Brookhaven City Council defers Kendrick Road lot subdivision amid concerns of neighborhood density 

A developer has received a second deferral from the Brookhaven City Council for a subdivision project on Kendrick Road that neighbors say will increase the density of the area and negatively impact the character of the neighborhood. 

Developer Donald Neustadt is looking to subdivide a single-family property at 1230 Kendrick Road into two lots. He had a similar ordinance approved for a separate property at 1221 Kendrick Road last year, which drew controversy from neighbors for alleged upkeep issues. At a Feb. 3 Dunwoody Planning Commission meeting and a Feb. 23 City Council meeting, residents spoke out against the project at 1230 Kendrick Road. 

At the council’s March 16 meeting, residents continued to rally against the subdivision during public comment, citing stormwater runoff, neighborhood aesthetics and the traffic and density that two new homes could bring. 

“We have a water runoff issue and we’re plagued by wet backyards,” neighborhood resident Lauren Guenther said. “Water runoff tends to flow down into the valley between Grove Street and Osborne. Increasing the housing density could only possibly worsen this.” 

Brookhaven resident Craig Nettles said he was concerned about the density of the neighborhood, and cited the number of properties already under development in the area, many by Neustadt himself. 

“We are already a cut-through street between Peachtree and Osborne [roads] and several people in our neighborhood are frustrated,” Nettles said. “We have a lot of traffic. I have a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old and it’s a real shame they can’t ride their bikes to their friend’s house around the corner … without me standing in the street to keep people from coming through.” 

Some commenters said they still had issues with the maintenance of Neustadt’s properties. Neustadt cited a different property he developed at 1229 Kendrick Road, which sold for over $1 million earlier this year. But the previous owner of the house, Derek Grant, said that after Neustadt sold the property to him years earlier, he hired a separate builder to construct the house. 

“Anything he says about his ability to help sell our house for more couldn’t be further from the truth,” Grant said. 

Neustadt provided an update on the rezoning at 1230 Kendrick Road in a forwarded email, but did not respond to requests for comment about the property at 1229 Kendrick Road. 

The owner of the home, Michelle Gray, said she has a buyer for the property, but the contract is contingent on the rezoning. Councilmember John Park asked if Neustadt could come back to the council with a site plan preserving as many trees as possible and a plan to limit the amount of stormwater runoff.

To come up with a more detailed plan, Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin said, the city would need to coordinate with the applicant, the property owner, the city engineer and the tree canopy manager to make accurate modifications. 

Neustadt did not have the opportunity to respond to Park’s request at the meeting, but he said in an email that he met with Ruffin and development staff on March 17 to outline how he would be able to meet the requests made by the council. He also said he met with the Brookhaven Tree Canopy Preservation program manager at the property on March 19.

The project will come back before the council at an April meeting.