A land disturbance permit application has been submitted to the city of Brookhaven for a mixed-use project called Porter Square — including apartments, a parking deck and shops — at the former Hastings Nursery on Peachtree Road.

The nursery site and the adjacent Mavis Tire (formerly Kauffman Tire), located at 3920 and 3930 Peachtree Road, were once the center of a major controversy dating back to 2014. That’s when property owner SDS Real Estate Property Holdings and JLB Realty sought to rezone the approximately 5 acres to allow for a mixed-use project including apartments and commercial use.

An illustration of an apartment building with retail on the ground floor submitted to the city as part of a land disturbance permit for the former Hastings Nursery site on Peachtree Road. The application is still under review. (Special)

Residents in the adjacent Historic Brookhaven protested the development over concerns of density. The rezoning requests were deferred several times by the city, and then, in 2015, the city refused to issue a land disturbance permit for the project. SDS and JLB sued the city in a case that went all the way to the state Supreme Court, where the city finally lost in late 2017.

The land disturbance permit application was filed Aug. 21 by Kimley-Horn and Associates on behalf of property owner SDS. JLB is not listed in the documents on file with the city.

Ackerman & Company is the broker for the property and trying to sell it for SDS.

“We are in the planning process for a mixed-use project in keeping with the Brookhaven overlay ordinance. We are trying to gauge the retail interest in such a development,” said John Speros, senior vice president of brokerage with Ackerman & Company.

He said the property is under contract for a mixed-use development, but declined to give further information.

“We still have a long way to go to get this one closed,” Speros said.

As part of the permit application, Kimley-Horn also submitted a required hydrology report on behalf of Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners.

An illustration showing the apartment building with retail on the ground level as seen facing Peachtree Road. (Special)

Early site plans filed with the application include shops fronting Peachtree Road and an open green space between the shop fronts and Peachtree Road; a 6-story apartment building with 295 units built behind the retail; and a parking deck and surface parking totaling 574 spaces, including six electric vehicle charging stations. No clear definitions of square footage were available in the documents.

The property is located within the Peachtree Overlay District, which encourages higher-density development along Peachtree Road.

The property is zoned Peachtree Road 1 (PR-1) as part of the overlay rewrite approved last year, which includes multiunit residential buildings. No further rezoning is required.

The project does not have to meet the 10% workforce housing requirement for new multiunit residential developments. The project was started well before the workforce housing mandate was approved as part of the city’s zoning code rewrite approved last year, according to Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin.

Land disturbance permits are required when a developer needs to move at least 5,000 square feet of dirt, except when doing so for a single-family residential building. It can sometimes take months to approve an LDP as city staff members ask questions about submitted materials and point out where changes need to be made.

The Community Development Department issued its plan review comments on Sept. 18.