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39 Comments

  1. 1

    Andrew Wells

    A wise and sensitive man once told me “My name is Riley O’Conner.” I ‘m very pleased to have met you. Thank you.

  2. 2

    Alexandra

    Lovely piece; thank you for writing it. I grew up in one of the small houses in Ashford Park, then decided to move back and rent here after school, hoping to save up enough to buy a place here someday. I love this place, am excited for its future, and want to protect its uniqueness.

  3. 3

    Kay Spencer

    Thank you for this respectful, meaningful commentary. From another long-time resident, well done..

  4. 4

    Bob Sorrentino

    Thank you from a short term resident (3yr). Not all of us newbies want Brookhaven to look like Buckhead. In fact most of us moved here because of the Brookhaven vibe.

  5. 5

    RAJ

    Only wish we could have done so well on the other side of I-85!

  6. 6

    Jennifer

    Riley!
    My grandmother raised her kids here, my mom, aunt and uncle have lived here with their families and now my sister and cousins live here. We LOVE Brookhaven, and like you know that there will be changes and growth, there always have. What can’t happen is that Brookhaven can’t change, Brookhaven can grow, and have changes but it must always remain “Brookhaven”, a suburb in close proximity to an urban center. While cities can tear down and rebuild they are always cities, areas like Brookhaven are gone forever if rebuilt in to an urban center. People love Grant Park, Inman, Kirkwood for the same reasons we love Brookhaven and just like they have to or will, we will defend keeping what makes Brookhaven a place we love with all we have.

  7. 7

    Susan

    Unfortunately the movers, shakers and leaders among us do not share the same feelings for Brookhaven that we do.

  8. 8

    Tom Reilly

    I may have you all beat when it comes to residency in Brookhaven. We moved out to the Hearst Circle/Our Lady of the Assumption Church and School in 1953. We were literally the last house anywhere, the forest [not just the woods] stretching for miles from our back door. By around 1964 the suburbs were coming in. by the 1980’s the urban landscape was taking shape. Rifles, canoes, tents, backpacks, fishing rods became part of our past. But our trails, trees., parks, wetlands, and wildlife persisted into our present. Brookhaven today blends the best of both past and present. Only our watchful persistence will keep the “Btookhaven Vibe” intact for future generations.–Tom Reilly

  9. 9

    Eric Robert

    Good article.
    “Further conversation in the parking lot with another neighbor reminded me that while the developers only concentrate on their specific project, we as Brookhaven residents are clearly focused on the totality of what is happening here.” This is true and Brookhaven residents should. But they should not just look at our 6 square miles of land but the region as a whole. Growth is coming and the best place to put future growth is next to Train Stations or on large parking lots that thus does not require massive tree clearing. Thus this Spot being a train station and currently a large parking lot is unique and should be developed. Thus this project is good for the region in that it provides for growth in as a sustainable way as you can get in Atlanta. Its not Buckhead or Perimeter density so we need not fear becoming another Buckhead.

  10. 10

    Jonathan

    Though like Metro Atlanta most people in Brookhaven are from somewhere else. We also lie in the middle of it all, thus we have the curse and blessing of being an “intown” city. personally other than the tree loss, I have long recognized Brookhaven’s location and find it more a blessing. What’s the alternative? Being Tucker? True it can be unsettling for the older folks. Not long ago Brookhaven was the boonies, Lake Lanier was surrounded by undeveloped land protecting the water it held for us and Buckhead was Mansions. But now the suburbs have stretched to surround Lake Lanier, Buckhead and the Perimeter Centers have become city centers with some of the largest malls in the Southeast and Brookhaven is now intown. Personally I find it exciting and its no wonder others don’t want to move here.

  11. 11

    Brittany Mother

    And you were one of the first to sell us out from what we once had for the sake of a new city intent on gentrification. There is a cost to having a city and we are paying for it now. Thanks a pant load Tom.

  12. 12

    Susan

    Your six square miles? D1? Of course, removed from the actual area being affected so no worries! Good thing this isn’t in the back yards of you and your neighbor! And yes Eric, we are indeed becoming another Buckhead! But not in D1!

  13. 13

    Eddie E.

    Thanks Riley.
    Only problem is that the life was stomped out of the Brookhaven Vibe by 2000.
    Everything since then has been all about the money.

  14. 14

    Bob Sorrentino

    That is a very honorable stance. But to be honest, I’m a rather selfish guy. I like the Brookhaven Vibe and I’m not all that willing to give it up. If Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Dunwoody,… want to be a part of the greater good then I fully support their good deeds. In fact I will personally write them a handwritten thank you note for every apartment complex they approve. And when I’m done, I’ll go back to fighting for the Brookhaven I chose to move my family to.

