Alpharetta adopts plan for future growth - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Jan 8 @ 5:34PM

Alpharetta adopts plan for future growth

City targets areas outside Ga. 400 for commercial development


ALPHARETTA, Ga. – As business and development booms, Alpharetta city leaders gave final approval Monday to a blueprint for future growth.
The City Council voted 6-1 to approve revisions to the city’s new 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
The action follows a review by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The revisions call for allowing more mixed-use development, but on a more localized scale. The city wlll also pursue green space and loosening the provision to balance east-west residential development.
The one dissenting vote came from Councilman Jim Gilvin who repeated a request he made last summer when the plan was initially adopted to limit residential density in a section of South Main Street.
Gilvin, who has long kept vigil over residential density in the Downtown District, said he recommended last June that the South Main node should be zoned for “mixed use,” which would allow up to eight residential units per acre.
The new plan has the node zoned “Downtown mixed use,” which allows for a higher density if approved by the City Council.
Gilvin’s efforts to make the change met with no support from other councilmembers.
The revised Comprehensive Plan was first presented June 20 by Eric Bosman and Beth Tucker with consulting firm Kimley Horn. The plan, which revises the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan was the result of six months of collecting data from public workshops and consultations with the city’s Comprehensive Plan steering committee and Planning Commission.
Substantial changes to the old Comprehensive Plan were made in five key areas.
The major change involved moving the focus for development away from the Ga. 400 corridor, where the city had concentrated commercial growth between Mansell Road on the south to Windward Parkway on the north.
The new plan focuses future development in a series of confined clusters and nodes.
Those nodes occupy three levels:
• The highest, most dense development is located at Northpoint.
• Other more modest development would be targeted at Windward, Old Milton and Downtown.
• There would be four other nodes within the city for smaller-scale development.
To incorporate that first mission of a variety of scales of development, the revised Comprehensive Plan calls for allowing mixed-use in areas smaller than 25 acres, which was the minimum set under the old Comprehensive Plan.
These smaller developments focus more on office with complementary retail or residential.
A third major change in the Comprehensive Plan involves the city’s practice of balancing residential development east of Ga. 400 with that on the west side.
The Planning Commission recommended that this balance should no longer be a chief determining factor in residential development but be considered in the discussion.
The revised plan also allows for market fluctuations in residential neighborhoods.
While the old plan called for “ensuring the stability of all single-family neighborhoods,” the revised plan allows for some latitude.
In his presentation to the council in June, Bosman said, “That may not be a goal we can meet. The idea is to preserve the stability of those neighborhoods that are stable in value and are doing well.”
Over the 10 to12 years of the city’s Master Plan, there may be areas that go through cycles and may not qualify under the term “stable,” he said.
The final major change in the plan involves a different accounting method for tallying the city’s rental census.
The old system called for a split of 85 percent designed for owner-occupied homes and 15 percent designed for rental.
But, “designed for” is not a professionally recognized standard, Bosman said.
The problem with the current criteria is it only captures homes compared to apartments. It does not count townhomes that are sublet or single-family homes that are rented.
The new rule would be to maintain a balance of 68 percent owner-occupied and 32 percent renter occupied.
The plan does not call for increasing the proportion of rentals, merely accounting for them more accurately. Right now, if one includes sublet townhomes and rental single-family homes, only 64 percent of Alpharetta’s living units are owner-occupied.

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