The Georgia Supreme Court recently seemed to endorse the idea that sidewalks are necessary to promote the health and safety of residents. Well, kind of. At the very least, the Court’s ruling highlights the necessity of adopting urban planning policies that are focused less on cars and more on the well-being of residents.
Buckhead has sometimes been referred to as the Jewel of Atlanta, though this title is severely threatened by its increasingly underwhelming user experience. Its lack of vibrancy, identity, and walkability make the neighborhood a shining example of poor urban design and undercut its ability to attract residents and businesses. In its attempt to remain relevant, Buckhead should look to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner, and Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood.
Pro-helmet and anti-helmet advocates both make compelling arguments in the quest to make cycling safer. While better urban design principles would fundamentally solve the safety problem, courts may find that cyclists have a duty to wear a helmet.
Cities are in love with small coffee shops, artisan burger shops, and boutique clothing stores. The only thing they like more is taking people’s property and converting it to those types of businesses. This is, of course, a bit of hyperbole, though many would make that statement with much more sincerity. A bill passed by the Georgia Legislature would allow local governments to condemn blighted property and sell it to developers. It’s not a bad idea.
A bill in the Georgia Legislature would allow property owners to swap “No Trespassing” signs for purple lines to ward off trespassing. Without a widespread campaign to educate the public, the use of such an arbitrary symbol could make criminals out of innocent hikers and outdoorsmen.
Home and small music studios are the lifeblood of the Atlanta music scene. Recent violence in city neighborhoods has given rise to an ordinance to eliminate studios from residential areas. While an updated regulatory scheme may be necessary, the proposed Atlanta ordinance is a step in the wrong direction.
This is an important question since structures built under the auspices of an old zoning code that are now excluded from the current zoning code are at odds with the updated vision for the community. This may not be a big deal when, say, a house is constructed a year after an area is rezoned for commercial use. However, it becomes increasingly problematic when that house is now a power plant and the one year has increased to ten. This ability to develop based on a 10 year old zoning code creates uncertainty for potential residents and developers who may find the nonconforming development to be an undesirable neighbor.
A reliable and predictable source of drinking water is a major problem for metro Atlanta. So much so that we’ve engaged in a costly 20-plus year legal battle with states that, on paper, we should get along with swimmingly. And now, like bickering school-aged siblings, we’re pleading to our neutral third-party parents to settle the dispute. And like parents of bickering school-aged siblings, the United States Supreme Court will likely create an inadequate resolution for all parties.
Mosques are all the rage right now down in Newton County, Georgia. In order to prevent the county from being overrun by mosques the Newton County Board of Commissioners placed a moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship. They had no choice; without a moratorium the county faced the risk of being consumed by mosques. Not really, though. What’s actually happening is that one organization purchased a piece of land in Newton County with the intention of building a mosque and, in response, the county issued a temporary moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship.
Removing zoning to a larger regional authority would undoubtedly be met with fierce political opposition, though it’s likely just what the doctor ordered for many metro areas to grow in more organized and reasonable manners. Making counties and cities compete among each other when we all freely travel between jurisdictions on a daily basis makes little sense. The bureaucratic inconsistencies and infrastructural headaches that ensue degrade our comprehensive regional planning efforts while cultivating a fractured political atmosphere and an overall distrust of one another.