NUR Weekly - TSPLOST, Parking, Restaurants, Blocks & Mixed-Use

I keep coming up with good ideas for this weekly digest so I had to add a section.  The last part is dedicated to fun stuff and may or may not relate to what we discuss on the NUR blog.  This week, Joan Durbin at the North Fulton Neighbor was on fire with several notable stories.

What’s Up in Roswell

Holcomb Bridge/GA 400 Improvements Tied to TSPLOST - North Fulton Neighbor

Here’s the gist from city council woman Betty Price:

Whether or not T-SPLOST passes, some interim improvements will be evident in the near future. With additional funding and guided by the recommendations of this study, whole-scale improvements can be made in the future that will revitalize this inadequate intersection, bringing with it a welcoming and functional entrance to Roswell from 400.  

Pay Parking May Come to Roswell Historic District - North Fulton Neighbor

My prediction...  People are going to hate this more than they hate looking for a space.  If you’re willing to walk 200 yards, there is NO parking problem.  Key Excerpt:

The locations are the lot next to Wells Fargo on the west side of Canton Street and a lot on the east side between Ga. Hwy 9 and Canton Street that used to be the old city fire department years ago. 

Roswell’s Red Light Cameras May be Relocated - North Fulton Neighbor

This is fairly controversial to some.  Here’s my 2 cents.  These cameras tend to reduce deadly ‘perpendicular’ or ’T-Bone’ crashes at intersections but increase rear-end collisions.  Generally, anything that causes people to pay more attention

Four Canton St Restaurants on Jezebel Magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants for 2012

This is a great sign that Canton Street is doing all the right things.  Little Alley Steak, Inc Street Food, Salt Factory and Table & Main made the list in that order.  You’ll have to check out the magazine to see where they weighed in.

4th Annual Trilogy Trolley Crawl Tix on Sale


Top 5 Articles of the Week

What is a Block? - Better Cities and Towns

The block is something that confuses most people.  This article takes a stab at defining it and does a pretty good job.  Here’s how they define one:

the definition of a block should be based on the legal structure of urbanism. Therefore, a block is legally defined as private property surrounded by public rights-of-way. By this definition, a block is one of the two fundamental units of urbanism (alongside the right-of-way) reflecting the two types of property (private and public, respectively).

The article also uses an example from up the road in Alpharetta to illustrate the absurdities of suburban ‘blocks.’  They managed to find one has a perimeter of 12 miles!  We need more connectivity and smaller blocks. 

Don’t get Mixed Up on Mixed-Use - PlaceShakers

Mixed-use is one of those terms like sustainability.  It is over used and often used out of context.  This article lays it out pretty well:

Today, the most common misunderstanding I find about mixed-use is that most people think it equates, on any street or in any context, to a shopfront with housing above.

In short, mixed-use makes for three-dimensional, pedestrian-oriented places that layer compatible land uses, public amenities, and utilities together at various scales and intensities. This variety of uses allows for people to live, work, play and shop in one place, which then becomes a destination for people from other neighborhoods. As defined by The Lexicon of the New Urbanism, mixed-use is multiple functions within the same building or the same general area through superimposition or within the same area through adjacency… from which many of the benefits are… pedestrian activity and traffic capture.

How to Get a Trader Joe’s - Smyrna is signing a petition - Smyrna Patch 

I’d love it if it were just this easy to get a grocery store where you want it.  I’m sure we could collect a lot of signatures to get one here in Historic Roswell.  This commenter said it best:

Ultimately Smyrna has to prove we have the demographics to ensure Trader Joe's can survive. It's not about where we want it and why. Will Trader Joe's consider Smyrna and why?

Cops Set Up Sting to Keep Pedestrians Safe - AJC

Read this article, you just might learn something that will keep you out of trouble when walking or driving.  Here’s a stat that I wanted to be sure got out there.

...four people are hit by cars each day in the metro Atlanta area. (Sally) Flocks said between 70 and 80 pedestrians are killed each year in the metro area and more than 20 percent within 100 feet of a transit stop.

