The 1955 Eisenhower era redevelopment act that destroyed so many neighborhoods, historical sites, and sacrificed whole towns for “50’s Modern” government planning is trying to rear its ugly head in Doraville. The Fox theater and the Virginia highlands area nearly fell to the blind federal development plans of the h bomb thinking of the 50’s. Nuke everything to build the latest trendy trendy Gargoyle. 50’s style Khrushchev government housing, bleak gray blobs covering parks and vistas to meet government redevelopment plans.
The city of Doraville is recognized metro wide for is transportation assets and its complete lack of brainpower to follow any known building or development protocol. Jails in parks, townhouses in flood planes, sidewalks to nowhere with telephone poles dead center of wheelchair ramps, 1.2 million dollar 1 acre parks full of water, new houses in the tank farm fire lanes….the list is endless.
So what is the city hall brain trust up to these days- just the total destruction of the city and peoples property value. The comprehensive plan- which includes no blighted areas – is no impediment to this bunch. They will go around the voters and condemn your properties for you.
The Mayor and her staff are up should raise the hair on the back of your neck ( If you are functioning literate that is) Look what what Donna and her staff are up to now!!
For the last several months, we have been working on a proposed Urban Redevelopment Plan (URP) to offer for Council adoption. About half of these plans are done by consultants, but we have elected to go the in-house route. This plan’s implementation has been cited in the original Comprehensive Plan (Community Agenda section), the 2010 LCI and the 2011-16 Short Term Work Program. The Georgia Urban Redevelopment Act of 1955 (O.C.G.A. 36-61-1) gives local jurisdictions broad authority to remedy “blighted” areas of a community. It is the powerful tool the state grants local authorities. It should not be confused with the 1985 Redevelopment Powers Act, which allows for the creation of TADs. Unlike the 1985 law, the URA does not require a referendum.
I have outlined the process for utilizing the Act below in addition to the statutory advantages of the Act. One of the most important aspects of having an adopted URP in place is that it allows a jurisdiction to apply for “Opportunity Zone” status, which is granted to areas within a census tract that either has a 15% or greater poverty level or is adjacent to a tract that meets that poverty threshold. A map of the City with a poverty overlay is attached. As you can see, the entire town meets or exceeds this threshold (you can also review by following this link to the DCA’s GIS: http://cumberland.dca.ga.gov/OZ2012/). I have also attached a marked up zoning map of our proposed Urban Redevelopment Area. If council approves this area and its plan, the entire area will be included in our Opportunity Zone (OZ) application to the Ga. Dept. of Community Affairs, who may elect to approve all or pieces of it. Once the OZ is approved by DCA, then any new or existing business located within the zone is eligible for the maximum state tax credit of $3,500 per job created provided they create a minimum of 2 jobs (tax credit can be used against 100% of tax liability). As of now, businesses in Doraville and throughout DeKalb are only eligible for a $1,250 credit, and they have to create at least 15 jobs (can only be used against 50% of tax liability). Credits are assigned to counties based on a Tier system. DeKalb is Tier 3. There are 4 Tiers. The most impoverished counties are Tier 1. The most affluent are Tier 4s ($750 tax credit). Tier 1 receives the $3,500 tax credit, so having OZ status puts us on par with Tier 1 communities. Obtaining OZ status is the first step in business development. I’ve also attached an overview of the OZ program.
Please review all the materials at your leisure. I have attached a guide to the act and a brief summary of it as well. I realize this is a lot to take in and it is a sensitive subject, therefore we can move as swiftly or as slowly as council wishes. We have spent months discussing this with business owners. Although we essentially have to declare their properties as “blighted,” the ones we have spoken to see the wisdom and benefits of doing so. We have not included single-family residential in our Urban Redevelopment Area for obvious reasons. We have not included the tanks farms because they will not likely be going anywhere anytime soon. If they do, we can always amend the plan. At this point, the proposed area can be modified before it’s presented to you all, so please share your concerns or suggestions. It will not be sent to the map maker until after I have fielded your feedback. The draft plan will be ready by the end of the week. No date has been set for a public hearing, so that you all can take your time in reviewing. I apologize for the lack of presentation, but I wanted to get these materials to you as soon as possible. A power point of all this will be prepared for the public.
As a prerequisite to exercising these powers, the council/ board must:
1). adopt a resolution finding that the area constitutes a “slum area” as defined by the Act and that redevelopment of the area is “necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals, or welfare” of the residents of the jurisdiction; 2.) designate by resolution an “urban redevelopment area” appropriate for redevelopment projects; 3.) adopt an urban redevelopment plan for the targeted urban redevelopment area.
Advantages and Powers of the Act
O.C.G.A. 36-61 expands the normal powers of local governments in some important ways. Specifically, adopting the required resolution and a qualifying urban redevelopment plan:
• Provides a detailed blueprint of the public sector’s vision and goals for a mapped defined urban redevelopment area.
• Allows the implementing entity to attach design and use requirements or limitation to specific parcels as covenants which run with the land.
• Provides multiple options for designating the appropriate implementing entity. A local government may implement the plan directly, or assign it to a Downtown Development Authority (DDA), a Housing Authority created under O.C.G.A., or a specially created Urban Redevelopment Agency appointed by the local government.
• Simplifies the assembly (and possible replatting) of large enough tracts of land to
attract private developers.
• Expands local government powers of eminent domain.
• Protects the rights of private property owners to participate in and benefit financially from the redevelopment strategy.
• Permits the local government or its designated redevelopment agency to issue tax exempt bonds for redevelopment purposes. These may be secured by loans, grants, leases, and other development revenues and do not count in the local government’s general indebtedness cap.
• Helps local governments plan, prioritize, and publicize local government infrastructure investments that will be provided to support revitalization of designated urban redevelopment areas.
• Allows a community to make exceptions to its development ordinances in order to achieve stated economic and aesthetic outcome in the redevelopment area.
• Expands access to some state grant and loan programs and allows the community to expand incentives for private investors.
• Provides a legal framework for binding intergovernmental contracts where communities elect to delegate redevelopment powers to a separate redevelopment agency. (O.C.G.A. 36-61-18)