MARTA and its developers submitted July 1 a rezoning request to the city of Brookhaven this month to seek approval for a mixed-use development at the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe station on Peachtree Road.

MARTA is slated to hold a public meeting on July 25 at Oglethorpe University at 5:30 p.m. and the rezoning request is expected to go before the city’s Planning Commission on Sept. 7.

Aerial view of planned development at Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station.

At a June 22 community meeting at Oglethorpe University, MARTA representatives and representatives from Brookhaven City Center Partners, developers for the proposed development at the city’s MARTA station, made their final pitch of the project to about 80 residents.

Resident Chad Boles angrily questioned why the proposed MARTA development was seeking tax incentives from the Brookhaven Development Authority.

“We are working with the Development Authority of Brookhaven,” said Art Lomenick, president of development for The Integral Group. Developers for the project, Brookhaven City Center Partners, is a joint venture of The Integral Group and Transwestern.

The incentives would be used to finance infrastructure, for example, for the project, said Amanda Rhein, senior director of transit oriented development and real estate at MARTA.

The specific tax incentives will not be discussed publicly, said Luke Anderson, chair of the Brookhaven Development Authority.

“The city’s transactions involving land acquisition are not subject to the Open Records Act. Thus, until an acquisition is disclosed at a public meeting, the Brookhaven Development Authority does not publicly discuss any such transactions,” he said in a statement.

MARTA’s property is located in four different base zoning classifications as well as the Brookhaven Overlay District: M-Industrial, C-2 General Commercial, RM-75 Multifamily and R-75 Single Family. Developers are seeking to have the property rezoned to PC-2 Pedestrian Community District to allow for the mixed-use development project.

City staff members are expected to review the rezoning request for up to 60 days and then present it to the Planning Commission in September. The City Council will have the final vote.

Depending on how the rezoning request goes, MARTA hopes to begin the development in late 2017 and finish Phase 1 in two years. Phase 1 includes a public park space that is the focal point of the project as well as the residential buildings on either side of the park that include retail businesses on ground floors.

Plans for the project – known as a transit-oriented development – first were made public over a year ago. The plans have been modified in response to community concerns, specifically about traffic.

Traffic analysts Kimley-Horn explained at the June 22 community meeting its proposed improvements to the main intersections at Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive, and Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills Road, where traffic congestion is notorious.

For the Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive intersection, the company’s proposals include adding a left-turn lane eastbound on Brookhaven Drive and adding two turn lanes from Dresden Drive to Peachtree Road.

At the Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills Road intersection, Kimley-Horn is proposing adding two southbound turn lanes from Peachtree Road turning onto North Druid Hills Road.

The proposed project at one time included only rental residential units. Now, in response to community demand, it includes 107 units for sale, according to MARTA officials. The project includes 100 senior affordable apartments and 340 market rate apartments.

Office space for the proposed project is maxed out at 200,000 square feet and retail space at 55,768 square feet. There is also a 125-room hotel planned.

A community green space also is planned at the center of the proposed development, where art festivals and community concerts could be held.

MARTA officials say they want to build a “vibrant village center” on the current station’s mostly empty parking lots.

4 replies on “Brookhaven residents continue to speak out against MARTA’s Peachtree Road redevelopment”

  1. The developer is “excited” about the project, Chad Boles is “angrily questioning” the tax incentives, the Brookhaven Development Authority is refusing to reveal any details of the tax incentives for some reason: Where are all those red flags I keep around for just such occasions??

  2. The perception I was angry is flawed. I was simply asking the questions no one else is asking. Our Mayor and Council are allowing the BDA to consider a $15M tax abatement that will rob DeKalb County School Districts of $9M in addition to the $25M from the Hawks Players Facility, LLC. Why do our local high schools share stadiums? The most relevant matter is Chairman Luke Anderson’s accurate portrayal of their Open Records responsibility…none. Compare that to a Parks And Recs Advisory Committee that was. And they didn’t even have any bond issuing authority. The exchange from July 21st is below almost verbatim.

    Q: How will you fix traffic?
    A: We have done some great analysis. We will take Peachtree from 5 lanes to 6-10′ wide with restriping, but we have to ask Georgia DOT first. It’s their road.

    Q: How about give up some of the space on the front side of MARTA to make lanes wider?
    A: ‘Crickets’.

    Q: What recommendations do you have for the increased traffic on Apple Valley onto Dresden or Apple Valley in general.
    A: We don’t expect any increased traffic on Apple Valley. (Traffic Engineer really said that)

    Q: Why would you put restaurants and all that light pollution across from the residents on Fernwood Circle?
    A: Our survey shows that’s what the people want. (The City of Brookhaven’s Survey being used in the Terwilliger Pappas rezoning denial request taken at the genesis of Cityhood showed the exact opposite to every single one of MARTA’s conclusions.)

    Q: How will you police the area? Will there be on duty MARTA police officers?
    A: Our development partner(Integral/Transwestern) will handle that.

    Q: Have you received your sewer certification letter yet?
    A: blah, blah, blah. DeKalb County’s fault. Blah, blah, blah. No.

    Q: You receive a 1% sales tax from all DeKalb County residents and currently pay no taxes on the site. Why are you asking the City of Brookhaven Taxpayer for $15M?
    A: We are currently working with the Brookhaven Development Authority on some options. (They are talking about a synthetic Tax Allocation District we have no control or vote on.)

    Q: For what are you asking $15M? Normal developers don’t get that benefit.
    A: Extraordinary infrastructure issues.
    Reply: Which are your responsibilities. Not the city of Brookhaven’s.

    Q: The 2.5 acre linear park used to be a storm water pond in your first rendering. You have now drawn a park. Thank you for your deference to our codes, but neither is possible because the park lies within a stream buffer. How do you plan to handle the stormwater coming off the site?
    A: We have some….blah, blah, blah….incredible new ways to treat stormwater. We’ll spruce up the existing storm water pond…blah, blah, blah… Your city officials have said it’s back on the table and we can do what we like with it.
    Question: So the park is not a park and never was. It’s a stormwater pond.
    Answer: Yes.

    We are out of time for any more questions.
    But I have one more.
    You can ask later.
    I’ll ask now.

    Q: You have no sewer certification letter, you have shown us a disingenuous rendering with a linear park that will actually be a stormwater retention pond and are asking the taxpayers of Brookhaven to give you $15m that we will vehemently oppose and could cost people their elections. How far along do you think you are?
    A: We have given you our timeline.

  3. Hi, Chad!! You’re ABSOLUTELY sure that you weren’t angry?? Weeelll, okay. Bur please just know that the pile of red flags on my study floor just got higher. Brookhaven’s really lucky to have someone ready, willing. and able to ask the difficult, relevant questions.

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