Laney-Walker overlay zoning application gets second look

Residents question some procedures

An application for a special zoning district in a section of Laney-Walker neighborhood will be reviewed and resubmitted after some residents and property rights activists said procedures weren’t followed correctly.

 

The special zoning, called an overlay district, was proposed earlier this fall by APD Urban Planning and Management, the city’s revitalization partner for the Laney-Walker area. The overlay would place special provisions on land use but retain the underlying base zoning.

The application became the focus of concerned residents beginning in October when the application was scheduled for a Planning Commission meeting before residents received notifications in the mail.

George Patty, the city’s director of planning and development, said his office will reissue the legal advertisement and remail notifications to affected residents.

“I don’t see the problem they see,” he said. “We don’t want to end up in a lawsuit.”

Several meetings were held to explain the overlay district to the community, but resident Dee Mathis and property rights activist Al Gray continued to oppose the overlay. The decision to resubmit the application was made after another small meeting of city leaders and opposers last week, Patty said.

Warren Campbell, an APD senior project manager, said his company will check the application for errors and seek to clarify confusing language.

“We feel like it was submitted properly, but some did not feel like it was submitted properly,” he said. “We will lose time, but we’re willing to make sure everyone is on board.”

The Augusta Commission denied the application Nov. 15 and planned to revisit the request at the first scheduled commission meeting in January.

Resubmitting the application will likely push the agenda item to a later meeting in January. The do-over will cost a few hundred dollars, Patty said.

Although many residents now support the overlay, Patty said, continuing opposition stems from misleading wording on the overlay application that led some to believe the proposal applies to the entire Laney-Walker and Bethlehem area.

The original legal ad and mailings specify a development area known as W-4, or the Foundry Place, that is a targeted site for a mixed-use development, he said. The proposed overlay district includes properties in the 1400 block of Wrightsboro Road and portions of Augusta Avenue, R.A. Dent Boulevard, and Kingston, Brown, Holley and McCauley streets.

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