Zoning change sets the stage for Decatur cottage court development

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Zoning change sets the stage for Decatur cottage court development

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Architect Bruce Tolar with one of his cottage court communities, built in his home base of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Tolar, a veteran of New Orleans’ post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding, will design Decatur’s first cottage court project, with building scheduled to start next spring or early summer. Photo courtesy of placemakers.com website.

Decatur’s commission approved rezoning 230 Commerce Drive on Monday night to a higher-density residential development. This paves the way for the city’s first “cottage court” development, with six homes planned for this half-acre site across from the Ice Lofts apartments.

Assistant City Manager Lyn Menne said the next steps include requests for proposals, designs and a builder.

The architect is Mississippian Bruce Tolar, a veteran of New Orleans’ post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding, who has designed cottage courts for years. Tolar visited Decatur for three days in May, drawing and subsequently revising a number of designs based on residential input.

“To say that we were surprised by the (May) turnout is an understatement,” Menne said. “We probably could’ve sold these houses three times over.”

Menne hopes building can start next spring or early summer. The sizes will be roughly 1,200 square feet at one to one-and-a-half stories. Though she’s previously anticipated costs at $250,000 to $300,000 each, Menne said Monday that actual prices haven’t yet been determined.

Houses will probably be made available by lottery, with the target buyer city employees or city school staffers, a group Menne pointed out “who (typically) can’t afford to live here.”

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