Town homes – (UPDATE) Developers seeking variance

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 6, 2014
The church property at 109 Hibernia Avenue.

The church property at 109 Hibernia Avenue.

UPDATE: Decaturish has received several tips that this item has been removed from Monday’s Zoning Board of Appeals agenda. The city has not confirmed whether this item has been removed, and the official meeting agenda hasn’t changed. This story will be updated if more details become available.

The company that wants to raze a historic church property on 109 Hibernia will appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals next week.

Developer Thrive Homes is planning for a development of 20 town homes on the 1.7 acre lot.

City Planning Director Amanda Thompson said the variance has to do with a two-hour masonry wall. She said a two-hour masonry wall means, the wall, “could be on fire for two hours and not burn down.”

“We require them to have a two-hour masonry wall,” Thompson said. “They don’t want to build a two-hour, fire rated masonry wall.” left a message with Thrive Homes and will update this article when the company returns the call.

The meeting is March 10 at 7:30 pm.

Meeting materials uploaded to the city’s website show that the developer wants the variance because the regulation in question is “inconsistent” with other parts of city code.

“We would like to create a community of detached town homes to provide homeowners with the town home lifestyle but with the luxuries of a detached single family dwelling which includes opportunities for allowing natural light and ventilation in on all sides of the structure and being detached from your neighbor,” the developer wrote in the application for a variance. “The way the zoning code is currently being interpreted, we are required to construct a masonry wall which would not allow for the natural light and ventilation that we seek for each unit.”

To download the application for the variance, click this link (note, the Thrive application starts on page 58): Mar 2014 ZBA Packet

Residents of the neighborhoods of Rosewalk and Lenox Place believe they were deceived about the developer’s plans for the property. They thought it was going to be single family units.

The church property is formerly the site of Christ Covenant Church, but prior to that it was the home of the Antioch African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first black church established in the city of Decatur. The church was established in Decatur in 1868 and moved to Hibernia, then called Atlanta Avenue, in 1965. The church relocated to Stone Mountain in 1995.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the development would be 22 town homes. The most current plans show the developer wants to construct 20 town homes. This article has been updated to reflect the newest information. 

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Keith F

    What is it that makes it historic? I can’t tell exactly if it’s because of the age or because it’s one stop along the way for the Antioch African Methodist Episcopal Church.

  • TaxiManSteve

    The church as an institution appears historic, but I’m not so sure about this modernistic structure…?

  • Keith

    While I am not a fan of this project, I did review the application and the request appears reasonable. I would rather have detached then attached housing on that site. It’s a shame the existing building was not reused and the greenspace kept but the lot is zoned HDSF.

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