Marietta wants more homeowners, fewer renters
by Jon Gillooly
August 30, 2012 12:53 AM | 2776 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Mayor<br>Steve Tumlin
Marietta Mayor
Steve Tumlin
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MARIETTA — At the request of Mayor Steve Tumlin, the City Council’s Judicial/Legislative Committee on Wednesday reaffirmed a decade-old vision statement calling for at least half of city residents to be homeowners.

The current ratio, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is 42.3 percent homeowners to 57.7 percent renters.

The committee, which is chaired by Councilman Philip Goldstein and includes Council members Andy Morris and Jim King, voted 3-0. The reaffirmation of the homeowners-to-renters ratio now advances to the full Council meeting on Sept. 12.

“It’s good to have a blend of renters and homeowners, and when you get too far one way or the other you miss some opportunities, or there are problems that can come from being out of balance,” Goldstein said.

Tumlin described the vision statement as being similar to a future land use map.

“We have set a generic overlay over the city saying we want 50 percent residential,” Tumlin said. “It’s one that will come in play every time we have a trailer park come before us, an apartment complex.”

Tumlin said cities that are successful are the ones that have a ratio of 60 percent homeowners to 40 percent renters.

The mayor said developers who want to build apartments in the city may still be allowed to do so, provided they don’t shift the ratio toward renters.

“If they want to build quality apartments in the city of Marietta, and they want to build 300 units, they would tear down one with 300 units and build 300 nice ones,” Tumlin said. “So we’re not precluding them from coming here, we’re just saying you can’t skew where we are.”

Councilman Johnny Sinclair, who supports reaching the 50 percent homeowner target, echoed Tumlin.

“If somebody came to me and said, ‘hey, I’m going to buy three apartment complexes on Franklin Road and tear them down and redevelop the area industrial, can I build one apartment complex that’s a luxury apartment complex?’ I’d be willing to talk about it,” Sinclair said. “I don’t want to add units. Everything that gets built I want to think ‘what is it going to look like in 20 years?’”

Also Wednesday, the Council decided to schedule a special meeting in late September at a yet to be determined date to interview applicants for a seat on the city’s Board of Lights and Water, which governs Marietta Power and Water. The four-year term of board member Chuck George, who was first appointed in 2004, has expired, although he has applied to be considered for a third term.

“The Council felt after somebody’s been there for eight years, you advertise it,” Tumlin said. “He still might be the person, but we’ve got some very qualified people apply.”

City clerk Stephanie Guy passed out a list of the current applicants. They include Jason Waters with State Bank and Trust; George Bentley with Bentley Questment Management; Jeriene Grimes, a facilities manager with Beulah Group; former City Councilman Van Pearlberg; Jay Whorton, associate publisher with the MDJ; Mike Wilson with MG Wilson Properties; Roy Vanderslice with United Community Bank; Gene Turner; Tony Platt; and Jason Deegan, vice president of product development with StarPound Technologies, Inc.

Board members receive $300 a month.

The Council also voted 6-0 with Grif Chalfant absent to create a moratorium until Oct 31. on sign and building permits on all unzoned property in the city, such as railroad right of way.

Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson said the city of Locust Grove in Henry County has received applications to install signs on the railroad right of way in that city. Federal law stipulates that railroads are subject to local zoning where it doesn’t interfere with the transportation purposes of the railroad. The problem is that cities and counties may have adopted zoning maps that don’t zone the railroad right of way, she said.

“So that’s why cities may want to do a moratorium and look at what kind of zoning they want,” she said.

Tumlin said railroads are willing to allow signs on their right of way because of the “almighty dollar.”

“They could come up and put up gigantic billboards and block Kennesaw House,” Tumlin said.

The city’s staff is preparing a zoning recommendation for the Council’s consideration in the interim before the moratorium expires.
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An Observer
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September 02, 2012
The decision of the Mayor and the Judicial/Legislative Committee is a sound vision for a policy and as long as in practice it does not disproportionately infringe on the access to a home of one’s choice and that future residents can afford, it will be good for the city.
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