Overlay zoning proposal concerns Laney-Walker neighborhood

  • Follow Government

A proposed “overlay” zoning district intended to protect new residential development in the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem neighborhoods raised concerns at a community meeting Tuesday night.

After hearing updates on construction projects aimed at revitalizing the historic neighborhoods, several community members questioned the lack of information provided about changes that could impact their home values and taxes.

Although a meeting specifically addressing the overlay zoning will be held next Tuesday, Chester Wheeler, the director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Department, reassured residents the proposal will not force them to abandon their homes.

“There’s a lot of rumors floating around, and they aren’t accurate,” Wheeler said.

An overlay district allows uses different from the area’s current zoning. For example, an overlay might permit certain businesses to be placed in an area zoned residential. An overlay zoning district also adds special provisions that may restrict land use in an underlying base zone.

The proposed ordinance lists approved uses for land including coffee shops, barber shops and grocery stores. Uses not listed – such as liquor stores, pawn shops and night clubs – would need approval from the Augusta Commission, a step that is not currently in place and contributes to the neighborhood’s plight, Wheeler said.

Initially, the overlay zoning would only be enforced in the new Foundry Place, a mixed-use development at R.A. Dent Boulevard and Wrightsboro Road. Design plans are under way for the retail, residential and office space that could begin construction next year.

Dee Mathis read a statement at the meeting’s end on behalf of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association expressing concerns that the community was not informed when the proposal was on the Oct. 3 commission meeting agenda.

Following further explanation from Wheeler of the zoning proposal, Mathis said the community didn’t gain much information or satisfaction from the meeting.

Others at the meeting were pleased the proposed zoning ordinance intends to help neighborhood investment rather than push residents out of the area.

Wheeler said low-interest loan programs are available for homeowners or investors in rental properties looking to upgrade homes as well as tax abatements for those significantly impacted by nearby new construction that could raise taxes.

The community meeting for the overlay zoning proposal will be 6 p.m. Tuesday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church, 1434 Poplar St.

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 10/19/11 - 12:29 am
0
0
“There’s a lot of rumors

“There’s a lot of rumors floating around, and they aren’t accurate,” Wheeler said.

Many of those rumors are coming from Planning and Zoning. I went down to Planning and Zoning the day this overlay was supposed to be voted on and asked them some questions about the proposal. They told me that the overlay would not change the underlying zoning of the properties in the district, that properties zoned business would remain business, that properties zoned residential would remain residential.
But, as this article says,
"An overlay district allows uses different from the area’s current zoning. For example, an overlay might permit certain businesses to be placed in an area zoned residential."
This represents a sea change for the zoning of the area, and the city and the developer they have hired to oversee this change should be more forthcoming with the residents of the area if indeed they don't want a lot of rumors floating around.

BevBoudreaux
0
Points
BevBoudreaux 10/19/11 - 06:49 am
0
0
So what is going on here? I

So what is going on here? I think I see a new leader emerging in Laney Walker. Watch out Matt Aitken!

BevBoudreaux
0
Points
BevBoudreaux 10/19/11 - 08:09 am
0
0
So what is this all about?

So what is this all about?

BevBoudreaux
0
Points
BevBoudreaux 10/19/11 - 10:49 am
0
0
cabal?

cabal?

Back to Top

Top headlines

UGA jumps up in 2 polls

The University of Georgia made the second-biggest jump of all the teams in the two national ranking polls, both of which were released Tuesday.
Search Augusta jobs