A developer is rethinking a plan to build 23 high-end townhomes behind the Landmark Diner amid signs of opposition from Tuxedo Park neighbors.

Monte Hewitt Homes is seeking a rezoning of 10 Blackland Road to allow the project, which would replace the shuttered Harold E. Bailey Landscaping business. The 2-acre site is largely undeveloped and wooded. The developer has deferred NPU-A and city Zoning Review Board appearances until October, according to attorney Carl Westmoreland.

The former landscaping company at 10 Blackland Road. (John Ruch)

“We’ll use the time to try and determine if there is a project that the applicant can live with and that the neighborhood can support, but we’re not there yet,” said Westmoreland.

NPU-A Chairperson Brinkley Dickerson said he suggested the deferral to allow more time for the developer to speak with neighbors. Dickerson said he heard “every conceivable concern” from residents about the townhomes concept, and based on those calls and emails, “I would expect substantial community opposition to the current plan.”

In July, the developer filed plans for 23 for-sale townhomes to be priced at approximately $1 million to $1.15 million, with three- and four-bedroom units. None of the units would be designated as affordable.

The 10 Blackland property is just to the northwest of the prominent intersection of Blackland, Roswell and Piedmont roads. The Landmark Diner and the Punchline Comedy Club stand between the property and Roswell Road.

Monte Hewitt Homes’ site plan for 23 townhomes at 10 Blackland Road. (Special)

The developer’s rezoning application says the townhomes project would “provide an appropriate transition between the commercial uses along the Roswell Road corridor and the adjacent single-family neighborhoods.” The filing also says it would be “consistent with the neighborhood character.”

Neighbors in Tuxedo Park, with its large single-family homes and estates, don’t seem convinced. Dickerson said he heard many complaints of varying importance. Traffic is one concern, but congestion is already bad in the intersection, he said.

Dickerson said that more significant concerns are that the project would “significantly, and negatively, impact the value of the eight or 10 nearest houses” and “risks incursion of denser housing into a well-established single-family community.”

The NPU and the Chastain Park Civic Association regularly see such proposals on such border streets as Powers Ferry and Wieuca roads and near the Mount Paran Country Store, Dickerson said. The same rationale of “transition” in housing type is often used, as well as providing “housing diversity” and the “opportunity to ‘age in place.’”

“It is a slippery slope,” Dickerson said.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.