Decatur Diary | July 30, 2014

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Questions Posed, Answers Offered

Last week’s UDO open house Q&A sessions were a big success. Not just in terms of getting questions answered but in helping the city and the consulting team a) better understand where there’s confusion as to the impact or intent of various UDO provisions; and b) review, scrutinize and proofread what is inarguably a hefty document. So thanks to everyone who made the time to come by. Your comments, and those provided here, have been invaluable.

Out of those sessions, and the concurrent discussions happening around the community, came a number of recurring questions. In this post, we’ll address a few, then continue to add to them as they come in…

Decatur Diary | July 21, 2014

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Finally There: First draft of UDO work-in-progress released

Last Fall, meetings were held to establish and affirm how the Unified Development Ordinance should be approached and structured, and to determine any areas of potential regulation requiring further discussion.

This Spring, “Hack the Code” sessions were held to explore the four identified areas: community character, stormwater, green building, and zoning approaches to expand the City’s allowable housing types. Residents also provided comments and direction here, through decaturnext.com.

Beginning in May, we assessed the amassed — and diverse — comments; sought direction, areas of agreement or potential compromise; and began work on the comprehensive draft…

Decatur Diary | July 11, 2014

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UDO Draft Ready for Prime Time: Series of meetings scheduled

Those who’ve followed along and participated in the Unified Development Ordinance process so far know the road we’ve been down. Last fall, in Phase 01, we began by revisiting the Decatur Strategic Plan, considering areas where city goals were not supported by existing ordinances, and identifying areas to focus on. General approaches to addressing those areas were then integrated with the overall clean-up effort and, in a meeting January 8, were affirmed by residents — together with a request that four areas (character, stormwater, sustainability/green building, and new zoning districts) be given further opportunity for community consideration and discussion…

Decatur Diary | April 21, 2014

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The Missing Middle: UDO meeting April 23 explores new zoning categories

The Strategic Plan’s goals for a more diversified housing mix reflect a gap — what we’re calling the missing middle — between our predominantly single-family residential and our downtown. This session explores the idea of transitional districts to accommodate things like live/work units, downtown-friendly townhouses, small-scale apartment buildings, neighborhood-scaled mixed use, cottage courts, and more, and gauges the circumstances under which such solutions might make sense…

Decatur Diary | April 18, 2014

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Greening Up: Meeting explores UDO’s sustainability options

Among the community priorities to emerge during 2010’s Strategic Plan effort was sustainability. Specifically, Principle C of the adopted plan, which states “Serve as good stewards of the environment and community resources” and, beneath that, Task 12B, which instructs city leadership to “update and create a unified land development ordinance that requires sustainable building practices throughout the community…”

Decatur Diary | April 11, 2014

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Green Performance: UDO meeting considers sustainability April 16

While the bulk of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) project is cleaning up and better organizing our existing codes, it also presents opportunity to dig down into certain areas that have been identified by the community for further study. On Wednesday, April 16, that digging will lead us to focus on issues related to sustainability: high performance buildings, outdoor lighting standards, and parking…

Decatur Diary | March 27, 2014

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The Rundown on Runoff: Residents gather to discuss stormwater

Resisting the urge to describe the subject matter as “dry,” engineering consultant Bob Williams began last night’s presentation with an acknowledgement of the obvious: stormwater is not an especially exciting topic for most people. And yet, perhaps unsurprisingly here in Decatur, a healthy crowd turned out nonetheless — drilling down on some key issues, speaking one-on-one with specialists, even staying late…

Decatur Diary | March 22, 2014

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Mopping Up: UDO Stormwater meeting Wed., March 26

As the densest city in Georgia, Decatur’s all too familiar with the challenges presented by stormwater. Clearly, our ability to grow and develop is crucial to many of our long-term community goals — from aging-in-place, to broader diversity, to supporting our schools and services with sound economic strategies — but that doesn’t make the water go away…