Falcons fans pre-game in a Castleberry Hill parking lot before the Falcons-Patriots game Sept. 29, 2013
ATLANTA -- Castleberry Hill is an artsy urban area just west of downtown with the looming Georgia Dome is its closest landmark. When there's football at the Dome, fans fill empty gravel lots in the community with music and booze-fueled energy.
The parking lots have been a sore point for years. They are "not in keeping with the character of our neighborhood," said Robin Gagnon of the Castleberry Hill Civic Association.
Gagnon said the city and the Atlanta Falcons had sought the community's good will as the entities put together a billion dollar project to build a new football stadium.
But instead, Gagnon says the city is clobbering the community with a new ordinance to create what it calls the "Georgia Dome Parking Overlay District." It covers twelve square blocks of Castleberry Hill. Gagnon says it would turn Castleberry Hill into "an asphalt jungle."
"The people in Castleberry want to know which city council members are in favor of turning our historic district into a parking lot," Gagnon said.
City councilwoman Cleta Winslow, who represents the area, told us she didn't know anything about it. The ordinance says that the Dome area "is underserved... by the amount of parking" nearby. It says the overlay district would make the lots "subject to (city) regulations."
"It flies in the face of what a landmark district should be," Gagnon said.
A spokesman for Mayor Kasim Reed said city officials had planned a meeting late Tuesday to form a response to our request for comment.