The Buckhead Community Improvement District board approved several million dollars for various projects, including studies on new Ga. 400 interchanges and the Piedmont Road corridor, during the board’s May 24 meeting.
The board committed several million dollars to match federal funding applications for projects and studies. The need for the studies came from the master plan, Buckhead REdeFINED, whose final version has not been released to the public yet. The plan should be released within the next few weeks, said Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, which is spearheading the master plan.
The BCID committed to $80,000 to fund studies on new Ga. 400 interchanges at East Paces Ferry and Lenox Road.
David Allman, the board chairman, asked what brought about the need for this study, and Starling explained it was an idea conceived during master plan discussions. A desire to reclaim Lenox Road as a local street and improve walkability was expressed during master plan meetings, Starling said.
The board didn’t specify what will be studied, but previous ideas have included rebuilding the existing Lenox Road interchange as a “diverging diamond”.
Another $80,000 was committed to fund studies on adding lanes and improving pedestrian safety in the Piedmont Road corridor, which also came from the master plan. The previous study on this corridor is outdated and another needs to be done, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the BCID said.
The BCID approved $3.5 million in funds for the fourth phase of improvements on Peachtree Road, which may be matched with $10.4 million of federal funds. The Peachtree Road project aims to improve pedestrian safety and traffic congestion by adding left turn lanes, bike lanes, traffic signaling and streetscaping.
The board committed $2.5 million to the Lenox Road Complete Streets project, which may be matched by $2.15 million in federal funds. The BCID will pay for design, engineering, utilities and 20 percent of construction costs, which is about half the cost of the project, Durrett said. Federal funds are planned to pick up the other 80 percent of construction, he said.
The project includes pedestrian, bicycle and roadway improvements along Lenox Road.
Three board members’ four-year terms had expired and were up election. Thad Ellis, who represents Cousins Properties, and Matt Rendle, who represents Selig Enterprises, were unanimously re-elected.
John Lundeen, a longtime board member and vice chairman, resigned his post. Jim Bacchetta was unanimously elected to the position.
Bacchetta is the Atlanta vice president for Highwoods Properties, which owns the Alliance Centers and Monarch Tower, among others.
Bacchetta has been working in Buckhead for five years and said he is looking forward to advancing the BCID’s agenda and addressing Buckhead’s problems, especially traffic. He will be an active board member and will try to improve the Buckhead experience, he said.
Lundeen, who resigned after 18 years of service on the board, represented Coro Realty and was one of two board members who have been on the board since the BCID was created. The other original member is Chairman David Allman, who represents Regent Partners.
“I’d like to say what a delight it’s been to work with you. You’ve been a loyal member,” Lynn Rainey, the board’s attorney, said to Lundeen.
Lundeen said he has enjoyed his time on the board, but that sometimes changes are needed.
“I haven’t always agreed with everything we did, but I have tried to support the objectives,” he said.
All representatives of properties that pay taxes into the BCID are eligible to vote on board members, and they also had to vote on if the BCID should be dissolved. The city requires CID’s vote on this question every six years, and the electors voted unanimously that the BCID should not be dissolved.