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43 Comments

  1. 1

    Tom Reilly

    MARTA goes most of the places that most people DON”T want to go. Those who live in the TOD will realize that MARTA can’t fulfill their transportation needs, will get in their cars, and drive off. Reports say that the GDOT won’t even allow trees to line Peachtree Street in the MARTA area!! More promises, more compromises, more density, more traffic, less quality of life. If it ain’t broke, we don’t need to fix it this way!!

  2. 2

    Parker

    Staff interpretation, the Brookhaven go to phrase = Screw citizens and give advantage to developer.

  3. 3

    Barbara

    Its time for a class action against the city. No reason this should ever be approved as it sits. Unbelievable.

  4. 4

    Resident

    The last thing Brookhaven needs are 100 senior citizen “affordable” apartments. Senior citizen residences already line both sides of the street, plus the rundown Lenox Summit, a Section 8 senior apartment dwelling, on the corner of Peachtree and Club Drive.

  5. 5

    alan

    Since when is MARTA’s mandate in DEVELOPMENT rather than TRANSPORTATION? They can’t run a decent transportation system, so they turn to development? Sure they’ll show a short term profit, but in 20 years we’ll all be paying the price for their “stellar” management of these developments. Predicting right here that the public is going to be on the hook for MARTA bailouts because of all of their over-blown land grabs. If they want to utilize the “under-utilized” space (parking lot) why did they blow off attempts to locate the library there? Hell, just sod the thing and name it MARTA Park and it would be a better use than this monstrosity.

  6. 6

    RAJ

    “This is a land use discussion” Note the total disconnect between every individual project being proposed in Brokenhaven and the limiting factor of trunk line sewer capacity. I guess each project(5-10 of them)can move forward to the point of W&S approval; then let the County decide which projects move forward….the County holds all the cards on future development in Brokenhaven unless the City prioritizes which developments apply for W&S. Seems it would make sense for the city to reserve remaining W&S capacity for commercial-industrial job producing projects within the city limits vs more and more residential. This approach would likely increase the city’s productive(read net tax yielding)tax digest and lower service costs to residential property owners. An example nearby is City of Decatur with an “under sized” sewer trunk line to Snapfinger treatment plant. Residential is being over built(one bedroom to avoid school children)and commercial has no place to go except to surrounding unincorporated DeKalb which City of Decatur now wants to annex!!

  7. 7

    B\'haven Birdie

    I would not expect any more to happen here in Brookhaven than is currently happening in Doraville TOD at old GM plant site.

    Same developer wanting to use tax funds to build instead of using their own capital investment….

  8. 8

    Huey Mahl

    This is a big project and will have an important (good or bad) impact on that area of Brookhaven for decades to come. I really have no idea if this was the right decision or not. But I do believe the process was followed and that the decisions were made in good faith. I am particularly encouraged by the neighborhood groups’ backing of the decision as detailed in the article:

    “Members from the Fernwood Park Civic Association Board, the Brookhaven Fields Civic Association Board and the Brookhaven Peachtree Community Alliance (BPCA) all spoke in favor of the project.”

    Not often you see that on a project of this size and impact where the immediate neighbors support it. We will only know in hindsight if this was a good or bad decision, but at least it was a decision made by local people, and not left to Dekalb County alone. I remain hopeful that this area will continue to evolve from a gridlocked suburban mess to a more livable and walkable community tied together by more than just strip shopping centers and a six lane road.

  9. 9

    pessimistic_observer

    It is broke though cause as you say marta doesnt go to enough places one way of solving that is to bring more places to marta

  10. 10

    Saul

    I guess that’s why MARTA is now in the development business.

  11. 11

    Barbara

    How is bringing 100 senior apartments going to help Marta? Or a Moes? Or a coffee shop? Or office space that sits on a transportation line that can get no one home or to most parts of town? As Tom said Marta is a gov owned public transportation business, they have no reason to be in development and it should be illegal for them to do so.

  12. 12

    pessimistic_observer

    Marta is not as gov owned as you say if they were they wouldnt need to do anything with realestate they would subsist on county and state taxes

  13. 13

    Kerry

    They sold out. They have been hypnotized by Transwestern/Integral/MARTA’s willingness to negotiate and give small tweaks to the project. They have been told so many times that resistance is futile they now they believe it.

  14. 14

    Resident

    The HIGH number of children projected to be added to the public school system indicates the apartments will rent below market value, and/or a certain number will be targeted for Section 8 tenants. This is FACT. I was a working divorced mother, who years ago lived in “market rate” apartments in Buckhead, Class A communities and looked at many more.

    The higher the rent, class-type apartment community,the fewer and fewer children, if any, live there.

    New apartment communities were denied on Dresden, residents opposed the same, but now, hundreds of MARTA apartments, senior “affordable” units (how often are they going to ride Marta?), families with children, Section 8, and maybe a few who are willing to pay the “market rate.” More social engineering and crime on the way.

  15. 15

    Bill Roberts

    Kerry,

    Your last sentence is very accurate, but your first two sentences are not accurate. Having attended too many meetings for too many years regarding these types of projects, it is obvious to me that community input/resistance is only effective up to a point. “Fatigue” sets in during a long, drawn out process and community members want to move on with their life. Walgreen’s was a perfect case study of this problem. That building is the result of 5+ years of bickering.

