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48 Comments

  1. 1

    Thomas Porter

    Well stated, we need to have our voices heard, The Brookhaven Post is one of the very best forums to voice concerns, and seems to be read by all responsible Planning Commission & Zoning Board members. We also need to show up for hearings.
    We additionally need a Community Development staff that has a vision that is aligned with the populace’s because they provide recommendations and conditions. Thus far that relationship has seemed combative, our elected officials and city manager (whomever that will be) need to have a unified vision and the Character Area definitions that Mayor Ernst spoke about will help, and, it’s time!

  2. 2

    Guest

    Yes! In the discussions with the developers so far we have told them what we don’t want. We all know it will be developed and apparently the land holders are trying to get the most money they can so the developers are taking the easy way with LOTS of apartments. Maybe we should start giving them an idea of what we will tolerate and work with them on. I would prefer to get the development that is going to happen in a design that we want and get it done so we can go back to our lives and stop having to go to meeting after meeting. Don’t get me wrong…. if they have to wheel me in from the nursing home I am fighting this to the end!

  3. 3

    bldvl89

    Karen –

    Thank you for that incredibly articulate and well-stated piece.

    No one had any illusions that the Dresden-Appalachee property would eventually be developed, but buying a home behind that believing that the development would one day be zoned O/I – like Haven and the Woodley building on either side of it – and then having T-P instead drop a PC-2 re-zoning bomb for all four parcels so that they can build Soul-less Dresden is way too much.

  4. 4

    Millenial Peak

    The millennial boom in apartment complexes has peaked. They can’t get mortgages because of Dodd Frank. Look for the MARTA TOD to arrive at exactly the wrong time, like their trains.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/02/millennials-are-moving-but-mortgages-dont-follow.html

  5. 5

    Tom Reilly

    KUDOS TO KAREN!! Some additional points: 1.] City Councils only need to remember “we” hired them, and why “we” hired them. 2.] “We” live here, “they”don’t. 3.] “We” bear the brunt of zoning decisions, “they”don’t. 4.] “We” won’t settle for cheap, fast, easy, greedy, irresponsible, or dishonest. 5.] “We” are the united voices that make the difference.–Tom Reilly

  6. 6

    Stan

    Although I agree that the Brookhaven Post is a good platform for community dialogue, it should not be considered a substitute for writing city officials. Writing an elected or appointed official becomes part of the legal record and is critical to the process. Reading the Post is a good way to gauge public sentiment; but emails and attendance at public meetings is the formal and more effective tool.

  7. 7

    The Brookhaven Post

    Thank you Stan. And to extrapolate further, this link could be handy for accessing information not readily available.

    It tells you how to file Open Records Requests.

    https://brookhavenpost.co/open-records-requests-let-the-sunshine-in-brookhaven/29908/

  8. 8

    Kerry

    Karen, I struggle to remain optimistic because this is what I hear from city hall:
    (Direct Quote)
    “….. Everyone, I think I need to clarify my role as your council representative. Re-zoning is a legal process, and I am essentially one of 5 judges who make decisions. Council must take into consideration both the private property rights of the applicant and the health and welfare of the neighborhood. During the process I can provide information, and I will listen, but I can’t give any indication of whether I oppose or support an application. If denied, applicants can sue us in court. If we deny re-zoning without sound legal justifications or if there is evidence of bias (like public comments in opposition), the city could lose. The property would be re-zoned anyway, and the city could be forced to pay the applicant’s attorney’s fees. There are over 20 factors considered in re-zoning of which traffic is only one. We can’t decide a case on one factor alone. Please continue to voice your opinions and feel free to reach out to me”
    I interpret this to mean our zoning rules favor not us but developers. That needs to be changed!

  9. 9

    Jennifer

    The biggest issue we have is that there was a mistake made by Dekalb County that allowed the two existing apartments to be built, but there is also the development in existance that does meet the overlay and represents what the spirit of the overlay is. So as far as propery right vs neighborhood rights there is room for the property owner to have a fair use of the property with the neighborhood not having to bear the brunt of a bad development that favors only the developer.

    The key is to realize that something is going to be built, we need to let the developers know that the Haven/Verde development are what sets the standard – not @1377 or Rosewood. Can we keep the development from having apartments, no propbably not. Can we make sure that they fit within the community in density, height & use and have an ownership component? probably but it will take work on all of our parts. You will have to attend many meetings and show up at the planning commission meeting, city council and ZBA meetings if required. We can always make a competitive purchase offer to have it as parkland but …. I’m not that wealthy! Maybe someone could win the lottery tomorrow and solve the problem for us!!!