Alpharetta Downtown Development Picks Up Speed - ABC

Keep moving forward Alpharetta!  This will be a big boost to walkability in North Fulton.  I thought this excerpt was noteworthy:

In the past decade, other suburban cities including Woodstock, Norcross and Suwanee have tried to reinvent their downtowns by launching major projects.  Those ideas reflect principles of New Urbanism, a countermovement to the development patterns in the 80s and 90s across metro Atlanta that to suburban sprawl. New Urbanism aims to create public spaces, such as a city center, where people can congregate in parks that are near shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

Unfortunately, Roswell didn’t get a mention in the article but we are doing great things and our historic district has arguably been more successful than any of the towns that were mentioned even though they pursued very high profile projects.

Fun Stuff

Church vs Beer Map - Guess Where Georgia Is

Beijing’s Olympic Ruins - Much worse than Atlanta’s Ruins

Top 10 Best & Worst Cities to Live - This ranking used a very interesting methodology.  Number one on the list, Hong Kong.  Last on the list, Tehran.  Best US City, Washington DC.  

What the World Would Look Like Covered in Lego - Simple and Fun.. I’d love to drive under this bridge..

Weekly Top 5: HBR400, Agenda 21, Health Risks, Privatization, Cities of the Future

Here's the weekly recap of all of my readings last week.  Enjoy...

What’s up in Roswell

Holcomb Bridge - Georgia 400 Plans Unveiled - -  The long term plan for the HBR-400 interchange was released this week.  It looks like a great plan to improve virtually all aspects of the intersection; traffic flow, pedestrian and bike paths and aesthetics.  The project would take about 20 years to be complete and, oh yeah, almost $100M.  If you like it, there is a sizable portion of that money allocated to the project in the TIA2012 penny sales tax.  BTW.. I’m voting yes.  

July 4th Celebration at Roswell High School - That’s pretty much the biggest thing going on this week in Roswell.  It’s not urbanism related but I figured it was worth noting.  

Pure Taqueria Making Progress - The building frame is going up right now.  Can’t wait for some tasty Mexican food later this summer!

Ryan Pernice of Table in Main on Using Twitter - Ryan is quoted in this Restaurant Management Magazine article about how T&M uses Twitter to entice his followers.  They send out a number of pictures of their specials.  I’m a follower and am often left with my mouth watering.  Follow them on twitter  @TableAndMain for some great pics.. You’ll get hungry.

Economic Development Meeting Scheduled - There will be a public meeting at City Hall (room 220) on 7/12 from 7-830pm to present the new Strategic Economic Development Plan to the public.

Top 5 Articles of the Week 

Georgia and the UN: Why Walking Leads to One-World Government - The Economist

...a former candidate for governor now running for commissioner of Cobb County, just north of Atlanta, condemned plans to build a jogging and biking trail alongside a highway because, "That's Agenda 21. Bicycles and pedestrian traffic as an alternative form of transportation to the automobile."

You want more?  You’ll have to read the article.  This one will make your head spin. 

The Grave Health Risks of Unwalkable Communities - The Atlantic Cities

With an obesity epidemic, weight-related childhood issues and soaring healthcare costs, the point of this article should resonate with all of us.  

Safe, walkable neighborhoods are not just an amenity, they're a matter of life or death. They create environments where we can live active, engaged lives. And more walking brings more social interaction, more time outdoors, more recreation, more smiles and more "life" in every sense. 

A Georgia Town Takes the Peoples Business Private - NY Times

Sandy Springs (aka “the model”) is highlighted for it’s almost complete privatization of local government in this article. I liked this quote:

Drive around and you’ll see a nondescript upscale suburb, where the most notable features are traffic lights that seem to take five minutes to turn green. There is no downtown, or at least anything that looks like a main street. Instead, there are strip malls with plenty of usual-suspect franchises — although one strip mall, oddly enough, includes a small museum that tells the story of Anne Frank. 

Three Atlanta Schools to Watch - Grading Atlanta

This post has some excellent analysis that is probably much more predictive than most people realize.  In it, blogger Jarod Apperson takes a look at the demographic shifts going on within the Atlanta Public School system.  Some of the data is telling and goes with my thinking that the schools that are great now... might not be so great in 15 years.  A long time ago, the in-town schools were the best schools in the Region.  Will that be the case in the future?  Here’s an excerpt:

Toomer (Elementary) underwent the most dramatic shift with the percent of white students rising from 0% to 23%.  Bolton Academy was not far behind with the percent of white students rising from 5% to 19%.

