The development received the blessing of the ZRB members despite strenuous objections of the NPU-B board and zoning and development committees on many reviews over almost the past 18 months.
|The plan for the mixed-use development near Lingbergh Center with the|
150,000-square-foot big box shown in brown at the top left.
It now goes before the Atlanta City Council Zoning Committee for review on Aug. 1 before going before the full City Council on Aug. 20 for a final decision.
Two representatives of the NPU-B board presented the views that led to the rejection by the two committees and the full board of NPU-B at not one but several meetings during the past almost 18 months of negotiations over plans for this project.
As she has done at past meetings, NPU-B Chair Sally Silver called the proposed development a suburban-style big box, altered just enough to conform to the SPI-15 zoning regulations but not developing the type of environment they are meant to encourage.
“What we’re asking for is a development that meets the intent of the SPI and not just the limits of its requirements,” she told the ZRB.
NPU-B’s Development and Transportation Committee Chair Andrea Bennett said she is disappointed that the development in a transit-oriented environment doesn’t do much to encourage use of trains, busses or cycling and walking along the proposed Buckhead trail, which will reach to its back door.
“This is probably the most transit-rich area in north Atlanta,” she told ZRB members. “The first thing that jumps out at you is the big old parking lot.”
Attorney Steve Rothman, representing Fuqua and Sembler, told the board it was unlikely that more time would help the developers and NPU members agree on a plan.
He said the developers had three different votes from NPU-B “and I don’t want to go back. I think what we have is a philosophical difference,” around personal definitions of what is or is not “urban” development, he added.
|Attorney Steve Rothman, at right, is shown explaining plan|
to members of the NPU-B Zoning Committee in June.
Since 2001, the area surrounding Lindbergh Center has been designated a Transportation-Oriented Development (TOD) and Special Public Interest District by the city of Atlanta, with specific zoning regulations meant to maximize transportation resources and create more pedestrian-friendly, urban development.
Attorney Larry Dingle, also representing the developers with Rothman, told the ZRB that plans for the development conform with the TOD requirements, including a lower limit on the number of parking spots per square foot of development, the presence of bike racks and the mingling of residential and commercial space.
Rothman and Dingle stressed that the developers had made all attempts to affordably create the sort of dense, transit-oriented development desired by residents and required by the city.
The ZRB members apparently bought their line of argument. Next will be to see if the members of City Council agree with the ZRB decision or go with NPU-B’s arguments.