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appen dec 2010

Roswell passes UDC zoning

Controversial code reworks city building rules

January 15, 2014
ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell's Unified Development Code (UDC) is moving forward after the City Council approved the first presentation of the code at their Jan. 13 meeting in a 4-2 vote.

The city has worked on updating its aging zoning code for more than a year.

The UDC aims to simplify zoning codes so both developers and residents know what is expected of them. Roswell made the decision to update its zoning, which had been cobbled together over 40 years and multiple annexations of new land.

"We have overly burdensome, confusing and sometimes prohibitive zoning ordinances," said Roswell Community Development Director Alice Wakefield. "[The zoning code] clearly tells you what you can't do, but not a lot about what you can do."

Wakefield said the goal of the code is to unify all of the development regulations to address contemporary trends and practices that are easily understandable by developers, citizens and staff.

And for the past 18 months, the city has done just that.

"This is an attempt to provide people with the majority of the information as simply as possible," said Lee Einseiler of Code Studios, the consultants who helped the city with the new code. "There are lots of pictures and diagrams and simple terminology."

The idea is, instead of saying what cannot be built, focus on what is possible and what that should look like.

Detractors say the process has moved too quickly and not enough time has been given to review for errors or impacts. The city's zoning maps are changing, being compiled into one, which can lead to problems and oversights. At least one property at Monday's meeting was improperly zoned on the new map.

Former candidate for council Eric Schumacher questioned why he should be able to build a detached garage on his property now, but under the UDC, he would not be. He argued that, despite city assurances, he and other landowners would be restricted on what he could use his land for under UDC rules.

"I want to be sure I can do the same with my property under the UDC as I can today," Schumacher said.

Mayor Jere Wood said some changes were necessary.

"Why am I passing this if it has no effect? It will have an effect," Wood said. "It will make things simpler and clearer."

The motion was made for approval of the new code, and it passed in a 4-2 vote, with Councilmembers Betty Price and Kent Igleheart opposed.

"I think we've made a lot of progress over the last month and made some good adjustments," said Councilmember Rich Dippolito, who voted for the item. "It's in good shape, but there are still a few issues we need to discuss."

In the next few weeks, the council will hold work sessions to hammer out changes and updates with a final approval and adoption of the UDC to be Feb. 10.

The city's website has a special page for the UDC. Go to for maps, to ask questions and find more information.

Editor, Milton Herald
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Tags: Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    UDC First Reading
    January 17, 2014 | 03:47 PM

    In what can only be described as a total breach of parliamentary procedures the Roswell City Council approved the first reading of the UDC after its author, Councilwoman Diamond, had to resort to 50 amendments. And over a "point of order"¯ objection, Comrade Wood proceeded to open the floor to public input without a motion even being presented to City Council to approve this universal zoning code document.

    Historically, motions are presented to council which makes additions or corrections in the form of amendments long before the matter is presented to the public for their input and final evaluation. This procedure insures that unacceptable amendments cannot be "slipped in"¯ and the public denied the opportunity to respond to such an undesirable tactic. These protocols were completely ignored by Comrade Wood and this is just one further example how this administration is uninterested in public involvement on the UDC.

    Public Comments were technically directed towards Mrs. Alice Wakefield, Roswell's Community Development Director opening remarks consisting of a litany of meetings to include what she presented as a favorable presentation to the residents of Martin's Landing subdivision. As a resident of this subdivision, I can candidly state that Mrs. Wakefield exited that presentation with her tail between her legs resorting to the repetitive excuse that the UDC was a "work in process"¯, which it apparently still is. During the three (3) subsequent public hearings conducted utilizing the deceptive Delphi protocols the city presented their case for the UDC and the public was not even allowed any open public comments.
    When Comrade Wood says in his own words "Why am I passing this"¯ should give the public overwhelming insight relative to his administration's interest in their involvement.

    So was it any surprise that the first public reading ignored routine acceptable parliamentary procedures opening the floor to public input without a formal motion being presented and the subsequent manner in which the proposed UDC was approved with a vote of 4-2 but only after the author, Councilwoman Diamond presented 50 amendments to her own documents?

    Ridiculous, that such an unprofessional document was presented to the public with so many errors. The entire proceedings illustrated just how much pressure this administration & council is under by developers that want to plop a series of cluster you know whats throughout our city which our one time "stop the sprawl"¯ Mayor deceptively sales as "walk-ups"¯.

    Comrade Wood should publish his own parliamentarian "Rules of Order"¯ however it would likely only be one sentence long "" "I conduct Council meetings however it pleases me and council dare not try to do otherwise!"¯

    Lee Fleck
  2. report print email
    January 19, 2014 | 04:03 PM

    "Comrade" Wood? Sheesh. Get a grip.

    Diane Colin
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