with thanks to our Planning Chair Ben Hudgins and NPU-D Chairman Jim Martin
As reported in What Now Atlanta , an application was made for a carwash at the above address.
This property is included in the proactive rezoning from 2015, led by the City with support from Berkeley Park and Underwood Hills Neighborhoods.
While the car wash is a use that is clearly prohibited in the MRC-2-C zoning along the Howell Mill corridor, the 901 Chattahoochee parcel has a split zoning, so a portion of the property is I-1 zoning and a portion is MRC-2-C.
The site plan that is now being circulated shows the location of the car wash in the I-1 portion, which is allowed by right, and not in the MRC-2-C portion which prohibits this use.
Since the proposed development does not require a rezoning, there is no required presentation to UHNA, nor a vote for support. But the development is subject to the SAP review and Beltline DRC process since the development is within the Beltline Overlay. The next Beltline DRC meeting is on February 16.
While there are no public meetings for neighborhood input, and the NPU has the opportunity to provide feedback within a period of time from application submittal date. Jim Martin, our NPU chair, has done a great job of outlining the technical reasons the proposed development doesn't comply with the Beltline Overlay regulations. (see below)
The City's SAP review time has historically been stated as 30 days from submittal, but has been taking much longer recently - closer to 45-60 days.
UHNA is actively communicating with City and Beltline officials.
It should also be noted that Underwood Hills was approached in June 2018 to gauge support for a car wash at this location, which would have required a rezoning to remove the conditions from Z-15-24. UHNA indicated that it would not support a rezoning of this property to allow a car wash, for two reasons:
1. The proactive rezoning was intentionally crafted to prohibit new auto-focused uses along the Howell Mill corridor to avoid increased traffic in an already congested area.
2. Introducing legislation to change or undermine the proactive MRC-2-C rezoning from 2015 would set a dangerous precedent for other properties to follow suit, rendering the proactive rezoning useless.
Assuming the 901 Chattahoochee application is on the agenda, the Beltline DRC will review the case and decide whether to support or oppose the proposed administrative variations requested through the SAP application. Then the City's Planning Staff will finalize their review of the application and provide comments back to the applicant.
See below for NPU-D Chairperson comments;
" Beltline SAP application BL-22-003 for a proposed car wash at 901 Chattahoochee Ave NW:
The proposed use (car wash) and site configuration are antithetical to all aspects of the Beltline zoning overlay. It is intended solely for customers who arrive by car. It offers nothing for anyone else and is openly hostile toward pedestrians, bicyclists, and nearby residences. It is located in an area where current development trends are in exactly the opposite direction (see e.g. The Works). Most of the assemblage that includes this parcel (i.e. the adjacent property to the east) has zoning that explicitly prohibits car washes. A similar prohibition would exist for this site if the planning department had adopted the zoning map proposed by the community when the area was proactively rezoned several years ago. Although the site is currently zoned I-1, its future land-use designation is for low-density commercial development, not for industrial development.
The proposed development contravenes the purposes and intents of the overlay as stated in sections 16-36.002 1, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15 among others. It advances none of the stated purposes and intents of the overlay. Thus, there is no reasonable way in which this development could be interpreted as accomplishing the public purposes of the overlay or providing for an equal or greater level public protection as is provided for in the overlay, at either this time or in the future. Thus, a strict application of the overlay regulations is called for in this case and any variation to these regulations would be inappropriate for the accommodation of the proposed development.
The application is accompanied by a site plan that shows parking between the building and the street along both of the street frontages of this site: Defoor Ave and Chattahoochee Ave. This is explicitly prohibited by zoning code section 16-36.001.2(b). It should not be permitted. The site plan explicitly states that an administrative variation would be required to allow the proposed building to be set back from the edge of the supplemental zone as it is shown on the site plan. This should not be permitted.
The application is accompanied by a site plan that shows a 30’ wide driveway curb cut onto Defoor Ave. This is explicitly prohibited by zoning code section 16-36.007(a). It should not be permitted. This site is accessible from the excessively wide curb cuts on the site that adjoins it to the east, which is under common ownership. Those were permitted, in part, because they could be shared by this site. Thus, no new curb cuts should be required for the development of this site.
The application is accompanied by a site plan that shows a dumpster located between the building and the street along the Defoor Ave. frontage. This is clearly unnecessary and does not comport with code section 16-36.016.1. It should not be permitted.
The application was not accompanied by any elevation drawings. It is therefore impossible to determine if the fenestration and street-front requirements of the overlay would be met, however this seems unlikely as no pedestrian entrances are indicated and the dominant feature on each street frontage appears to be a garage door. To the extant that this door may be deemed a drive-in service entrance (what else could it be?), it is an explicit violation of code section 16-36-.011.5 and should not be permitted.
The application was not accompanied by any drawings indicating the proposed configuration of the sidewalk, clear zone, supplemental zone, or furniture and planting zone. As such, it is impossible to determine whether or not the proposal would conform to the requirements for these. It should conform to all of them.
The parking seems absurd and excessive (70-ish spaces in total, neglecting the “remaining land” shown on the plan). It isn’t clear from information provided whether or not it exceeds the limits of section 16-36.020.2(b). The application is difficult to judge in this regard because the entire development will be a drive-in facility and many of the associated parking spaces are indicted as queuing rather than parking spaces. These may, in fact, be inadequate under the code as the 23 “vacuum spaces” indicated are drive-in service spaces requiring their own queues in addition to the requirements of whatever is going on inside the proposed building.
Please notify me as to the outcome of this SAP review.
2022 Chairperson NPU-D "