City approval for the five-tower mega-development proposed alongside I-285 in Perimeter Center has been put on hold.

Dunwoody Crown Towers is proposed to go in the old Gold Kist site.

Dunwoody City Council unanimously voted May 9 to postpone voting on the rezoning and special land use permit requests for the Crown Towers mixed-used development at the former Gold Kist site.

The council is expected to take up the issue again at its May 23 meeting.

The council was to vote on second reading of the rezoning and special land-use plan for some 3.6 acres of the nearly 15-acre site that would make way for a 35-story residential tower and a 29-story hotel tower with residential units included, for a total of 380 residential units.

A significant snag leading to the vote delay came after council members learned there was no assurance the city would receive the promised right of way from the Crown Towers property for the proposed Westside Connector.

“I’m a bottom line guy and I don’t have enough information,” Mayor Denis Shortal said.

Developers of the site have promised some 2 acres of the development site for the construction of a $20 million proposed Westside Connector that would come off I-285, go under Ashford-Dunwoody Road and connect with Perimeter Center Parkway. The Westside Connector is expected to ease congestion.

But Public Works Director Michael Smith informed the council at the May 9 meeting that the Georgia Department of Transportation warned if the city dedicates the donated land as right of way for the Westside Connector without first conducting environmental tests, the city would jeopardize federal funding needed to build the road.

Also, if construction is not started within five years, the rezoning of the site is null and void. “If this project never comes out of the ground, is it possible the right of way may not come out of this?” Councilmember Terry Nall asked.

“It would be a calculated risk,” Smith said.

The developers are seeking to subdivide the nearly 15-acre property into two parcels. The SLUP and rezoning covers the 3 acres on the eastern edge of the property, called site B, to make way for the two residential towers. The remainder of the land, called Site A, would include office buildings and a conference center.

The Dunwoody Homeowners Association entered into a contract with the developers for a $760,000 “voluntary impact fee” – or $2,000 per condo unit – to be paid to the city for park space in the Perimeter Center as part of DHA agreeing to support the development.

The city cannot officially agree to accept the money because the city cannot enter into a monetary agreement with a developer in exchange for rezoning, Assistant City Attorney Lenny Felgin said. Should the developers not pay the money, it would be up to the DHA to sue to reclaim the cash for the city, he explained.

Another condition the DHA entered into with developers was the reduction of office space from approximately 2.4 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet on Site A. But because Site A is not being considered for any city action, the city cannot enforce the DHA agreement, City Attorney Cecil McClendon said. Again, it would be up to the DHA to sue the developers should they break the contract, McClendon said.

Doug Dillard, attorney for the developers, requested a work session with the council, which was denied.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.