After pause, Fulton board votes in support of $2.5 m property tax break for old Exide site
By Maggie Lee
Two weeks after complaints from Capitol View, a Fulton board has voted in support of a property tax break for a developer that’s since held meetings with the community.
The break would also need a second approval before it’s finalized.
RangeWater Development LLC still proposes a mixed-use project of about 323 multifamily housing units with about 1.2 parking spaces per unit plus about 1,200 square feet of commercial space at 1246 Allene Avenue on the BeltLine.
But after communications with the neighborhood in about the last two weeks, it’s also proposing more “connectivity” with the neighborhood: paths and spots to linger that would link the development to residents and passers-by. They’re also proposing 51 below-market-rate units instead of 49.
Neighbors who want to see something replace the graffiti-covered abandoned battery factory recently sent letters saying so to the board of the Development Authority of Fulton County.
Friday, the board unanimously voted preliminary approval for property tax break for the development worth $2.5 million over 10 years.
That’s a flip from late last month, when Capitol View Neighborhood Association and others objected to the development because of concerns about traffic, design and a lack of truly affordable housing. And what they saw as RangeWater’s rushing the process.
The Development Authority of Fulton County doesn’t have any control over zoning, roads or design — but those neighbors did send their complaints about the proposed building to the authority’s board, which does have the power to OK tax breaks.
Atlanta City Council has asked Fulton’s development authority to stop granting property tax breaks in the city limits. City Council has pointed out that the city has its own development authority; and besides that, that Fulton keeps granting breaks in hot real estate markets in the city.
Since January 2019, Atlanta’s and Fulton’s development authorities have granted preliminary or final approval of property tax breaks worth $236 million over 10 years.
Board Member Kyle Lamont led criticism of RangeWater two weeks ago, but he also helped bring the developer and the community into a rapprochement.
“While the community is certainly not jumping up for joy, they’re certainly in a much better place after our meeting this week than they were … last week,” Lamont said.
When they made their tax-break case to the board, RangeWater representatives said they face substantial cleanup costs, costs to comply with the neighbors’ wishes and that they’ll forego revenue due to Atlanta’s affordable housing law, which requires some units to be set aside a bit below market rate.
Proposed rents at 1246 Allene weren’t listed in dollar figures, but as affordable to a household just below the midpoint of metro Atlanta’s income ladder. That figure changes every year and changes with family size, but by 2020 numbers, suggests rent at about $1,800 for a family of four.