What’s Up With the Clear-Cutting in Midway Woods?

Annexation isn’t the only thing going on in Midway Woods.

As anyone that lives there knows, talk of annexation just across the border has recently been mixed with another kind of buzz:  that of chainsaws.

A home developer has shocked local residents by clear-cutting more than 4 acres of land on the northside of Midway at South Candler in order to construct 28 homes on-site, inspiring one resident to write in asking “Where’s the Lorax when we need him?”

So I decided to do a little digging and clear the air.  Here’s what I found…

Though the development plan was approved in 2007, construction didn’t begin until early May of this year.  At that time, a letter from resident Conne Thalken was sent to the commission expressing the neighborhood’s concern. [thanks to Paula for fowarding!]

We have not had any contact whatsoever with new developer who assumed ownership of the property since the original developer’s bankruptcy and foreclosure on the property. We in the neighborhood understand that development of the property must hold to the plan as approved in 2006. However, we are uncertain about the new developer’s commitment to the conditions of the plan and concerned about the City monitoring the execution of the plan.

Along with the letter, Conne included the 17 point condition list that was attacted with the city’s approval.  It includes things like a privacy fence on the westside of Midway Road, an evergreen buffer on the eastside, a $5000 donation to Midway Woods park, a mandate to clear kudzu and help with traffic calming measures on Midway Road, no gate, and all homes must meet Energy Star rating.

However the biggest condition of all is number 12: “Preservation of the Open Space depicted on the Concept Plan prepared by FocalPoint Engineering, which is dated March 29, 2006, will be achieved and will be placed in a Conservation Easement to be governed by the City of Decatur.”

According to the city’s planning director, Amanda Thompson, the entire site is actually 8.92 acres, and the comprimise the city made for preserving half the site was to allow the full development of the other half.  She also adds ” They will have very tiny yards and will probably sell for around $500k.”

In regards to worries about the new developer complying to these conditions, Amanda assures us that they “are being followed and the site is inspected by either the Engineering Department or Development on a weekly basis.”

So…now you know!

The Bell Tolls For Thee, Decatur High Stadium

InDecatur morns the loss of Decatur High Stadium, with a full report from last night’s Decatur City Commission meeting where commissioners approved a new master plan for the high school complex.

dhs-master-plan.png

Green space seems to be a key concern of the DHS master plan, with the biggest change being the replacement of the current parking lot behind the stadium with plans for a quad in the long term. See InDecatur’s post for many more details of the meeting including a bizarre altercation between the mayor and a resident identified as “Paul”, who “implied he knew why he was not being given the respect the Commission usually offered others, and would make that public.” Uh…OK.

David goes on to accept some of the blame for the stadium’s demise, along with other DHS alums. “We, the alumni of DHS and friends of history, have to take some blame here. Had we started a SAVE OUR STADIUM campaign back in late summer, when we first learned of the plan, and had we developed and presented alternative plans, this travesty might have been prevented.”

I, for one, like the new plan’s inclusion of more green space and the new auditorium, but do believe the stadium might have been saved through remodeling and incorporated into the new plan rather easily. Especially if the new men’s and women’s locker rooms, which was a main justification for a new stadium, will be housed in the new auditorium anyway [according to inDecatur].

The Decatur Stadium issue is a perfect example of the struggle preservationists are currently having with themselves over their own philosophy. For 50 years, preservationists have waved the flag of mixed-use development, maintaining green space and retaining character, because these were the qualities of the downtowns and neighborhoods that were under attack by urban renewal.

Today, the argument has been turned on its head.

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