Rezoning fire station next to Fairview Park to Neighborhood Shopping District on the agenda for next council meeting
Rezoning of multiple properties adjacent to residential areas, 14 annexations, 6 demolitions, and the creation of an Agriculture District in Decatur are among the topics to be discussed at the next city council meeting on Monday, July 20 at the second floor Decatur Civic Center Theater.
REZONING OF FIRE STATION AND TEMPLE B’NAI ABRAHAM BUILDING BY FAIRVIEW PARK
Fire Station #3 is likely moving north to Fairview Plaza. With the move, the city has an opportunity to rezone the property the station currently is on and the Temple B’nai Abraham building from residential to Neighborhood Shopping District. This type of zoning is the most restrictive type of commercial zone and limits the size of buildings allowed, contains large setbacks, and requires buffer yards. Bars and video gambling are not allowed in this type of zoning. Having a neighborhood shopping area at the properties containing Fire Station #3 and the Temple B’nai Abraham building could bring additional retail opportunities to the area which are complementary to park activities and the residents. Furthermore, given the limited number of new houses being built in Decatur, this may be the best future use of the properties.
The city council will also be discussing the rezoning of vacant lots on Southland Drive and Isabella Drive to commercial. This would extend the commercial zone that is already located to the north at the SW corner of the intersection of W. South Side Dr. and S. Business US Route 51. Improvements to this vacant lot would require a landscaped buffer yard adjacent to residences.
AGRICULTURE DISTRICT PROPOSED FOR CITY. LIVESTOCK ON FARMS WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE FUTURE
In 2019, the city of Decatur annexed several agricultural properties. Annexation has been taking place if the property uses city water and is now contiguous with the city. In addition, the city has been annexing properties <60 acres that are surrounded by city property. Several months ago, the city council recognized that many common practices taking place in agricultural areas may be different than those taking place in residential, commercial, and industrial parts of the city. The Agriculture District more formally defines the types of activities that can take place within the city.
While I am supportive of a new Agriculture District, the new zone is too restrictive on allowing livestock. Horses will be allowed, but not cattle, sheep, swine, goats or any other type of animal typically found on a farm. In my view, this is not justified given that the annexed areas are large in size (i.e., >1 acre) and Macon County has guidelines for how many livestock of different types are allowed per acre that the city can adopt. Furthermore, the city council recently permitted educational institutions such as Decatur Public Schools to have livestock under certain conditions. Thus, it is unclear why farm animals, which may have been a part of these family farms for decades, will not be allowed in the future.
CITY OF DECATUR’S 2020 REVENUE PROJECTS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY
According to the May Treasurer’s Report, the city was projecting a shortfall of $5.7 million. In June, the shortfall is now projected to be $5.2 million. June’s general fund cash position of $7.8 million compares to $8.0 million in May and provides 40 days of cash reserve. Year to date, we have a deficit of $586,000. At the beginning of the year, we projected a $596,000 surplus at the end of June. Revenue is down 9.4% from projections year-to-date while expenses are down 5.7%. For the month of June, the city experienced a revenue shortfall of 14% relative to projections ($0.7 million).
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS – If you would like to discuss this or any other issue with a city council member, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND MEETINGS AND EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS – Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/. Meetings take place at the Theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE - An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.