F’ville moves toward Sunday alcohol sales vote, denser residential zoning
The Fayetteville City Council on May 19 heard the first reading of a proposed amendment to the Planned Community District (PCD) zoning ordinance designed to provide more open space by allowing a small increase in residential density. The council at the meeting also adopted a resolution to authorize a November referendum on Sunday alcohol package sales.
The only PCD-zoned area in Fayetteville currently is located at the Villages at Lafayette residential/commercial development off Ga. Highway 54 on the west side of the city’s historic district. The proposed amendment would only come into play with a newly platted PCD residential component and does not apply to the current Lafayette Senior Village independent living proposal situated on 11 acres along Ga. Highway 54 just west of Lafayette Avenue.
If approved, the amendment would allow “a new 0.1 unit residential bonus per acre for each percent increase above the existing minimum required 20 percent open space for all PCD projects. There would, however, be a one unit per acre maximum included in this formula to control the density,” according to city staff.
“Ultimately, the implementation of this recommendation would also serve as a development incentive for developers who would receive increased residential density within PCD projects in exchange for open space conservation as part of project development,” said city Senior Planner Linwood Robinson.
Though the Lafayette Senior Village proposal was not applicable to the proposed rezoning there were a number of Villages at Lafayette homeowners at the May 19 meeting who posed questions to the council.
Those questions largely mirrored those asked at a recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. And though the questions were not germane to the PCD amendment being addressed at the council meeting, the council nonetheless responded to them and entered into a dialogue with the Villages residents.
Concerns by neighbors included issues such the affect on property values, increased traffic in the area and the potential for changing the permitted use from office space to independent senior living apartments and cottage-style residences.
Mayor Ken Steele said the developer, the Beverly J. Searles Foundation, produces first-class projects in metro Atlanta. The city had suggested three potential sites for the project aimed at meeting the need of Fayetteville and Fayette County’s rapidly increasing senior population, Steele said. Those included an area across from the Fayette Pavilion, the Stella’s Place site on Grady Avenue and the Villages site.
“We would like to see this kind of development closer to downtown,” Steele said.
Steele and Morton said the multi-story senior living residences would generate less traffic than if the site were developed for office buildings. The two buildings — three to four stories in height — would essentially be three stories once topography is figured in.
Responding to a question by area resident Mickey Edwards on whether the proposed project was grant-funded, Morton said Searles was applying for a Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs tax incentive program.
“I asked them about federal money and federal strings attached because if there were I didn’t want any part of that,” said Councilman Walt White, noting that no federal money would be involved in the development.
Councilman Al Hovey-King in his comments said that initially he not feel comfortable with the proposal. That changed after learning that Searles had a positive track record and after he visited one of the company’s facilities.
“They have a sound business plan and a high occupancy rate,” said Steele. “And they have a good record with Dunn & Bradstreet.”
The potential to amend the document comes by way of a 2009 audit by the Atlanta Regional Commission. One of the audit recommendations suggested amending the PCD portion of the city’s zoning code to better provide for the designation of open space and greenspace as part of the arrangement of land uses. The amendment would also encourage the conservation of open space and natural, historic and cultural resources in new development projects.
Also on the May 19 agenda was the consideration of a resolution to approve a referendum on Sunday package sales of beer and wine within the city limits. The issue resulted in little discussion, though City Manager Joe Morton noted that the city had conducted a poll on its website and Facebook page. The results, said Morton, was 91 percent of the respondents saying they were in favor of holding the referendum.
The resolution was adopted on a 3-1 vote, with Councilman Walt White opposed. White said he believed six days per week provided sufficient time to purchase alcohol.