Community Finalizes Benefit Agreement Request, as Turner Field Redevelopment Moves Forward, Unphased
(APN) ATLANTA — Residents among communities near Turner Field, the Turner Field Benefits Planning Coalition (TTFBPC), and many others will be in attendance on Monday, May 02, 2016 at 1:00 p.m., for the Full Council Meeting of the City Council of Atlanta, to express their opposition to Resolution 16-R-3455 and Ordinance 16-O-1174.
The two bills would advance the redevelopment of Turner Field, despite the lack of meaningful public input or community benefits.
“We adamantly request that approval of the proposed ordinance be conditioned upon or require a Community Benefits Agreement, between the Coalition, its members, affected neighborhood and the Development Team, as well as the current ownership of the proposed development site,” the Coalition said in a statement to Councilmembers.
The Coalition finalized a Community Benefits Agreement in late April 2016, containing affordable housing requirements, housing stabilization services, local hiring, and other components. (Full text below.)
“We just want input, and we want any ordinance regarding zoning to include a mandate to the developers to come to an agreement around a community benefits agreement,” Jason Dozier, a designated spokesperson for the Coalition, told Atlanta Progressive News.
The Coalition has sought to include public input regarding a community benefits agreement at many stages in the process, although the City, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA), and others have been pushing forward without them.
Previously, the Coalition wanted such an agreement to be finalized, particularly through the Livable Communities Initiative process, before even released the RFP for redevelopment.
However, the RFP went forward anyway, and Georgia State University (GSU) and developer Carter have already been selected. It is becoming clear that Mayor Kasim Reed and the City Council, Carter, and GSU already have a vision for the future.
“The [ordinance] calls for Turner Field to be rezoned for mixed-use development and for greater density, hotels, and dormitories too,” Dozier said regarding some of the latest Council legislation to move forward in support of the redevelopment..
“What is the value of the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) system, put in place by former Mayor Maynard Jackson, if it is simply going to be by-passed?” Dozier asked.
“Historically, approval from NPUs for neighborhoods affected by a proposed development have been sought, before ordinances were approved,” the Coalition said in a statement.
“This process gives neighborhoods and their residents an opportunity to ensure that a proposed development takes the needs of the community into consideration. We are disappointed that that has not happened in this instance,” they said.
The ordinance by Councilmembers Carla Smith (District 1), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), and Cleta Winslow (District 4), will allow for rezoning of the Turner Field property and the surrounding area for university dormitories and hotels.
The resolution–also, by Smith, Winslow, and Sheperd–allows conveyance of the two-thirds portion of Turner Field owned by the City of Atlanta to AFCRA, which who owns the other one-third, so that the baseball stadium can be sold through AFCRA to development firms Carter and Oakwood, and GSU.
Both the Resolution and the Ordinance are going to be up for a vote prior to any official recommendations from community groups.
“Our hope is that any ordinance or resolution voted on, in regards to zoning and planning, is passed with NPUs at the table,” Dozier said.
“You can’t build policies off of promises, all parties need to be at the table when these decisions are being made,” Dozier said.
TTFBPC is hoping for a large community turnout at the Council Meeting on Monday, May 02, 2016, to show solidarity for the mandate they propose.
TTFBPC Recommendations for the Community Benefits Package (FULL TEXT
TTFBPC Recommendations for the Community Benefits Package (FULL TEXT)
Infrastructure And Design
Compliance with the Stadium Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative which includes a minimum percentage of publicly accessible opens space that preserves historic landmarks, cooperative management of stormwater through both grey and green infrastructure, support for parks, appropriate management of traffic, expansion of mass transit options, and green requirements for new structures.
Workforce training and appropriate wage jobs.
Minimum targets for local hiring and Minority and Female Business Enterprises.
A commitment to “ban the box”
Housing (To ensure equal opportunities for housing access)
Housing stabilization services for individuals and families vulnerable to market pressures
Loan-fund dollars for for capital costs of off-site affordable housing and a competitive funding stream for housing services
Commitment to limiting student housing outside of the project area, while also setting aside affordable housing areas within the project area
We do not want people forced out of the neighborhood due to high-rents
Education Human Services, Arts & Culture
A competitive funding stream to further the above mentioned services.
Early-learning, and senior services support, along with support for local residents to attend GSU
Environmental design improvements
Create a community relationship with GSU police through bike and pedestrian patrols, officer training, community liaison staffing, and community engagement and reporting
Community Benefits Implementation and Oversight
We need a legally binding contract that identifies specific and enforceable objectives, a commitment to staffing and funding this vision
An institutional commitment to establishing a GSU Office of University Community Partnerships