By John Schaffner

After almost a year of working with consultants on a new development overlay for an expanded heart of the Buckhead Village area, reviews by stakeholders and the drafting of a new SPI-9 ordinance, the process now is taking a different tack at the request of Atlanta’s Department of Planning and Community Development.

Demise Starling, who has headed up the new SPI-9 overlay project as executive director of the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA), Atlanta’s planning staff has requested that the overlay district ordinance which resulted from the year-long study and public meetings now be incorporated into a stand-alone zoning district instead.

Starling said this will require changes that will require additional public process and stakeholder input and will impact the ordinance’s final form. But she said it would ultimately better serve the needs of the Buckhead Village district.

Following the completion of the community’s work on the SPI-9 ordinance in May, the draft ordinance and Design Review Committee resolution were submitted in June to the City’s planning staff for review—anticipating a July-August review and City Council adoption.

Instead, city staff requested that the overlay district ordinance be incorporated into a stand-alone zoning district. The city’s rationale for this change was to simplify the zoning code, and streamline its administration for impacted owners.

The study that was concluded last May was principally funded and administered by the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID) and BATMA.

According to Starling, the stand-alone district concept will eliminate the multiple layers of requirements that currently apply to parcels in the Village by consolidating them into a single zoning district. She said the change does not amend current zoning entitlements in the SPI-9 Overlay area incorporated in the proposed ordinance.