28 Mar At Issue: Should downtown Fayetteville allow new apartments?
On Thursday, the Fayetteville City Council will decide whether to approve rezoning nearly five acres of property in order for a developer to build apartments on the edge of the city’s historic square. Some residents object to the nature of the development and others don’t want the added traffic to an already busy corridor. However, redevelopment of the downtown district is part of the city’s plan to provide more modern commercial and residential spaces.
The question before the council is whether to allow Rea Ventures Group to build Abbington Square, a three-story, 60-unit apartment complex at the corner of N. Glynn Street and Lafayette Avenue as part of a planned community development. The property is currently zoned for commercial use, and a small amount of retail space would be available on the building’s first floor. Rents for the one- to three-bedroom units would range from $640 to $1,200 per month, and residents could be eligible for federal tax credits. Rea Ventures Group says it wants to provide more affordable housing for moderate-income households.
On April 26, the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0-1 to make an “unfavorable” recommendation to the City Council. The council was originally set to vote on the proposal on June 2, but tabled the measure until this week’s meeting.
Brian Wismer, Fayetteville’s director of community development, said during the May 19 council meeting that the proposed development meets the requirements of a PCD. But during comment periods and on social media, residents have voiced concerns about insufficient parking at the site and its location near a major intersection. Some balk at the idea of making more “lower-income” housing available.
What do you think? Is this type of development good for the city’s revitalization, or are apartments not a good fit for this location? Send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In 2008 65 percent of Cobb County voters approved a $40 million parks bond to acquire land for green spaces. Commission Chairman Tim Lee has said during commission meetings he is opposed to any tax increase – even if one is needed to fully fund the $40 million. Instead Lee has said about $20 million will be available to buy park land.
On Tuesday, Lee released a statement from LeeForCobb.com (Lee is facing a runoff on July 26 with Mike Boyce for chairman) saying “I know the Atlanta paper would never report this truth, but sound leadership decisions will allow us to have the Braves in our county and have new green space and have lower taxes for homeowners.” However, Lee does not offer an amount for the park purchases or method to achieve this.
Also on Tuesday, Cobb spokeswoman Sheri Kell released a statement, saying then Commission Chairman (and now Georgia Attorney General) Sam Olens “abandoned” the 2008 Parks Bond in 2010 “in response to the Great Recession.” She added, “In response to citizen interest in reviving the parks acquisition project, in January 2016, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved moving forward with reconsidering the issuance of the 2008 Greenspace bonds and subsequently charged the Cobb Recreation Board with revisiting the original property list and began accepting nominations for additional properties.”
Since that January decision, Cobb residents, mainly from the Cobb Parks Coalition, have appealed to the commissioners at every regular meeting to speed up the process by acquiring those properties still available on that original list instead of waiting for Lee’s October deadline. They also keep asking for the full $40 million to be funded. Commissioners have not responded to their requests during those meetings.
Here are some responses:
The Park Bond 2008 should be honored with full funding. This is an opportunity for the board to finally practice transparency and be forthright regarding the true stadium cost. — Pat Carson
Fund the full $40 million now and buy land as soon as possible. — Kaye Klapper
We voted for parks, not a baseball team. Cobb County leadership should be ASHAMED!!!!! — Rich Steiner
The Park Bond 2008 referendum should be honored with full funding of the $40 million. — D.B. Manley
Cobb County is legally required to honor the Parks Bond referendum, not ignore it and spend the money for a private entity that the citizens had no say in choosing. — Lee Graham
Let millionaires buy their own stadiums! — Dave Anderson
Should Cobb taxpayers be forced to pay for the stadium? — Ashley Proctor
When you pass a tax telling the voters it will fund specific things, then fail to use that money for those things, how can you keep your job, much less avoid being arrested? — Warner D. May
The commissioners need to also look at the properties already approved for purchase for parkland instead of basically starting over with a new citizens committee. — Lannis and Clayton Byars
How much more tax revenue will be generated by stadium/Battery mixed-use and other halo-effect projects over what undeveloped property generated? Economic impact already being felt. Sound investing principles at work. Parks dollars will be fully funded plus a whole lot more. — Slade Gulledge
Parks in Cobb County offer recreational opportunities to all Cobb County citizens regardless of income status. Funding the Braves stadium only offers attendance to baseball games to those who can afford to buy tickets. My vote is to fund the bond referendum to support parks. This will promote healthy living for all Cobb citizens. — Julie Krupa