  10. 10

    Eddie E.

    The responsibility on the City still remains “Follow The Rules”.
    The error of the first administration was “Every Variance Becomes the Basis for the Next Variance”.
    If cascading variances become the rule, there is no rule.

  11. 11

    BuHi

    If city council believes the above then they need to speak with additional legal counsel.

    The priority of private property rights is vastly overstated in the comment. Of course there are two sides and a balance has to be respected but that balance was taken into consideration when the developers purchased the property with the zoning restrictions in place at that time.

    When they ask for a variance they are are essentially saying: “Yeah, we knew the restrictions when we purchased it but now we’re going to ask for additional consideration and rattle our sabres if we don’t receive more than the bargain we made at time of purchase.”

    The zoning is in place for a reason – and the price they paid for their property rights reflect those restrictions.

    Unfortunately the previous administration had one misstep after another when it came to issues like this (e.g. the ZBA received “training” from a lawyer who has represented many of the developers seeking variances) and it appears that the City still might not be talking with legal counsel who values homeowner and community rights as much as developer rights.

    It’s time to get it together Brookhaven.

  12. 12

    Eric Robert

    Kerry google “arbitrary and capricious” and “zoning” a council person like a judge in a criminal or civil matter cannot take a position for or against a particular case before the process has run its course or he can justifiably be accused of having a predetermined position or bias.
    So that statement is just a fact and people hopefully will understand it.
    As to Dresden much of the MARTA property and lots along Dresden are zoned for higher density. Some properties still have the antiquated industrial or even cement making designation – so surely that’s not going to remain as Karen points out. Density is a concern but apartments should not be. while the rise in apartment rents is leveling off, the demand is still there. While Millenials are getting older their is no indication to suggest their replacements won’t continue to wait longer to have children and thus buy a home, and metro Atlanta will continue to grow and more employers will continue to locate near MARTA. So as long as we get the design and density right apartments will hold their value in this immediate value because they will have a prized location on the MARTA Gold Line.

  13. 13

    Disgusted in Ashford PArk

    Easy to resolve. Put a pin on the entrance to Marta Station. Draw an equidistant circle from there. Rezone based on that. Apartments/High Density all the way to Capital City CC.

  14. 14

    Jennifer

    Eric,
    It’s not apartments perse that are the problem and it’s not density either, it is the combination of excessive apartment density that the neighborhood is fighting against. We do not need an additional 2000 apartments at that intersection until Marta figures out how to have a transit system that can be used by at least 30% of the served population. Now at best Marta says in pockets they can serve 15%. We HAVE to have a transit solution BEFORE we can put that kind of density in without ruining the neighborhoods that would collapse with cut thru traffic.

  15. 15

    Toff

    You nailed it. Build a real transit system first then add the density. We have a mickey mouse rail system.

  16. 16

    City-Weary

    I was just over there last night dining at Verde. Parking was atrocious. Cars everywhere. Yes, I could have taken MARTA except I wasn’t arriving from an area of town served by MARTA rail. I suspect that was the same for the many other car-driving patrons there. I can only imagine how bad it’s going to be when these other developments are built. People who assume “most people will be arriving by MARTA” aren’t thinking real-world, as much as we’d love to assume otherwise. And once traffic/parking/transit becomes too much of a hassle, people will go elsewhere for tacos and margaritas.

  17. 17

    Sandy

    MARTA trains have begun single tracking almost once a week since February. They either stop in the tunnel before coming North out over the interstate. Or they stop right before Lindbergh and come all the way back to Arts Center. We were stuck in the cave for 5 minutes 3 weeks ago. All the lights shut off. Very scary. I feel sorry for the train conductors. It’s not their fault MARTA’s logistics are stone age.

    A man got off the train yesterday and screamed FU MARTA into the cars right before the door closed. I didn’t know whether he was screaming as us or MARTA. We all laughed. It used to take 20 minutes to get from Peachtree Center to Brookhaven. It now takes 1 hour and 15. I’m going back to my car. I can’t be the only one.

