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Virginia-Highland neighbors again take issue with Fuqua project on Piedmont Park

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Civic association complains of lacking community engagement, violations of NPU code

A photo of cyclists waiting for their turn at the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive, a chokepoint for pedestrians.
This already dangerous Midtown intersection could be complicated by large-scale development, neighbors contend.
Curbed Atlanta

As plans progress for a Beltline-adjacent mixed-use project neighboring Piedmont Park, Virginia-Highland and Midtown residents are still up in arms about a development they contend isn’t playing by the rules.

For months now, neighbors of the project have voiced qualms with developer Jeff Fuqua and partner 10th and Monroe LLC’s tentative plan to plop down an 11-story hotel, grocer, restaurants, and townhomes at a triangular swath of land on the corner of 10th Street and Monroe Drive.

Most recently, officials from the Virginia-Highland Civic Association have called foul on the planners’ alleged shrugging off of locals’ pleas for lower density, affordability, and, above all, satisfactory community engagement.

The section of the property in question that fronts the park, as seen in 2016.
Google Maps

“This proposed development would require both a land use and zoning change to the parcels that are single-family, including the nine existing single-family homes on Monroe and Cresthill,” according to a newsletter distributed by the VHCA. “Any planning ‘logic’ that accepts tearing down single-family homes in one area can be applied just as easily to other areas in Virginia-Highland and along the Beltline as a whole.”

That’s a dangerous precedent to set, the statement said.

“If the west side of Monroe and the south side of Cresthill are rezoned, it will set a precedent for rezoning other single-family land in Virginia-Highland and along other parts of the BeltLine,” wrote VHCA officials. “Keeping existing single-family streets (and Monroe itself) as single-family housing is a critical goal.”

Beltline plans cite protecting single-family neighborhoods as a top priority, and VHCA has been working with a land use and zoning attorney for guidance about the development.

And although the project is anticipated to offer roughly 100 units of affordable housing—keeping in line with the 20 to 40-percent earmark requested by Invest Atlanta—VHCA representives lament that Fuqua’s development only guarantees those residences will be available for 15 years.

That promise meets the bare minimum of Invest Atlanta’s ask for spaces that should last upwards of 50 years and yield the city longterm affordable housing.

Residents and activists also feel their concerns are falling on deaf ears, and that more community input is needed to address their claims that the development contradicts the following expectations laid out in the Beltline Redevelopment Plan:

  • “preservation of existing single-family neighborhoods by providing appropriate transitions to higher-density uses”
  • “a majority of participants favoring the retention of this site (10th and Monroe) as greenspace”
  • “Buildings should also defer to the scale of adjacent single-family neighborhoods by decreasing in height and mass as the proximity increases. A transitional height plane is recommended for all places where new development on the Beltline approaches existing neighborhoods.”
  • “Buildings should not exceed 52 feet in height within 150 feet of single-family neighborhoods, and should step down in height corresponding to a 45 degree plan extending from 15 feet above the adjacent property line.”

The VHCA is hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Virginia-Highland Church to hash out a game plan to tackle the community’s goals for the proposed development.

For their part, Fuqua and his partners recently told the AJC they expect to win neighbors’ favor before construction launches and ultimately build a project viewed as an amenity. The triangular property, they argue, is ideal for urban-style Beltline development, which would inject up to $3 million in tax revenue annually to help pay for transit.

Piedmont Park

400 Park Drive Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 875-7275 Visit Website