Support Quality Development in Avondale Estates

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Support Quality Development in Avondale Estates

The City of Avondale Estates is reviewing a plan submitted by developer, Trammell Crow Residential (TCR), to build 282 rental apartment units adjacent to the 196 apartments currently under construction in Avondale at Sams Crossing. An additional 378 apartment units are under construction in Decatur across from the Avondale MARTA Station.  

A group of concerned Avondale citizens has compiled the following list of reasons why this project should not be approved as submitted. We are in favor of working with TCR to modify their plan to one that supports smart growth that is aligned with the City’s vision for downtown development.

  • Proposal negates years of planning, expense and stakeholder (residents, multiple BMOC’s, staff and consultants) input to establish our development standards.
  • Fails to adhere to our Comprehensive Plan, Master Plan, and Zoning Ordinance. The proposal grants excessive variances that may be used in lawsuits forcing us to defend denials of future zoning variance requests or demands for other projects. This could lead to having to accept projects that lower the quality of our downtown and entire community.
  • If excessive variance requests and a tax abatement are required to develop this property, then is it a viable project? Inflated expectations on the value of land, which would result if we approve this project as is, could drive away potential development or only attract large scale development, chain retail and big box rather than the small businesses and village quality that is supported in our Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance.
  • TRC’s proposed project deviates from current Central Business District (CBD) Zoning in important areas:

Current CBD Zoning                     

Building Footprint             Max 30,000 square ft.

Building Height                Max 36' (add'l open space can earn bonus to 48')

Residential Density.         40 units per acre

 TCR Proposal
Building Footprint             ~105,00 square ft.                  

Building Height                4 stories along East College–49ft.                                                                                            

                                        5 stories through remainder of the project – over 70 ft.             

Residential Density.         72 units per acre

 CBD Zoning requirements:    http:/

(Section1113, starting on page 73) 

  •  The proposed TCR building height exceeds our zoning standards by 96%.
  •  The proposed TCR building has a 75% larger building footprint (105,000 sq. ft.) than South City Partners (60,000 sq. ft.) and 250% larger than current zoning allows. The South City Partners project doubled the 30,000 square foot maximum. When South City Partners was approved, it was stated that it would be the largest building in the downtown.
  • The project is a barrier to pedestrian connectivity between the South City Partners’ development and the downtown. It eliminates our ability to extend Franklin Street to improve our street grid to support this pedestrian friendly connectivity.
  • Provides minimal greenspace—an important feature in quality living environments, which encourages pedestrian activity. 
  •  The City’s Master Plan calls for mixed-use development in this area of our downtown. This project is an apartment complex with minimal retail/commercial (less than 5%). Mixed-use development is intended to have multiple uses within the complex and provides pedestrian connections within and to the surrounding area. The development, as proposed, does not meet these standards. 
  • The project will contribute to additional traffic in the already congested Sams Crossing intersection. The impact is unknown at this time and could require unplanned infrastructure costs. It is problematic that there is no turn lane at Hillyer Avenue, which is the street that both the SCP and TCR developments share, potentially creating additional traffic congestion. 
  •  Trammel Crow has requested a multi-million dollar tax abatement from the City, which is under consideration by the Board of Mayor and Commissioners. The estimates for this abatement show that the revenue would provide an additional $1.5 million in taxes over 10 years, or an average of 150K per year. Cost of delivering City services to hundreds of residents has not been factored into this projection nor has potential infrastructure costs.
  • The tax abatement, if granted, would give TCR a 10-year tax reduction of $882K from the City of Avondale Estates and $4.1 Million from DeKalb County and the Board of Education.

The City should not accept this or other projects that do not contribute to our vision of a walkable village.

 Please sign this petition asking the Avondale Board of Mayor & Commissioners to deny the requested rezoning and to promote quality growth in the Avondale Estates Central Business District.