  15. 15

    Susan

    Bob you make sure that little woman of yours lovingly gives you a good hug and a warm kiss for fighting for the Brookhaven you want her and your children to live in. Thank you!

    One down, 49,999 to go!

  16. 16

    Lisa

    Interesting how Niche.com just ranked Brookhaven the 49th best “SUBURB” area in Georgia for 2016. No mention of the word urban anywhere. I guess when you are told that you are urban enough times you give in to it and believe it. We can keep our suburban vibe if people would just step up and fight for it.

  17. 17

    MMK

    If it’s on the internet, it’s gotta be true.

  18. 18

    Chad Boles

    Flak catcher is a little rich.

    How do you think developer conversations go with bankers in the real world? Maybe you don’t know. MARTA is asking for $15M. It was an open forum and 2 way conversation.

    Perfectly acceptable when money is involved. Me, and every other person, with very real concerns with no less energy for asking the tough questions will continue.

  19. 19

    Greg

    The “vibe” isn’t just upper middle class white people over 50. It can include newcomers who can afford to get in the city at a lower price point. All the whining about apartments and townhomes just reinforces the unspoken goal of having Brookhaven remain a place for “people like us”. All cities evolve over time, and whether it’s better or worse for you is your decision.

    The #1 factor driving Brookhaven development is the horrific traffic in the metro area and the lack of any solutions to traffic other than building new roads. Brookhaven would have remained a quiet place if there were transportation alternatives in the suburbs beginning 20 years ago.

  20. 20

    Hunter Burke

    Mayor Jay: IF you’re listening, please respond to this statement! Is there any city sponsorship proposed in any form at all?
    Please live up to your promise of transparency.

  21. 21

    The Brookhaven Post

    Based upon cases somewhat similar, the city will likely be faced with a tax abatement proposal of some sort. Likely the city will also be faced with if they don’t abate the taxes, the county will.

  22. 22

    Bob Sorrentino

    I would think this would be a rather unique case because the city will not be able to purchase the land and then charge a fee. MARTA already owns it and the development will not pay any taxes on the land aspect anyways, just the improved components (buildings,…). It will be interesting to see how they can structure a deal without the city taking ownership of anything? The county would be in the same boat. Are we talking issuing bonds for MARTA?

  23. 23

    Toff

    Very well stated.

  24. 24

    Chad

    It will most likely be a ‘synthetic TAD’. So rare as to not even get a hit on a Google search. The generalities look much like this. MARTA pays taxes only on the improved amount, ,then we return MARTA the full amount to build infrastructure we wouldn’t need (interior road on the project, stormwater vaults and restaurants. , new apartments,, sewer, etc with no accountable direction from anyone in city hall. Those restaurants and apartment complex will now have a competitive advantage on the local, existing restaurants and intown developers.

    It will ensure the property continues to generate zero taxes and defunds our schools.

    If you believe that’s a travesty, right after emailing your district rep you are opposed to the structure, email your county commissioner.

  25. 25

    Easy Rider

    Yes, the idea that MARTA wants a financial incentive from the city is a joke.

  26. 26

    Kim

    Riley, very engaging prose again! The “salty” history of Brookhaven and the many salty characters that helped write it are, by nature, fewer every decade. The evolution of our community (not City) has simmered along nicely for a century or so. The acceleration of infill housing and “gray” or green field developments in our area has been the trend since the early 90’s and will continue. Whatever new thing comes along Brookhaven will remain predominantly a residential community. For everyone that challenges the site plans and redevelopment plans I say, “Thank you!” For whether or not we agree on a particular site or a particular plan, I believe the great majority of residents want to keep our residential vibe (with that dash of salt, where possible) and our leaders do well to listen to the many concerns being raised in our time.

  27. 27

    Hunter Burke

    The County can’t rezone it though. So much for local representation. It would also be nice to believe the County will be honest about their sewer & water capacity too.

  28. 28

    Ted Gordon

    Development in Atlanta has followed north up Peachtree, and also Roswell Rd which forks off Peachtree. And then came GA 400 which leapfrogged development to the Perimeter after it took out many of my old friends homes. MARTA has recently had a big influence on the local development but not always. I don’t recall a building boom when the Gold and Red lines were completed. It took time. Atlanta’s growth could have progressed up Buford Hwy or up Hwy 41 to the northwest but there is something about Peachtree. For better or worse that is the history. Believe it or not Buckhead was once a sleepy little place.
    I’m all for managing the growth well. I’d like to see it contained to Peachtree and along rail lines for alternative transportation. Neighborhoods can be preserved.

