The Auburn City Council has adopted the findings of a study for future downtown-area development, allowing the city to move forward with exploring the feasibility of and funding opportunities for at least some of the recommended improvements.

During its monthly voting session Thursday, March 4, the council adopted the “Define our Auburn” Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study, which was funded by a $96,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission. Planning firm TSW conducted the study last year and examined the downtown area, including the site of the future municipal complex south of Atlanta Highway on the eastern edge of the city limits and the planned residential development that will surround the complex.

After conducting its analysis, along with public workshops and surveys, the firm recommended a list of more than three dozen projects and tasks over the next several years aimed at encouraging more residential development to take advantage of the eastern sprawl from Gwinnett County and other Atlanta suburbs, expanding on the success of commercial development like the Whistlestop Shops, “revitalizing” the historic district and making the downtown area more walkable and bike-friendly with a system of trails.

As the new municipal complex and surrounding project are developed, the study recommends walkable, mixed-use developments with additional for-sale, “historic-looking” homes, — the majority of which planners said should be priced between $200,000 and $300,000 — along with the potential for more rental units longer-term.

The study also recommends a number of streetscape improvements, some of which TSW planners said could be accomplished in the short term, along with infrastructure improvements and capacity expansion.

With the council’s approval of the two-part, more than 120-page document, the city can now work toward submitting for supplemental LCI grant funding that would allow for implementation of some of the projects, community development director Jay Miller said.

City attorney Jack Wilson told the council that the city does not bind itself to any of the projects by adopting the study.

The full study can be found online at https://cityofauburn-ga.org/CommunityDevelopment.aspx.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business March 4, the council:

•approved the final plat for phase 1 of the Townes of Auburn development off Atlanta Highway near Apalachee Church Road. Phase 1 will be 183 lots, and the development, by Rocklyn Homes, is planned to eventually include close to 400 townhome units.

•approved the appointment of Bridget Scanlin as the new municipal court solicitor to replace Anna Pierce, who resigned from the position at the end of 2020 to begin her career as a judge in Gwinnett County.

•approved giving the city’s municipal court the ability to assess a $25 late fee to all cases where a defendant fails to appear in court. Officials said the fee will help the court recover costs associated with additional time and resources for the court clerk and support service personnel.

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