Brookhaven, GA, July 15, 2016 – Commentary, by Karen Dernavich – For most of us living in Brookhaven, zoning designations and lingo are truly Greek to us and in many cases we are okay with that. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in our “re-development cycle” that the lack of this knowledge could cost us our “Village Feel”, exponentially increase our traffic, and create a HUGE burden on our sewer and storm-water systems. All of this will of course result in higher taxes(ie costly sewer repairs), faster paced lives(due to time lost sitting in traffic), and ultimately change the landscape of the neighborhood we all bought into.
I am just an ordinary citizen trying to join with fellow neighbors to protect the City I love – and who has spent most of my summer trying to understand why every development is asking for PC2. So with that said, I will attempt to explain why YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND & STAND UP AGAINST PC2 REZONING REQUESTS for anything not on a major street such as Peachtree and Buford Highway. PC2 Zoning, allowing 60 units/acre, is intended for large-scale mixed use projects where there is existing high density and a robust infrastructure to absorb the development such as the proposed MARTA TOD. The zoning code is very clear on this point. It is the densest possible zoning district allowed in Brookhaven without a Special Land Use Permit.That is almost six times the density of the existing mixed use on Dresden! Even the recently approved townhomes next to MARTA are only 17 unit/acre. Furthermore, the average density in the single family neighborhoods directly adjoining the Overlay is 2.5-4 units per acre.
Once PC2 Zoning is granted, there is no turning back. We become just like Midtown and Buckhead in terms of high density and 4-story plus buildings. Unlike Midtown or Buckhead, the Overlay along Dresden Drive is serviced by only a single two-lane road, not four or six lanes plus turning lanes. We are a new city serviced by old infrastructure. If you replace 4 to 6 dwellings per acre with 60 dwellings per acre, there are going to be significant and inescapable consequences down the line. Have you seen the flooding in your neighborhoods this year? The average density for “Compact Development” recommended in a survey of studies by the Urban Land Institute for mixed use areas such as the Overlay is 11-15 units per acre. Again, PC2 permits 60 units per acre – and developers are lining up to demand it.
Many Brookhaven residents agree that PC2 does not belong anywhere on Dresden below Apple Valley. Both the Comprehensive Plan and the City’s zoning code contemplate a tapering of density along this stretch of the Overlay, with the most intense development and density contemplated for the MARTA TOD and Peachtree Road, and tapering as one travels east along Dresden. Ten+ more meetings with developers are not going to convince us differently. Anything in keeping with what is already on Dresden (minus Alta/Rosewood and @1377) would garner tremendous support from the neighborhood.
So what can you do? PLEASE attend the upcoming Planning Commission and City Council meetings and make your voice heard (CC- 7/26, PC 8/3, CC 8/23 all at 7PM in City Hall). Also, PLEASE, PLEASE attend the Character Area meetings (July 14th or July 19th). These will allow direct input into strengthening the protections afforded to each Character Area, and help shape the modifications to our zoning laws. In turn, this will reduce the pressure on residents to attend the onslaught of meetings every month necessary to prevent such oversized zoning requests from becoming routine. So please jump in and participate! Do not rely on the folks that filled City Hall earlier this month. They can’t make it to every meeting either. We need everyone to be involved at least a little bit! If you haven’t done so already, take the easy step to sign the petition…. Read/Sign | share: https://goo.gl/85AWcp | Like
– Karen Dernavich, Ashford Park
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