Nearly a year after the Brookhaven Zoning Board of Appeals denied Google Fiber’s request to build a needed hut in Parkside Park, a place to locate that park still has not been located.
Mayor John Ernst told residents attending his town hall Nov. 17 that the search for land to put the hut to service the south side of the city is still ongoing.
“It has not beared fruit yet,” Ernst said of the search. “The city is working really hard … so the south side can have some connectivity. I’m on a first-name basis with Google Fiber Georgia now.”
While the technology has advanced in the past several months, Google Fiber still needs to build a 10-foot tall barbed-wire fence surrounding the hut, Ernst said.
Last December, the ZBA denied Google Fiber’s request to build a hut in Parkside Park on a narrow strip of green space running along Dresden Drive between Apple Valley Road and Parkside Drive.
Google Fiber’s system requires a number of utility huts in central locations. In Brookhaven, the city agreed to provide space for two huts in public parks. One in Blackburn Park is finished. The other was to be in Parkside Park, a narrow strip of green space running along Dresden Drive between Apple Valley Road and Parkside Drive.
The hut was originally intended to go alongside the DeKalb County fire station at the park’s western end, but the city later learned it did not own the strip of land there.
That meant the Google Fiber hut had to be placed deeper into the park, much closer to a stream and Dresden Drive. The proximity to the stream required a zoning variance to reduce a buffer zone from 75 to 25 feet. The proximity to Dresden triggered community complaints about a fence at least 55 feet long front the street in a public park. The plan does include some vegetation screening the hut.
There were zoning-oriented questions, too, including whether Google or the city should request the variance, why a zoning overlay district wasn’t addressed in the application, and whether the application was fully updated with the plan changes.