The DeKalb County District 2 Community Council on Tuesday will hear a request from Atlanta development firm, Fuqua Development, to rezone Scott Boulevard Baptist Church so it can move forward with plans to develop Decatur Crossing, a 40,000-square foot mixed use retail project that would also include 200 apartments over five stories.
Good Growth DeKalb, a local group fighting the construction of a Walmart Supercenter in North Decatur's Suburban Plaza, is requesting the council give more time before deciding on the church rezoning and has encouraged residents to attend the meeting.
The following release is from Good Growth DeKalb:
Good Growth DeKalb is calling for DeKalb County District 2 Community Council to vote no at its Tuesday night meeting on Fuqua Development’s request for rezoning of the Scott Boulevard Baptist Church site at the intersection of North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard.
District 2 Community Council will meet on Tuesday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library, 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur 30033.
Fuqua Development is requesting rezoning of this triangle of land from Single Family Residential (R-75) to Office Commercial Residential (OCR). Fuqua proposes tearing down the church to build a high-density complex to include retail and five-story apartment buildings with a total of 260 units.
At a community meeting of approximately 150 people at the church on July 8, resident after resident raised serious questions about the proposed plan, which includes tearing down all the houses on Barton Way directly behind the church site. Residents were concerned about traffic, pedestrian safety, loss of the Blackmon Drive/Barton Way neighborhood, loss of a large number of trees, and loss of this skyline landmark. Good Growth DeKalb believes this proposed development in its current form to be far too dense for this small triangle of land, and that it would greatly exacerbate existing traffic and safety issues at the big six-way intersection of Scott Boulevard, N. Decatur and Medlock Roads.
On July 8, and at smaller meetings with Fuqua on June 12 and 24, many community members spoke in favor of saving the church sanctuary, a historic building in this greater Decatur neighborhood. It was pointed out to Mr. Fuqua that there is strong precedent for re-purposing of churches all over the metro area, the country and the world. Good Growth DeKalb supports re-purposing of the church, with one possibility being turning the church into a community performing arts center. Ten local performing arts organizations and leaders have recently issued a proposal to Fuqua Development to this effect, hoping in part to replace Beacon Hill Arts Center in downtown Decatur, which has been taken over by City Schools of Decatur.
Good Growth DeKalb would support a moratorium on all re-zoning in the Medline Corridor -- which includes the church site -- pending completion of the Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant in August 2014. DeKalb Countyreceived the LCI grant in March to study redevelopment in the Suburban Plaza/DeKalb Medical Corridor so as to make it more vibrant and sustainable. “It makes no sense to re-zone in this area when a comprehensive study is about to be done. What is needed is a sustainable, neighborhood-friendly vision for the entire area, including a comprehensive traffic plan for the Church triangle and the six-way intersection,” says Mary Shellman of Good Growth DeKalb.
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