Decatur will hold UDO open house meetings

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 16, 2014


The city of Decatur will hold an open house meetings about its zoning code rewrite, known as the Unified Development Ordinance.

The UDO meetings will be held July 21 through 24. The public is invited to comment and help the city “fine-tune” the draft ordinance.

“The goal of the Unified Development Ordinance is to update and streamline Decatur’s development and building regulations into one easy to use, easy to administer document,” the announcement from the city says.

Here is the open house schedule:

Monday, July 21st
Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St.

Tuesday, July 22nd
Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St.

Wednesday, July 23rd
The Solarium in the Oakhurst Village
10am-Noon and 7pm-9pm

Thursday, July 24th
Decatur City Hall
City Commission Meeting Room
10am-Noon and 7pm-9pm

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  • Chris Billingsley

    I look forward to attending at least one of these meetings. Based on
    what I learned at the April(?) green building/light/parking meeting, I
    believe these new regulations should be opposed because they will
    increase the size and authority of our government, intrude upon private
    property rights, complicate the decisions of home buyers and sellers,
    and increase the cost of new buildings and home renovations making
    it even more difficult for middle class families to live and do business
    in the City of Decatur.

  • Chris Billingsley

    Phew! Finally found this article. And judging by the comments here and the other site, this does not appear to be a very popular topic. Maybe I should have begun with “Few!”
    I attended the last of the UDO meetings tonight (July 24). There were maybe 10 to 12 citizens and 4-5 employees including Ms. Merriss who reminded me (thankfully) that I had more than 30 minutes of paid parking. Having attended two previous meetings, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the proposals but as usual, there is always something that I missed. And after looking at the comments on the other site, I wasn’t the only one. Here it is, buried at the end and written in a way that only a cruel, hateful conservative could oppose. Call it “The Golden Girls Proposal” (Makes you feel good already, don’t it):

    “Article 12: Definition. The definition of a “family” was amended to allow up to four unrelated persons to live together to support “Golden Girls” shared housing arrangements.”

    Now I had already raised the temperature in the room by suggesting that the 90 day building moratorium would lead to mob rule and other complaints on different items so when I questioned this article, most probably thought, “How could he be against this!” Here’s how it went: CB- “Ms. Thompson, I want to ask you about Article 12. What was your thinking on this? It seems to me that this would allow boarding houses. Is this true” (Now I’m paraphrasing here. Others who were there might have a different take). Ms. Thompson- “Oh, let me look up the definition of a boarding house. A boarding house is defined by … and is only allowed in R-23 (of whatever) zoning district.” Ms. Merriss, sitting next to me, took over by explaining that the intent was to allow older homeowners to arrange for a caretaker and two non-related individuals to live their remaining days in Decatur before moving off to the cemetery. To be fair to Ms. Merriss, I completely understood what she meant. I have heard this from quite a few older residents, “I just want to live in my house until I can move to the cemetery”. I continued, “So this proposal would allow boarding houses throughout Decatur? Now I could be wrong here but I believe Ms. Merriss essentially said yes.
    My blood pressure was already high when I read that the definition of a family would be amended, but when I heard this, I thought, this is insane! Are they really proposing unlimited boarding houses in every Decatur neighborhood? Did they think about the increase in the number of vehicles parked on a neighborhood street? Did they consider the possibility that a young couple with little children could have houses on each side of them consisting of eight complete strangers? Would you feel safe living next to a house where boarders could come and go because after all, they’re just staying there? And this is just one of the proposals! What devils exist in the others?
    In a previous post, I complained that a person in charge of some of these proposals relied too much on her friends in the green movement and did not spend enough time considering the views of ordinary Decatur homeowners. And that’s why all the opposition to the tree ordinance really had no effect at all. These people live in a bubble, working and socializing with others who believe the same things they do, that more government regulations and less individual responsibility is the road to paradise. They think they know what’s best for you and I and no matter how many meeting we attend to suggest changes, it doesn’t matter because they know what’s best.

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