The 15 Hottest US Cities of the Future - Business Insider

This list was actually not that surprising to me.  First, Atlanta is not in it. No surprise there.  The two southeastern cities that were on the list were Nashville and Raleigh which seem to be becoming more desirable than our region.  Look at the list and think about the implications of the TIA2012 referendum.  I’d say that Atlanta might be able to budge its way back into a list like this if the Beltline becomes a reality.

Other Stuff

Bike Sharing Coming to Charlotte

Crabapple Plan Taking Shape

Group Fights Continuation of GA400 Toll 


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Weekly Top 5 - Homeownership, Trickle Up, Kasim Reed, Biking & Walking, Bad Architecture

Here's what we found this week out there.. 
What's up in Roswell...
This Tuesday, the final public input meeting will be held for the Holcomb Bridge Road Corridor Study from 5 to 7 pm at the Holiday Inn at 909 Holcomb Bridge Road.
The Groveway Architectural Design Guidelines were released.  Check out the document here.  This document clarifies a lot of the questions that were found in the hybrid form-based code document.
Top 5 Articles of the Week

Homeownership Means Little to Economic Growth - The Atlantic Cities

OUCH! The truth hurts.

Robert Shiller of Yale University documents that from "1890 to 1990, the rate of return on residential real estate was just about zero after inflation." Other studies have shown how America’s historic over-investment in housing has distorted its economy, leading to under-investment in technology and skills. Or as Nobel prize-winning Columbia University economist Edmund Phelps bluntly states it: "To recover and grow again, America needs to get over its 'house passion.'"

Tools for Trickle Up Economics - Place Shakers

This article made it to the top 5 simply because of the quote below. Think of how many worthless buildings we have dotting the landscape that were not beautiful when they were constructed and are decaying now with little hope of ever becoming commercially viable again.  Some of the solutions to the conundrum that the post recommends are Form-Based Codes, Updating Infrastructure Standards and ceding more control to localities.

I hope that you of San Diego, whose city is just entering on its great period of development, will recognize what so many old communities have failed to recognize. That beauty is not only well worthwhile for its own sake, but that it is valuable commercially. Keep your waterfront and develop it so that it may add to the beauty of your city. Do not let a number of private individuals. . . make it hideous with buildings, and then force your children to pay them an exorbitant sum to get rid of the ugliness they have created. - Teddy Roosevelt

Mayor: Conversation over T-SPLOST too ‘esoteric’ - Creative Loafing

I can’t tell you how much I loathe the conversation going on about the transportation tax right now.  The opening paragraph of this article sums up my thoughts pretty nicely below... no ned to say more (but I will in this month’s Roswell Current).

Bickering over the number of lanes on a road project. Debating whether the Atlanta Beltline will reduce a Cherokee County soccer mom's commute time. Or, for that matter, if a Sugarloaf Parkway expansion will help a Little Five Points barista have better access to transit.

House Republicans Ramp Up War on Safe Biking and Walking - Sierra Club Compass

It’s no secret that we like walkability and bikability at NUR.  We recognize that not all areas are walkable and bikable and accept that they never will be.  Cars are necessary tools just like a hammer and chainsaw but I generally don’t use a hammer or a chainsaw for every task that I do.  That being said, our national legislature continues to pursue a ‘cars only’ agenda.. the four bullets below is all you need to know from this Sierra Club post.


  • Nationwide, biking and walking account for almost 12% of all trips, yet biking and walking infrastructure receives less than 2% of all federal transportation funding.
  • But as Senate and House negotiators enter the final three weeks of negotiations over a transportation bill, House Republicans are demanding that the Senate drop provisions that will make biking and walking safer across the country
  • One particularly egregious demand from House Republican negotiators is that the Senate eliminate the Safe Routes to School program.
  • 83% of Americans support maintaining or increasing funding for biking and walking, including 80% of Republicans. 


