City Set to Begin Creation of Unified Development OrdinanceDecatur Metro | September 17, 2013
Decatur has a Town Center plan. A transportation plan. Parking studies. An Environmental Sustainability Board. We legalized backyard poultry a long time ago.
Basically Decatur has put a lot of codes, ordinances and plans in place over the last many years. Plus, there are additional codes/ordinances and revisions that have been proposed over the past few years that have been back-burnered, waiting for this process to occur. Well, it’s looks like it’s time to get started.
Last night, at the Decatur City Commission meeting, the commission approved the “Decatur Coding Studio Team” of consultants who will work on unifying the city’s codes into one document. According to a letter from Planning Director Amanda Thompson…
The team will be led by TSW, a local full service planning, architecture and landscape architecture fum. TSW was the project manager for the City’s 2010 Strategic Plan. They have assembled a team that includes: Code Studio, a national fum based in Austin, Texas with expertise in zoning and development codes; Placemakers for public outreach; Pond Engineering; Karen Hueber a specialist in historic preservation; and, Maddox Nix Bowman and Zoeckler for legal review services.
TSW and Placemakers both worked on the 2010 Decatur Strategic Plan. Code Studio is based out of Austin and has worked with other “liberal” leaning cities like Denver and Chapel Hill in developing a unified code.
What is the Unified Development Code? Well, the City of Roswell’s website on UDCs describes it as…
…a single (“unified”) tool that addresses contemporary development and zoning practices in a format that is consistent and easily understood by administrators, developers, and community members.
The City Commission will also establish a “Stakeholder Steering Committee consisting of seventeen (17) members including representatives from each appointed volunteer authority, board or commission, and City Commission appointees from the community and other special interests. This committee would serve as an advisory group throughout the process.”, according to Ms. Thompson’s note.
The City Commission set a budget of $83,000 for phase 1 of the plan, which includes…
…establishing the overall public involvement schedule, communications methods, stakeholder interviews and a stakeholder steering committee. It will also include the preparation of a detailed technical report that will outline the new table of contents for the UDO and exactly what will be changed. The technical report would be presented for adoption by the City Commission in January 2014.
So dust off your “I live for public involvement” hats and iron out your “I’m Proud to be a De-Communicate-R” t-shirts. This certainly isn’t the last you’ll hear about this process between now and January.