By Bob Pepalis
The owner of Nuts & Berries has withdrawn his rezoning application to allow a parking lot using residential land in the Kendrick-Osborne neighborhood.
Mark Kick owns Nuts & Berries, a long-established business at the corner of Peachtree and Kendrick roads. He wants to add a two-story addition on the Peachtree Road side of his building. That would cut 15 spaces from his parking lot due to Kick adding sidewalks and a landscape strip to meet the Brookhaven-Peachtree Liveable Communities requirements.
Linda Dunlavy, Kick’s attorney, said the residential property has been used for years as a parking lot. “However, it doesn’t comply in any way or shape or form with your zoning requirements,” she told Brookhaven City Council at its June 10 meeting.
She said the requested neighborhood shopping zoning classification would permit the parking.
“Without this parking, the business is going to go into a long, slow decline,” Dunlavy said.
The Kendrick-Osborne Neighborhood Association (KONA) opposed the proposed rezoning of residential property to commercial because those three lots are part of an established neighborhood, are outside of the Livable Centers Initiative district, and they fear commercial “creep” down their neighborhood streets.
“The applicant has decided he wants to increase the size of his building that is on an adjacent parcel, a parcel that is not even part of this zoning,” said Rob Stein, the attorney representing KONA.
New residents are paying $600,000-$700,000 for homes in the neighborhood, he said. “This property has a significant economic use as it is currently zoned. I don’t have to tell you this is a very desirable area.”
KONA homeowners offered their own requests for City Council to deny the rezoning.
“This is a community that we have built, and it gets better every day,” said Kendrick Road resident Erin Mosher. “We are asking you to protect our families by keeping a safe, family-oriented neighborhood where you don’t allow business to keep creeping down Kendrick.”
City Council agreed with the homeowners and their attorney. They had a motion to deny the rezoning and were ready to vote when Kick’s attorney asked to withdraw the application.
“We very clearly stated a message that the plan that is currently before us is not acceptable, and should be reworked in consideration of neighborhood concerns,” said City Council member Bates Mattison. “Since that time, the Planning Commission has reaffirmed their denial.”
Council member Rebecca Chase Williams said she liked one resident’s comment who didn’t want the actions to seem as if the neighborhood was against Nuts & Berries. “But I would also tell you that one of the reasons the city was formed was to really preserve our residential neighborhoods,” she said.