Brookhaven, GA, July 28, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Brookhaven’s Community Development has released their Staff Report after reviewing an application filed by SSP Dresden, LLC. in April, to construct a controversial mixed-use development on 3.437 acres along Dresden Drive, between Caldwell Road and Parkside Drive, called Dresden Village. A newly revised site plan was filed on July 26th. (Embedded below)
According to the report, Staff is recommending the project be approved, with 29 conditions – a new all-time record for Brookhaven. Perhaps the most significant condition of approval is one that limits the project density to 45 units per acre with a maximum of 155 units in total. The developers, CONNOLLY and Fairfield Residential, are seeking 56.6 units per acre and 194 units.
The report says the building heights will be limited to three stories (45 feet) along Caldwell Road and four stories (60 feet) along Dresden Drive and Parkside Drive and the commercial floor area of the property will be a minimum of 20,000 square feet. (See the full list of conditions below)
If approved, the project is expected to add approximately 24 students to DeKalb Schools – 10 at Ashford Park ES; 5 at Chamblee Middle, 7 at Chamblee High and two additional two students in an unspecified DeKalb school.
The School System notes Ashford Park Elementary School will have three additional portable classrooms added in 2016, as enrollment is expected to grow to 695 students by 2020, “placing them at 123% of capacity.” DeKalb Schools adds that by 2020, “Chamblee HS will be at 99% of capacity while Chamblee MS will be at 109% of capacity.”
In terms of traffic, Developers anticipate moving the DeKalb County tag office to another location and the theory is, such a move would offset a large percentage of traffic Dresden Village would bring, effectively making increases in traffic negligible. One problem developers noted is staging coming in and out of the tag office and the poor design of ingress and egress.
Cody Owens, Project Manager from A&R Engineering said during an April Community Meeting, a traffic study showed “an increase of 78 peak time trips” as a result of the project. He explained it is customary to do traffic studies on days during peak AM and PM travel times, and do them on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday because that gives a more realistic count. Peak travel times were considered to be from 7AM to 8AM and 5PM to 6PM, which residents said is about half of the time traffic is really choking the area both in the morning and evening.
As with other projects along Dresden Drive, the surrounding community has expressed a considerable amount of opposition to the Dresden Village project. Some specific concerns include the project density, building heights, increased neighborhood and cut-through traffic and stormwater runoff and sewer capacity strain. Many from the community have consistently called for density and height reductions, as well as a townhome ownership component be incorporated in to the project. Opposing residents have also been consistent in saying they do not oppose all development, however, as long as it is reasonable.
While the developers have made some changes to the project along the way, they have not been able to get widespread community support at the density levels and unit types still present in the project plan.
There have been some residents professing support, however, saying the development would be in keeping with what they would like to see in the area and that Connolly is a high quality developer that delivers a high quality product.
Back in 2006, a portion of the nine parcels Dresden Village will consume if approved, was zoned to PC-2 – allowing the development of 155 multifamily units (48.6 units per acre) and 35,000 square feet of retail/restaurant uses in two four story buildings with a central parking deck on 3.19 acres. The main reason the existing project proposal has to go before the City for a rezone at this time, is because of a triangular parcel zoned O-I which is included in the proposed Dresden Village project footprint. That parcel needs a PC-2 zoning designation as well to make the project work, developers say.
During the Tuesday, July 26th City Council Meeting, Councilmembers voted unanimously to deny a Terwilliger-Pappas project, also on Dresden Dr., that proposed similar uses and a similar residential density ratios as the Dresden Village project proposes. Unique to this application, however, the Community Development Department appears to be willing to get behind the project but on their terms per se, with 29 conditions.
The City’s Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the application during their August 3rd Meeting. The meeting is scheduled to be conducted at Brookhaven City Hall at 7:00 PM.
Those who wish to attend the August 3rd meeting, may want to arrive early, as it expected there will be a considerable number of community members in attendance.