By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Through a Georgia Conservancy program called Blueprints for Successful Communities, neighborhood leaders have proposed a growth management plan for Collier Village — the triangle formed by I-75 and Howell Mill and Collier roads.

The report, approved by Neighborhood Planning Unit C (NPU-C) at its Jan. 6 meeting, sets forth strategies to redevelop the commercial district.

“The intent of a Blue­prints report is a conversation starter,” said Saskia Benjamin, growth management program manager at the Georgia Conservancy. “These are your recommendations to implement as you move forward.”

The hope is to turn Collier Village, as it has been coined, into a pedestrian-friendly town center that connects to such surrounding neighborhoods as Wildwood, Springlake, Channing Valley and Underwood Hills.

Guidance is necessary because the parcels are being assembled by developers including the Novare Group. The current zoning allows for about five times the existing density and sets forth no height restrictions, which could worsen traffic congestion.

“If you think it’s bad now, just wait,” said Eric Ranney, the NPU-C chairman. “Part of this exercise is to make (developers) aware of … where the community is coming from. If we don’t make the effort, we will be very unhappy with what we get. This is our opportunity to get something in their hands.”

Through four public meetings held last January through April, engineers, architects and 49 community stakeholders — including 12 neighborhood groups and seven developers — drafted seven broad strategies. Students of the Urban Design Studio at Georgia Tech researched and developed the final plan.

Three transportation strategies aim to improve streets and intersections, add new streets to form an internal grid and provide transit alternatives.

Two land-use strategies seek to pursue “quality of life” zoning and foster an urban environment.

Two urban design strategies propose improved public spaces and the development of an environmental design overlay to preserve trees and green spaces.

The report also sets forth an action plan with recommendations, resources and time frames to accomplish the strategies.

NPU-C voted to begin seeking rezoning in Collier Village and to look at forming a standing committee to lead the endeavor.