REALTORS® are opposing a proposal to amend the City of Atlanta's zoning code to force certain businesses to cease operations in the Cheshire Bridge area. A preliminary analysis of the legislation has found that it would unfairly violate private property rights.
In 2005, the City of Atlanta created the Cheshire Bridge Road North Neighborhood Commercial District (“NC-4”) and the Cheshire Bridge Road South Neighborhood Commercial District (“NC-5”). Zoning for each property within the boundaries was changed to NC-4 or NC-5, and properties not in compliance with the NC-4/NC-5 requirements were designated as “legal, nonconforming” and were allowed to continue operating (a process commonly known as "grandfathering").
In late 2012, Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan filed two ordinances that would use a process known as amortization to require all legal, nonconforming uses in the NC-4 and NC-5 districts to discontinue within two years.
Owners or authorized agents of properties upon which exists a legal, nonconforming use would be required to register annually with the Office of Buildings and remit a registration fee of $50 for initial registration and $25 for each subsequent renewal. The ordinances contain provisions allowing for registrants of legal, nonconforming uses to seek an extension beyond the two-year amortization period. An extension would be subject to a review by an economic review panel and approval by the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
ABR and ACBR governmental affairs staff submitted the legislation to the NAR Land Use Initiative, which utilizes the nation's preeminent land use law firm to conduct a legal, planning, economic, and environmental issues analysis of proposed zoning and land use legislation. This review is expected to be complete by late March or early April.
At the request of ABR and ACBR, Councilman Wan requested a 60-day deferral when the matter was before the Zoning Review Board on March 7. The councilman has said that he wants to work with REALTORS® on a policy solution to improve the NC-4 and NC-5 districts.
By Robert Broome
Governmental Affairs Director