The Paces Battle neighborhood has found victory in its battle against the state.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has agreed to preserve a natural buffer between the Buckhead neighborhood and U.S. 41 when it expands the road from four to six lanes, residents said.
“They are no longer going to insist on acquiring more property from Paces Battle and taking down the buffer,” said Don Hemrick, a board member of the Paces Battle Homeowner’s Association. “The original plan was to re-grade the banks and take down trees from Northgate [Drive] all the way to the river.”
DOT officials did not return repeated calls seeking comment on the change.
Paces Battle residents were worried about losing trees that protect their private neighborhood from the heavily congested U.S. 41.
Hemrick talked to local politicians, taking the neighborhood’s concerns as far as the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor. Eventually, he said, he was able to meet with DOT Commissioner Vance Smith and present the alternatives to the plan created by a neighborhood-sponsored engineer.
“He was very attentive and after that they found a way to continue to enlarge the road from four to six lanes but not to require what they had indicated was absolutely necessary from our property,” Hemrick said. “I was told this was a fool’s errand and it proved not to be.”
Paces Battle was not alone in its opposition to the road project. In June, the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods voted to support the Paces Battle alternative plan, which would shift the terminus of the project.
Other Buckhead residents worried that widening the road would funnel too many Cobb County commuters into their neighborhoods.