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.
Dictating what people can and can’t do with their property is perhaps one of the most controversial forms of regulation, particularly at the local level. Most generally agree that factories should not be located next to schools, but once we go beyond the more obvious incompatible uses the topic can become quite heated. Throw in the touchy subject of adult entertainment and the debate escalates to new levels.
Aside from being a geographically small city, Tybee creates walkability through a grid network of narrow, shared streets. Additionally, most streets on Tybee eschew the implementation of sidewalks. The narrow streets encourage slow driving and the lack of sidewalks requires pedestrians to be in the street. The shared street concept requires drivers to be more cautious, which produces a more relaxed street atmosphere that increases accessibility for walkers and cyclists.
Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.