Brookhaven, GA, September 7, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven’s Planning Commissioners deferred until October 5th an application submitted by MARTA to rezone “underutilized” surface parking located at their Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station. The PC-2 zoning sought would allow for the construction of a planned Transit Oriented Development (TOD), with a mixture of uses. Currently the parcels have a mixture of zoning classifications such as C-2, M, R-75 and RM-75.
A request for a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) to construct an office building 25-feet taller than the 100-foot height allowed in the Brookhaven Peachtree Overlay District was also deferred.
The land MARTA and development partners Brookhaven City Center Partners (BCCP), a master development joint venture of Integral and Transwestern Development Company intend to develop, is bordered by Peachtree Rd, Apple Valley Rd., Dresden Dr. and North Druid Hills Rd.
Following MARTA’s run-through of the evolution of the project, a number of speakers told Commissioners the Brookhaven TOD would be a positive addition to the community. With the growing number of millennials in Brookhaven, who the speakers said do rely on public transit considerably, the proposed TOD is beneficial and a value-add to Brookhaven.
Many in the standing room only crowd were dressed in red and presented their positions on the development – not entirely in opposition, but pressing the City to be smart about this transformational development. They noted the changes that have been made to the proposed development plan are a direct reflection of countless hours of community involvement throughout the process. Speakers said they are not opposed to all development, but want it done responsibly and in accordance with the wishes of the community. They said they appreciate the efforts by MARTA and BCCP to engage and meet with the community.
Last week, the Community Development Department issued a Staff report recommending approval of the project with 25 conditions. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, a revised list of conditions was formulated by Staff bringing the number to 27. MARTA said they were amenable to all of the conditions.
Several other conditions were proposed in emails from the community, including a list of 7 from the Brookhaven Fields Civic Association’s Zoning Committee. The email says that if MARTA is willing to agree to accept the staff’s and the community’s combined conditions, they can support the TOD, but not until the specifics included are put in writing.
Residents from the Fernwood Homeowners Association want MARTA to include a sound barrier to protect them from potential noise coming from the Town Green area of the development and restrict the times music can be played in the outdoor space. They too say if their conditions are met they would support the project.
Chief among concerns continue to be traffic, sewer, stormwater and density. BCCP said the density is actually lower than what is allowed and prior to a land disturbance permit, plans to address the sewer and stormwater issues as a result of the site will have to be addressed.
Traffic is another animal in and of itself and Commissioners had considerable questions for Kimley Horn’s Rob Ross, including how soon traffic improvements can be implemented if the development is approved. Ross said it would happen relatively quickly, but the traffic improvements around the Brookhaven MARTA TOD is very complicated.
The Commission went through a considerable deliberation period asking the applicant pointed questions. But in the end, the volume of information added just hours before Wednesday’s meeting caused Commissioners to call for a combined list of conditions they are to consider before they are called again to vote on the topic.
Originally Commissioner Bert Levy called for a 60 day deferral, however after that motion failed, Commissioner John Funny proposed the 30 day deferral. Funny’s motion passed and was followed by a unanimous vote to defer.
The topic of tax incentives was not discussed in detail.
The multi-phase project is described currently as:
- An 8-story, 200,000 square foot office building,
- A 75,000 square foot, 125 room hotel;
- Two for rent multifamily buildings aggregating 340 units;
- Two for sale multifamily buildings aggregating 107 units;
- One senior housing building with 100 units; and
- Retail and restaurant uses aggregating 55,768 square feet.
The revised Staff Conditions are below followed by a Brookhaven Fields Civic Association Zoning Committee email sent to Planning Commission Members on Tuesday.