Category: Zoning

Creating a City for the Stars

Pervasive light pollution prevents most Americans from seeing the night sky. As Carl Sagan and others have recognized, a clear view of the night sky can encourage curiosity, promote cooperation, and increase the respect we have for our planet. It’s time we open our cities to the universe.

If Buckhead’s the Jewel of Atlanta, Why Does it Feel So Dull?

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.

When it Comes to Zoning Changes, Time Waits for No Plan

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.

No City Left Behind: How Atlanta's Success Raises Concerns for the Region

Weโ€™ll likely see an increase in the number of poorer suburban communities. While Cobb and North Fulton will still have enclaves of wealthier residents, they will increasingly become the destination of lower-income individuals when they are priced out of the walkable Atlanta area. While quality-of-life is an issue even for wealthier residents in auto-centric communities, it is much more of a problem for their poorer residents. Try getting to the grocery store or your job when you donโ€™t have a car and your community doesnโ€™t support sidewalks or alternative transportation. While sitting in traffic on the way to work is stressful, having no transportation options to safely get to that place of work is arguably more stressful.

One Church Too Many

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.