Brookhaven, GA, October 5, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The Park and Recreation Coalition of Brookhaven (PARC), a group of citizens comprised of At-Large Members and a Leadership Representative from all Brookhaven Parks “Friends” groups & Conservancies, has issued a statement of opposition to a potential land swap deal between the City of Brookhaven and Pulte Homes.
Pulte Homes Corporation (dba John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods) is seeking to re-develop the Terraces at Brookhaven Apartments and the Northeast Plaza Apartments, adjacent to Briarwood Park. Pulte is asking members of the Briarwood Park Conservancy to endorse their plans to create an access point through the park and swap approximately .403 acres with the City of Brookhaven.
Pulte indicates they will ask the City of Brookhaven to convey a swath of land approximately 50 feet wide located between the current Briarwood Field Condominiums and the Briarwood Park tennis court. In exchange, Pulte says they will convey to the City of Brookhaven a strip of land “equal in size” located along the current land boundary between Briarwood Park and the Terraces at Brookhaven Apartments – in the area of the park’s swimming pool.
Here is PARC’s statement:
PARC of Brookhaven’s position on the Briarwood Park & Pulte Land Swap is a VERY STRONG NO.
There are 3 main reasons for this position:
- This is a very dangerous precedent to establish for all Brookhaven Parks. It opens the door for more such “deals” to be made for any current park or future park acquisitions in perpetuity. We are an urban area with limited greenspace and need to protect our valuable parkland. This was never the intent of owning our parks – to be negotiated away to a for profit company. How can the city justify the approval of giving, trading any of our parkland to benefit a private- for profit entity? All of our parkland is priceless. Therefore, no land swap, trade, or “deal” to get additional dollars for amenities from a private development entity is acceptable. We have recently completed the Master Park Plans, at a cost to the city & involvement of citizens. The plans are now beginning to be implemented. Now, the Master Plans are already in jeopardy by being challenged with this Pulte proposal.
- Public safety, especially for children, is significantly compromised. A significant increase in regular traffic should not be allowed through a park. And the type of traffic to the Pulte neighborhood would now allow for large trucks, delivery trucks, moving vans, mail trucks etc. to be a regular part of the traffic in Briarwood Park. This is unacceptable for safety.
- The quiet and peaceful character and ambiance of a park is changed dramatically with increased traffic.
- Keep our parkland
- Keep our parks safe
- Keep the character of our parks
The decisions you make today affect future generations. The Pulte Rd Land Swap proposal should be denied.
Your Park Advocates,
PARC of Brookhaven
Briarwood Park Conservancy President Greg Trinkle told attendees at their Tuesday, October 4th meeting, until there is a plan that is ready to go in front of the City, the Conservancy will not vote on a position. “We are an advocacy group on behalf of Briarwood Park with a mission of promoting public usage and to increase value for our community now and into the future,” Trinkle told The Post in an earlier interview. “Those fundamental principles should be the driving force behind any decisions made concerning Briarwood Park’s future.” He reiterated Tuesday the subject needs to be closely vetted with the community.
No formal plan has been submitted to the City for their consideration.
Pulte indicates they were told by the City of Brookhaven Administrators that before they come to the City to ask for the “swap”of a swath of land approximately 50 feet wide located between the current Briarwood Field Condominiums and the Briarwood Park tennis court, they need to get support of the Briarwood Park Conservancy – or at least try to.
Joel Reed, Pulte’s Vice President of Operations and Land Acquisitions, told some 40 residents while attending Tuesday’s Conservancy meeting, their plans to tear down The Terraces at Brookhaven and Northeast Plaza Apartments for a new development would likely be killed if they cannot work out a deal for access other than from Buford Highway. He said the land is too expensive and people who would want to buy homes in the $700,000 price range would want to avoid entering their new neighborhood via Buford Highway.