Archive for the ‘Meetings’ Category

A full recap with photos of Saturday’s Better Together kickoff is posted on DecaturNext.com.

If you were unable to join the conversation on Aug. 29, there are many more ways to participate and make your voice heard. The community survey is still open and can be filled out anytime you have an internet connection (for hard copies of the survey to share with those who are not online please come by the Community & Economic Development Department of City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St.). There is a conversation toolkit to help you or your organization host a conversation this month (the deadline for submitting information from your group discussion is Oct. 3).

On social media, use #BTDecatur to share photos and reflections from your experience on Aug. 29 or from any of September’s smaller conversations.

More than 250 people gathered in Ebster Gym on Saturday, Aug. 29 for the Better Together kickoff


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The DeKalb County Tax Assessor’s office will be mailing annual assessment notices to property owners beginning tomorrow, Friday, May 29. These notices communicate 2015 property values set by DeKalb County for residential and commercial property. Based on reports from the DeKalb County Appraiser’s Office, the total value of property within the City of Decatur increased 20% over last year’s total property value.  Thirty percent of the increase is due to new property being added to the tax digest. The remainder is due to revaluation of existing properties. This increase is consistent with residential sales data for the City of Decatur as well as increases in property values in other cities within DeKalb County.

The assessment notice will include information on how to appeal the county’s determination of property value. There are specific deadlines associated with the process so please look for more information about the property appraisal process on the DeKalb County website . We encourage you to review the appeal information and to file an appeal if you believe the value established by the county is not correct.

In response to the increase in property values, the Decatur City Commission is considering a one mill decrease in the millage rate. The revenue from property taxes supports the city’s budget, which funds operations such as sidewalk maintenance and construction, community parks and playgrounds, and police and fire services. The City of Decatur budget for the next year has been presented to the City Commission  and they will be asked to vote on the budget at their meeting on Monday, June 15.

Public hearings on the millage rate and budget are scheduled for Monday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 8 at 6:00 p.m., and Monday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. All hearings will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street. The budget is available for review on www.decaturga.com/budget, at Decatur City Hall and at the Decatur Library.

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Superior Avenue Water Main and Sanitary Sewer Replacement Project Community Meeting

DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Division will be hosting a community meeting to update residents on construction activities in the area. This is your opportunity to find out how these improvements will impact and enhance your community. You may also call 1-800-986-1108 with questions

Thursday, May 28, 6:30 p.m.

Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore Street
Decatur, GA  30030
(Lite refreshments will be served)

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Budget 2015The proposed FY 2015-2016 budget will be presented to the City Commission on Monday, May 18th.

So if you’re interested in learning about what’s included in the proposed ”pending spending” plan, join Budget Manager Meredith Roark and Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold on Tuesday the 19th from 6pm to 7:30pm. The Community Budget Gathering will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street.

This is your chance to find out how the budget process works and share feedback. Sign up today with Meredith, Meredith.Roark@decaturga.com or call 404-370-4102, if you think you’ll be attending.

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OCH Decatur School Enrollment Growth

The Open City Hall question about City Schools of Decatur enrollment growth and a possible GO Bond will close at Noon on Monday, April 27. Any resident of Decatur can give feedback before then by going to www.decaturga.com/opencityhall and clicking on “Decatur School Enrollment Growth.” All residents, not just those with children, are encouraged to respond.

There will be a special joint work session with the City Commission and City Schools of Decatur School Board Monday, April 27 at 6 p.m., Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St. Those unable to attend in person will be able to watch the live stream  of the meeting here. Please note that there is no public comment period during a work session.


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Touch a Budget: The Budget Expo is tomorrow! Come out to the Decatur Recreation Center on March 31st from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. to find out what’s in store for FY2015-2016. The purpose of the expo is to engage people of all ages in the city’s budgeting process in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

The expo will feature music, food and prizes. The popular budget bingo game returns this year, appropriate for ages 5 to 105. Public safety and public works vehicles will be parked in front of the Recreation Center for children and adults to see up close. Expo attendees will also be able to visit the Visitors’ Center tent and sign up as special events volunteers.

For more information about this event or the city’s annual budget, visit www.decaturga.com/budget

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UPDATE: Both work sessions will be live streamed and archived online here.

Want to learn more about the proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)? The City Commission has two work sessions, one tonight and one Wednesday, to go over everything it includes. The community is welcome to attend one or both work sessions and listen in, but please note that there will not be an opportunity for public comment at either of these meetings.

