The met with property owners from the neighborhood’s SPI-9 district on Monday at the to propose infrastructure improvements that would make the area “walkable, safe, inviting and attractive,” according to CID Executive Director Jim Durrett. By proposing improvements, the organization hopes to encourage SPI-9 property owners to join the CID.
SPI 9 stands for Special Public Interest District 9 and includes the west side of Buckhead Village, particularly the area between Irby Avenue and East Andrews Drive.
The most significant improvements Durrett proposed were new sidewalks as well as pedestrian lights, benches, shade trees and additional parking spaces. The changes would increase the value of the properties within SPI-9. Additionally, the new amenities would make the area safer for pedestrians who frequent the bars and clubs in the area.
The CID already includes most of Buckhead north of the Village. In order to add SPI 9, Durrett needs a simple majority of property owners to join voluntarily as well as commitments from at least 75 percent of the area’s commercial value owners. This means that the CID will in effect need a “supermajority” of votes from SPI-9’s property owners to bring it into the fold.
There’s no such thing as free lunch, though. As a part of the CID, commercial property owners would have to pay an additional tax of $3 for every $1,000 of commercial value. The CID estimated that expanding into West Village would generate about $60,000 of additional revenue annually.
After a brief presentation, Durrett answered questions about the proposal and stressed the benefits of joining. “The city loves CIDs,” he said, referring to the group’s ability to take on projects that the city doesn’t have time or money to do.
Participants at the Q&A asked whether or not the tax would be permanent. Durrett explained that the tax would exist as long as the CID did, since group's board votes on whether or not to disband every six years. The last time the CID voted was in September 2011, when it agreed to continue operating. “In September 2017, if the board votes to disband the CID, then the CID would be disbanded,” said Durrett.
According to Durrett, some property owners have already expressed interest in joining the group. From here the CID will approach SPI-9 property owners. When they receive enough commitments, they will go to City Council to add the district.