After rezoning requests within the district of Brookhaven designated for “urban-style” development stirred opposition from nearby residents, city officials are considering adjusting the boundaries of the area.
Brookhaven City Council voted May 12 to start the process of amending the zoning “overlay district” that promotes pedestrian-friendly development around the Brookhaven MARTA station and a portion of the Peachtree Road corridor.
“What we find out is that people may not realize they’re in the overlay … and sometimes they’re shocked by what the overlay requires,” City Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams said. “I think this is good that we’re going back and tweaking it.”
City officials are considering removing areas from the overlay district that have been at the center of recent rezoning controversies.
“What we’re trying to do is change the boundaries,” said Ben Song, the city’s community development director. City Councilman John Park said the city should debate changing its long-term development plans when they needed tweaking. “The comprehensive plan is a living document,” he said. “It should be amended when appropriate.”
One area city officials want to remove from the overlay is a strip of land zoned for single-family residential development. It was part of a larger parcel on Peachtree Road which developer JBL proposed building 271 high-end apartments fronting Peachtree Road. The site was generally known as the “Hastings property” because the nursery and garden center company had operated a facility there.
Residents in the nearby Historic Brookhaven neighborhood objected to the plan. Some posted signs in their yards criticizing the proposed height of the building. More than 60 residents attended a neighborhood meeting with the developers in March and many indicated they opposed the project.
Song said on May 12 that the developer has indicated it plans to withdraw its proposal. The withdrawal request is to be presented to the council on May 26, he said.
Song said the proposal to tweak the overlay district will be presented to the Planning Commission and then to the council.
“This is a preliminary discussion,” he said. “We’re asking to initiate the study. This will go through public hearings.”