Brookhaven, GA, June 23, 2016 – by Trey Benton; Riley O’Connor contributing – Around 80 residents attended the final “not-required” public meeting before MARTA files requests to rezone property around their Brookhaven/Oglethorpe University Station to create a multi-phase Transit Oriented Development (TOD). After holding off since February at the request of Brookhaven officials, MARTA will file their rezoning requests on July 1st.
MARTA and representatives from Brookhaven City Center Partners; the collective of firms planning and designing the TOD, shared their “final” plan which includes significant changes from earlier plans presented to the public at large. The plan shows a reduction in density and the addition of an “ownership” component in the form of condos. A home for a new Brookhaven Public Library is also in the revised plan.
But there is still considerable concern in the community regarding the size and scope of the project, including needed infrastructure for stormwater runoff and sewer capacity, cut-through traffic in the nearby neighborhoods as well as traffic in general. There is also concern there is no broader plan in the City to consider all of the new development proposals together as a unit in terms of their collective impact on the community at large.
Rob Ross, Project Manager with traffic consultant Kimley-Horn, presented improvements proposed for the intersections of Dresden Dr. at Peachtree Rd and North Druid Hills Rd. at Peachtree Rd. Those improvements include adding a left turn lane on Eastbound Brookhaven drive and re-striping along Dresden Drive to add another Westbound lane underneath the MARTA and railroad tracks approaching Peachtree Road. The concept would add two turn lanes from Dresden Drive to Peachtree Road as well as provide for three thru-lanes on Northbound Peachtree Rd.
Kimley-Horn proposes taking the right-hand turn lane that goes in to Brookhaven Plaza, and making it a thru-lane on the Southbound side of Peachtree Rd. Also headed Southbound, the concept shows two left-hand turn lanes on to North Druid.
On North Druid Hills, improvements would be made to allow more stacking for traffic that intends to cross Peachtree Rd. or going straight across to Brookhaven Plaza. The existing two right-hand turn lanes would remain for traffic headed North on Peachtree Rd. Both the Dresden Drive and North Druid Hills Road plans are part of their 2019 vision.
Ross said the final traffic study and the data it collected, will be included in the rezoning request filing paperwork.
MARTA’s Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development and Real Estate, Amanda Rhein, told attendees that during the rezoning process, they will be required to host a number of “official” meetings with the public throughout the process – meetings Rhein says will begin in September.
Art Lomenick, President of Real Estate Development with Integral, when pressed, put the start of construction on Phase 1 of the TOD in 2017 with completion by 2019, subject to the vagaries of all construction projects.
The Post was told Monday that MARTA and the City’s Development Authority have been in conversation. Exact details of those conversations were not shared, although plans for tax abatement requests for the Brookhaven/MARTA TOD project have been always been a possibility for this development.
For more on the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe University TOD, see our extensive coverage of the topic here.