25 Buildings to Demolish Right Now - ca Home & Design

I agree with most of the buildings on this list.. most notably the Boston City Hall.  Yikes!  So, what buildings in Roswell need to be “Demolished Right Now?”  I’d have to say the AT&T building on Oak Street is on the list.  How about the entire south east quadrant of the HBR/400 interchange? 

Weekly Top 5 - Zoning, Walkability, Strip Malls, Street Trees, Millennials

This week, we have a little bit of everything for you.  There is so much to talk about in Roswell that I’m starting off with a Roswell top 5 and then getting into a more general top 5.  Enjoy! 


Top 5 From Around Roswell 

Roswell Seeks Input on Unified Development Code - Roswell Neighbor - Our city is undergoing a complete revision of its zoning code over the next two years.  The first public meeting to kick this effort off will be on 6/20 from 6pm to 730pm at City Hall.  

Roswell Hosts Holcomb Bridge Open House - Roswell Neighbor - There will be a public information open house on 6/26 at 5pm at the Holiday Inn at 909 Holcomb Bridge Rd.   The Roswell DOT will be presenting their recommendations for changes to the HBR/400 interchange to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

Street Closure for Alive After 5! - Finally, it’s a true block party!  This has been needed for a while.

Pasti’s Looks to Replace Windows - RoswellGov  - Pasti’s is looking to open up and liven up their facade by replacing their windows with retractable glass garage door style windows.  I think this will really help that building engage the street a little bit more.  Plus, it takes the building back to it’s roots when it was a car repair shop.

Fulton’s Mobile Food Trucks to Stop in Roswell - Roswell Patch - This isn’t the type of food truck that has become so trendy these days.  This truck is more of a grocery store on wheels that is meant to serve areas in Fulton county that are lacking in grocery stores, aka food deserts.  The truck will be at Zion Baptist Church every second and fourth Wednesday at 1pm.


Top 5 From Around the Web - The Atlantic Cities was on fire this week.  I honestly could have filled up five spots with just articles from that site.  However, we did spread the wealth a little bit.  Enjoy this week’s reading.

The Need for Walkable Growth Near MARTA Stations - ATLUrbanist - This post makes a pretty good case for what we all know to be true, that our MARTA stations don’t work very well because cars don’t ride trains.. people ride trains.  Unfortunately, MARTA built a lot of stations to focus on getting cars to the trains rather than the trains to the people.  

Debating the Root Causes of Zombie Infrastructure - The Atlantic Cities - This article is a perfect example of what everyone who wants to build more walkable, livable environments is up against.  Check out the ‘beautiful’ strip mall.

New Evidence that City Trees Reduce Crime - NRDC Switchboard - We need more trees.. this comes on the heels of another article that points out that income inequality can be discerned from google maps. Both of these are interesting reads and point to the importance of trees which we have no shortage of here.  However, what we do have a shortage of is political will to battle GDOT to allow larger trees along our streets.  Are you tired of seeing crape myrtles?

Strip Malls and Big Box Linked to Increased Traffic Deaths Among Seniors - The Atlantic Cities - The scary part about this is that we just don’t get it... see the second article in this week’s top 5.  A telling statistic: areas with strip malls, crashes increased 2.5 percent. In areas with big box shopping centers, crashes increased 7.2 percent. Pedestrian-scaled retail centers, on the other hand, were found to correspond with a 2.9 percent decrease in crashes. Crashes were higher on arterial roads and lower in areas with higher amounts of slower side streets. For older pedestrians and cyclists, arterial thoroughfares and big box shopping centers were associated with significant increases in crashes – 28 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

When are we going to get it that we need to be concentrating our infrastructure dollars and development on building fine grained, walkable places.

Young People are Driving Less and Not Because They’re Broke - GOOD - Another piece demonstrating the shifting demographics that will ensure suburbia is the second choice for the largest generation in American history.  If Roswell is to thrive in the coming decades, we need to get going building a fine grained, walkable city that will meet the coming demographic time bomb...  Here’s an interesting excerpt:

Perhaps Millennials have soured not only on the price of cars, gasoline, and upkeep—but also on the hassles of parking, the drudgery of traffic, and the negative effect cars have on urban life, air quality, and personal wellbeing. Or as Michael Hagerty, an auto journalist, wrote for AlterNet last month, many Millennials are “just plain sick of [driving] after spending 16 to 20 years with Suburbans strapped to their asses several hours a day.”