  18. 18

    Jennifer

    There is a n interesting article today about “rapid bus transit” where you have dedicated lanes and buses that only stop at stations. Marta would be very smart to use this as an option so that we have a real transit solution QUICKLY! here is the link http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/gwinnett-could-get-bus-rapid-transit-for-a-fractio/nrG6F/

  19. 19

    Murph

    Dunwoody is seeing some creative negotiations to allow development while supporting the existing community. http://www.thecrier.net/news/article_112556bc-10cd-11e6-904a-a33f922c31cc.html

  20. 20

    Kerry

    Eric, set MARTA aside for a minute, please don’t get me started on that failed antiquated system. Let’s look at Dresden Drive. It is the same little road I traveled 50 years ago on my way to work at Lenox Square. No improvements have been made to the road or the infrastucture, and we continue to add apartments and clog the street. We have a real problem with traffic congestion. That problem needs to be fixed before anything else it built. Our Fire Station and Emergency Responders are grid locked. This is a life safety issue (and quality of life issue) that should addressed and take precedence over the speculative interests of developers.
    Kerry

  21. 21

    Jennifer

    The developer has to be willing to make the concessions. Statements like we can only do it with apartments won’t fly there or here. All of the developers have been told they would be more likely to get some neighborhood support if they have a mix of owner occupied and rental…. we are waiting for them to comeback to us.

  22. 22

    Eric Robert

    No one ever said most people would take MARTA especially to grab dinner at a restaurant. Couple reasons for that, most people don’t travel far to go to dinner, people go to dinner after rush hour so traffic isn’t an issue, people have more than one person in the car. Who cares if there is no parking, if there isn’t parking then people will stop eating there. MARTA’s main role is to help people get to work and thus avoid rush hour. Couple reasons – rush hours there is congestion. Most people go to work by themselves. The commute to work is often longer. And yes if you capture 30% of the people working or living next to the station you are doing amazing, so yes more traffic, but its a heck of a lot more sustainable than putting people and/or jobs where there is no transit option.

  23. 23

    Eric Robert

    Jennifer I said “Density is a concern but apartments should not be” So not sure why you think we disagree on that point. But some of the other posters certainly are coming across as being against apartments “perse”. As to MARTA serving more people that’s easy, put more housing and jobs next to MARTA stations. And new development should be put in places where the existing tree canopy is not destroyed.

  24. 24

    Eric Robert

    Kerry as I said in my post zoning is already in place for additional apartments. As I said in my post “Density is a concern but apartments should not be” What the magic # is I don’t know. As to MARTA I take it daily to work and it gets me there on time and stress free daily. I think either you have never had the opportunity to commute daily on MARTA or your experiences with MARTA are antiquated.

  25. 25

    Eric Robert

    I hope Dunwoody follows through with that negotiation. Otherwise if they keep encouraging just building office space there section of the Perimeter Center may suffer the same fate as Downtown did when it became a ghost town at night. And in the shorter term by just building office space and not providing nearby housing options they are just creating more cut through traffic for Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and further

  26. 26

    Roger

    Eric,

    I don’t know which MARTA you are riding, but you’re right. Kerry’ experience with MARTA is definitely antiquated.

    Yesterday afternoon at 5;45 my wife and I left the Arts Center MARTA station. She was 15 in front of me because I got caught up on the escalator. A drunk vagrant drinking from an open container on MARTA property yells at my wife in front of 50 people. “Hey girl, I like porn movies. You want to be in one with me?” As I walked past doing all I could not to end the little charade on the spot…had the cop not been standing right there I would have…he yells at me, “What you lookin’ at Cracker. FU!” in the loudest voice he could muster. Flummoxed, I looked to the MARTA cop,” I guess you now have a description of the African American male with a red sweater, 2 missing front teeth, green eyes, 5″6″?” That’s right. I get a head nod from the MARTA cop. That’s it. I’m expected to understand if you come south of I-85, that’s what you get. Live with it.

    So Kerry, rest assured, there is a whole new level of scum and apathy at MARTA at the Arts Center Station. But, no doubt, we’ll be reminded again they have the second largest police force in the city. They’ll probably contain that activity to just one station.

    Looking forward to the developments here in town. Imagine if that was your wife?

  27. 27

    City-Weary

    Yes, Eric, there ARE people who say most people would be/should be taking MARTA to dine. I’ve had discussions with them.

  28. 28

    Barbara

    Im more surprised you actually SAW a Marta police officer in the station. I only see them sitting in their new Tahoe’s with the K-9 Unit in parking lots. I wonder how much that cost us. I am not all surprised he did nothing to remove the open container drunk.

    If Marta expands in Brookhaven and is allowed to develop it will be a crippling blow to our city’s way of life in dozens of ways.

  29. 29

    Eric Robert

    True there are delusional people out there but referring to these people to prop up an argument is a bit like creating a strawman. But thanks for acknowledging my point!

  30. 30

    Eric Robert

    Roger wrote “Looking forward to the developments here in town. Imagine if that was your wife?”
    Oh lord, you guys are just trolling I hope.

