Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Residents Say "Tucker Charm" Threatened by Giant Proposed Development

An Atlanta-based developer is proposing over 100 new homes in the City of Tucker and some area residents are not pleased.  The Ardent Companies, headquartered near SunTrust Park, has submitted plans to the City of Tucker to redevelop just over 16 acres along Lawrenceville Highway into 100 single family homes and townhomes.  

The overall development is actually two separate assemblages, both along Lawrenceville Highway, but on opposite sides of the road.  

The larger of the two developments would encompass 9.4 acres on the south side of Lawrenceville Highway.  Here, Ardent plans to redevelop the heavily wooded, mostly residential lots at 3193, 3207, 3217, 3227 and 3259 Lawrenceville Highway and 3563 Bishop Drive into 64 townhomes.  

The Cecil L. Strickland Family Trust, which owns 3207, 3217 and 3227 Lawrenceville Highway, makes up about half of the total assemblage with its properties totaling 4.65 acres, according to a sales listing on LoopNet.  (Strickland Realty Co. is located at 3217 Lawrenceville Highway.) 

Avery Hills, a townhome community built in 2005, consists of about 60 units and is situated to the right of the planned 9.4 acre development.   

On the north side of Lawrenceville Highway, Ardent intends to redevelop about 7.2 acres into 40 new single family homes.  This smaller parcel is made of of existing lots at 3254, 3298, 3304  & 3320 Lawrenceville Highway and 4448 & 4530 Henderson Drive.    

The 7.2 acre parcel would be built to the right of where RaceTrac and Bojangles' opened new locations in early 2013 and mid-2014 respectively.   

For Ardent to build the number of units they have planned per development, they need both to be rezoned from R-75 to RSM. 

Concerned residents cite increased traffic, increased storm water runoff, increased burden on an aging sewer system, loss of green space and wildlife habitat, and irreversible changes to the character of the area, among other things, as reasons that the development should not be approved.   

A number of concerned residents have taken to local Facebook group Tucker Town Talk to voice their objections.  

"One of the prettiest roads to Tucker will look like a housing crammed street! With traffic to go with it.  I hope our City Council and Commissioners will recognize the importance of leaving the zoning as it is (R-75) and be patient for a builder to build beautiful homes, as it is zoned for, that will blend with and enhance the beauty and street! Come to this meeting & hear more about the builders plans and what neighbors think.  If you don’t speak up now this will start a trend in our city and soon we will be “Townhome Tucker” , looking like so many other cities with new crammed developments around town and lose our beauty and appeal! We will go from green to concrete!"

While there are definitely vocal residents opposed to the development, others seem to see the silver lining of an increased tax base for the young city.  Others point out that the current landowners are simply cashing out, capitalistic certainly, but not "wrong" or unjust.  
The Strickland family property 

The Tucker Planning Commission will hear the request at the City Hall Annex 
4228 1st Avenue, Tucker  on Thursday December 28, at 7:00pm.  Tucker's Community Council heard the requests on November 8 and has recommended approving both.  After the Planning Commission meeting, the case(s) will be heard by the Mayor and City Council on January 8th and 22nd.  

The full rezoning requests can be reviewed here

Tucker became its own city in late 2015.  In the years since, the City of Tucker has continued to attract young new residents with its small town charm, area amenities and proximity to Atlanta and surrounding communities and attractions.  With the increased interest from residents and would-be residents comes the unfortunate reality of increased interest from residential developers.  

Earlier this summer, The Tucker City Council voted against rezoning the former Sears property to make way for a giant mixed use development.  The project, "The Rise," would have been located on the 88-acre site off Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Boulevard.  Decaturish provided extensive coverage of the project , which like this latest proposed development, seemed to split residents.  

Are you in favor of the planned residential developments on Lawrenceville Highway? What would you like to see happen to the subject properties if not the massive townhome projects?  What is your favorite part of Tucker?

Please share your thoughts below. 


fbenario said...

"irreversible changes to the character of the area, among other things, as reasons that the development should not be approved."

Changing the character of the area is greatly needed, so it would be a good thing if this project is approved. Lawrenceville Highway for over half a century has always been down-market and pretty trashy all the way from the Perimeter through Tucker and on toward Lilburn, full of small industrial sites, used-car lots, fast food and other franchises, and pitiful little houses like the ones shown in your picture that appeal to no one in the 21st century.

It's also too bad Tucker turned down The Rise, since that would have been a major modernization of another semi-industrial area along Hugh Howell. The folks against both these projects are ostriches. Historically Tucker was quite white, but over the last 20 years has seen increased black/Hispanic/Asian population gains. Seems likely the elderly folks living in Tucker's 1950s ranch houses are uncomfortable at the thought of who might move into the townhouses and become their new neighbors.

Jerald Reese said...

The proposed project on the north side consists of up to 40 single family residences, not townhomes. Please correct your story.

Anonymous said...

Strange, don't see anything about how much these units will go for.

Anonymous said...

What is "Tucker Charm"? The charm of a dozen used tire shops? Auto parts stores? Thrift shops? Run down apartments?

