McMansion Vote Coming

This could mean the end of being able to treat your home as your castle.

Atlanta’s city council is scheduled to vote Monday on a zoning proposal that aims to rein in the number of million-dollar houses popping up in Atlanta’s suddenly trendy intown neighborhoods.

The zoning proposal comes after two years of back-and-forth negotiations spurred by a torrid housing market that turned neighbor against neighbor as developers tore down older homes and replaced them with ritzy


  1. SpaceyG says:

    Any builder who can navigate the utterly insane and inept zoning and building codes and permits to build a mere dog house in the City of Atlanta deserves to build whatever he/she can get. They’ve earned it by that point in the endless bureaucratic game you have to go through here. Whatever they’re doing to get those permits, they should tell others how to do it. Maybe they have better magic wands? BTF outta me.

  2. Rick Day says:

    Spacey, you are hitting every raw button I have at the moment. Not only am I fighting NIMBY for a as-built next door expansion of my event/wedding/meeting center in the rundown section of Midtown, I have to put up with, in my opinion, deceit from from a Bureau of Planning that seems a *bit* too cozy with the neighborhood associations who are ignorant of most of the ordinaces that the business person has on their side.

    You should google the minutes of some of these neighborhood and NPU meetings. They treat people like dirt..

    My wife made an appointment a few months ago at Midtown Alliance to seek assistance on a parking issue. At that meeting (which, unfortunately I did not attend) the head of Midtown Blue verbally accosted my wife to the point of tears, voicing menacingly at how ‘everyone opposed us.’

    The tactic is simple – delay delay and delay, until the opposition either runs out of options, or the small business runs out of money, typically betwen $200-$500 a day. We fall in the higher end.

    But those people just don’t care. NIMBY.

    Glad we have a lot of money, heh.

    I had to hire A. damn Begner, just to argue why we don’t need an SAP and the accompanying review by the neighborhood biddy committee (many times over proven devious and vehemently opposed to us) review of five parking spaces in our original area.

    Didn’t work. Planner lied to me. Said ‘bring the SAP and I’ll approve it the next day.’ Did they? Noope.They sent the SAP for review over to DRC-Midtown gladly took the review, Sept 7 date. Until we get the parking SAP, no building permit, no CO no alcohol permit.

    No revenue.

    And the FEES, the G-D fees! Arrrgh!

    My wife and I are good people.She is an actuarial consultant for a Big 3 accounting firm-tops in her field. She attends church, and I, well, I allow a church to meet at our center. I don’t drink alcohol or do soft drugs (anymore). We pay more in taxes than many people make in income, probably twice over. We will gladly pay more city tax money from our business expansion.

    We do not deserve this treatment.

    Grr…do NOT get me started!

    I swear, its almost a conspiracy, the way un-connected small business is treated in the City of Atlanta.

    Apologies for the slight non-sequiter

    /opinion rant

  3. kendrial says:

    Two words “natural obsolence”.

    As communities change so do the buildings. Cash out and let the free maket do it’s job.

  4. Rick Day says:

    The market demands economical meeting space. You can’t get that by renting a venue @ $20 /sq ft. or the Crowne Plaza ballroom.

    We have a viable target market and intend to service it. Free Market at the Small Business level

    You suggest if I could, sell out to the “big boys’. The very same ones who run the neighborhood associations, who opppose, etc etc..

    Why am I the enemy here?

  5. Rick Day says:

    IT is not a new building. Our original location is the home of the old Dictabelt Company. The one block strip center has been around since the 40s.

    We are doing nothing to the outside, just attempting to change the use from office/warehouse to assembly occupancy.We have to install some door exit hardware and put in a 3 compartment sink and small greasetrap for the ‘health department requirement, to wash the dishes we won’t have(don’t get me going on THAT)

    Some paint and that is it. The building has been vacant since 1996.

    I wish I had a better forum for this conversation. My wife and attorney are going to kick my ass, LOL

  6. kevpriest says:

    Rick, I’m sorry things haven’t worked out for you. I actually led the NPU in voting to APPROVE your permit, and received quite a bit of flack for my efforts from some of the other neighborhoods.

    I also led the effort to have our NPU vote to NOT SUPPORT Ms. Norwood’s legislation. In the end 3 NPUs voted to recommend against the legislation, all of them containing the neighborhoods where development is most likely to occur (4th ward and Home Park among them). I took quite a bit of flack on this one as well, with some of the neighborhoods asking for a revote.

    In the end, however, I think it’s going to pass. One of our city council people was able to negotiate with Ms. Norwood and get a bit of an exception put in place for non-conforming lots of a particular zoning, which addresses a specific issue I raised with the legislation, but doesn’t address my major concern that this is just an attempt by wealthier neighborhoods to shut the door behind them.

  7. Rick Day says:

    Kevin, I remember your brave position. It took a lot of guts to do what you did and it was the one shining light in this entire experience.

    Thank YOU, for all you do.

  8. bsjy says:

    The new trick in the proposed ordinance is the FAR (floor area ratio) which includes “inhabitable” basements and attics. Since most of Atlanta’s neighborhoods where infill happens feature uneven topographies, the FAR’s inclusion of basement space means homeowners will have to choose between a cube with two full stories or a rectangle with only one full story. This will also have a noticeable impact on the market value of these smaller lots, so I am sure I can expect to see tax assessments retreat on the smaller lots, right?

  9. kevpriest says:

    Well, bsjy, the neighborhoods that have most of the non-conforming lots (smaller than would be allowed under current zoning) have actually been given additional flexibility under this legislation. It’s still more restrictive than the current law, but it’s not quite as draconian as what the other, conforming neighborhoods have elected.

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