By John Schaffner

The Pine Hills neighborhood of Brookhaven wants some clarification of relatively new and untested DeKalb County zoning district regulations in light of a developer’s desire to build new homes nearby.

The development would build 47 homes on three acres of an eight-acre tract that forms a triangle bordered by Roxboro and North Druid Hills roads, Goodwin Road and Wright Avenue. The rezoning of the land has been under an ordinance that establishes a Residential Neighborhood Conservation District (R-NCD) classification.

The purpose of the ordinance is to “encourage creative residential planning and development within the county that will preserve unique environmental features and be consistent with the comprehensive land use plan and the Green DeKalb initiative.” The Green DeKalb initiative is designed to provide greenspace areas and preserves existing natural trees and vegetation.

The R-NCD classification was proposed by DeKalb Dist. 5 Commissioner Lee May to encourage development in his district, but becomes law for the entire county.

One aspect of the R-NCD regulation that the Pine Hills neighborhood is seeking clarification deals with roads within the proposed development.

According to Kerry Witt, who is president of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association, it appears as if internal roads within the development qualify as greenspace, according to the regulations, which seems confusing to him and members of his association’s zoning committee. He also said the regulation does not define public or private roads.

Witt also chairs the District 2 Community Council for DeKalb, which he defines as the same type of organization as the Neighborhood Planning Units in Atlanta and provides the representatives from the neighborhoods in each district to participate in recommending zoning actions before those requests go before the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.

The proposed 47-home subdivision that was recently discussed by the Pine Hills Zoning Committee will be presented to the District 2 Community Council at its next scheduled meeting, Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mason Mill Center for Seniors & Disabled, 1340-B McConnell Drive. The Community Council is scheduled to meet six times during the year. It will be the first case the District 2 Community Council has seen under this new zoning regulation.

The subdivision would include detached homes with condominium-type ownership, one of the categories in an R-NCD.

The goals of the R-NCD regulations are to:

–Conserve significant areas of useable greenspace within single-family neighborhoods in the rural and suburban character areas of the Comprehensive Plan, and

–Permit flexibility of design for residential development in order to promote environmentally sensitive and efficient use of land.