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College Park is pulling for south metro Atlanta’s first transit-based zoning

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Proposed ordinance could green-light denser development near MARTA and the ITP city’s historic downtown

A graphic of the area in question, in the commercial core of College Park.
The area in question, in the commercial core of College Park.
Image courtesy of City of College Park

In an effort to help boost mobility and sheer population counts, a measure spearheaded by College Park’s mayor and other city leaders could create the first transit-oriented zoning district on the south side of metro Atlanta, officials say.

At a meeting scheduled this evening, the College Park City Council is set to mull a proposed TOD zoning district that would establish special guidelines—and allow for higher density development—for land in a 200-acre radius of the city’s MARTA station and historic downtown.

Led by College Park Mayor Jack Longino and councilmembers Tracey Wyatt and Ambrose Clay, the initiative is designed to attract as many as 6,000 new residents to the city, should the area in question be fully built out.

In general, the ordinance would aim to steer retail, residential, and all other development toward being “vertically integrated in order to lessen automobile dependency, foster a sense of community, and to maximize the use of available land,” per a city press release.

The proposed new rules detail very specific requirements on such aspects as height of buildings, lot sizes, building materials, facade designs, landscaping, parking, and lighting. Regarding other modes of transportation, for instance, it also requires that parking for bicycles must be as convenient as that designated for cars.

Prohibited business types in the TOD would include pawn shops, tattoo parlors, adult entertainment, check-cashing services, “dart parlors,” vehicle sales, and others, per the ordinance proposal.

The overarching goal would be to leverage transit access a la finished or forthcoming developments at Lindbergh, Edgewood/Candler Park, Avondale, and other MARTA hubs.

Developer Rod Mullice, who built College Park’s first new multifamily project in four decades, ThePad on Harvard, is a vocal proponent of the TOD ordinance who’s expected to speak at tonight’s meeting.

The ordinance would facilitate construction of Temple Square, a 17-unit townhouse build (priced from the low $300,000s) that Mullice and Jerome Russell are developing in the TOD zone, reps said.

“Allowing the area around the College Park MARTA Station to evolve into a vibrant live-work-play community not only benefits the city, but supports the entire region,” Mullice said in a release. “This zoning will promote the vision of a more cohesive community in south Metro Atlanta, offering attractive housing and commercial options to more than 100,000 people who work in this area.”

The ordinance could come before the council for final approval as soon as September 17, officials said.