· Use would be required to be located in an existing building that is a minimum of 15,000 square feet
· Unless granted a variance, all parking requirements would have to be met
· Under the 2038 Comprehensive Plan, this historic area calls for a mixed-use neighborhood
· A large section of the off-street parking near the River Valley Regional office is public parking controlled by the City and is now used for overflow parking from the Trade Center
· Variances for parking requirements would be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals and not Council
· The definition of health and fitness uses may need to be revisited to insure compliance with surrounding neighborhood needs.
In August 2018, a permit for building alterations at 710 Front Avenue were issued to the contractor and the plans were approved. In September-October 2018, inspections were performed and the occupant (Crossfit CSG) received a Certificate of Completion. On October 8, Joanne Cogle, the business owner, came in to pull a Certificate of Occupancy for a Health & Fitness Facility. However, said use is not a permitted use in the HIST zoning district. Upon consultation with the Planning Department, it was deemed a government facility (where zoning does not typically apply). Ms. Cogle was permitted to operate.
On November 12, 2018, the Planning Department received an email of complaint from a neighbor. The Planning Department forwarded the email to the City Attorney’s Office for an opinion. On November 13, the City Attorney provided case law that stated, “In their use of land, a state government or its agencies are immune from operation of local zoning regulations government agencies.” The Planning Department forwarded said opinion to the neighbor. The neighbor countered this opinion and after some back and forth, the City Attorney ruled on November 16 that the property was not exempt from zoning due to O.C.G.A. 50-8-2, which concerns regional commissions (the River Valley Regional Commission is part owner of the building). Special Enforcement was sent to the property on December 3 to advise the business owner to come into zoning compliance.
Ms. Cogle appeared on the December 11 City Council Public Agenda to request a temporary Certificate of Occupancy until she can pursue the rezoning/text amendment process. Council was presented with two options: rezone the property from HIST district to CRD district or amend the text of the UDO to allow Health & Fitness Facilities as a Special Exception Use in the HIST district.
Council approved a temporary Certificate of Occupancy of 120 days on December 11, 2018. The extension was approved on February 12, 2018 for an additional 120 days.
The Planning Advisory Commission (PAC) considered this text amendment at their meeting on January 16, 2018. The PAC recommended denial with a 4-3-1 vote.
Councilor Woodson made a motion on February 12, 2018 for the Text Amendment to be sent back to the Planning Advisory Commission. A Public Meeting was held on February 28, 2018 to discuss all viable options for the case.
The Planning Advisory Commission (PAC) reconsidered this text amendment at their meeting on March 20, 2018. The PAC recommended approval with a 5-3 vote.
The Planning Department recommends approval.
Rick Jones, AICP
Director, Planning Department
HIST MAP Buildings Greater Than 15000 Ft2.pdf