Tucker approves townhomes in Northlake, proposes tax increase

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Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Logan C. Ritchie

Tucker City Council meetings are still being streamed online, but the June 14 meeting was the first with all council members together in person since March 2020.

Council members unanimously approved an ordinance to allow zoning for an 80-unit rental townhome development on Northlake Parkway at the June 14 meeting.

Developer Steve R. Martin, owner of SDM Partners, agreed to all changes presented by city staff, including an on-site management office and six-foot privacy fence along the property line. The developer is required to install a Marta bus shelter on Northlake Parkway.

Despite feedback from Tucker residents about affordability, the applicant has no plan to allow any Section 8 vouchers. Units being leased for six months are expected to come in at $1.70 per sq. ft., or $2,500 per month.

Recent development in Northlake includes a new Emory Healthcare facility, CDC Federal Credit Union and Fairfield Inn Residential, which is nearing its finish of The Reid at 2190 Northlake Parkway in Tucker. There, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is listed starting at $1,520 per month. Last month, Tucker City Council heard about potential development in Northlake to include a performing arts center, convention center, hotel, upscale grocer, 800 residential units and 127,000-sq. ft. of commercial space – all surrounding the WSB radio tower.

City Council focused on financials during the meeting, unanimously approving the $16.2 million FY22 2022 budget.

City Manager Tami Hanlin previously said the budget reflects the priorities of the community, mayor and council. Hanlin compared the FY22 budget to goals from the city’s comprehensive plan to enhance downtown Tucker, improve transportation connections, preserve and improve neighborhoods, strengthen recreational and community resources and bolster the city’s economic base.

The city approved hiring a capital projects manager in the Parks and Recreation department, and a planner and plan reviewer in Community Development. The city’s contract with Jacobs Engineering, a company that provides contract employees, will increase from $2,401,263 to $2,586,264 and expire in 2026.

Finance director Robert Porche presented a first read on 2021 tax changes. Tucker is proposing to maintain the same 0.9 millage rate since the city instituted a millage on Parks and Recreation in 2019.  Adopting this rate creates an increase in property taxes by 6.38 percent over the rollback millage rate, due to DeKalb County’s increase in projected revenues.

According to the city, the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $275,000 is approximately $5.94 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $750,000 is approximately $16.20.

A public hearing will be held at City Hall, 1975 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 350, Tucker, on June 28 at 11 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Mayor Frank Auman said, “It’s a big step for us in the development of the city. Up to now, the city’s had no property tax, no ad valorem tax, no taxes of its own. That was true and that was part of the plan. This step takes us into a place where we’re collecting our own taxes to, in this case, fund our park operations.”

Recent upgrades to Tucker parks include cosmetic and infrastructure improvements at Tucker Recreation Center, a new dog park at Henderson Park and accessories at Kelley Cofer Park and Rosenfeld Park swimming pools.

In other news:

– Thirty-nine new businesses applied for business license in Tucker. Councilmember Pat Soltys said every dollar of property taxes requires approximately six commercial dollars to support one household. “A lot of people don’t realize how important business dollars are to the development and wellbeing of the city,” said Soltys. “Without business support and tax dollars, we couldn’t do half the things we are doing.”

– City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to reduce water consumption from new commercial car wash facilities. Tucker’s city code will be amended using an ordinance from Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001 to promote intergovernmental coordination of regional water issues.

– Tucker City Manager Tami Hanlin and Code Enforcement Manager Maricela Perdomo were accepted to Leadership DeKalb class of 2022, a 10-month leadership development program that addresses issues facing DeKalb County.

Read the original story on TuckerObserver.com.