 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, October 16, 2023.

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

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

Concerns from neighbors included the resilience of the tower during extreme weather events or a catastrophic failure, and the possibility of it falling on nearby buildings due to a reduced setback distance. There were also concerns over the impact of radio waves on the health of individuals living nearby, the need for a sizable vegetative buffer zone around the tower, and the potential installation of a generator that would emit noise in the community.

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 city commission will also consider a preliminary plat for a subdivision at 258 Forkner Drive. The property currently has an apartment building with 10 two-bedroom units. A company called Footprint Properties, LLC would like to add six cottage court single-family homes, which would be between two and three bedrooms each.

The applicant is requesting that the property be subdivided 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.

In other business:

– The city commission will consider establishing a project budget of $30,000 and approve a professional services agreement with MicroLife Institute for $27,500 to come up with a conceptual design for the city-owned property at 600 Commerce Drive.

According to the proposal, MicroLife has proposed constructing a four-plex, or quadplex.

“The goal of this initiative is to give context and feasibility for a project to be built as an example of the newly passed zoning laws allowing up to four-plexs in residential zones in Decatur,” the application states.

The proposal will include community engagement opportunities. If approved by the city commission, the project would take about two to three months.

“The proposal for conceptual design services will entail community engagement opportunities with an emphasis on the recently adopted Missing Middle Housing Ordinance, site analysis of constraints and opportunities, conceptual designs based on local development codes and community input, a feasibility study, and a presentation of findings,” Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill wrote in a memo. “The goal is to serve as a model design for future developments of missing middle housing types.”

Writer Anila Yoganathan contributed to this article.

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