By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net
The executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID) hopes to expand the area in 2010 down Peachtree Road to Brookwood, the southern border of Buckhead.
Speaking at the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting Jan. 14, Jim Durrett explained that when the CID was formed a decade ago it encompassed the primary commercial development area of Buckhead, along Peachtree Road between Piedmont and Peachtree-Dunwoody/Roxboro roads.
In 2005, those boundaries were extended south along Peachtree to include the Buckhead Village area and to The Peach shopping center.
Stating that presently “from The Peach to Brookwood is no man’s land,” Durrett said the CID board has said “let’s explore expanding down to Brookwood.” So, Durrett is in the process of analyzing such an action. He said he also is studying expanding the CID down Piedmont Road to I-85.
“Piedmont is not as easy,” he told the group, because of the pockets of single-family home neighborhoods that come right up to the road along that stretch.
At its December meeting, the council formed a new Development and Infrastructure Committee in response to voiced neighborhood concerns about those CID expansion plans, along with concerns that neighborhoods could have their input minimized related to new Buckhead Village developments through the draft of a proposed  new “special public interest” zoning ordinance.
Buckhead Forest representative Kim Kahwach and SPI-9 steering committee member Amy Hillman, who also lives in the Buckhead Forest neighborhood expressed in December their concerns that neighborhoods would end up with little or no voice in what developments might be approved in their backyard under the new proposed zoning ordinance as it was written at that time.
The draft of the new ordinance called for most development permits to be reviewed and approved as executive orders by the director of the Department of Planning or his designate. Disputes would be reviewed by a three-person panel, but there would not necessarily be neighborhood residential representation on those panels, according to Kahwach and Hillman.
Because of both the CID expansion and SPI-9 ordinance concerns, Durrett and Denise Starling, who has managed the 18-month SPI-9 update process were asked to talk at the January BCN meeting. Starling is executive director of the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA) and also provides planning services to the CID, which primarily sponsored the SPI-9 study.
Starling said she had “good meetings” Elizabeth Prichard, chair of the new Development and Infrastructure Committee, Kahwach and Hillman.Starling said Kahwach and Hillman had helped craft some improvements that will be incorporated into the proposed new SPI-9 zoning ordinance.