Developers hope Brookhaven city officials will approve a rezoning request for slightly more than 3 acres of property on Dresden Drive and Caldwell Drive to allow for the construction of a mixed-use development including apartments, retail space and a parking deck.
But some people living in nearby residential neighborhoods say the area has enough apartments and are concerned about added traffic to an already congested Dresden Drive.
Connolly Investment and Development and Fairfield Residential are seeking to rezone property at 1336-1370 Dresden Drive and 2544-2562 Caldwell Drive in order to build a 20,000 square-foot retail space, a 6-level parking deck and 206 apartments. The apartments along Dresden Drive would be three stories and located over a one-story retail floor, while the apartments on Caldwell Drive would be four stories. The project is named Dresden Village. Developers are holding a public meeting Monday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at Briarwood Park & Recreation Center, 2235 Briarwood Way, Atlanta, Georgia 30319.
What the developers are asking for and what is approved for the site currently are not much different, said JR Connolly, president and CEO of Connolly Investment & Development.
For example, the current zoning of the property allows for 155 multi-family units – this project calls for 206 units, he said.
The property is also currently zoned for 35,000 square-feet of commercial square footage; Connolly is seeking 19,890 square-feet for a retail and restaurants.
Sonja Greeley lives in a neighborhood near Appalacchee Drive. She said the area already has a great deal of apartments, with the complex at 1377 across the street from this proposed development. And with the transit oriented development proposed at the nearby Brookhaven MARTA station that includes some 600 residential units, it’s time to dial back the density, she said.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 18 years and we’ve been happy with most of the development up to this point,” Greeley said. “We have reached the tipping point and enough is enough.
Dresden Drive’s recent influx of housing and commercial development is appreciated, she said, but the traffic on the road is already too much. Adding more density means more traffic and Greeley said she has “reached her capacity for tolerance.”
Traffic is a known problem along Dresden Drive, particularly where the DeKalb County Tag Office is. Connolloy said the development’s traffic study shows minimal impact on the area, but excludes the congestion created by those trying to get in and out of the small office lot because that is an “existing issue.”
Connolly said the proposed development includes, on Dresden Drive, a 10-foot sidewalk with 5-foot landscaping, parallel parking and a 5-foot wide bike lane to encourage other modes of transportation. A selling point is also the walkability to Brookhaven’s MARTA station.
Greeley said she appreciates being able to walk to restaurants on Dresden Drive from her home, but it is time to halt more development.
“I enjoy being able to walk to restaurants near my house and understand the need for more than just residents in single-family homes and the need for apartments,” she said. “It seems the city is bordering on being more focused on business growth. I’m frustrated that every developer who asks for rezoning seems to get it. Stick with what you got.”
Connolly said he understands residents concerns and that developers have met with those living in the area several times in advance of the April 25 meeting.
“We’ve really tried to be very sensitive to the neighborhood and also to the residential homes behind the project,” he said.
For example, the outer design of the apartments along Caldwell Drive will look similar to high-end townhomes, to better blend with the single-family homes in the nearby neighborhoods, he said.
Plans are to build a 6 level paid parking deck with some 200 spaces available to the public who want to shop and eat in the area, Connolly said, to try to alleviate a known parking crunch on Dresden Drive.
“We are providing added parking spaces beyond code – we know there is an existing problem there,” he said.
Residents of the development will have 250 parking spaces available to them on higher levels of the deck and those will be gated, Connolly said.
Connolly is also hoping local restaurants will want to lease space in the proposed development.
“Our goals are to get two or three restaurants with patios,” he said. “We’d like more local restaurants to complement the area. Dresden Drive has a nice village character we’d like to continue,” he said.