Attorney for CONNOLLY, Carl Westmoreland, asked Councillors for the case to be set for the Planning Commission’s December 7th meeting, however after Council deliberation, the decision was made to grant request of the Planning Commissioners to place the case on their January 24, 2017 meeting agenda. Planning Commissioners said at their November 2nd meeting they need the extra time to review an amended site plan for the project and to get past the holiday season.
Councilman John Park made a motion to support the Planning Commission’s request for a 60-day pause. He said they asked for the time because they need it. Councilwoman Linley Jones expressed the same sentiment. “I would like to honor their request, simply on the basis it has been made, and it is not unreasonable,” Jones said. “I hate to delay things, but so does our Planning Commission and they wouldn’t ask for it if they didn’t actually need it.”
Councilman Bates Mattison opposed pushing the case out longer than 30 days. He said he recognizes the Council wants to send the case back to the Planning Commission but he said, “this thing has dragged on forever. We don’t need to ‘reset the shot clock’.”
“I am hearing an applicant say that they have gone to the extent that they can go,” said Mattison. “And I am hearing a community that says ‘we need to go further’. The idea that it takes 60-days to review a plan is just simply not true. These plans can be considered in a day.” He said kicking the can down the road any longer than that is merely excessive, and felt as though the applicant and the community can come to an amicable compromise in relatively short order.
Ashford Park resident, Karen Dernavich told Councilmembers that while the community recognizes changes to the original Dresden Village plan have occurred, the proposed plan isn’t quite there yet. She said, “The People of Brookhaven want smart development. Zoning Case RZ16-05 just isn’t smart…yet.”
Dernavich walked Councilmembers through a short presentation, reminding them of things they have said previously, and pointed out even after 60 community meetings, the density in the original site plan has only been reduced by 7.7% and a 5th story has been added – creating a “concrete canyon”.
CONNOLLY’s trip through the Planning Commission in August, resulted in a recommendation for City Council to deny their application. During the August 23rd City Council meeting, the case was deferred and remanded back, giving the developer a chance to make changes to their site plan. Working with Fairfield Residential, who is no longer part of the Dresden Village project, CONNOLLY presented a plan at 56.6 units per acre comprised of 194 multifamily units.
The new Dresden Village site plan shows the multifamily component at 45.3 units per acre and adds in 10 “for sale” townhomes along Caldwell Rd. On the Dresden Dr. side of the project, the plan shows 4-story multifamily over 1-story of retail and also incorporates Dixie Moon, a 2,500 sq. ft. restaurant concept by Chef Scott Serpas, after CONNOLLY was able to come to terms with the owner of the “Little White House” parcel, Fritz Rybert.
But the sticking points in the community that have been present for some time remain and continue to be density, height and home ownership. They say the project does not meet the overlay requirement of 25% open space (22.7% at present) to qualify for a 5th story bonus and the density should be closer to 30 units per acre.
Mattison voted “Nay” on Park’s motion, after he received no support for a friendly motion amendment to shorten the pause time to 30-days. Councilmembers Gebbia, Jones and Park were the votes in support of the 60-day timeframe.
The case is scheduled to be back in front of Brookhaven’s Planning Commission on January 24, 2017.
Read more on the revised Dresden Village plan here.