Brookhaven, GA – The City of Brookhaven Planning Commission met Monday for a Work Session on the rezoning of Century Center. Commissioner John Funny led the meeting in the absence of Commission Chairman, Stan Segal.
As you may know, the City of Brookhaven has notified DeKalb County that it intends to annex Century Center – an annexation that City officials say was initiated by Highwoods Properties. The Highwoods annexation request and the City’s notification of Intent to Annex documents can be found here.
During the Planning Commission work session, Susan Cannon, Director of Community Development, said that the City initiated the zoning of Century Center to PC-3.
This rezoning appears to be at the heart of the Century Center proposition – and perhaps what makes this most attractive to Brookhaven. But, it is also a reason to thoroughly think through the impacts of the PC-3 rezoning and the impact such zoning could have on the surrounding communities.
The current land-use category in Century Center is “Office Park”, which allows PC zoning, but caps residential at 30 units per acre.
The existing Century Center zoning is office/institutional (O/I) and office/distribution (O-D). Both are low rise, office/institutional/warehouse zonings that do not permit the densities envisioned by the Master Plan for the Century Center complex. (Found here – see page 3 of 8).
The introduction of the Master Plan reads, “The Century Center Master Plan, demonstrated below, recognizes the existing built environment and further identifies plans for future development. As shown on the Master Plan, pods have been identified. In addition to the pod detail, a future hotel site is also contemplated.”
The proposed/new development (in 6 pods per the Master Plan) includes an additional 2 million square feet of Office Space, 500+ apartments, 75,000 sq. ft. of Retail, and 8,100+ parking spaces.
The proposed zoning of PC-3 is the highest density zoning allowed under Brookhaven’s zoning code. This zoning classification can be found here. This zoning classification contains very specific requirements for plan review (see section 27-649.3) before rezoning.
Planning Commissioner, Jack Honderd, urged the Commission to thoroughly read and understand the PC-3 zoning ordinance. “To take our conversation to the next level, we need to know what’s in the ordinance.” He continued, “the ordinance states, it’s very clear that to get this rezoning [as PC-3] you have to submit a site plan – a very detailed site plan – as part of your request for rezoning. If you read the requirements [of PC-3] they are listed out. It’s over a full page. It’s very comprehensive. What they’re asking for is this rezoning without a site plan, so we are creating an exception in granting this rezoning, since they don’t have the detailed site plan. This zoning [classification] is site plan specific – that’s what this PC-3 is. We cannot grant it without a very detailed site plan.”
The zoning could, however, have conditions attached to it, for example: the property could not be redeveloped until an acceptable site plan is approved.
When examining the Planning Commissions research that has led to the recommendation to approve the PC-3 rezoning, there is no analysis of the stormwater impact along N. Peachtree Creek – that currently experiences flooding, nor a Traffic Study to determine the impact to the area for additional automobile traffic.
If the rezoning to PC-3 is approved, tens of millions of dollars in entitlements will be provided to the owner/developer in the form of increased densities that would add value to the property. Those entitlements could result in hundreds of millions of dollars of new development.
The City of Brookhaven will be holding a Planning Commission Work Session on July 18th at 6:00 PM followed by a Special Called Public Hearing at 7:00 PM.
Agendas can be found here.