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BZA Denies Smart Growth Atlanta’s Appeal

By Kristin Andris
On October 10, the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustment denied Smart Growth Atlanta’s (SGA’s) appeal of a special administrative permit held by Fuqua Development, LP. SGA is currently planning how to move forward, proclaiming that the fight is not over. SGA, which has retained the legal counsel of Dana Maine with Freeman, Mathis & Gary LLP, released the following statement:
“Smart Growth Atlanta (SGA), Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA), and South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (SAND) are committed to winning the fight for mixed-use development at 800 Glenwood along the Atlanta BeltLine. Our efforts have successfully carried the day in four battles thus far. Our previous victories demonstrate the merits of our arguments, our strategy, and our cause.”
“The city-approved Special Administrative Permit (SAP) for the 800 Glenwood project proposed by Fuqua Development sets a horrible precedent for future development along our entire Atlanta BeltLine. This is an issue that affects every neighborhood in Atlanta!”
“We may have lost the battle to appeal the developer’s SAP, but the war is not over. We believe the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) ruled incorrectly on the issue of standing and therefore did not hear all of our arguments detailing why the SAP was issued in error. In the coming days we plan to take our challenge to the next level. Our friends and neighbors from all over Atlanta need to be prepared for the long haul and for it to be a bumpy ride. We will have ups and downs, but in the end we know we have the right strategy.”
“We welcome all thoughts, questions and concerns. We fully understand the passion and interest this effort has generated, and we share your frustration for yesterday’s events. We are committed to seeing this effort through. SGA, GPNA and SAND will continue to fight for our neighborhoods and neighborhoods all over Atlanta. We support the Beltline Master Plans and expect them to become a reality. After all, this is what most of us support and believe in!”
SGA filed the appeal against Fuqua’s SAP on August 9, charging that the Atlanta Office of Planning wrongfully approved the permit for Fuqua’s proposed big box development at 800 Glenwood Avenue. In its appeal overview, SGA explains that the proposed big box development violates 11 of the 15 policies listed in Section 16-36.002 of the Atlanta Code of Ordinances and Beltline Subarea 4 Master Plan.
In accordance with SAP appeal requirements, SGA had to prove that the neighborhood and two homeowners would be uniquely affected by the development. SGA counsel listed spillover parking and traffic concerns as the project’s proposed impact. However, Lemuel Ward, the city attorney representing the Planning Department, argued that traffic concerns were “not sufficient to meet the standard as an aggrieved citizen.”
Now that BZA has denied SGA’s appeal, the organization has 30 days to appeal the denial. SGA is currently evaluating their options on how to proceed. The legal battles ahead will not be cheap for SGA. SGA encourages all Atlanta residents and neighborhood associations to make a financial contribution to its legal counsel fund or get more information at www.smartgrowthatlanta.org.
Smart Growth Atlanta is a collaboration of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association and South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (SAND). The organization has seen many successes in their battle against the proposed big box development at 800 Glenwood. With the help of City Council Member Carla Smith (District 1), SGA was able to push forth special legislation to rezone the property. Over 600 residents were in attendance for legislation’s initial hearing at an August 8 Atlanta Zoning Review Board meeting. With the new zoning in place, 800 Glenwood will be protected from big box development if Fuqua’s proposed development fails to materialize.

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