****This story has been updated to reflect the DHA board vote against the development.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association on Dec. 6 voted to oppose development of a Pollo Tropical Caribbean restaurant proposed to replace the former DeKalb County police precinct that closed on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
Several members involved with the project, such as Alan Kennedy with Hines and representatives from the Pollo Tropical franchise, presented to DHA board members in November. A revised plan made better use of the area to attract pedestrian traffic, but the DHA in its board-only session voted against the development, DHA president Robert Wittenstein said in an email after the meeting.
“We voted to oppose the development because of the drive through, which is not permitted or contemplated in the master plan currently working its way through the approval process,” Wittenstein wrote.
The property belongs to Hines, a privately owned real estate firm. They donated the land for police use in 1985, with the stipulation that should the precinct close, the property would revert to Hines. The company needs a variance from the city, for which a request was filed last week, and a zoning change to allow a drive-through.
Den Webb, a lawyer who specializes in zoning, planning and land use, said the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia hotel and the near-capacity office space along Ravinia Drive creates a need for a restaurant at 4453 Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody, where the Pollo Tropical would be located.
The revised Pollo Tropical site plan adds a “hardscape area” with a bike rack that will encourage people to come from Ashford-Dunwoody Road, though the building could not be moved forward, as some had recommended during the November presentation, partially because of the parking requirement.
Webb said the restaurant expects about a 50/50 split on its lunch and dinner traffic and, though the site has a drive-through window planned, Pollo Tropical doesn’t usually generate a lot of take-out orders.
“We liken it to Chili’s To Go,” Webb said.
The application for the zoning change that would allow the site to have a drive-through will be filed this week, Webb said.