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Developer Hires Former Gov to Fight Woodstock's Newfangled Zoning Rules

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[Woodstock Downtown. Credit: CNU]

What happens when an outer suburban city attempts to implement an uncustomary zoning code in an area that's been under development for the past fifteen years? You get sued by Roy Barnes, of course! Well, to be fair, the former Georgia governor is representing the developer - Ridgewalk Holdings LLC - who says that the city of Woodstock's intention to utilize form based code (educate yourself here) in place of traditional zoning would complicate things and harm his client's ability to make a buck. Shifting gears mid-game is a little rude, but it could also provide an intelligent model for other growing 'burbs.

Previously, the large tract of mostly vacant land called Ridgewalk was subject to typical zoning of separated uses. Then a series of charettes organized by the city created a vision more in line with Woodstock's popular downtown area. While the rest of southern Cherokee County is awash with Atlanta's typical sprawl, downtown Woodstock has remade itself into an evolving oasis of small scale urbanism, thanks in large part to Hedgewood Properties' Woodstock Downtown development. Barnes cited Hedgewood's 2008 bust as evidence of such a model's futility, but that company's nonexistence probably has more to do with a little recession and their being spread too thin. Although Hedgewood is no more, John Wieland Homes picked up where they left off and has been doing quite well for itself. Either way, a resolution needs to be reached quickly: an outlet mall (the curiously named Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta) is already under construction on the site, and more interest is sure to come to the area when a new I-575 exit opens.

· Ridgewalk challenges Woodstock rezoning [Cherokee Tribune]