By Michael J. Thompson

The contentious proposed rezoning of the Moores Mill Shopping Center, at the end of Moores Mill Road at Bolton Road and Marietta Boulevard, was tabled until the next meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU)-C to facilitate further discussion between the board and developer Edens & Avant.

“A lot of hard work has gone into this,” said Sharon Gaye, the lawyer representing Edens&Avant, the firm from Columbia, S.C., that designed the proposed 345-home residential/commercial redevelopment.

The proposal would necessitate the razing of the current properties that are on Coronet Way and Marietta Boulevard. The plan also calls for a major renovation of the existing Moores Mill Shopping Center.

The issue on whether to grant the rezoning will come up for a final vote at the April meeting of NPU-C.

Edens & Avant is seeking to rezone this property from Community Business (C-1) to Commercial Residential- Conditional (C-3-C), which would feature a mix of affordable to moderately priced homes.

“When I think affordability, I think 80 percent of the houses at $165,000 – $180,000, and with 20 percent above $300,000,” said Lyle Darnall, vice president of development at Edens&Avant, at the March 6 meeting.

At the February 6 meeting, the rezoning application was denied 25-0 to further the discussion between the NPU-C task force and Darnall’s company. It was agreed before the March 6 meeting night that the issue would go before the task force again to raise any concerns that would be addressed at the subsequent meeting.

“We formed a task force to look at the development, and we have to discuss a number of items and concerns,” said Eric Ranney, the chair of NPU-C.

“Once the task force gets its hands around a few issues, there will be a recommendation to the executive committee of the NPU as to how to move forward with the development,” he said.

Those issues largely stem from the number of allocated homes marked in the affordable price range. The number of “affordable homes” fluctuated from 80 to 60 percent in a presentation by Gaye.

Atlanta City Councilmember Felicia Moore was in attendance at the meeting and expressed her enthusiasm toward the project.

“If you had told me a few years ago of a plan to renovate the Moores Mill Shopping Center, I’d be jumping for joy,” she said. Moore has long fought for the revitalization of that shopping center, making sure it was included in a Livable Centers Initiative a few years back and continuing discussions with the property owners.

Among the ideas that have been presented in the past is to continue Moores Mill Road through the shopping center and bring it to a major intersection with Marietta Boulevard, eliminating what has been considered a confusing and dangerous intersection north of the shopping center where the busy Marietta Boulevard and Bolton Roads intersect with another side street.

This shopping center is at the very western edge of Buckhead, but impacts those neighborhoods as well as others in northwest Atlanta, which Moore represents.

At the meeting, it was also reported that crime in NPU-C had decreased three percent since February of 2006. Also, only 57 crimes were reported for the week of Feb.25 – March 3, which marks the lowest number of crimes for 2007.