City Council Declines Variances For New Credit Union Office On 20th Street; Approves Houses At 10th And Fairview

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The City Council on Tuesday night declined to go along with major variances from the Form Based Code that would have allowed a new office of the Tennessee Valley Credit Union on 20th Street at Long and Williams Street.

Credit Union officials said a one-story office of 1,500 to 2,000 feet was needed to serve an area south toward Fort Oglethorpe.

Dallas Rucker, director of the city's Land Development Office, said it failed on six major requirements of the Form Based Code, which seeks to foster an urban design format with buildings up close to the front and at least two stories high.

He said, "This is a small building on a large lot."

Mr. Rucker added, "It's probably very similar to what's out there now, but the code's only been here for two years."

Councilman Darrin Ledford asked if there would be another way to make the project possible. He said, "We want to stick to the plan, but we're getting in the way of development."

He said the project might fit better under Urban General Commercial.

Architect Craig Kronenberg, a nearby resident, said the design was "a suburban commercial prototype on an urban lot."

He said one option would be to build space for the Credit Union, but also for other uses in a much-larger building that would better fit the lot.

Mr. Kronenberg asked the council to "place principle before institutional influence. We can't create the city we want if our commitment to the Form Based Code is so weak."

No member of the council offered a motion in support of the project. 

In a second case, the council did approve a major variance to the Form Based Code to allow three new houses at 10th and Fairview.

The project is by Adamson Developers, represented by Mike Price.

Councilman Anthony Byrd was in opposition, saying members of the community are against.

Voting in favor of the variance were Demetrus Coonrod, Russell Gilbert, Darrin Ledford, Erskine Oglesby and Chairman Ken Smith.

Opposed were Councilman Byrd, Jerry Mitchell, Chip Henderson and Carol Berz. 

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