By John Schaffner

The trend toward high-rise living has prompted the Atlanta City Council to formerly recognize a fast-growing area near Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza in Buckhead as the city’s first vertical neighborhood.

Council members Jan. 5 unanimously approved adding Buckhead Heights — three high-rise towers with 500 condo units — to the official neighborhood boundary map.

“This community is equal in size to many single-family neighborhoods that are formally recognized and participate in their NPU (neighborhood planning unit) systems,” said Dist. 7 Councilman Howard Shook, who represents Buckhead.

It’s a sign that “tower dwelling has been catching on for some time now,” he said.

The three condominium projects that form Buckhead Heights are the Grand View, The Oaks and The Villas in an area that for years has been known as the “super block.”

The city defines a neighborhood as “a geographic area either with distinguishing characteristics or in which the residents have a sense of identity and a commonality of perceived interest, or both.”

“Everyone agrees that this cluster of condos fits that definition,” Shook said.

The new neighborhood is a part of NPU-B, and residents were introduced at its meeting Jan. 6. Bob Herbert is representing Buckhead Heights on the NPU-B board.

Buckhead has more than 40 single-family neighborhoods, but 60 percent of the arearesidents do not live in single-family homes.

“This is a huge accomplishment and a step forward in the name of grass-roots democracy. I hope this will prompt others to participate in their NPU process as well,” Shook said at the NPU-B meeting.