Neighbors could win battle over land near Beltline - CBS46 News

Neighbors could win battle over land near Beltline

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A plot of land across the street from Maynard Jackson High School is the focus of Grant Park neighbors, who want the city to change zoning for the area.

The plot of land currently houses a cement plant and is zoned for industrial use.

Neighborhood Planning Unit Chair Edward Gilgor said he and other neighbors worry that if the lot remains zoned for industrial use, that a developer will turn it into a large chain retailer.

He said that he has already seen plans from an Atlanta-based developer Fuqua.

"The plans we've always seen for this have been effectively the same set of plans," Gilgor said. "It's a style that went out of style 20 years ago - it's suburban, big box, cookie cutter development. It's a huge store with a sea of parking."

The land sits on the edge of a section of the Beltline trail, which is meant to link different Atlanta neighborhoods together with a trail.

Gilgor said he doesn't believe a development of that nature is in line with the city's vision for the trail.

"[It would be] a huge parking lot that becomes empty at various hours and a magnet for crime," Gilgor said.

At a Thursday zoning review board meeting, members approved legislation that could change zoning for the area from industrial mixed-use. If the city council approves the ordinance, the Atlanta-based developer may have to change its plans.

"We wish the developer would embrace that a vision of a mixed-use environment which really lends itself to the Atlanta that everyone would like to see as opposed to an Atlanta that looks like suburban sprawl," Gilgor said.

At the dedication ceremony for a different part of the Beltline trail on another side of town, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke briefly about the zoning fight.

"I haven't been briefed on the 19 acres around Grant Park but I'm looking forward to having a conversation," Reed said. "I don't have a comment today because I don't comment on matters that are as serious as neighborhood development off the top of my head."

The ordinance to change zoning for that land will go to a city Council zoning committee next, and could be voted on by the city council possibly by the end of August. 

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