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Old 09-11-2015, 04:36 PM
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,453 posts, read 2,860,102 times
Reputation: 2180


Morrow is considering rezoning its largest undeveloped area to attract businesses.

“(The question) we always hear from you and people like you — the citizens and stakeholders in the community — is what are we doing to help (the local economy)?” said City Manager Sylvia Redic. “And so we have to think creatively.”

The 10-acre area in question lies at the northern most limit of Morrow where Milirons Way meets with Jonesboro Road. It’s less than a mile away from Clayton State University and has been zoned as a Community University Planned District for about 10 years.

The new zoning Redic proposed to council in a public hearing Tuesday would change the zoning designation in that area to a General Business District in the hopes of sparking redevelopment in the city.

“In that decade, not one parcel has been developed under CUPD,” Redic said. “And so we have to think creatively.”

The city originally set up the CUPD area in an attempt to create a college-friendly local hub that would attract foot traffic. The city hoped the plan would form a new mixed-use town center, according to its code of ordinances.

But that goal came with a list of restrictions for businesses hoping to move into that area of the city. CUPD required developments to designate about 20 percent of the property they bought toward green space. All buildings needed to be at least three stories with and all office buildings with more than 50,000-square feet needed to have showers for their employees.

The ordinance setting up CUPD contains a whole list of businesses that aren’t allowed in the area. That list is separate from the conditional use list, businesses that would have to get permission from council to move into the area.

The General Business zoning is less restrictive. There are a list of businesses that must have conditional use permits to move in, but there isn’t a list of businesses excluded. Businesses also aren’t required to have showers or keep a certain amount of green space in their plans.

“Zoning is created by councils in what I feel like is a creative way to guide, shape, regulate, plan,” Redic said. “And sometimes, 10 years later, if it hasn’t worked for us, we need to maybe look at it again.”

Redic said the CUPD zoning was set up before the 2008 recession, when the city had a more optimistic financial outlook.

“It was blue skies ahead and we were on the rise,” Redic said. “And we know that things have changed.”

The values of Morrow’s taxable commercial and residential properties peaked in 2008 and steadily declined every year after that. By 2013, the value of taxable commercial property had dropped by $60 million. Residential property dropped by $40 million.

Redic said she hoped rezoning could help turn that trend around. But she also said just because the General Business zoning is less restrictive doesn’t mean the city will be looking to throw any business into the area.

“I’m not talking about getting in there and dividing it up into 100 different parcels,” Redic said. “I’m talking about the exercise of attracting a large development.”

Redic’s presentation was a public hearing. The council hasn’t voted on the rezoning, yet. But Redic said she feels confident in the creative solution to the area’s economic woes.

“So, in my opinion — and what I’m presenting in this public hearing — is a notion, an idea, that we take a piece of property, a collection of parcels and we try it on for size and see what we can do with it,” Redic said. “Can we possibly jump start an economy that has not in the 10 years responded to the CUPD zoning?”
Morrow considers rezoning largest undeveloped area
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:02 AM
73 posts, read 62,754 times
Reputation: 41
This area was originally called University Station. The plans called for a hotel, book store, new Morrow post office, offices, shops, restaurants, coffee shop, boutiques, and possibly senior housing. The National and Georgia Archives are located across the street and were included in the initial plan. Because of the downturn in the economy, University Station was put on the back burner. Apparently now the city is taking another direction. I wish them the best and hope they know what they are doing.

The location's proximity to Clayton State University is a definite benefit to any development. Hopefully, it won't become another strip mall with nail salons, wig shops, beauty supply stores, or dollar stores- we have too many of those businesses already. Area residents keep waiting to hear what the city plans to do with Olde Towne Morrow. It would be fantastic if they could move Olde Towne Morrow, especially the beautiful historic homes, to that location and create a true city center. With the archives already located across the street, it would add a sense of history to the area. Of course, officials would say that would be cost prohibitive without considering its benefits for the future. Maybe the upcoming mayoral and city council elections will be a catalyst for the city to address Olde Towne Morrow and the "new" University Station.
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