Weekly Top 5 - Cars, Conservatives, Alpharetta, Congestion, Innovation

Each week, New Urban Roswell brings you our Top 5 most interesting and thought provoking articles about urbanism and neighborhoods.  We sifted through about 100 articles this week to find the top 5.  We hope you enjoy.

Beware the 18% - New Urbanism Blog

Embedded in this article is a very interesting statistic that goes beyond the headline.  That statistic is that the average annual cost for owning a mid-size car in the US  is $9,519 when you factor in all pertinent costs and assume annual mileage of 15,000.  That’s almost 65 cents a mile!  It’s a statistic that’s just crying out for some common sense. Much of the current debate in Atlanta is about the Transportation Investment Act and the fact that 48% of the money is allocated to roads... this statistic tells me that we might want to consider lowering that.  Assuming that you have a 10 mile commute, your round trip is costing you about $13!!!  WOW!  Bet you didn’t think about that.  We need to start building walkable places where people aren’t forced to use their car and can even consider reducing their car ownership.  The automobile is a drag on our national wealth. 

Smart Growth for Conservatives - Bacon’s Rebellion

This is a highly interesting read if you are at all concerned about he politicization of common sense.  In the preface to this post, Bacon comments that “efficiency is efficiency... cost effectiveness is cost effectiveness.”  The current dichotomy is Sprawl (Conservative) vs Smart Growth (Liberal) and that isn’t going to cut it as reality begins to smack us in the face more and more frequently.  The argument in this post is whether the top-down liberal solution or the bottom-up conservative solution is best.  As a staunch independent, I think a little of both is needed.  An additional excerpt from the preface:

The logical, if somewhat extreme, outcome of the conservative dismissal of Smart Growth is the anti-Agenda 21 movement, which connects non-existing dots between the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainability agenda, President Obama’s green policies and efforts in Virginia’s cities and counties to implement Smart Growth. Thus, in this conspiratorial mindset, anything resembling Smart Growth is seen as part of a larger movement to undermine American freedoms and liberties. Frighteningly, this movement has gained momentum in a number of Virginia counties and created a distraction from the real issues.

If you really have some time and are interested, you can listen to a panel that Mr. Bacon was on at CNU 20 here.

Three Simple Ideas for Cities - Strong Towns Blog

This is a great posts that throws some ideas and thoughts out on how some small, experimental ideas could improve the overall development picture of towns and cities.  The three ideas that are thrown out for consideration are building a local building bank, moving to land value taxation rather than building value taxation and encouraging/allowing code free zones where a city can experiment with what an area with no zoning would develop like.  I feel that experimentation of this nature is not only a good idea but necessary to move into the next generation of development in this country.  The systems we have now are dysfunctional at best and toxic at worst.  

Alpharetta City Center Plan Stirs Concerns About Green Space - Live in Alpharetta

All I can really say on the newly revised plans for Alpharetta’s city center are WOW!  The plan as it is would create an incredible mixed-use destination that is quaint, people focused and inherently local.  This plan is about a mile away from Avalon but it is extremely different in the way it will interact with people.  I think once both are done, there will be no question that this project will win the ‘lovability’ contest. Great work Alpharetta!  I’m more than a little bit jealous that Roswell’s neighbor city seems to be a step ahead of us in redeveloping it’s urban core.

Rethinking the Economics of Traffic Congestion - The Atlantic Cities

Is traffic congestion really a drag on economies and productivity?  This article looks at areas with low congestion and compares them to areas of high congestion and asserts that congestion is a byproduct of a healthy economy.  You can’t get around it.  They found that when traffic delays went up, GDP also increased and that the correlation was statistically significant. Here’s an excerpt that helps make sense of it:

How could being stuck in traffic lead people to be more productive? The relationship is almost certainly not causal. Instead, regional GDP and traffic congestion are tied to a common moderating variable - the presence of a vibrant, economically-productive city. And as city economies grow, so too does the demand for travel. People travel for work and meetings, for shopping and recreation. They produce and demand goods and services, which further increases travel demand. And when the streets become congested and driving inconvenient, people move to more accessible areas, rebuild at higher densities, travel shorter distances, and shift travel modes.


