UPDATED 5-17-2020 with Current Proposal
This is a summary of the presentation given by the Zoning Committee Chair at the April CPNO Member Meeting, Monday, April 20, 2020 (via Zoom). Q&A at bottom, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions
The Zoning Committee (ZC) has been hearing from residents on Iverson, Candler and Ferguson, concerned about the size and scale of new construction next door to them for at least a year now, so in January we decided to formally tackle the issue within the Zoning Committee.
While most of Candler Park is zoned R-4, single family, properties located between McLendon and DeKalb are zoned R-5, duplex, which was originally done to allow increased density and affordability near transit and the traffic corridor of DeKalb Ave.
Current zoning regulations allow for the development of new duplex structures that are larger than the allowance for single family construction, resulting in developments that have a significant impact on neighboring properties relating to their proximity, height, size and overall massing.
- On R-4 properties, you can build: 35 feet tall, have 50% lot coverage and 50% maximum floor area ratio.
- Duplexes on R-5 properties can be: 35 feet tall with 55% lot coverage, and 60% maximum floor area ratio.
- Lot Coverage – just what it sounds like, this is the sq feet of the lot covered with impermeable surface (building, driveway, patios/porches) in ratio to the size/sq feet of the lot—building footprint + other impermeable surfaces.
- Floor Area Ratio (FAR) – total square footage of a building (that is, heated square footage so garages/sheds are typically excluded, all floors are included) in ratio to the size/sq feet of the lot.
Developers appear to be taking advantage of the more generous allowances in R-5 zoning, maxing out the square footage and lot coverage that is allowed and selling each unit at top dollar (close to $1 million each) and including two 2-car garages built in between the units. This, of course, does nothing to increase affordability and transit use.
The trend has been that developers are buying homes at market rate, most of which are in reasonably good condition, with intent to demolish the existing house regardless of the condition, in order to construct these large duplexes.
- To come up with a way to lessen the size and scale of new duplex construction so that they would be more compatible with their existing, often historic, single-family neighbors.
- NOT to limit residential density or number of units
- NOT to restrict architectural style in any way.
- Make sure front setbacks are not less than adjacent existing properties.
- Reduce long tall walls which tend to barricade adjacent properties — the longer and taller a side wall is, the farther it should be set back
- Reduce parking requirements in an attempt to eliminate the two 2-car garages.
Candler Park has gone through a number of attempts to create a local historic district but this has met with little success— what were other options?
Rezone a portion of the R-5 as R-5C. R-5C means R-5 “with Conditions” essentially meaning keeping the intent of the R-5 code with slight tweaks that could result in more compatibly-sized structures. We have selected a portion of the R-5 properties to rezone that are most threatened by this type of development. See official MAP.
The current proposal suggested by the Zoning Committee and drafted by the City stands thus:
- ZC members met with the City Office of Planning and Zoning in early March and discussed this proposal in detail.
- Office of Planning and Zoning staff have drafted the legislation, which will come before the neighborhood for discussion in May and early June.
- Neighborhood will discuss and work out the conditions through the May CPNO Member Meeting and an additional meeting in early June, date tbd.
- Vote on rezoning with the finalized conditions at the June CPNO Member meeting.
- NPU vote > BZA vote > City Council > Mayor’s signature
Are any of the most affected neighbors on this call right now? I am interested to know if they are satisfied with this proposal.
Yes, a couple residents from Candler Street and Ferguson attended the zoom CPNO meeting and are very supportive. They added that they were interested in height restrictions.
Are there any additional height restrictions?
ZC asked the City about reducing the max height from 35 feet to 30 feet, however the City strongly discouraged that, feeling from recent experience that such a request would not get approved.
Why rezone only a portion of the R-5 “district” why not all of it?
This is totally open for discussion, it seems that any R-5 property is at risk for this type of new duplex construction and we are open to expanding the proposed area if that is what residents want.
What is my property zoned?
Why not just ban duplexes?
The Zoning Committee feels that duplexes in and of themselves are not the issue, but the size of construction and lack of affordability.
R-5 Regulations with proposed Conditions highlighted
Proposed rezoning map Candler Park R-5-C_5-15-2020
Proposed rezoning address spreadsheet_Candler Park R-5-C_5-15-2020