Homeowners File Appeals Against 235-Unit Apartment Project

On May 13, the Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the appeals filed by people living near the site of the proposed 315 West Ponce mixed-use development.

(Editor's note: Ralph Ellis is a resident of the 335 West Ponce condo building.)

Decatur homeowners battling a proposed 235-unit apartment complex have filed appeals with the city Zoning Board of Appeals.

The appeals, which will be heard at 7:30 p.m. May 13, said the city government didn't follow proper procedures in handlng the 315 West Ponce mixed-use development.

For instance, one of the appeals' bullet points says the "zoning administrator failed to folow the procedures established in the applicable orinances for providing public notice." Another said city ordinances are in conflict with each other. (See attached PDF to read the full appeal.)

City Planner Amanda Thompson said Thursday in an email that she doesn't know what role she'll play at the hearing since the complaints specifically question the role of the "zoning administrator." "We are working with the city attorney on that," she wrote.

planned for the large asphalt parking lot at West Ponce and Ponce de Leon Place.

The project has already been approved by the city Downtown Development Authority and doesn't have to go before the city commission.

The wording of the two appeals is identical, other than the part identifying who filed the appeals.

One was filed by 56 people living in the 335 West Ponce condo building and single-family homes around the site of the 315 West Ponce project, the other by a single homeowner on nearby Ponce de Leon Place.

Kathie Gannon, a DeKalb County Commissioner, is leading the fight for the 335 West Ponce condo building, where she lives. In an email to condo residents, she said,

"We simply want the City to follow rules that have been vetted in public. We want the residents who are living in or will be living in these downtown multiple dwelling areas to have some protections from intrusions like massive exposed parking decks. We want those who live next to this area to have an understanding of the rules. We also want our elected official to be accountable to the voters either by participating in these approval processes, not turning it over to the developers and the development staff. Ideally, the city [will] undertake the creation of a comprehensive plan for the downtown multiple dwelling area so residents, current and future will know what to expect."

On Wednesday, the developer, Carter, issued a press release officially announcing the 315 Project, though it's been discussed for months.

Conor McNally, the company's chief developerment officer, said:

“Carter is incredibly excited to be developing a Class-A mixed-use project right in our backyard,” said Conor McNally, chief development officer at Carter. “While Decatur has experienced significant population and retail growth during the last 10 years, no new apartment projects have beendelivered since 2001, which makes the timing for this project ideal.”

Other Patch stories about the 315 West Ponce project. 

  • $40 million mixed-use project planned for Decatur.
  • Homeowners worry about impact of big apartment project.
  • Letter to Editor: The parking garage would be way too big.
  • Decatur Development Authority approves 315 West Ponce project.



Tom Murphy April 26, 2013 at 01:12 AM
looks nice to me. i think you might be getting a little snooty over there. do you remember what downtown Decatur used to look like?
N.G. April 26, 2013 at 01:37 AM
In my opinion, you can go take a walk Tom Murphy. There's always someone sitting at the keyboard ready to call people "crazy" or "snooty" and you are that person on this post. You'd be "snooty" too if it affected you directly, so, once again, go take a walk -- or did I miss your offer to have them build this next to you or your mother's or childrens' homes? Oh, no, that's right, you just want to sling insults under the guise of keen perception.
Kirkwood Resident April 26, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Yes, it looks much better as a large vacant parking lot in the middle of downtown Decatur. Who needs density and walkability. I mean, you bought a condo on the main street in the heart of the city, who would think the commercial property nearby would be redeveloped? Plus it would increase traffic by bringing in undesirable renters. Bleh. Come on over to kirkwood and build it by my house.
Dookie Doo April 26, 2013 at 08:15 AM
Kirkwood is the hood that a bunch of yuppies tried to make hip. How are the robberies over there in kirkwood? It much feel great having Tyrone and shaniqua living just a block away.
Brett April 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM
So Tom, your point is that because Decatur looked bad in the past it has no right to look good in the future? Brilliant!
Kirkwood Resident April 26, 2013 at 04:39 PM
how are the robberies going in Decatur?
Dookie Doo April 26, 2013 at 05:25 PM
You live in a ghetto over there in kirkwood so you want Decatur to be one too right? Misery loves company. Maybe you should write a letter to the developer and tell them you'll welcome their building. However, I'm not sure they want to build in the hood.
Brett April 26, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Pretty good. I think the crooks are 7 - 0. But it's still early in the season.
Kirkwood Resident April 26, 2013 at 09:09 PM
I hardly think I mixed-use retail apartment complex with expensive rent will be a big draw for people with low income so you are safe if that is really a concern. Plus, most people looking to help their kids get a better education by moving to a nicer area probably have a good head on their shoulders as they are placing their kids education as a priority. I think Decatur is a great place. I can't afford to live there, but I also think that infill is important in a city to help create a more walkable community and vibrant downtown district. This is not a 12 story monolith. Five stories is not that bad of development. Again, consider that it is on Ponce De Leon on commercial property. I have seen a lot worse designs as well. What, Dookie Doo, do you propose should be built there that would help your city?
Decaturette April 27, 2013 at 12:03 AM
I doubt that Dookie Doo lives in the City of Decatur. You don't usually hear that kind of nastiness and filth in Decatur. We may argue about the development of our downtown or our school master plan but we don't hide behind racist taunts.
Tom Murphy April 27, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Sounds snooty to me. I grew up on a street with the school across the street. Not a great neighborhood, but friendly. No one had a lot of money. It was just after the Second World War. From those 40 apartments in a low end middle class neighborhood came 4 doctors, maybe 10 teachers, 2 lawyers, a few cops, a fire chief, that I've kept track of. Didn't matter that 3 or 4 blocks over were mansions leftover from the Golden Age. We didn't bother them, they didn't bother us. I think you might all get along if you try.
Tom Murphy April 27, 2013 at 05:03 AM
No Brett. It looks great now, leave progress make it even better. I think Decatur is a wonderful city. But, I think restricting building for fear of the wrong kind, will ruin it.
Brett April 27, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Race has nothing to do with it in my opinion. Too many are too quick to put their "holier than though hats on." My concern has to do with overcrowding and parking issues. For those of you so hung up on race and crying "racist", I happen to be a Chinese aborigine from Ireland if it makes a difference. The question is whether this is the best thing for the city or not. Maybe it is. But why would anyone not want to consider all sides of the issue before making up their minds?
Decaturette April 27, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Dookie Doo used these specific words: "Tyrone", "shaniqua", "hood", and "ghetto". That meets my definition of racist. This thread is about an apartment project yet somehow nasty, hateful comments get posted. Some folks have to spout that kind of filth no matter what the topic.
narwanna April 28, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Let's get it built! I am waiting! My plan to move in. Why so that I can come in with always have to deal with ppl soliciting l ville-dhhs hwy day job seekers all day! Dpd does nothing until you call. I have more calls to them than Pizza Hut! Sick of it. Needs and wants private parking, no one at my door unannounced. Shopping, starbucks, peace !!


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