Brookhaven, GA, February, 22, 2016 – by Trey Benton – During his second Town Hall since taking office, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst announced Monday that MARTA and its development partners have agreed to a “moratorium” on filing rezoning applications necessary for a planned Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station Transit Oriented Development.
At the request of Mayor Ernst, MARTA and Brookhaven City Center Partners (a joint venture of Integral Development and Transwestern Property) agreed to postpone rezoning applications until some time after June 1st. Those applications were initially slated to be filed with the City in late February or early March.
“I’ve heard residents’ concerns, and there are many unanswered questions to these plans,” said Mayor Ernst. “Any development at this site will have a big impact on our community for decades, and this process cannot be rushed. I’m pleased that all parties agree that we must plan smarter in order for this development to meet the needs of our City.”
According to Ernst, MARTA and its partners also agreed to engage the City of Brookhaven and regional partners, including the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), as well as County and State agencies to address infrastructure and other issues involved with this large development before submitting any application.
In addition, Ernst says over next several months, the City will crack open Brookhaven’s Comprehensive Plan and review Zoning regulations in anticipation of MARTA’s application, as well as other projects in the pipeline.
As part of this initiative, Ernst says task forces will be formed to review the future vision of each of Brookhaven’s 13 Character areas depicted in the Comprehensive Plan, and those recommendations will drive the now paused Zoning Code rewrite efforts.
“Even if MARTA goes away,” Ernst said. “We will still have problems that need to be solved. The time to get involved in this process is now.” Ernst explained these efforts will yield a plan that the City will implement. He said citizens should look for communications about these efforts and how get engaged soon.
On Tuesday, February 2, MARTA and development partners, Transwestern Development Company and the Integral Group, shared a presentation with a packed house during a community forum at Brookhaven City Hall. The overwhelming majority of the 120+ attendees were concerned with the density of the proposed development and how that density could pose a negative effect on their quality of life.
Since then, MARTA has held three “District Specific” community meetings in District’s 1, 2 and 3. At each of the District meetings the comments has been largely the same – the project is too large and there is too little information being offered by MARTA on infrastructure, traffic and impacts on the neighborhoods at large.
A District 4 meeting has been set for Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Cross Keys High School cafeteria, located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road.
The Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA TOD project is described as a multi-phase redevelopment, slated to include 126 senior affordable apartments, 560-580 market rate units, 120,000 to 400,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 to 60,000 square feet of retail space, 10,000 to 40,000 square feet of civic space and 150 hotel rooms.