Stop City of Stockbridge city council from destroying property values

Stop City of Stockbridge city council from destroying property values

August 15, 2022
Signatures: 352Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Kevyn Rice

Hello Neighbors

The objective of this petition is for Henry county, City of Stockbridge & Clayton County residents to come together and demand local officials follow the correct zoning practices and request an investigation from District, State and/or Federal Authorities into our local government officials.

A decade ago we had it all! Access to good schools, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Now all we have is apartments, litter, pollution, crime, traffic, poor performing and overcrowded schools. Fraud, corruption, and abuse of power by our local governments is out of control. Numerous elected officials hold a direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of the zoning and ordinance votes which is not shared by the public in general and it is more than remote or speculative. They have continuously violated our constitutional trust provisioned to us in the Georgia Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Para. I, which states, “All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.” The constitutional trust has been broken by several public officers. They have benefited financially (or stood to benefit financially) as a result of simply performing their official duties. Example: A Stockbridge real estate agent/Councilman singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area, for his benefit or the owner of such property, to the detriment of other owners. Strongly suggesting new small businesses use his marketing services then significantly delaying permits and licenses when the services are declined. Spot zoning is rezoning that is not done in accordance with the comprehensive plan. Quite frequently proposed and approved zone changes are not consistent with the comprehensive plan. When you go to City of Decatur, or you go to Roswell or you go to Peachtree City, you understand that you’ve arrived in a special place and that’s largely due to the design requirements… that the local officials have adopted.

In our community developers are constantly not required to show that the proponent of the change shows that there's been a change in circumstances or that a mistake was made when the property was originally zoned. Often there was no mistake made when the land was originally zoned, and there is sufficient land elsewhere for high density residential use, the fact the developer wants to develop a specific piece of property should not be enough to justify a zone change, since there is no need to rezone the land.

 Property Tax Abatement – Local Officials need to and can encourage developers to build, while protecting our long-term income and homeowners from property tax increase beyond their means that results in displacement. It is a problem for our community, we are losing our property tax base due to their behavior. It is a problem for neighborhoods, which are losing residents and gaining neglected properties. And it is a personal problem, as once stable families lose their most important asset, their homes. 54 percent of the apartments in the community are older apartment units, some of them are not even up to code… for instance, missing fire extinguishers or have stormwater drainage issues. There seems to be little to no regard on how these developments are affecting the quality of life for those of us who choose to live in the community. The most recent rezoning approval of over 65 acres from commercial to high-density mixed-use development will cause severe overcrowding of schools, more traffic congestion, the extreme lost of wild life, lost of its natural beauty, more litter, more noise pollution and environmental pollution with cars, along with an overall health decline and an increase in crime rates for nearby residents. These projects have and will change the tone and environment of our community!  destroying 65 acres of land for POSSIBLE economic growth, when the numbers have shown a steady economic decline in commercial real estate around the country. Especially in the case of malls, including our own beloved Southlake Mall and its surrounding businesses. We can clearly see more and more storefronts are closing and companies filing bankruptcies not only due to the pandemic, but a steady decline in storefront retail. We asked the developers reinvest in the Stockbridge amphitheater and downtown Stockbridge and Jonesboro area that is specifically designated for High density. This spot zoning removes "PRIME" land for commercial development (New Jobs) from our area and replaces it with a high-density residential development.

The recently approved development deviated from the Stockbridge Comprehensive Plan's Future Development Map (2019).

We need quality growth and not quantity growth. The density of the development is grossly out of scale to the surrounding area and will not foster any type of distinctive or attractive community..

These developments are not the right projects for our community, nor is it the right time.  These current and future developments will and have reduced surrounding property values during a time of opportunity to build them up. To add insult to injury the two most recent rezoning proposals among several numerous other approved rezoning proposals are not consistent with the Land Use Plans, which was funded by taxpayer money.  The proposed zoning changes increase the population substantially on a small tract of land; it is spot zoning and is not consistent with adjoining and nearby property.  None of it is a good transition - from single family to a three story apartment complex - as it is a vast departure from the surrounding single family residential property. This is an area of long-established neighborhoods of low-density residential single family homes, dating back several decades.

The Land Use Plan, which was funded by taxpayers, and had input from all interested parties, calls for low to medium density vertical mixed-use zoning on the tract in question.   Tax values continue to go up for local homeowners, while the area remains stagnant or goes down.  We have an opportunity with the current Real Estate growth to increase the value of this area.  As property owners who have a vested interest in this area, we should be able to depend on the our local officials to abide by its land use plan as the most likely use for surrounding areas; as a matter of fact, we depend on it when making home purchasing decisions.  

           Why is majority ever tracts chosen for a high density apartment complex?  Is there no other property that is currently zoned multi-family, that could be used for these projects?  Or were these tracts chosen because it was financially attractive for the developer and seller, at the detriment of surrounding property owners?  Surrounding property owners comprise a significant portion of residential tax base in the area.  This is not what we expected when we purchased our homes.
 The local officials need to follow their long-term land use plan, until a new plan can be finalized and put into place.  Making spot zoning changes which deviate from the Land Use Plan should be the exception, not the rule!  All recent proposals in this area have deviated from the Land Use Plan.  We welcome a diverse and thriving community, but it must be under the guidance of the Land Use Plan, which also served as the guide for property owners to make our decision, and our investment, to support and to live where we live. 

            Another concern is that if the more properties are rezoned to high density residential, other projects may be permissible BY RIGHT and be even further misaligned from the local governments plans for this area!

            The only parties who spoke in favor of the proposal, were those that have a financial interest in the success of the rezoning and subsequent apartment housing.

            In summary, proposals and recent approvals for High Density rezoning:

·         Are not consistent with the current Land Use Plan

·         Are not consistent with the surrounding property on all sides

·         Decrease surrounding property values. Cause severe overcrowding to local schools that currently have trailers and 1:26 teacher students ratio 

·         Create traffic issues

·         Devalue surrounding property

·         “Open the door” for other projects which may be further misaligned from the goals for this area

We can have new developments and still retain the culture and character of the people who have built this community, other places have done that, and we can too.

.  Development and growth are inevitable, but we need to make sure our county is growing in the right direction. The local officials and decision makers are allowing these companies to come in and rezone and make us pick up the tap. We believe in growth! WE DON'T BELIEVE IN OVER DEVELOPMENT!! PLEASE HELP US!

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Signatures: 352Next Goal: 500
Support now