We clearly voiced our wishes and intent when we voted to direct $40 million of our taxes to fund the “Park Bond.” One of the properties on the list was a much needed community center for Vinings. The Vinings Historic Preservation Society has several artifacts that are currently housed in the Smyrna Community Center. If Vinings had a Community Center, they would be displayed there. A community center would provide Vinings residents a place for community meetings and gatherings. The “Park Bond” should be fully funded immediately (with interest). All properties on the list should be purchased. NO Cobb County taxpayer money should be spent on any part of the planning, engineering, site preparation, construction or advertising for a private facility, i.e., the new Braves stadium! — Karen R. DeRuyter
I feel it’s imperative that the Cobb Board of Commissioners purchase the properties listed for consideration for park and green space in 2009 NOW since many of the properties, like the Furr property, Bells Ferry and others, are in danger of being lost to development. — Lynn Walston
Absolutely, the Parks Bond should be fully funded first. This was voted on by Cobb County citizens; the Braves Stadium was not. I believe having more park land is in our best interests. Parks improve health – don’t think you can say the same for a stadium. — Linda Bell
Why are we even forced to have this discussion? We wanted parks and parkland for the county and instead we got a baseball team without wanting or asking for it and we get to pay? — Margo Savitz
I feel very strongly that Cobb taxpayers should NOT foot the bill for the new Braves stadium. I distinctly remember voting “yes” back in 2008 for an extra sales tax to buy green space. Green space as in parks, not green space in the outfield of SunTrust Park. — Patty Pavlik
Cobb Commissioners: Don’t try to “pull a fast one” on us. Cobb voters approved the $40 million parks fund for parks, not the Braves stadium. The Braves are owned by the huge business conglomerate Liberty Media Corporation. Since this is such a good venture, let them put up the money, take the risk, reap the rewards like the good capitalists that I’m sure they are! — Susan Rawls
I feel completely betrayed by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners. They have, for years, refused to do what the public clearly asked them to do by approving the parks bond issue in 2008 yet can’t move fast enough to spend our tax dollars on this abomination of a stadium that will benefit no one who lives here. In fact, I have seen the value of my home plummet since last year. I have seen traffic congestion many times worse, and they haven’t even finished building the thing yet. — David Wheeler
A contract was signed by the Cobb commission and the people back in 2008, and now those funds are being withdrawn and reallocated. If the people of Cobb were to fight the Braves for the same money, we would be told a contract was signed by them and the commission and they are now obligated to pay the Braves. Who will win out? Well, the Braves, of course. Who will also win? The commissioners who will be sitting in the luxury boxes, that is, until they get voted out of office by the people they, too, had a contract with. — John Aol
It’s a shame that voters will already be getting much less for their investment dollar than they should have as land values for the identified properties continue to rise. While other communities set themselves up for the next generation, the biggest investments in Cobb are pro team ballparks, medical suites and senior living developments. Cobb is serving retirees and the Chamber of Commerce constituency just fine. How about focusing on a vibrant future for working families? — Mike Bengtson
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners has an ethical responsibility to fully fund the 2008 parks bond. Their willful denial to honor this commitment before assuming additional responsibilities is a betrayal of public trust. These individuals need to understand that they are public servants. Their lack of integrity makes a mockery of government and adds to public distrust. — Marty Arrington
The purchase of parkland, mandated by 67 percent of Cobb County voters in a referendum, should take priority over funding Sun Trust Park and its associated projects, regarding which voters were not consulted. — Norm Fagge
Eight years ago, a majority of voters asked for park land to be purchased with bond money. Those lands have been identified and put on hold. Property owners deserve closure and cannot be blamed for selling to other entities after all this time. The stadium, however, was NEVER approved by Cobb voters. Payment from our taxes for this can wait. — Karen Patton
Who can imagine a typical Cobb resident not wanting more park land in their community? It supports land value and family living, provides recreation and helps sustain the natural environment. The exception are developers. Their motivations are self-interest and financial. — Henry Munford
The “Park Bond” should immediately be fully funded (with interest) and all properties that have already been approved for purchase, immediately have the purchase action started. NO Cobb County taxpayer money should be spent on any part of the planning, engineering, site preparation, construction or advertising for a private facility, i.e., the new Braves stadium! — David N. DeRuyter
The Braves stadium will be an economic and a traffic disaster. On the other hand, it might just be an economic disaster as the Braves have lost many million dollars over the last two years and their poor recent performance is not likely fixed by a new stadium. We are betting on two losers. — Richard diMonda
When will Cobb start buying land for green space? — Cynthia Patterson