  31. 31

    Karen Dernavich

    I love the discussion. Per my comment about often times we don’t know what is possible under current zoning or how the rezoning process works- Stan Segal and Corey Self are hosting a meeting on May 17th at 6:30 PM at City Hall to cover rezoning and variances. Let’s all meet up there. https://www.facebook.com/events/1833259816901609/

  32. 32

    Guest

    I also use MARTA to commute to work every day. These posts about MARTA being full of vagrants and dangerous are pathetically inaccurate. MARTA’s trains and stations have no more of a problem with vagrants and panhandling than NYC and less than DC, systems I also use frequently for work. If you don’t like public transit I’m sure you can get a nice cheap NIMBY mcmansion in John’s Creek. Have fun.

  33. 33

    Jennifer

    Actually every one of the developers including MARTA say that people will walk, bike or take Marta so no need for much parking. Marta is only putting .5 spaces for each Senior Apartment and 1.3 for every market share apartment….because everyone will walk, bike, ride marta. That is why we have the parking issue we have at Dresden Village.

  34. 34

    Jennifer

    Eric,
    Why don’t the 500+ people that live in the apartments right next to station now take Marta? Like me, I can’t… Marta tells me to take a bus and sit in the same traffic stopping multiple times and then I have to figure out the last mile or so. They say one hour plus but driving I can get there in 20-30. They need to do a better job of connecting Northlake to Cumberland then they can build some density because people could use it.

  35. 35

    Jennifer

    one of the few times we agree

  36. 36

    Toff

    I disagree, Marta does have more issues than those you mention. I use Marta about twice a month and I am seeing fairly serious issues in about 1/3 of my trips. I recently rode NYC, London and Sydney and never had a single problem.
    I think they can solve their problems but the police need to work on more enforcement.

  37. 37

    Eric Robert

    Again, no rational person or MARTA is saying “everyone.” Though clearly it will be more people who will walk, bike or take MARTA.

  38. 38

    Eric Robert

    Toff you must be a very unlucky person when it comes riding MARTA.

  39. 39

    Sandy

    Toff is not unlucky. He sees things as they are.

    Wear a dress one day and see how you like it.

  40. 40

    Toff

    I have persevered with Marta as I am a big proponent of public transport. Hopefully my bad streak is over because I enjoy riding it when all goes well and it is very convenient for me. I do take my wife and kids on but my wife will not use Marta alone.

  41. 41

    All aboard

    During rush hours most of the time it is great. It’s when you are riding the off hours that there are usually some less that idealic experiences with the occasional “what was I thinking when I took Marta” moments. Let’s face it any time you are in a public forum there will be characters and undesirables but Marta can work to minimize them and keep the elevators from smelling like Pee.

  42. 42

    Eric Robert

    “Wear a dress one day and see how you like it.”
    Now that would be scary!

  43. 43

    Eric Robert

    Understood. And while my daily trips are from Chamblee (sometimes Med Center) to Arts Center, Five Points or Garnett (and often a combination due to Court schedules) I very rarely ride MARTA on the weekend which is when they do their single tracking for maintenance and I’ve read comments on the MARTA page complaining about what it does to the weekend service which is already operating on extended headways.

  44. 44

    City-Weary

    That’s kind of rude.

  45. 45

    Eric Robert

    Jennifer, yes because your employer made the decision to move to Cobb County you don’t have MARTA rail access. Thankfully many employers, and the list is growing due to trends, have located in the major work centers of Perimeter Center, Buckhead, Midtown, and Downtown. I’d love to see some class A offices built along Peachtree so that we could add to the growing list of employers locating jobs near a MARTA Station.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/capitol_vision/2016/02/business-leaders-give-marta-funding-bill-a-boost.html
    And frankly it shows, Cumberland of the major work centers is lagging behind. This is probably one reason Cobb felt the need to throw all that money at the Braves. Which by the way that stadium will destroy and already horrible traffic situation that exists at I-75 and 285.

  46. 46

    Eric Robert

    What’s rude?

  47. 47

    Sandy

    Late again today. We waited 25 minutes for a train at Peachtree Center. Eric, you either don’t ride MARTA or are too blind to see it’s a train wreck.

  48. 48

    Eric Robert

    Sandy, i have the MARTA App with real time next train arrival times and I can’t remember the last time I waited more than 12 minutes for the next gold line train. Granted after 9 they go to 20 minute headways but even then thanks to the App I can time my arrival to the station to coincide with the next gold line train.

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