DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Approves Modifications to the Bouldercrest – Cedar Grove – Moreland Overlay District Plan

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The revised Bouldercrest – Cedar Grove – Moreland Overlay District Plan was unanimously adopted by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on June 22, 2021. “We want to thank DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson for facilitating a joint task force that brought together the Metro South Community Improvement District (MSCID) and the various homeowner associations to the east of I-675 that abut the MSCID for the purpose of re-assessing various development regulations, text amendments and uses within this overlay plan” said Larry Kaiser, Executive Director of the MSCID. In addition to Commissioner Johnson’s leadership, Commissioner Ted Terry also participated in these conversations.

DeKalb County Planning and Sustainability staff, led by Director Andrew Baker, was instrumental in tracking all changes throughout the many weeks of negotiations and offering technical planning advice throughout the process. According to Kaiser, a special thanks also goes to DeKalb Planning and Sustainability staff members John Reid and Brandon White. “They stayed on top of the numerous changes and if it wasn’t for their constant updates and providing the task force “clean and updated” working documents every week, this process would have never gone so smoothly,” said Kaiser.

After the Cedar Grove Bridge closure more than a year ago, limited access to neighborhoods and businesses helped community leaders recognize an essential need to go back and revisit the overlay that was first drafted nine years ago. A task force was put together to study the original overlay plan to determine what revisions should be addressed. This group included Larry Kaiser, Executive Director of the MSCID, Joel Gross, MSCID Chairman of the Board, and Wayne Smith, MSCID Vice Chairman of the Board and neighborhood association leaders Alison Clark of the Southwest DeKalb Neighborhood Alliance, Dr. Juaney Rigsby of the East Conley Zoning Committee, and Pat Culp of the Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association.

Their efforts led to significant rewrites after the task force realized the original overlay district plan adoption from a decade ago was a hindrance to new industrial development within the MSCID district boundaries. The task force met virtually once a week for about eight weeks to debate, discuss and ultimately compromise on each and every modification to the overlay district plan. According to Larry Kaiser, this collaborative process resulted in a successful outcome that led to the DeKalb County Board adoption of the revised overlay district.

It was vital to include the neighborhood leaders in these discussions to ensure input from local residents was considered when finalizing the zoning changes. Pat Culp says, “I have been pleased to be a part of this conversation because I feel that we have made great progress in improving the safety and overall appeal of the neighborhoods. I think the residents in this community will benefit greatly from the modifications to this revised overlay plan.”

The purpose of an overlay district is to provide regulations and design guidelines to preserve special characteristics of the area and to guide development in a desired direction. Overlay district regulations may establish architectural and design controls or prohibit uses that are considered to be detrimental to the character of a particular area. (Source: DeKalb County website)

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