Planning Commission Chair Forming Committee to Evaluate a Potential Northwoods Overlay District

At the March 20th Planning Commission meeting, that body’s chairman, Andy Yeoman, created a committee to investigate the potential boundaries and scope of a proposed Northwoods zoning overlay district. This ties back to the town hall meeting I hosted in September, where many residents of Northwoods came together to learn about different strategies for preserving the character of the neighborhood and protecting its property values.

At the city’s November 5th council work session, I presented the concept of an overlay zone to the other council members. They agreed that this was a topic worth exploring, but wanted to make sure it was a process that had plenty of public input. In my subsequent conversations with the city manager and community development director, they indicated that the next step would be to take this to the planning commission for consideration. This was also discussed in the joint work session with the Planning Commission that council held on February 4th.

After that work session, I had follow up meetings with both the Chairman Yeoman, as well as some leaders from NANA, the Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association. They thought that forming a planning commission committee which included ex-officio members who live in various parts of Northwoods would be a great start. This committee could do research, get public feedback, and give some recommendations for the Planning Commission and then the City Council to vote on.

Here is the statement that Chairman Yeoman read announcing this committee:

On September 11, 2018, the Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association held a community meeting to discuss strategies that people in Northwoods could pursue to protect their investments in their homes and preserve the character of the neighborhood.

Over 20 neighbors attended and many more watched a video of the meeting that also featured the Dekalb County Historic Preservation Commissioner and representatives from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

On November 5, 2018, the council discussed a potential overlay district on a work session agenda and there was consensus among the elected officials to move this forward.

Pursuant to the Planning Commission charter I will be forming a committee to work within the framework of the Planning Commission to continue moving this item forward.

The charge of the committee will be as follows:

The committee will form in April with interested planning commission members along with ex-officio members of the public that live in the potential area.

The committee will hold a meeting with broad members of the community to rank concerns in order of importance and hopefully build consensus as well as define potential borders if this is a going concern.

The committee will hold a second meeting with City staff to establish a clear framework and reduce any ambiguity. The committee will resolve any issues at this point between the city staff and the neighborhood.

The committee will then give staff time to work on any requested product and reconvene to review the final work product that would eventually be forward to the full Planning Commission and City council.

If anyone is interested in being a part of this process I encourage them to reach out to me. As I finalize the committee assignment In the next week and coordinate schedules I will announce the first public meeting.

If you are interested in participating, you should reach out directly to him at I appreciate him being so engaged and am hopeful that this community input process will result in the best outcome for the Northwoods neighborhood and for Doraville. You can watch the discussion about this in the last few minutes of the video from the meeting.