Developer Rocklyn Homes, based in Duluth, had submitted a plan to convert the 80-unit owner-occupied townhouse project into rental units on the eight-acre lot near the border of Tucker city limits. However, due to a zoning condition adopted in 2015, which limits the number of units that can be rented, the Developer sought to remove the condition by requesting a major plan modification.
In conjunction with the recommendations of City Planners and the Planning Commission, the Tucker City Council denied the request to eliminate the rental requirement clause for the 3281 Tucker Norcross Road property.
The property was initially rezoned to allow for townhome development in early 2003 when an unrelated townhome development was proposed but never constructed. Instead, Rocklyn Homes acquired the site in 2020. During the land development stage, Rocklyn Homes then requested the ability to create a rental townhome product rather than a fee-simple development as required.
According to City documents, DeKalb County had encumbered the property with several conditions, one of which included a clause that only 25% of any units constructed can be considered rental units. The City of Tucker inherited the conditions created by DeKalb County when the area was incorporated in 2017.
The City of Tucker based its denial on the following findings:
- While townhomes serve as an appropriate use transition from commercial to residential, incorporating a rental component more typically seen with multifamily would not be appropriate abutting single-family residential would not be in keeping with or suitable for the adjacent properties.
- The subject property does have a reasonable economic use as currently zoned. The existing parcels are conditionally zoned to allow for fee simple, single-family attached homes. The Developer purchased and began developing the site under the current conditions, thereby ensuring reasonable economic use of the property as currently approved.
- While this type of rental development would offer a unique housing type in the city, the proposed development and the modification requests do not meet the intent of the comprehensive plan, nor does it provide sufficient protection to the surrounding residential properties. The condition changes that have been requested would further intensify the development and remove conditions that were fundamental in previous approvals
According to documents provided by Rocklyn Homes, the denial of their application will drive up the cost of housing and limit the types of housing provided, having the effect of discrimination based on race, age, and familial status.