So, where is the Lion?

And more importantly, where are you? 

The full picture can make all the difference.

The City is only giving you the positive spin on the UDC

Every piece of information, video, news story, etc. from the City of Roswell has only told the positives of the UDC.  There are positives but there are far more negatives.  The City has been extremely selective in much of the information they have chosen to share with the public.

Presentations have been given to HOAs that never even mentioned apartments or density.  Did you attend any of the four “public information” meetings where no group questions or discussion was allowed?  Did you hear any information about potential downsides?

I have been attacked for my efforts to openly discuss the downsides of the UDC and to share complete and accurate information.  It is difficult to fight City Hall.

I believe you need to know the downsides and potential consequences.  The only way to have an open and honest debate is to understand all of the issues.

Here are some of the points being given by the City of Roswell.  Followed by the full picture.

“The UDC will not lead to substantial increases in density” FALSE

The City contends the UDC will not bring increased density. 

In fact, there are 14 new zoning categories that provide densities that far exceed existing densities allowed today.  Current maximum for rezonings is 5 units per acre (6 in a few very specific overlays).  6 new zoning categories actually remove density as a consideration of zoning.

New options for higher densities will definitely lead to increased density.

“There are no new apartments allowed in the UDC” FALSE

The City contends nothing is changing from what it is today in terms of apartments.  That nothing new is being done in the UDC to allow apartments.

In the UDC apartments are allowed in 10 new zoning categories - almost all where they are not currently allowed today.

That allowance would only granted by permission of the City Council  as a “conditional use” after a full rezoning process, but even that would not happen today except in a very few specific areas.

Under the current zoning code apartments are only allowed in R-4 zoning and the Groveway Overlay.  No rezonings are allowed into the R-4 category.  The code says “This district is not suitable for new developments in Roswell since it would permit residential development at a density exceeding the recommendations of they city’s comprehensive plan. Therefore, no rezoning to the R-4 district is permitted” (Roswell Zoning Ordinance, Section 5.9.1). 

Technically, a developer could ask for R-4 zoning but staff could not even process that because the code clearly states it is not allowed.

The Groveway Overlay was passed in 2012 and added a new area where apartments could be approved.  That still exists as an overlay today.

So, the city contends that apartments are not allowed because any new apartments would have to go through the “conditional approval” process - the same rezoning process we have today with public hearings and a City Council vote.  That very specific single piece is partially correct, but it is not the entire picture.

The current City Council has already approved the first new apartment rezoning request that was submitted through the new Groveway Overlay.

This does open the door for the possibility of new apartments, which does not exist today.  One vote would allow that possibility to become a reality.

Kent Igleheart Roswell City Council