A Letter to the Editor at the Marietta Daily Journal caught our eye. The message is an important one that needs to be shared and understood. The writer accurately points out the troubling trends we see going on with zoning and the "war on our Cobb suburbs."

Local control through cityhood is an effective countermeasure to the march towards higher-density residential development.

 


Published: MDJOnline, November 5, 2021

Link: https://www.mdjonline.com/opinion/stop-the-war-on-our-cobb-suburbs


DEAR EDITOR:

Do you value the suburbs and the opportunity to own a single-family home in Cobb County? Pay attention now before it is too late. The current Board of Commissioners (BoC) has been making numerous decisions in support of President Biden’s “war on the suburbs.” Search for “War on the Suburbs” for articles.

The American Dream is to own a home. Up until now, America is one of the few countries that protects private property rights. The US was ranked number one in 2020 on the International Property Rights Index. Those rights are in danger.

The county took funding from HUD for years, but rules have changed to ones with hidden dangers. HUD Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rules and associated American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds tied to those rules force localities accepting funding to add low-income housing to single-family home neighborhoods in the numbers and the design that HUD demands. A county that accepts AFFH funding can be exposed to lawsuits from outside groups that feel the county has not met numbers in neighborhoods they so choose. Two examples are Westchester, NY and Whitehall, PA. Cobb County is ignoring the warnings associated with this so-called “free money” in ARP funds.

The BoC approved continuing to accept those funds recently despite warnings from citizens. The rules have changed and now demand STIFF PENALTIES if a locality does not do HUD’s bidding. We potentially lose local control. These are some BoC actions threatening Cobb County suburbs and single-family homes when they approved the following:

  • HUD AFFH ARP funds with stiff requirements and penalties.
  • Hiring a consultant to re-write Cobb zoning codes to conform to Unified Development
  • Ordinance or Code (UDO or UDC) like that used in Atlanta and DeKalb. (Ron Sifen MDJ 10/4/21)
  • High-density developments in currently zoned low-density single-family neighborhoods. The BoC is not following zoning code.
  • Updating current Comprehensive Plan (potentially) to 2040 Plan recommended by Atlanta Regional Commission and GA Department of Community Affairs rather than Cobb citizens.
  • Ignoring the taxpaying citizens of Cobb County.
  • Increasing the dangers of flooding with increased excessive impervious surfaces exemplified by damages caused by recent floods in September. It will get worse.
Save our suburban neighborhoods with trees, good schools, and low taxes before it is too late. We don’t want cookie-cutter Soviet-style high-rises forced into Cobb neighborhoods.

Jan Barton

Marietta


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