City Hall Square - DPZ Concept

We saved the most innovative of the DPZ proposals for last.  Now, to be up front and honest with everyone, it is my second favorite of the three proposals.  The New Canton Street proposal is actually my favorite but this one is a close second.

This proposal creates a true civic square that functions as the heart of the city anchored by all of the traditional institutions of government and culture. It would slow traffic down but still allow it to flow. Remember that 30 mph is the ideal speed for traffic volumes. This design could maintain that. The proposal would create an incredible location for the new Walk of Valor memorial. Additionally, it would provide a home to the new Fulton County library that is being considered and a new courthouse for the city. The Arts Center would anchor Canton Street and create an amazing cultural amenity that all could see. This is a signature project for Roswell. It could transform the face of our city.

Now, if your concerned with what to do with the old library and the performing arts center, I have a great idea. It could serve as an incredible foundation for a Roswell Charter School campus that would give our city center the school it is lacking. I feel there are better locations that are more central to the neighborhood (Oak St & 9 Intersection) but this would be a real opportunity that could happen in tandem with the City Hall Square. Check out the presentation below to see the vision unfold.

All images courtesy of Duany Plater-Zyberk

Andres Duany Presents His Vision for Historic Roswell

Last night, Andres Duany of DPZ, presented three amazing neighborhood village concepts for Historic Roswell along with a quick fix for Barrington Hall to increase its visibility. These concepts have been refined over the past two weeks to incorporate community input that came from two days of public workshops last month. The ideas enhanced by visuals are absolutely incredible. He reviews all of them in this video. I will be posting images from the slideshow over the next several days and will continue to post new images as the planning process progresses. There was a lot of positive energy in the crowd and I believe these visions will leave a realistic and lasting impression on what Historic Roswell can become. Please share this with anyone who is interested in making Roswell a better place!

Open Letter to Mayor + Council re: Groveway Code

Below is an open letter to the city council articulating my views as well as those of a number of individuals who live in Roswell on the proposed Groveway Hybrid Form-Based Code.  If you support this new zoning, please be sure to let your mayor and city council know before Monday evening as they will be voting on it.  You can email them at  


Dear Mayor and Council,

First, I would like to thank you for the time and consideration that each of you has invested in the Groveway Hybrid Form-Based Code. As you know, the code has gone through extensive review and community involvement.  The assertions by other Roswell citizens that it is being fast tracked is incorrect.  You are also aware that several residents have voiced concern about the unintended consequences of the code.  My initial concerns with the East Roswell Forum email were that the facts were grossly inaccurate.  However, those have now been debunked by the city.  There are 'unintended consequences' of every action. I decided to write you to ensure that both sides of the community are heard and I feel there several additional items that need to be voiced:

  • Our existing zoning is outdated and dysfunctional.  It is critical that we have an updated code particularly in the Groveway area.  We need this to encourage development in the heart of our city.  Otherwise, most of what the Groveway Community wants and needs will require time consuming variances and that will likely never happen.
  • Now is the time to act.  Our neighbors, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs, are moving forward on development and job growth.  Our tax rolls are not growing while theirs are.  If we do not act soon, we will miss the generational shift that is creating a significant demand for walkable urbanism as Gen Y joins the workforce and as the Baby Boomers become empty nesters and find that they don’t need the large house, that they would like to walk to many of their daily needs and also drive less.
  • We must continue to revitalize our town center. Form based codes focus on the creation, revitalization and preservation of vibrant, walkable urban places.  The center of our city should be just that while enabling people of all walks of life to live there.  They help accomplish the following:
  • Encourage Placemaking - They can do this because the are prescriptive thus achieving a more predictable physical result.
  • Encourage Public Participation - Citizens can see and understand what will be built which engages them more.
  • Encourage Independent Development - Independent developers can build on smaller lots knowing that what eventually gets built next to their lot will not adversely impact their building and/or business.
  • Create Diversity of Development - Because smaller independent developers have certainty, many more of them build which creates diverse development rather than what happens when one large developer owns all the land.
  • Retain History - FBCs work well in existing areas because they retain and codify the best of what is already there and build upon that to create a place unique to the area instead of a cookie cutter design
  • Foster Transparency - Non-professionals find them to be shorter, more readable and easier to understand which makes it easier to determine if the code is being followed.
  • Provide Developer Certainty and Reduce Risk - They give developers the certainty they need to encourage large investments of their own capital.

