NPU-N Report from April 2014 Meeting

May 19 2014

Since the Messenger was not published this month, I am posting my monthly report here.

 

By Amy Stout

I attended the monthly meeting of NPU-N on Thursday, April 24th as the CPNO representative.

 

Reports from City Departments:  Tom Cullen from the Parks Dept reported that they are in the process of repairing the water fountains at the Candler Park playground and golf course, that they are still working to mitigate water runoff issues at Iverson Park, and that they will be installing additional safety railings along the sidewalk on the north side of McLendon Avenue adjacent to Candler Park.

 

Variances:  The board voted 9-0-0 to approve a variance to reduce the sideyard setbacks to 3 ft each to allow the construction of a single family residence at 374 Clifton Rd contingent on the condition that the maximum height of the basement be 6’6’’ and voted 9-0-0 to approve variances to reduce the half-depth front and side yard setbacks and exceed the 30% maximum floor area ratio for an accessory structure to allow the reconstruction of a garage at 519 Candler St.  (CPNO’s condition of approval of “to not alter existing sight lines” was not included, since the city planner indicated it was unenforceable.)  We deferred consideration of a variance for 535 Oakdale Rd, as the application still requires evaluation by the CPNO.

 

Ordinances:  The board voted unanimously to support Ordinance 14-O-1019, legislation submitted at the request of the Little Five Points Business Association intended to reiterate, clarify, and strengthen regulations in the L5P business district regarding gasoline service stations, drive-through facilities, and notification of the NPU of applications for Special Administrative Permits.  At this point our City Planner Nina Gentry reported that even with the enactment of this proposed legislation, it is the City’s legal opinion that a drive-through is a grandfathered use at 299 Moreland and told us that Starbucks is currently investigating the possibility of opening a store at this address.  No applicant would be able to have a drive-through-only operation, and the opening of a sit-down restaurant would trigger minimum parking requirements.  Ms. Gentry also informed us that removal/destruction of over 60% of the existing building would nullify the grandfathered status.

 

A motion to support a new ordinance (14-O-1017) that would amend the city’s existing sign ordinance to define and regulate “window signs” failed to pass (4-5-1).  This legislation would require Manuel’s Tavern to remove some or all of their neon window signs and would prohibit any illuminated window signs in R-4 zoning.  The board voted 8-0-1 to support ordinance 14-O-1092 that defines and regulates both urban gardens (those intended for education, demonstration, and beautification purposes) and market gardens (those intended for production of food that would be sold) and has been designed to promote urban agriculture.  A motion to oppose ordinance 14-O-1022 that would regulate “works of art on private property” carried unanimously.  We also voted unanimously to approve ordinance 14-0-1133 that will “clarify the manner in which the definition of accessory structures and uses should be applied to public schools.” 

 

I welcome your input on these and related issues.  Please contact me at NPURep@candlerpark.org.

Concerns about Ordinance on URBAN GARDENS AND MARKET GARDENS

Thanks, Amy. I have read VI.2 AN AMENDED ORDINANCE BY ZONING COMMITTEE TO AMEND VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE ATLANTA ZONING ORDINANCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DEFINING URBAN GARDENS AND MARKET GARDENS AS A PERMITTED USE; TO PROVIDE WHERE AND UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS SUCH USES SHALL BE PERMITTED; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

As an advocate of the rights of people to garden private land in urban areas, I have some serious concerns about the regulatory restrictions of what should be a deregulatory initiative. What are the avenues to discuss these concerns?

In particular, note the last sentence here, which restricts plant sales and other sales needed to maintain urban gardens:

(80) (a) Urban Garden: A lot, or any portion thereof, managed and maintained by a person or group of persons, for growing and harvesting, farming, community gardening, or any other use, which contributes to the production of agricultural, floricultural, or horticultural products for beautification, education, recreation, community use, consumption, off-site sale, or off-site donation. No onsite sales are permitted.

Also, please note:

(10) Market Gardens are limited to parcels that are used as schools, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious worship facilities.

I see no reasonable justification for such an arbitrary restriction on market gardens.

Best wishes,
Scott Jacobs
Urban Gardeners of Candler Park