Some Auburn residents are unhappy with city leaders’ plans for redevelopment of their properties.
More than 20 people attended the first of several meetings Wednesday designed to come up with a city redevelopment plan. Several expressed concerns about having their rights taken away or paying higher taxes.
Adopting a plan will make the city eligible to apply for state and federal loans and grants to build “quality” rental housing and increase new businesses into the city.
Wednesday’s meeting lasted an hour and was intended to be only informational for owners of what city leaders have deemed blighted properties or underdeveloped areas.
Blighted or slum areas include Carter Road, Main Street and Parks Mill.
Underdeveloped areas identified were Auburn Station, the city’s proposed mixed-use development, the Downtown District and the Auburn Business Park.
Earlier this year, Auburn joined the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) association.
That move enrolled the city in a plan with a six-month timeline to appoint a local volunteer advisory team to develop and adopt its redevelopment plan.
Once developed, the city council will have to approve the plan.
Larry Lucas, city planner and member of the GICH advisory team, led the meeting and introduced the following volunteer members tasked with drafting the plan.
Lucas also provided a summary of Georgia’s Urban Redevelopment Act, a list of possible indicators of blight, and the city’s proposed redevelopment plan.
The Georgia Urban Redevelopment Act, which was adopted in 1955, gives cities with charters “broad powers to redevelop blighted or threatened areas of the community” and can use “eminent domain to work with property owners when specific public uses are needed to buy and assemble blighted property for revitalization and resale.”
The act outlines a general blueprint for redevelopment and targeting of public investments in the redevelopment area. The process includes drafting the plan, holding a public hearing, adopting the plan, appointing an organization to implement the plan and finally, implementing the plan.
In Auburn’s situation, Lucas said the city would be the organization tasked with implementing the plan, unlike neighboring cities with Downtown Development Agencies, such as Winder.
Examples of how Auburn plans to use grants and loans for redevelopment include financing public improvement projects, such as new sidewalks, streetscaping, road improvements, employment tax incentives, new construction and “adaptive rehabilitation projects.”
Three public hearings are scheduled and the city council will discuss the plan at its upcoming works session and next meeting.
The next public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.
The government does not need to be in the "quality rental housing" business. I've never seen government housing that did not turn into a crime infested slum. There is not such thing as "quality" government housing. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to take a nice long stroll around Winder, Athens and Monroe's government owned "quality rental housing"...