Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall to Convene Atlantans for First MLK Historic District Community Workshop

May 23,2013

WHO:  District 2 Councilmember Kwanza Hall, City of Atlanta Office of Planning, Central Atlanta Progress

WHAT: First Community Workshop on MLK Historic District zoning updates

WHEN: Thursday, May 30 from 6:30 until 8 p.m.

WHERE: Big Bethel AME Church Fellowship Hall, 220 Auburn Avenue NE 30303
(Free parking behind the church. Enter lot from 195 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue)

Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall is partnering with the City of Atlanta Office of Planning and Central Atlanta Progress to lead a collaborative, community-driven process to update the zoning regulations of the Sweet Auburn neighborhood – officially referred to as City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances Chapter 20C – Martin Luther King, Jr. Landmark District.

“I am excited about this opportunity,” said Hall. “This is the first time that we have convened the community to review and update the zoning regulations since the Historic District was created in 1989 under the leadership of Coretta Scott King. With the Atlanta Streetcar arriving next year, the neighborhood is poised for a new wave of economic development. This process will help us ensure that we get the right kind of new investment in Sweet Auburn: investment that protects its historic resources and character while unlocking opportunities for contemporary business and retail uses that no one could have envisioned in 1989.” 

At the January 10, 2013, kickoff event for his Year of Boulevard campaign, Hall announced that the revision of the zoning regulations would be one of his highest priorities this year.

Councilmember Hall invites the public to attend the first Community Workshop to kick-off this effort.  Attendees will learn more about the process and have the opportunity to share ideas about the future growth and development of the area.

The need to update the rules that govern the construction and use of buildings and land within the Historic District has been identified repeatedly over the years, through community plans including the Butler-Auburn Redevelopment Plan of 2005, the Imagine Downtown Plans of 2004 and 2009, and the Old Fourth Ward Redevelopment Plan of 2008.  To achieve the vision and goals of these plans, updates to the zoning regulations are necessary.  Zoning laws are a critical tool for guiding the growth and development of a community.  Ensuring that the laws are consistent with the community’s adopted plans is crucial.

The changes that are anticipated to be made to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Landmark District regulations are intended to:

  • Protect the historic resources and character of the Sweet Auburn neighborhood
  • Support investments in the re-use of existing buildings and the construction of new buildings on vacant lots
  • Foster an urban, walkable mixed-use district that supports streetcar transit
  • Make the rules easier for owners and developers to understand and for staff to administer

Among the topics to be addressed during the process:

  • The types of businesses and land uses desired; the appropriateness of temporary uses, if any
  • The appropriate height of buildings and density of development
  • Off-street parking options
  • Standards for streetscapes and urban design

The process will culminate this fall in the introduction of text amendment legislation by Councilmember Hall.  Council adoption of the legislation is anticipated in December 2013 or early 2014. The experienced consultant team of Market +Main (land use and urban design specialists) and Maddox, Nix, Bowman & Zoeckler (attorneys) will facilitate the community workshops and assist with the necessary technical work throughout the process.

For further information about the process, or to learn more about Councilmember Hall’s Year of Boulevard campaign, e-mail Hall at; visit the District2Atlanta Facebook wall; and follow @District2ATL on Twitter.