Brookhaven, GA, June 1, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Around 30 Brookhaven residents attended a Tuesday meeting held by developers CONNOLLY and Fairfield Residential to talk about Dresden Village, a mixed-use development sited for Dresden Drive, between Caldwell Road and Parkside Drive. And if changes to the plans as a result of feedback from the community was something meeting attendees were expecting to see, they would have been disappointed, because there were none.
Because there were no changes, the conversation and questions were largely the same as the last two meetings. However, attorney Carl Westmoreland, legal counsel on the project, announced his clients have decided to push back an appearance before the City’s Planning Commission until August. Westmoreland says that gives the developers time to get concentrated feedback from the community, incorporate what they can, and have another meeting before their official City appearance.
Westmoreland did share some of the things the developers are considering, but made no promises:
- Lowering the Caldwell Rd. side of the development down from 4 stories to 3;
- Raising the front side from 4 stories to 5;
- A right turn in and right turn out on Caldwell Rd.;
- Lowering overall density;
- Making the units on the Caldwell Rd. side of the project two-story townhomes with a one-story flat above
Brookhaven Fields resident, Terrell Carstens said that in order for the project to get support from the neighbors, there would need to be an ownership component. “That is what people in the neighborhoods are looking for and at a price point they can afford,” Carstens said. “Empty nesters who want to continue to get the tax benefits of ownership are also interested in townhomes in this area.”
Fairfield Residential’s Tom Brunson maintained his position, stating there is simply not a way to finance the project as townhomes in today’s market. He said while they are willing to make some changes to the plan, it is unlikely there will be an ownership component at this point, although it is not out of the question at some future date they could be converted.
Carstens asked J.R. Connolly, President of Connolly Investment & Development, if they planned on any tax abatements from the City on the projected $50 to $70 million development. Connolly said, “We are not seeking any tax incentives.”
The average size of the apartments in the Dresden Village project is 865 square feet. The plans still show the four-story development will be on 3.437 acres of land featuring:
- 20,000 sq. ft. of boutique shops and local restaurants with outside patios managed by local operators
- Pedestrian friendly streetscapes with wide sidewalks and interesting storefronts
- 206 luxury multi-family apartment homes at a density of 60-units per acre
- Approximately 200 parking spaces for retail customers and the general public
- A central parking deck with access points on Dresden Drive, Parkside Drive and Caldwell Road
An Ashford Park resident told the developers that she would like to see the planned entrance to Dresden Village moved over to Parkside Dr. and removed from Caldwell Rd. altogether. “If you can put a service entrance on Parkside, you can put a regular entrance on Parkside.”
But Fairfield said moving the entrance would not be feasible because they would have to reconfigure the project, that could result in the parking deck becoming a focal point from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Westmoreland called on the community to get 6 or 7 “spokespersons” – one or two from each of the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed development – so the deferral time could be used having meetings to address a concentrated set of issues, rather than a broader, larger group discussion. He said each neighborhood should find a representative and email him so he can get meetings scheduled and the group established. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Even though their new Planning Commission date is August 3rd, Westmoreland said time is of the essence to get these concentrated meetings underway because they will have to get any changed plans submitted to the city’s Community Development Department in early July.