There is much to be excited about in Roswell today.  As you saw in Greenville, it takes bold action to build a great place.  Numerous other cities are already ahead of the curve with creating 21st century zoning codes (Denver, Miami, Nashville, El Paso, San Antonio, Montgomery, Sarasota).  One of the most famous towns in the south, Seaside, was built using a Form Based Code.  

I am are asking that you vote YES for the Groveway Hybrid Form-Based Code.  Please don’t let the short-term view of a few who have fed misinformation to many further delay the progress of our great city.  It would be a shame to waste this opportunity and see jobs and development continue to flow to our neighboring cities.


Michael Hadden | CNU-a | New Urban Roswell 
Roswell 40U40
712 Creek View Lane | Roswell, GA 30075

The Phony Groveway Controversy

You recently received an email containing a letter written by ........ concerning the Groveway Community project. There are many inaccuracies in this letter pertaining to this project, and the City of Roswell would like to give you the correct information. 


Groveway Project Process

This project is not being fast tracked. It has gone through a thorough, painstaking process which began back in 2008 with the City receiving a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to study the area for redevelopment.  From 2008 until today, the City has involved the community and stakeholders from day one. The Groveway project has been a community-driven effort with multiple meetings for citizen input. The City has held a two-day charrette with citizens, four community meetings and 17 Groveway Stakeholder committee meetings following the charrette. The result is a community vision and comprehensive plan for Groveway: A mixed-use zoning code overlay that will re-create the area, making it a vibrant part of our city. Please visit the timeline for this project to see how it has progressed over the years.


The maximum number of apartments that could be built in Groveway is 2,800 but realistically that number is not likely to exceed 1,500. The Groveway project is a mixed-used development which means there will be single family homes, multi-family homes (apartments/townhomes), commercial and retail. To achieve 4,000 apartments, every piece of land in Groveway would need to be developed into five-story apartment complexes. That would include the City Hall property, the Cultural Arts Center, the Police Department, the Library, the Child Development Association, Pleasant Hill Church, the AT&T building, the cemetery and Waller Park. That is just not going to happen.

In addition, the Groveway hybrid form-based code does not allow for five-story buildings everywhere. Five-story buildings are allowed only on the primary streets of Atlanta, Oak, Hill, Norcross, and Frazier. Secondary streets in the community are allowed only three-story buildings. Currently there are approximately 400 apartments in the GrovewayCommunity. Realistically Groveway will be redeveloped into a community with homes, townhomes, apartments, retail and commercial…a balanced approach. 



There will not be 1,782,000 square-feet of retail space developed in the Groveway Community. Again to achieve this level of retail, every parcel in Groveway would need to be retail, and that is not realistic. That would include the City Hall property, the Cultural Arts Center, the Police Department, the Library, the Child Development Association, Pleasant Hill Church, the AT&T building, the cemetery and Waller Park. Again, that is just not going to happen. In addition, the Groveway Community is on a grid system and the size of the land parcels does not allow an assemblage of land large enough to support that much retail. This is a mixed-use development not solely a retail development.

Transferable to other areas of Roswell The Groveway Community Hybrid Form-Based Code Regulations have been created through a community effort for theGroveway Community and nowhere else. If other communities in our wonderful City would like to redevelop their areas, a similar process would need to take place. The residents and stakeholders of the community would need to be engaged and drive the process from the very beginning to its fruition, and Roswell’s Mayor and Council would need to approve the final plan.


Infrastructure Improvements

Necessary infrastructure improvements would be required through the redevelopment of the properties in addition to developers paying impact fees for improvements. This is a live, work, play, walkable community where people will walk to the stores, restaurants and parks similar to those who live in the Canton Street area.

The Groveway project is a community vision of what this area of our city could be – a thriving, vibrant neighborhood for our community. To read more about the Groveway project, we encourage you to visit

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