Buckhead development regs approved
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County Planning Commission members unanimously recommended approval of a proposed text amendment to the town of Buckhead’s zoning ordinance that would install new guidelines for those developing residential areas in the city.
A map accompanying the proposed amendment outlines several areas “requiring special attention” in Buckhead, including tracts of land off Oconee Road, between Perryman Street and Saffold Road, and between Saffold Road and Seven Islands Road.
“This [text amendment] is in keeping with what the town of Buckhead already has,” said county planner Danielle Peck. The text amendment was drafted based on alternatives to conventional development written by the state.
“Essentially, in all of our small towns right now, there are no guidelines as to how the residential areas might develop,” said Allison Moon Duncan, senior planner for Morgan County. “That’s something that can really change the face of a community.”
Although the area in which the proposed Buckhead Station development is included on the new development areas map, county staff members are not sure whether any houses in that area would have to comply with the proposed new regulations, although technically a final plat of the development—currently under a stop-work order—has yet to be filed.
“That’s a legal gray area right now,” said Duncan.
Some of the areas in question are currently zoned as residential; some are currently zoned as agricultural areas. But in all cases, the proximity of the land to downtown Buckhead makes them prime development targets.
“We’re just trying to put some very minimal guidelines out there,” said Duncan.
The Buckhead town council is expected to review the proposed text amendment at its next meeting in February.
In other planning commission news, the board also recommended approval of amendments to the city of Madison’s zoning ordinance specifically relating to office parks and shopping centers. The new amendment, if approved by the city council, will codify a new set of rules and standards relating to the development of those types of business areas.
“We get all sorts of requests for different uses, which don’t always seem to fit in a shopping center,” said planner Bryce Jaeck. “This seemed like a good opportunity to clear that up.”
The new text strikes the old “planned center” language in the Madison ordinance in favor of more specific definitions of retail centers. Current uses of retail and professional spaces in Madison will be grandfathered under the new rules.
“This was a lot of work—it looks like a good job,” said planning commission chairman Jack Pluckhahn.
The group unanimously approved recommendation of the regulations as written.
The amendment was reviewed and approved by the Madison City Council at their regular meeting on Monday.
Published in the January 29, 2009 edition.