Recently, a handful of Breckenridge neighbors announced that they were supporting a city because of a “Fairly standard” sideyard setback decision. The homeowners association had opposed the variance, but, citing precedent in the neighborhood, the zoning board approved it.
The angry neighbors stated they are supporting LaVista Hills, because they are convinced that having a city run by politicians that live nearer to them will ensure that zoning decisions will better match their desires.
It would be nice if a new layer of government could guarantee us that there would never be zoning decisions we don’t like.
Unfortunately, if we look at the experience of other new cities, the financial pressures of supporting a new layer government have more often than not encouraged city officials to allow extraordinary increases in density, over the strenuous objections of neighbors. And it’s far worse than reductions in setbacks.
In Brookhaven, the city council unanimously approved a 1.13 million square foot office building/300-unit apartment complex by Montgomery Elementary School, over the objections of the neighborhood:
The developer’s attorney said, after the approval: “I’ll bet you, those that were registered to vote, when you had a vote on cityhood, voted for the city. They are having a hard time making up their minds, whether they really want to be in a city or not, because they still want to maintain land use decisions based on a suburban mentality, not on an urban mentality.”
Sandy Springs is similarly overbuilding, with little thought to the consequence. The pleas of homeowners associations have been ignored.
Cityhood is likely to make zoning issues far worse, especially if we want to protect our area from increased density and more traffic.