The Woodstock City Council extended a moratorium on issuing land disturbance permits until May 25 as city officials craft an ordinance related to build-to-rent communities.

The council extended the moratorium and tabled its initial approval of the proposed ordinance Monday night. Community Development Director Brantley Day, who presented the ordinance for an initial reading, asked the council to table its initial approval until the May 10 meeting, as there was still some work left to be done to create the most effective ordinance possible.

“We’re mainly looking for feedback from you tonight, as well as any comments the public might have,” Day said.

According to the draft ordinance, build-to-rent communities would be allowed as a conditional use in the city’s residential zoning classification of R-3. Residences in such a development would have to be detached units, the management company would have to maintain an office on site open during traditional business hours, communities would be required to have amenities such as a playground area, pool area, park, garden or clubhouse, and each unit would have to have its own individual connection to utility services.

No members of the public signed up to speak during the public hearing, but the council members had a couple of questions and comments regarding the proposed ordinance. Councilman Warren Johnson said he liked the idea of requiring amenities to be provided in the community. However, he wondered if it might be possible to clearly define park or garden in the ordinance, as he was concerned developers might just install a couple of benches next to a detention pond and classify that as a park. Day said he and city attorney Eldon Basham had been discussing that topic very recently and were researching possibilities in that regard.

Similarly, Councilman Colin Ake said he liked the proposed ordinance, but with the city trying to keep a balanced ratio of residential units for sale vs. residential units for rent, he said he would like to see build-to-rent developments tied to some sort of percentage of the residential development ratio, keeping them in balance with other types of residential units.

While there are currently no build-to-rent developments being proposed in Woodstock, their growth in the metro Atlanta region and across the country led the city to want to be proactive and have an effective ordinance in place, Chief Building Official Duane Helton said Tuesday.

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