The developer of a proposed townhome project on Brookhaven’s bustling Dresden Drive says it wants to scrap those plans and build only single-family houses after receiving significant blowback from residents living in adjacent neighborhoods. The City Council is slated to take up the request at its April 23 meeting.

An illustration of the townhomes that would front Dresden Drive as part of a proposed project at the corner of Dresden and Camille drives. The Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the development and the developer is now saying plans are to build only single-family homes on the site. (City of Brookhaven)

Harrison Development & Construction was hoping to get a 60-day deferral from the city’s Planning Commission at its April 3 meeting on its proposed project to build eight townhomes and two single-family houses on a less than 1 acre plot at the corner of Dresden Drive and Camille Drive.

A representative for the developer told commissioners that plans are now to build five $1 million homes on the site. The site currently has three single-family homes at 2565 and 2575 Camille Drive and 1482 Dresden Drive. The property is zoned RS-75 and requires a minimum 10,000 square foot lot area. The developer would have to go through another rezoning request process to build five houses on the site.

The Planning Commission flatly rejected the request for deferral after hearing from several residents living in the adjacent Ashford Park and Drew Valley single-family home neighborhoods opposed to the higher-density residential development. The commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the project.

The developer on April 9 formally filed a request with the Community Development staff to withdraw the townhome project, but the City Council must make the final decision at its April 23 meeting to either accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation or accept the developer’s withdrawal. A vote by the council to deny could mean the developer would have to wait two years before submitting a new plan.

The major argument by residents against the proposed project was that it would be built just outside the Peachtree Overlay District, a special zoning district approved by the City Council last year designed to allow for mixed-use and higher density residential developments. The overlay district extends down Dresden Drive past Village Place and Village Park at Brookhaven mixed-use developments at ends at Camille Drive. Past Camille Drive is the Ashford Park-Drew Valley character area where zoning regulations call for preserving the single-family housing community.

“We just did the Peachtree Overlay last year … and I feel like we drew the line where we did,” Commissioner Conor Sen said after making a motion to recommend denial. “To do something else less than a year later would be a pretty egregious violation of that contract. For me, this is clear-cut.”

Kenneth Wood, president of Planners and Engineers Collaborative and representing the developer, said the desire was to seek the deferral so they could come up with a new project to build five single-family homes instead and submit those plans instead.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.