The city of Brookhaven is moving forward on using eminent domain to acquire a permanent easement behind the Villas at Druid Hills apartments on Buford Highway for the planned Peachtree Creek Greenway. This is the second time the city has had to go this route to acquire land for the linear park.
The City Council at its June 28 meeting gave the go ahead to City Attorney Chris Balch to begin the legal work to acquire the easement at 3183 and 3247 Buford Highway to be used as part of the first mile of the Greenway between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road.
The city has appraised the property at nearly $1.23 million. On June 20, Balch communicated the $1.23 million offer to the Atlanta-based apartment complex owner Sabra Property Management but said he received no response.
Balch told the council this was a right-of-way acquisition that is necessary if the city wants to break ground on the Greenway this fall.
City Manager Christian Sigman said filing for eminent domain will get the attention of the property owners and the desire is to resolve the issue in the “coming weeks.”
The city also attempted to use eminent domain to acquire 19 acres on Briarwood Road for a trailhead for the Greenway. A DeKalb judge ruled the city acted in “bad faith” and eventually the city settled with the property owner to purchase the land for approximately $2 million.
The $2 million to buy the land came from a deal between the city and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The city sold CHOA about 5 acres of right of way on Tullie Circle and Tullie Road for nearly $10 million. CHOA is using that land to close off the streets to public use as part of its massive 70-acre campus redevelopment at I-85 and North Druid Hills Road.
The City Council also recently decided to build a new public safety building on the Briarwood property, behind Northeast Plaza.
The Peachtree Creek Greenway master plan outlines a series of nature trails, paved multi-purpose trails and paved promenade trails which will connect Brookhaven’s nearly 3 mile portion into the entire 12.3-mile Peachtree Creek trail project from Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb County to the PATH400 trail in Buckhead, the South Fork Conservancy Trails and the Atlanta BeltLine. The Greenway will also provide connectivity to areas beyond as part of a larger network of multi-use trails to residences, offices, restaurants, bike rental stands, coffee shops and picnic areas.