Box 13, Folder 3, Document 45

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MRS, ALVIN M. FERST, SECRETARY me = . June 1, 1967
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Mr. Collier Gladin

Head, Department of City Planning
‘City Hall

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Dear Mr. Gladin:

This is in response to your request for Atlanta Civic Design
Commission Review of the report on Design prepared as part of the City of
Atlanta's Community Improvement Program by Candeub, Fleissig and Associates,
Planning Consultants.

In general we found the report to be informative and useful in
the general discussion of design principles and objectives. We also
thought a good job was done in identifying some specific problems requiring
attention in the Atlanta area. We were particularly impressed with the
choice and range of photographs and graphics used to point up these
problem areas,

In short, the committee would have little quarrel with the
general material contained in the body of the report. On the other hana,
it is the consensus of the Commission that the report was extremely weak
in the area of major concern to both public officials and interested |
citizens and of special concern to members of the Atlanta Civic Design i
Commission--namely in the area of specific proposals and recommendations.

We would be less than frank if we failed to state that we had \
hoped for more specific advice as to what steps this community should :
be taking now to achieve better urban design in the future. Of nine items
included in the Summary of Major Recommendations (page 3 of the report)
we find only two that are reasonably specific--one calling for a CBD
plan and the other calling for an ordinance to regulate the removal of «lt
mature trees. Unfrotunately, even these recommendations are weakened
somewhat by their position at the tail end of the list.

The other seven items might more properly be classified as
statements of general need rather than firm recommendations to be im-
plemented. For the most part they could be advanced for any urban area

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Mr. Collier Gladin

in the United States today. They do not, unfortunately, reflect some
of the thoughtful analysis contained in the body of the Design Report


Taking the points covered in the recommendations in the order
of their appearance, we would make the following comments:

(1) The statement of need "from the public and private leadership
of Atlanta to a goal of a well designed city and to the program
needed to achieve it" would certainly have the support of
every Design Commission member. We do wish that more emphasis
had been placed in the study on the development of such a

The Commission would agree that "Physical Design plans related
.to the Community Improvement Program must be carried out by
the best professional designers available." We would have
appreciated some specific recommendations as to how this
might be accomplished. For example, we believe that more use
might be made of design competitions and we had hoped to see
some discussion of whether and under what circumstances the
consultant would support or oppose such procedures. Also,
some consideration of an "awards program" might have been
provided in the report.

The Commission would probably support the idea that "The
. city must prepare and adopt a design-growth strategy." The
. report, however, is not too clear on what such a strategy
would consist of or how to achieve it.

The Gommission would most likely support the consultants'
recommendations that design controls need to be improved
"through strengthening of the Subdivision and Zoning Ordi-
nances" and probably that the Civic Design Commission needs
to be strengthened also, but we are not too clear as to how
this is to be accomplished. It would have been helpful if
the Consultant could have provided some specific ammendments
(in rough draft) for consideration of public officials and
Commission members. .

The statement that "a commitment is essential by all city
departments to design policies adopted by the city" is again
something all Design Commission members would support but we
would have liked to have received some guidance as to svecific
steps that might be taken to achieve it.

The suggestion that a "design officer is needed" is interesting.
We wish it had been accompanied by a firm recommendation as

to his duties and recommended location within the structure of
local government. The suggestion that he serve a city agency
(existing or new) leaves the basic qveeaeis hanging without
much hope for support.


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Oe Pet © (7) the statement that “q formal design review procedure" is
.-!" needed is confusing insofar as the Atlanta Civic Design

“Commission is serving such a function at the present time.

Cae tan tion in the city be made subject to such review, we wish it
oN Sa “asl * had been stated more clearly. Under this circumstance, we

ae “also would like to see some consideration of recommended

limits and cut-off points for review of private construction.

(8 & 9) Again, we AUpport the recommendations that a CBD plan and

Te the intent was to require that all major private construc- —.

tree ordinance ‘be developed. We would have preferred to see these!

items heading this particular list because the bottom position
does appear to weaken them. ,

In summary, we feel the report falls short in the most important

area--the area of recommendations. We are concerned both with the
recommendations actually presented and with those that were not. We
believe that the hand of public agencies concerned with design matters
in the city would have been strengthened by 1) a much stronger statement
of the case for a CBD plan; 2) a strong recommendation that a visual
survey and design program be developed and implemented with specific
recommendations as to how this might be done; 3) a draft of specific
amendments to the subdivision ordinance, zoning ordinance, building codes,
etc.; 4) firm recommendations for a ‘study of the impact of ad valorem
© taxation on design; 5) recommendations for development of an incentives
program (awards or other) for encouraging good design; 6) recommendations
regarding whether and how design competitions might be employed in the
furtherance of good design; 7) recommendations regarding adoption of 4
sign ordinance; 8) recommendations regarding the development. of design
plans for specific major streets, expressways, rapid transit system and_
public open spaces, and so forth.

It may be argued that some of this thinking is incorporated in
the body of the report and we would agree that some of it is. But we
would also state our belief that it will not be read or, if read, not
taken seriously unless it is stated explicitly and with conviction in
the Summary of Major Recommendations at the beginning of the report. It
is the hope of the Design Commission that the city or its consultants
will be in position to follow through with the good start that has been
made to develop a specific, comprehensive program for achievement of
the design goals and objectives stated so well in the design report.

We thank you for the opportunity of reviewing this material.
if there are any questions, please feel free to call on us for further

clarification. -
Very truly yours, :.'
pte TP seph S. Perrin

JSP/mjd pai «8 Chairman , Ae.
cc: Mayor I. Allen
Aldermanic Board


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