You may have noticed the large quantity of blue city zoning signs located around the district in February 2023. If you’re wondering what those were about, here’s the backstory on the proposed Upper Westside Overlay Zoning:
In 2020, we launched an 18-month process with the community to determine what the Upper Westside should strive to be, and what projects would help us get there. The community’s vision for the Upper Westside was to create a vibrant, walkable, bikeable, and safe place for residents, businesses, and visitors.
One project included in the Masterplan was to create a zoning overlay, or a set of additional development regulations on a specific area, to provide standards when properties are redeveloped to ensure consistency of basic items like sidewalks, tree planting, and open space, which may otherwise be varied.
We developed a draft Overlay based on the Masterplan community feedback and workshopped the draft during a series of public meetings in July 2022. Then the city’s Office of Zoning and Development spent the next few months editing that draft. Now, about those blue city zoning signs… the signs were the final public notice requirement to let the community know there were proposed zoning changes. In this case, the signs were for the Upper Westside Overlay which will apply in seven neighborhoods: Berkeley Park, Blandtown, Howell Station, Loring Heights, Marietta Street Artery, and Underwood Hills.
But what’s in the Upper Westside Overlay?
Here’s a list of the types of zoning regulations in the Upper Westside Overlay:
— Bans billboards, concrete plants, used car sales, pawn shops, etc.
— Restrictions on gas stations and drive-throughs.
— Streetscape and open space upgrades that conform to the Masterplan and other City plans.
— Transportation upgrades, including establishing block size standards, access management
policies, bus stop improvements, and more.
— Urban design standards address building design, site layout, and more.
— Review procedures that engage the CID and effected NPUs early on in the planning process.
So there you have it – you now have special information to share with anyone who asks you about what those hundreds of blue signs were back in February 2023. Nothing like sounding like an expert, right?
As of this publication, the overlay was unanimously approved by the Zoning Review Board and by the Zoning Committee of Atlanta City Council. The final step before an adoption is a vote by the City Council in April.
Keep an eye out for more Upper Westside updates on our social media as we continue working to make our district the absolute best place to live and work!