Thursday, July 19, 2007

Atlanta Rules

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/10/07

Proposal aims to limit big houses on little lots
City Council to consider regulating scale of new houses

Eighteen months after Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin ordered a temporary stop to construction of massive homes on lots where smaller houses once stood, the City Council is starting to look at rules to regulate the scale of those new houses.

The council's Zoning Committee is scheduled to consider the proposal at its meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Under the proposal, the scale of the new houses would be determined by the size of a lot. Bigger houses would be allowed on bigger lots, and smaller lots would require smaller homes.

Another provision would require that the square footage of basements and attics that can be converted into living areas be counted toward a house's overall square footage. The plan also would prevent a developer from hauling in dirt to create a hill on which to build a house so that a finished basement could be added later.

The story continues, and says what is said in every neighborhood confronting this. "Community leader David Patton said the proposal would halt desired development in the neighborhood. Many future houses would be limited to about 2,000 square feet because many lots in the neighborhood are small. 'We're not interested in kicking people out of our neighborhood just because they want a large home,' Patton told the city's Zoning Review Board."


"When all is said and done, this ordinance will make new residential developments, and developments where someone might take down an old house and build a new one, compatible with the neighborhood," Steve Cover, the city's planning commissioner, told the Zoning Review Board at a hearing last month.

According to Mary Norwood, the city council woman who has taken on the infill issue since her election in 2002, "The proposal has widespread support across the city. This is a matter of closing loopholes and clarifying definitions."

Atlanta's building moratorium was issued in January 2006 to begin the process of resolving the tensions caused by infill development in some of Atlanta's changing neighborhoods. Replacing smaller older homes with houses three and four times as large is exactly what is happening here in my neck of the woods. This quote could come from Anytown, USA.

Residents who complained said the fabric of their neighborhoods was changed overnight when a bungalow or ranch home was demolished and replaced with a house that towered over others. Mature trees were routinely cut down, furthering the sense of a neighborhood in transition.

What is it about the quest for quality of life that makes us destroy it as we seek to have it?


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