Monday, November 26, 2012

City finds faults with Fuqua's Glenwood Avenue development proposal

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The battle over the proposed retail center near Glenwood Park along the Atlanta Beltline has continued to heat up over the past few months as community members have spoken out against Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua's suburban-style proposal.

Late last week, the city's Office of Planning Director Charletta Wilson Jacks told Fuqua in a four-page letter that his plan omitted several requirements outlined in plans for the area.

Jacks says Fuqua's special proposal, among other things, doesn't have enough parking spaces, lacks a street grid that's featured in two city-endorsed plans, raises questions over curb cuts, and needs bigger tree sizes - all of which could potentially be waived if additional applications are filed and approved.

The Beltline Overlay District allows for applicants like Fuqua to request changes to certain Beltline zoning regulations, provided that they outline in a separate appeal why certain rules can't be reasonably met. In the case of Fuqua's development, Jacks says, the city did not receive the required written requests needed to forego several regulations. In particular, Jacks' response highlighted the following missing requirements:

-Section 16-36.011(1) Street grid and streetscape typology. The Beltline zoning regulations require adherence to an adopted street grid plan when applicable. The Atlanta City Council adopted two plans, Connect Atlanta Plan and Atlanta Beltline Master Plan - Subarea #4. Both plans establish a street grid site plan with the creation of four (4) new streets that connect to existing City streets. These include:
- Chester Avenue
- Faith Avenue Extension (Private Street "D")
- Kalb Street Extension (Private Street "C")
- New East-West Street between Faith Avenue and Glenwood Avenue

Furthermore, the Plan identified two streetscape typologies, one for Chester Avenue and Faith Avenue and a second type for the other private streets. The Plan identified the "Street/Multi-Family" type for the latter private streets and requires a 5' wide street furniture zone and a 6' wide sidewalk clear zone. Refer to the Plan for both streetscape typologies.

- Section 16-36.007(7) Minimum street tree caliper size. The zoning regulations stipulate that street trees (planted in the sidewalk street furniture zone) shall have a minimum caliper of three (3) inches. The proposed plans show a minimum street tree caliper of two and one half (2.5) inches.
- Section 16-36.017(1a) Maximum driveway curb cut widths. The proposed plans reflect an increase in curb cut widths off of private streets "C" and "D" to accommodate truck access, and increase the width for the Glenwood Avenue curb cut.
- Section 16-36.017(1b) Driveway curb cuts on arterial/collector streets. The proposed plans reflect a curb cut on Glenwood Avenue, classified as an arterial street, in addition to curb cut access from local streets (private streets "C" and "D").
- Section 16-36.017(1d) Maximum number of driveways curb cuts. The proposed plans reflect additional curb cuts on private Street "D": two on the south side, and one on the north side.
- Section 16-36.017(2) Driveway lanes. The proposed plans indicate driveway lanes to be installed parallel to the building and adjacent street instead of perpendicular. These driveways occur along the West side of the anchor retail tenant and behind the buildings fronting Glenwood and Chester Avenues.
- Section 16-36.020 13). Minimum loading required. The proposed plans reflect an adjustment to the loading requirements to replace one of the required 12' X 35' loading spaces with two on-street loading spaces measuring 7.5' X 20'.
- Section 16-36.020(5). Placement of surface parking. The proposed plans reflect surface parking lots located between the building and the street for private streets "C" and "D".
Fenestration. Staff is not able to verify that the fenestration requirements are being met for the building façades facing the private streets. Per Section 16-36.0l4(7) fenestration is required for a minimum of 65% of each building façade facing Bill Kennedy Way, Faith Avenue, Chester Avenue and Glenwood Avenue and a minimum of 30% of each building façade facing private streets "C" and "D". Building façade elevations must be submitted for all building facades.

"Staff finds and concludes that the [application] as currently submitted does not meet the requirements of the applicable zoning districts," Jacks wrote to Fuqua executive Heather Correa. "We look forward to receiving plans that are in accordance with the established requirements or inclusive of detailed request for administrative variations with the required hardship justifications."

Though not required, the city also recommended additional improvements to Fuqua's plan such as the addition of bicycle lanes, on-street parking, and shorter retaining walls.

Jacks' letter, however, doesn't address the community's main concerns, including the proposed development's lack of a residential component and its size.

We've reached out to both Jeff Fuqua and the NPU-W regarding the city's letter and will post an update if we hear more.

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