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Laney-Walker residents receive much-needed answers on overlay zoning proposal

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Many Laney-Walker neighborhood residents are satisfied with a proposed overlay zoning district after a series of meetings assured them of the proposal’s intent to protect new residential development.

The Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association called a special meeting Tuesday night to address questions concerning increases in property taxes and fears that the proposal would force residents to abandon their homes.

Representatives at the meeting included Hawthorne Welcher Jr., the assistant housing director for the Augusta Housing and Community Development Department, and Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick.

Linda Metoyer, a Laney-Walker resident, now supports the overlay zoning district after finally receiving answers concerning its effect on current homeowners.

“Before, I didn’t understand what was going on. Now, I think it will be beneficial for the neighborhood,” Metoyer said.

She also plans to approach city leaders about dilapidated houses in the neighborhood that many at Tuesday’s meeting agreed should be demolished.

An overlay zoning district adds special provisions that may restrict land use in an underlying base zone. Existing property owners will be grandfathered into the district if the proposal passes.

Residents can expect small increases in taxes as new development raises property values, but they can appeal tax bills, said Kendrick.

Under current zoning, land use permits businesses including pawn shops, liquor stores and nightclubs. If the overlay district is approved, such uses would need approval from the Augusta Commission, a step that is not currently in place.

The zoning proposal is on the agenda for the Monday planning commission meeting and, if approved, can be recommended to the commission, according to Warren Campbell, the senior project manager for APD Urban Planning and Management, a consultant for redevelopment projects in the area.

Another Laney-Walker resident, Bill Fennoy, also said he has the information needed to support the overlay district.

“I didn’t really know what it was. I wanted to know what impact the overlay would have,” Fennoy 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.

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mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 11/02/11 - 12:11 am
0
0
"Under current zoning, land

"Under current zoning, land use permits businesses including pawn shops, liquor stores and nightclubs."
Has anyone explained the meaning of the following provision in the application for the overlay zone, the application that the Planning Commission is voting on next week?--
'Allowed Land Uses: ANY one or more land uses identified by Sections A through F [Residential, single and multi-family;Professional offices; Institutional uses; Neighborhood Retail* ] as being allowed within a specific node may be established on ANY lot within the node...'
The "node" this first overlay encompasses is mostly residential with a small section zoned for business. The plain meaning of the words I quote above would completely overthrow the current zoning of the neighborhood. Has that been explained? As for grandfathering the current property owners, there is no mention of such in the application that is going to be voted on six days from now. If changes have been made to the application, where is that application, that plan, available for public inspection? What exactly are the regulations that the Planning Commission will be voting on next Monday?

*Neighborhood Retail--apparel and accessory stores, florist and gift shops, newsstands and bookstores, beauty and barber shops, furniture stores, antique shops, drug stores, sporting goods stores, camera and photographic supply shops, tobacco shops, office supplies/print shops, sandwich shops, coffee shops, and sit-down eating establishments, dry cleaners, grocery stores, youth recreational facilities i.e. YMCA, skating rinks, movie theater

cityman
-6
Points
cityman 11/02/11 - 10:06 am
0
0
Obviously, this area is prime
Unpublished

Obviously, this area is prime for federal housing dollars. It will be a new "hood"

Little Lamb
47022
Points
Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 10:34 am
0
0
Okay, some government

Okay, some government officials come to the neighborhood and tell the residents, “Trust me, this will be good for you,” and the residents believe them. This is how governments get bigger, richer, and more powerful.

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 11/02/11 - 10:45 am
0
0
The people whom spoke to the

The people whom spoke to the Chronicle at last night's meeting are not one of the 135 property owners affected in this W-4 Phase. There are still a lot of people in disagreement with the proposal and I trust that they show up on Monday. In my opinion of the meeting, they tried to pacify the people by telling them things that are not listed in the application, such as the existing homeowners being grandfathered in.

It is obvious that they (the powers that be that are seeking to collect) are desperate at this point based on the huge cost overruns on the TEE Center and the parking deck fiasco.

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 11/02/11 - 11:10 am
0
0
Little Lamb you are so

Little Lamb you are so correct and from what I know from my sources in the Laney Walker community, everything presented was basically at the 'Draft' stage of completion.

So draft documents to me mean not official or lacking or incomplete or work in progress.

Can we expect our citizens to decide their collective futures on a bunch of draft documents.

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 11/02/11 - 12:56 pm
0
0
The law requires anyone who

The law requires anyone who is applying to have an overlay placed on a neighborhood to supply "the full text of the proposed additional requirements for the proposed overlay district". This text must be in the application itself. Is there any hope that Chronicle reporters can get their hands on that text and publish it instead of portraying in a positive light the city's and the developer's efforts to hide that text?

Little Lamb
47022
Points
Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 01:05 pm
0
0
Whatever the overlay

Whatever the overlay requirements are, you can count on the fact that the new requirements will mean more bureaucracy, more government red tape, more restrictions, more government delays on anyone trying to start up a business in the overlay district. In short, less freedom.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 11/04/11 - 06:28 pm
0
0
Zoning's main purpose has

Zoning's main purpose has been to run undesirables out of an area and thus increase certain, or new owners property value. COG and their local government political and planning/zoning flunkies will sweet talk you and if that doesn't work, put you on a "Blue Ribbon" committee to study the issue until you are brain washed, scared or bought off.

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