  29. 29

    Saul

    Ted, as for preserving neighborhoods there are plenty of examples around Atlanta. I do not see the city of Brookhaven even coming close to engaging the subject.

    Clearly, the city of Brookhaven has no interest in pursuing anything other than redevelopment of the area at the expense of those that live here.

  30. 30

    Eric Robert

    Susan, the highest density development in all of Brookhaven exists Distict 1 our portion of the Perimeter Center and the Congestion on Ashford Dunwoody exceeds the North Druid Hills and Dresden. But you know what? People still want to live in the abutting Low Density Residential Neighborhoods. In fact I dare say the perimeter center makes our Low Density neighborhoods more desirable.

  31. 31

    Patrick

    THANK YOU, Eric, for pointing out a true example of life that a number of people do not understand.

  32. 32

    Huey Mahl

    You are consistently a voice of negativity. I’m sorry you are so unhappy.

  33. 33

    Saul

    Eric you conveniently ignore the fact that our development is situated on the northern realm of our city at a major highway system, not in the heart of the city at the junction of three heavily traveled roads, NDH, PR and D. Our development is far less disruptive to the associated residential areas in comparison to what is being proposed for down there.

  34. 34

    Saul

    Patrick, I give map reading lessons. After I pour you another Tom Taylor, would you like me to teach you how to read a map?

  35. 35

    Brittany Mother

    Like you have never dealt with the wrath of a woman that has been lied to. So just keep on peddling the lie Huey Mahl.

  36. 36

    Eric Robert

    Saul the Brookhaven MARTA Station sits near the southern border of Brookhaven. But whether something sits near a border doesn’t change the point. office buildings with jobs bring traffic. Ashford Dunwoody is our most congested surface street but it’ hasn’t ruined the low density neighborhood s. Bottom line traffic knows no boundaries, thus trying to preserve a parking lot in the hopes of controlling traffic is not going to work.

  37. 37

    Bob Sorrentino

    Controlling traffic no, but accounting for traffic is critical. Everyone is saying traffic, traffic, traffic. But typical qualitative discussion on it is meaningless. So lets put some numbers to it. As of today, the Peachtree/Dresden intersection has been found to delay drivers heading northbound on Peachtree by 3 minutes and 22 seconds in the peak PM hour. So as you fight your way up Peachtree starting around Club Drive, this delay starts to kick in along with the one from NDH/PTree. This is a very very bad delay time and would be right up there for the worst in the metro region. This was determined in the traffic study from the mixed use development proposed next to Haven on Dresden.

    Why is it so bad? Because Ptree/Dresden is just slightly over capacity right now. So what happens when you add in the two proposed developments on Dresden and some minimal background growth (and do not improve the intersection)? That delay time for those fighting northbound goes to 6 minutes and 46 seconds. This illustrates what happens when intersections go above capacity. Relatively small increases in demand will spike delays big time. This does not even factor in the massive load from MARTA. So it is clear to anyone that just saying traffic will always be bad and dismissing the discussion is an extremely negligent attitude.

    Ptree/Dresden and Ptree/NDH will be unbelievably bad if nothing is done. This will strongly motivate commuters to do everything they can do to avoid this region. Now MARTA’s consultants are working on a solution and their numbers will be published shortly. The proposed modifications will likely add enough capacity to take these intersections back down to reasonable levels. But keep in mind they are just proposed modifications. We know that the previous proposed modifications for PTree/Dresden never materialized. How can we be certain they will this time.

  38. 38

    Surreal

    When the conversations ended in the parking lot and the awkward silence of neighbors blended into radio sounds, they all drove away. The Brookhaven Oglethorpe MARTA station has no connection to Oglethorpe.

  39. 39

    Chattel Paper

    When I was young I used to walk that mile from Dresden to Oglethorpe in the driving snow (before global warming) with a nail in my shoe (before hammers)! Now we have these crazed apartment dwellers, some with foreign names!!!! And its going to get worse!!! Soon we will be just like Buckhead but Massell-less with 2 regional malls (one with a JC Penny and a KMART) and we’ll have 17 20 story buildings lining Peachtree and Some of them will have renters!!! Oh the humanity!
    I blame the kids. I saw this trash on WSB/ABC 2 last night about these so called millennials and their love of transit and uber. Why do they not want Atlanta to keep on sprawlin! Once when we were great everyone could live on a cul de sac why can’t we be happy with that? Why do they want to mingle? Isn’t that what the innernet is for? Damn Kids!

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