More than 100 citizens attended a meeting last week to discuss a proposed overlay for the mostly residential district.
The Fairview Overlay District plan, which includes Fairview Road and part of Anvil Block Road, will control zoning ordinances within the area pertaining to architecture and landscaping. East Point-based company The Collaborative Firm was approached by county Commissioner Bruce Holmes to oversee the plan.
“The reason our company is here is to get the community’s input on what they want to see their area look like as new development occurs,” said the firm’s city planner, Jahnee Prince. She said although every city and county in the state is required by law to have a comprehensive plan to control community growth, it is usually generalized.
In a presentation which included 88 photographs of buildings and landscaping work, the company asked residents to mark their preferences on a one through five scale with one being unappealing and five being very appealing. Prince said this method, known as a visual preference survey, provided an easy way to gauge what residents preferred from an architectural standpoint.
“If I asked a citizen, he would have a hard time telling me what type of architecture he likes or struggle with describing building materials to me, but I know that everyone can look at a picture and tell me if they like it or not,” Prince said. Residents graded the photographs and the company will tally up an average score for each and, with the help of a steering committee made up of Stockbridge citizens, write the overlay plan for the Fairview area.
Although Holmes said in a statement the plan “is intended to encourage improvements through the use of development and design standards while conserving the integrity of the cultural resources and property values,” many residents voiced concerns about the project.
“This is being presented as if the overlay district has already been decided so does anyone here have any input on whether this takes place at all?” Andrew Jones, a native of the area, said. He and other citizens said they were concerned the overlay ordinances would mean business and home owners already established in Fairview would be forced to conform to the new rules.
“This overlay project will create an additional set of standards for new development so we as the public have to decide those standards and regulations, and what I’m hearing from the group is if you’re an existing commercial property, you’re protected from changing to conform to these standards,” said county Development Plan Director Cheri Mathews, who encouraged attendees to let their ideas be known to the steering committee.
After its completion, the final plan will be presented to the county commissioners to take action sometime in the spring of 2014.
What's next? The next public meeting for the overlay project, where residents will again be invited to share ideas, will be Nov. 7.