With a Veto by the Mayor, the Buckhead Church Development Hits a Snag

Approvals allow the Church at Wieuca to move towards the construction phase to make the office building and mixed residential structures surrounding the Buckhead church a reality
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[Update (Nov. 15, 2021): Atlanta City Council overrode the mayor’s veto by a vote of 10 to 4. The project can move forward as planned.]

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Last week, Greenstone Properties, the Atlanta-based real-estate company, submitted plans and received the approval to rezone the 13-acre site located at 3626 Peachtree Rd. NE on behalf of Church at Wieuca, formally known as Wieuca Road Baptist Church, reported by What Now Atlanta.

Not satisfied with the outcome, Mayor Bottoms issued a veto on the approval, effectively stopping the development’s ability to move forward unless the Atlanta City Council overrides the Mayor’s action. The veto is in contrast to the unanimous conditional approvals issued by City Planners, the Neighborhood Planning Unit, Zoning Review Board,  Zoning Committee, and finally, the Atlanta City Council in the past few months.

Today, Monday, November 15, at 1 pm, the City Council will discuss the veto issued by the Mayor. The Council will need to determine whether to override the veto decision, which allows the developer to move forward with construction plan development or sustain the action of the Mayor, effectively ending the current development proposal.

The Atlanta City Council conditionally approved the rezoning from SPI-12 SA, SPI-12 SA, and R-3 to SPI-12SA 1, SPI-12 SA 2 and SPI-12SA 3, and an amended plan which included 444,000 square feet of office and accessory retail, 300 units of multi-family residential and an expanded parking deck. According to the site plan prepared by Kimley Horn, the development also included 38 townhome units and 13 single-family Cottage Homes.

According to the site plan, the office and multi-family building height will reach 382 feet. In addition, the height of the Church will expand 75 feet above the existing sanctuary floor elevation, and the cottage home and townhome heights will transition from 35 feet to 50 feet.

In a letter dated November 10, 2021, written by Mayor Bottoms to the City Council President and Members of the Atlanta Council, stated, “the approval of this legislation would result in a number of the residents of the adjacent and neighboring properties experiencing unique negative impacts, which the City of Atlanta should not ignore.”

The letter goes on to state, “If approved, this legislation, would in effect, initiate the development of one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties in Buckhead, generally, and in the area of Wieuca Road and Peachtree Road, specifically. Currently, this property consists largely of wooded areas and greenspace. As this property is largely undeveloped, any resulting development thereof would result in an exponential increase in traffic, larger than what could be expected from the redevelopment of an existing development. Accordingly, the development resulting from the approval of this legislation would undoubtedly contribute to a disproportionately negative effect on the traffic patterns experienced by the adjacent neighbors and others residing in closest proximity to the proposed development. Thus, this legislation and the proposed development resulting therefrom, would ultimately have a disproportionately negative effect on the ability of these residents to utilize and enjoy their properties.”

The letter to the City Council ends with “While I believe we all agree that some future mixed-use development of this important property is appropriate and desirable, the density and intensity of this specific proposal, and the severe negative effects likely to result therefrom, warrant reconsideration of the City of Atlanta’s approval of the proposed rezoning of the property pursuant to this legislation. Accordingly, I request that you sustain my veto of Ordinance Number 21-O-0486.”

What Now Atlanta will update the status of the development after the Atlanta City Council veto discussion.

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Source: Official

Dr. Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau, DPA AICP, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor, and consulting urban planner. She has over 25 years of community and economic development experience in local government. When she’s not working, you can find her exploring local craft breweries, walking her two beagles, or traveling to visit her adult children living in New York City and Minneapolis.

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1 Comment

  1. Wonder how much the council members pocketed on this deal. Crooked developers and crooked council members in bed again. Disgusting.

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