Ninety-day moratorium issued on apartment applications

City council voted Jan. 28 to approve a temporary moratorium on the acceptance and processing of conditional use applications for apartment complexes.

The city is issuing a 90-day temporary pause on accepting and processing conditional use applications from developers for apartments.

The temporary moratorium will place a pause on the acceptance of conditional use applications for multi-family units “unless such use is located in a mixed use development where over 75% of the square footage is devoted to non-residential uses in order to make amendments to the Roswell (Unified Development Code).”

According to city attorney David Davidson, these holds, called a moratorium, are used as zoning tool “to maintain the status quo in an emergency situation” come to solution to an existing problem.

Davidson claimed moratoriums have been used for over 30 years in Georgia as a zoning tool. Davidson also said the city has been sued on moratoriums “more than once” and won two cases in last 20 years.

The motarium was requested by councilmember Mike Palermo on Friday, Jan. 24. There are currently no pending applications at this time and if there were, Palermo says they would not be affected by the hold.

“This is very important as we really look at the UDC and look to ensure that we have the code that is working best for all the residents,” Palermo said. “And really with that we’ve seen a lot more multi family units approved in the last few years. There is really an opportunity to look at how the code works.”

Palermo also mentioned updating the code to make it more sustainable for pedestrian use. However, according to councilmembers Matt Judy, Matthew Tyser and Marie Wilsey, they were not notified of the moratorium request until end of day Friday.

“This did not go through committee or a legal meeting, this is came straight from council,” Judy said at Monday’s council meeting. “This could be the right tool if we have a plan that we are then going to follow up with to correct the UDC...but I don’t know that, I haven’t had the chance.”

“What councilmember Palermo is bringing forward is beginning that conversation and it provides us with the impetus to make sure we get it done in 90 days because that motorium will expire in 90 days,” Mayor Lori Henry said. “I really think it does pout a does put focus on what we need to do, it starts a conversation.”

Henry also took a moment to clarify her stance on apartments.

“We have large apartment housing stock in the city of Roswell that needs to be redeveloped,” Henry said. “It is a disservice to the citizens of Roswell that are living in these units and the city has been doing everything in our power to have the apartment owners to go in and fix those up and make improvements to them, but the end result is in order for us to see redevelopment, we are going to have to offer density bonuses.”

Councilmembers Mike Palermo, Marcelo Zapata and Christine Hall voted to approve the moratorium, while Matthew Tyser, Matt Judy and Marie Wilsey declined to vote on the issue.

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