Tucker, especially Lawrenceville Hwy between Northlake and ... well, all of Lawrenceville Hwy, desperately needs change. Such a great location on the perimeter with so much potential squandered by ugly, old and run down.

The citizens and counsel of Tucker should encourage and recruit development that will bring young professionals to Tucker. A young, well employed tax base to increase home values, help Tucker grow and prepare for tomorrow.

-- A Tucker resident and homeowner that spends my money in Decatur and Dunwoody

Anonymous said...

I think 'the rise' would have been a huge failure, as there is nothing about the location that would draw people to such a development.

This development is a good idea, as this stretch of L'ville Hwy is indeed dull, bleak, retro. I don't think the opposition is based on racism, but rather on people that want the area to maintain the bleak, retro look, people scared of making Tucker looks like a post 1950s town.

I hope that these new communities are gated, as there will otherwise be rampant petty crime and car break-ins.

Anonymous said...

To be clear, the area in question is in the residential section between 285 and the intersection of Northlake Parkway/Cooledge Rd., which is largely single family detached residential homes, aside from the funeral home, a couple of churches and one townhome development from 10 years ago.

Few people will argue that the commercial area beyond this stretch, filled with tire shops and used car lots, is in need of a serious facelift but this is not in that area.

Also, the city of Tucker doesn't receive income from residential property tax, only from commercial taxes, so no giant windfall in tax revenue will be coming from this development, if approved. Just more traffic.

There is already a second assemblage in the works on Coolegde Rd. just around the corner from this location, almost touching the property in the back corner, which will likely proceed or halt depending on how this first vote goes, so it's not just an idle worry for local residents. Property is less expensive in Tucker but the access to the highway is great and developers are on the scent.

On a side note, I'm not sure how not wanting to turn the main roads of Tucker into a dense series of townhome developments can be construed as not wanting non-white residents to move in. I've personally spoken to many neighbors - hispanic, south Asian, black, white and other, and the people in the immediate area are universally opposed to this request to rezone for increased density. It's not a problem of who but how many.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:16:The redevelopment of the seedy part of Lawrenceville Hwy will only happen if there is residential interest in the area. People = customers. An increase in people with disposable incomes is what is needed to lure new businesses to the areas further down L'Hwy and hopefully one day a redevelopment of the crime invested no tell motel areas off 285. And there is your tax benefit.

The stated location for these developments are prime due to their proximity to 285, so it makes sense that this area would be the first developed. Great location, easy access, no brainer. And a potential catalyst of change for the entire area. No brainer.

Density issues - this is my route to and from work. Last thing I want is more people between me and 285. But its better to have the traffic 2 minutes off 285 then density further in town clogging the interior roads driving through Tucker to get to 285.

-- A Tucker resident and homeowner that spends my money in Decatur and Dunwoody

Anonymous said...

If you want the nicer shopping center developments, you gotta accept the new modernized housing that will bring customers to shop at those places.

Anonymous said...

I trust our City Council to make good decisions. They did so with The Rise despite vicious personal attacks so I'm confident their motivations and character will carry Tucker forward with due care. Tucker is ripe for development so I'm thankful we have a local body- not the County - managing these decisions. There will always be the "not in my backyard" contingent. Tucker is ready for quality change in our backyard regardless of naysayers.

Tucker resident

Anonymous said...

Tucker is where one gets one's chainsaw fixed.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited for this proposed development! Lawrenceville Hwy is a 4 lane road plus a center turn lane. The rental properties there now are priced accordingly - noise, traffic, etc. The appeal of a single family house with a huge front yard abutting this sort of high traffic road is minimal. The townhomes and small lot single family homes proposed make tons of sense in that area and would bring folks who may wish to live close to work at the Emory hospitals and clinics near this area, or just want an easy commute in town. The renderings are high quality, high end buildings and would be great to help property values. I'm not sure I understand the poster who said these would not generate revenue. They will pay property taxes and this directly increases revenue to the City of Tucker. They'll also bring in folks with more disposable income who may help add to a business case for developers looking at other properties on L'ville highway.

Anonymous said...

These resident will pay property taxes but the city of Tucker does not receive property tax from residential properties in Tucker, only from commercial properties.

DeKalb county receives residential property taxes, so this will not fill the city's bank account in any direct way, as others suggest.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there are any Tucker properties submitted for the Amazon headquarters?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Jeff Bezoz is drooling over coming to Tucker.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:07 PM. No one believes that RE lawyer drivel that you are attempting to sell. These types of developments do not bring in enough long term high property taxes. No one wants a development that will be section 8 voucher housing in 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Read it on the city of Tucker website: the city of Tucker would receive NOTHING in property tax from this proposed out-of-place density. Just packing people in for max profit.

" The City of Tucker currently has a zero-millage rate, meaning we do not collect a dime in property taxes. What residents see on their tax bills is the millage rate for DeKalb County. This money goes towards public safety, infrastructure, other services provided at the County level, as well as funding for schools."


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