By Kathryn Schiliro

Managing Editor

To receive the go-ahead for a new development, made of mixed residential units, in the Madison area known as Town Walk Circle and in the city’s West Washington Street Gateway, a change to the Planned Residential District (PRD) must be vetted by the county Planning Commission and approved by the Madison City Council.

The PRD is located off of Fifth Street, near the historic Central of Georgia Depot, which the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is in the process of working to relocate and restore. Further, the PRD is located within the city’s Downtown Urban Redevelopment Area, or DURA, established by the city “for extra concentration of community services, programs, and improvements to relieve slum and blight conditions and bring renewal opportunities,” according to the City of Madison’s website.

The petition, brought before the Planning Commission by Morgan County Properties Unlimited, proposes (1) reducing the PRD from 5.8 acres to 5.08 acres, (2) mix types of residential housing, and (3) reallocation of a city park parcel, according to the applicant’s report, which was part of the information presented to the Planning Commission in their work session last Friday, June 21.

The 0.72 acres that would come from the 5.8-acre property being reduced to 5.08 acres is proposed to be placed in the Professional/Limited Commercial Zoning District, or P2. The depot is to be moved from its current location to this new parcel across the railroad tracks. “Removing a portion of the original PRD area will provide a location for the refurbished Depot,” the staff report states, and goes on to say that this area would “act as a buffer” between the PRD and the railroad.

Other than Small Lot Residential (R4)-zoned property to the northwest of this PRD, everything surrounding it is zoned P2.

The PRD requires at least five acres, so the removal of 0.72 acres still qualifies the proposed development, called “The Anchorage” in the applicant’s packet, to be a PRD as it will be 5.08 acres.

In 2006, a similar, 33-lot development, called Town Walk Circle, was proposed in the PRD; before that the property was zoned for Manufactured Home Park (R3) and there was a manufactured home development on the property. Since 2006, only three of the 33 lots of the failed Town Walk Circle proposal have been developed, and those dwellings are occupied.

Morgan County Properties Unlimited, the applicant, is asking for the addition of one more detached dwelling unit, for a total of 34, which includes the three, already-built-and-occupied, single-family units. Further, Morgan County Properties Unlimited wants to mix residential housing unit types:

A total of six, single-family homes, or “cottages,” at 1,200 square feet;

Five two-unit homes, or “patio homes,” better known as duplexes, at 1,100 square feet;

And four structures with 18 apartments, or “garden flats,” at 1,100 to 1,200 square feet.

“The greater mixture of residential structure types [as compared to Town Walk Circle] is sought to provide more options for future residential growth,” the staff report states.

“Zoning doesn’t differentiate between [whether the homes are] owned or rented,” City Planner Bryce Jaeck said when asked by a commissioner whether the homes would be owned or rented.

As far as logistics, parking will be shared between the apartments and all the other units will have their own parking. Landscaping and parking lots will be managed by the Homeowners Association, according to the applicant’s report. Additionally, because a similar development was planned in 2006, city staff doesn’t anticipate an huge impact on infrastructure.

The P2 component of the PRD doesn’t fit within the city’s plans for future land use, so, provided the city council OKs the development, city staff will have to present a Comprehensive Plan amendment to address this.

Finally, the applicant is also asking the city to reallocate the park parcel, currently part of the PRD, which the city, specifically the DDA, the body to whom the parcel was deeded, has designated to serve the historic Canaan neighborhood.

The park parcel, referred to as the “tot lot,” is set to be moved from farther away from its current location, near the package store at the intersection of Wellington, West Washington and West Jefferson streets. The package store does pre-date the PRD, which includes the tot lot.

The Planning Commission will meet this Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m.

Public Meetings

W. Washington Gateway rezone hearings for Sandy Sanford’s property and the Madison’s train depot

Planning Commission: Thursday, June 27, 7 p.m., County Administration Building

Madison City Council: Monday, July 8, 5:30 p.m., Madison Municipal Complex