A proposed subdivision of an estate in Buckhead’s Tuxedo Park drew a crowd of opponents to the Neighborhood Planning Unit A meeting Dec. 3.
An attorney and an architect hired by residents of the historic neighborhood said the plan to split the lot at 3460 Tuxedo Road violates the zoning code and could mean a new house built out of character with the community.
“It’s very, very clear,” said the architect, Bill Harrison of Harrison Design. “There’s no ambiguity here… This is a gross violation of creating a lot.”
Representatives for the applicant, who is listed in city records as James Martin of Morrow, Ga., said they believed the plan matches code. But they could not answer some of the criticisms.
“I don’t have a good answer for that,” said Charlie Sears, the applicant’s landscape architect, when questioned by NPU-A chair Brink Dickerson about an apparent conflict between the proposed new property line and city code requirements.
The property is a 3.4-acre, irregularly shaped lot with frontages on Tuxedo Road and Northside Drive. The main entrance is on Tuxedo, while the Northside frontage has an old wooden bridge over a creek. The plan calls for creating a new lot of about 1.34 acres where the existing house stands.
The main community concern is that one or more houses will be built on the other 2 acres, possibly in ways that don’t mesh with a neighborhood of mansions that is on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.
Dianne Barfield, a consultant for the applicant, had few details about his plan, beyond an intent to renovate the existing house. She said it seems unlikely that more than one additional house would be built due to the creek on the property. But, she added, “I can’t tell you the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Jennifer Alewine, the zoning attorney hired by residents, said the plan is out of character with Tuxedo Park and violates subdivision ordinances. Harrison, the community-hired architect, ran through what he said are several ordinance violations.
The proposed new property line would run east-west across most of the parcel, but bend northward to avoid meeting Northside Drive. Sears said that is because city code prohibits creating a new lot with two street frontages, even though the current one already has them.
But Harrison said the code also prohibits bending a new property line and that it must instead run straight across the parcel.
“You cannot gerrymander that lot line… It’s against the law,” Harrison said.
He said the plan has other problems related to the calculation of the Tuxedo Road frontage and a supposed curve in the road there. The problems, he said, would force the plan to have a much larger setback in buildable area than shown in the application, and to hack off a piece of the property into yet another lot that would not conform to code.
The crowd of NPU-A members voted to recommend against the subdivision by a vote of 60 against, zero in favor and 2 abstaining. The application next goes to the city’s Subdivision Review Committee for a hearing scheduled for Jan. 22.