The work sessions are Monday, Sept. 22 and Wed., Sept. 24 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the City Commission Meeting Room, City Hall, 509 N McDonough St.

plug in

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Join us as we fine-tune the draft

plug in

The Unified Development Ordinance process has taken our existing development regulations, tidied up their inconsistencies, incorporated certain goals from the Strategic Plan, and consolidated everything into a single, easy, unified document. It’s now ready for your review and comment. Please join us at one or more of the following meetings:

Monday, July 21
9 am-4 pm
Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore Street

Tuesday, July 22
9 am-4 pm
Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore Street

Wednesday, July 23
10 am-noon
7 pm-9 pm
The Solarium in the Oakhurst Village

Thursday, July 24
10 am-noon
7 pm-9 pm
City Commission Meeting Room

UDO phases


To learn more about the Unified Development Ordinance project, visit www.decaturnext.com.

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Pages from Budget-cover-and-dividers-2014The proposed FY 2014-2015 budget will be presented to the City Commission on Monday, May 19. So if you’re interested in learning about what’s included in the proposed “pending spending” plan, join Budget Manager Meredith Roark, Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold and others on Tuesday the 20th from 7pm to 8:30pm. This second Community Budget Gathering will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street.

This is your chance to find out how the budget process works and share feedback.  If you missed the first Community Budget Gathering back in April, don’t worry. Participation then is not required to attend Tuesday’s meeting. Sign up today with Meredith, Meredith.Roark@decaturga.com or call 404-370-4102, if you think you’ll be attending.


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Originally posted on DecaturNext.com

The Missing Middle: UDO meeting April 23 explores new zoning categories


The Strategic Plan’s goals for a more diversified housing mix reflect a gap — what we’re calling the missing middle — between our predominantly single-family residential and our downtown. This session explores the idea of transitional districts to accommodate things like live/work units, downtown-friendly townhouses, small-scale apartment buildings, neighborhood-scaled mixed use, cottage courts, and more, and gauges the circumstances under which such solutions might make sense.


Consider R-60. Currently, some residents are concerned that market demand for large houses is leading to a reduction in the number of small, neighborhood homes suited to empty-nesters and young professionals — the results of which has a direct impact on diversity across a wide range of factors.

However, others are concerned that certain limits on house size hamper the market’s ability to respond to demand and may make it difficult for growing families seeking additional space to remain in their homes.

If you’re looking solely at the rules for R-60, it’s obvious that both cannot be accommodated at the same time. No rule can allow for a bigger house while simultaneously limiting development to smaller houses. But maybe there’s another way for everyone to get some sense of what they want.

One idea that’s been raised during both the Strategic Plan and UDO processes is the cottage court, a neighborhood-friendly approach gaining traction nationwide — typified in the work of architect Ross Chapin, who wrote the book “Pocket Neighborhoods.” It works like this:

Today, given the price of land in Decatur, if a builder/developer were able to buy 2 or 3 contiguous lots, the typical response would be the construction of a single large home on each lot. There’s certainly demand for it and the obstacles to doing so are limited. But perhaps these lots are on a street with predominantly smaller houses. Maybe from a neighborhood perspective, people prefer the existing, single-story character of the street. What to do?

Enter the cottage court. Cottage courts are collections of small, single or 1.5 story houses, ranging from 800 to 1,200 square feet, arranged around a common green space. They would exist as a separate zoning category that a landowner, if so inclined, could pursue, resulting in a zoning hearing in which neighbors could be heard: Would they prefer a smaller number of larger homes (as we’d typically have today) or would they prefer a larger number of smaller homes? If agreement could be found, a builder would then have an option to meet demand for smaller homes while still accommodating the cost of the land — an alternative that does not presently exist.

A cottage court. Image credit: http://www.thetinylife.com

A cottage court. Image credit: http://www.thetinylife.com

As a result, we’d have a viable new option — one that acknowledges the challenges of high land cost yet is suited to both those starting out and those looking to downsize while remaining in the same neighborhood. Is this a tool the community might be interested in? In what ways or under what circumstances?


The session will also look into a number of other items:

1) A variety of clean-up modifications to existing zoning categories for consideration, including some suggested tweaks to C-1, Neighborhood Commercial, that would allow live/work units and other mixed-use buildings, as well as some design standards rooted in walkability and transitions;

2) The possibility of a new, R-50 zoning category, which could be tailored to large swaths of R-60 lots that, in reality, are closer to 50 feet wide (categorizing something currently addressed by our zoning code’s “sliding scale” for nonconforming lots); and

3) A suggested “neighborhood mixed-use” category that, over time, would afford Decatur’s single-use neighborhoods the option of adding in very small increments of neighborhood-serving retail or office.


It’s a lot to chew on, so make plans to come and contribute. We look forward to seeing you there.

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