    Therefore, creating a list of non-negotiable items and another list of items where tweaks are an acceptable compromise is not selling out, it is simply pragmatic negotiating. Nobody has been hypnotized here and nobody is easily fooled by small gives and takes. There are so many moving parts that this is a pick-your-battle situation. We have to focus on raising their level of taste and execution to match the community’s expectations and hope for the best. That’s as plain as it gets.

  16. 16

    Chad

    MARTA is a development authority. They have the ability to issue taxpayer obligated debt for operations. They take in about $100m per year and spend $600 million. They get a 1 penny sales tax from all of DeKalb County and pay no taxes on the property they own…because the land is owned by a development authority.

    Georgia is a transaction state. That means any tax abatements provided to an entity has to be owned by a development authority. Ergo, Catherine Bernard’s very valid argument last night it could possibly be unconstitutional to provide them with a tax abatement because we rejected RPL 2 years ago. The work around is creating a phantom bond like we did for the Hawks Players Facility, LLC. That might fall into the category of unconstitutional as well, but we won’t know because no one challenged the arrangement in court nor will they because it’s complicated as hell, no understands it nor cares to go to another freaking meeting. Economic development for those transactions is also a misnomer. Google sports centers/economic development/ Cato Institute/Brookings Institute. Another misnomer is the taxpayer is not obligated to the debt. Someone should write a book…

  17. 17

    Erik Steavens

    It truly is funny to see how folks love to slay MARTA on both sides of any issue. They don’t go enough places. If we invested in MARTA as originally envisioned it would have. MARTA should develop its parking lots but yet gives it no other options.

    MARTA is not the ultimate in transportation yet is a very important part of the future of our region. In case you have not seen, all new companies coming to Georgia are locating on or near a MARTA rail station. The Governor’s economic team is not touting MARTA as a tool in the State’s approach to land top companies. Not sure they would do that unless they are doing some things right.

    There is a paradigm shift happening here and probably every where. Many of us older Generation Xs and Baby Boomers thought life revolved around going to college getting a job, having a car or cars, and owning a single family residence.

    That is not the world that millennials live in. They don’t want cars, they don’t want the complications of home ownership (or if they do it is affordable tiny homes).

    Cities are like all organisms that must adapt and grow. If you aren’t growing you are dying. Residents such as ourselves are expensive propositions for a government. We demand superior and unrealistic service levels for the minimal taxes we are willing to pay. I moved to DeKalb because it has low taxes. Look what we have a poor government with bad service levels for customers service and schools. Get what you pay for.

    Let’s get back to expectations. This development is not perfect and nothing in life is perfect. I am sure there are many folks that would wish things stay the same and nothing gets built on the MARTA site. The zoning process is working here. There has been give or take and alot of that is because MARTA has been involved. If this does not go thru, I would expect MARTA to sell out its interest in the land and you will get a Jeff Faqua or Sembler type group how will definitely not reduce the scale of their plans like is the case here.

    This site is the best place for density in all of Brookhaven, too bad MARTA did not move first. It may have kept alot of the bad development from happening along Dresden that is causing major problems to those that live near or use Dresden.

    That being said, the MARTA development can be a net positive. Do you think we will be able as a City to leverage any traffic improvements along our major corridors without MARTA’s engagement on this project. Probably not. Because of this is being moved by MARTA, GDOT is paying attention and will work with them and the City for improvements that otherwise would be years off in the making at best.

    We as a community need to get over our fear of apartments and the new paradigm of what the next generation wants and needs. The apartments I have seen in the dresden corridor go on a monthly basis way more than my mortgage. I don’t worry about blight or run down like some have sighted in other areas.

  18. 18

    Resident

    I am all for good quality, market rate apartments. Such a shame and utter stupidity, really, of the city council and residents who voted down this type of apartment development on Dresden. A development by all accounts aimed at attracting millenials, professionals and taxpayers.

    Now, new Marta apartments are going to target 100 senior afflordable units, Section 8 families with children, and a few, might pay full price. Wake up Brookhaven.

  19. 19

    Chad

    Thanks, RAJ, for the example. Everyone involved is aware of the fact:
    A) Our sewer system is out of code, too small (only 15″ in diameter)
    B) DC sent out letters to an applicant within the same sewer system 1/10 the size of this one the new sewer load couldn’t be handled. The letters were summarily retracted by DC the morning of the vote as not valid (DC wants a redo of the sewer modeling so they can convince us the sewer demand is really ok and they can get there $1.5m). The EPD currently has DC under a consent decree so if the sewer demand is too much we have to sue them now instead of DC.
    C) When asked if the costs of new sewer capacity was included the applicant replied, “Uh, yea, uh we have a lot of negotiations with DC coming and we'”ll figure that out. We'”lll connect to the 15” line. It will require over $20m and the new line will be built all the way to Peachtree Creek. All they propose is taking it over to Dresden about 300 feet.

    The new development from the top of the hotel with no Peachtree access, to their Kiss-Hike-Ride all the way to their storm water dention pond they continue to call a park will be an an operational $hit show. I know it, you know it and everyone else knows it, but our world needs careless cities. By God, there studies show “traffic will be better.” So look out Brookhaven. You’re getting a Town Center. You’re going to pay for the sewer and streets will turn into bike lines because of the Utopia we have designed. Get on board or move.

    Someone should write a book…

  20. 20

    Chad

    Oh, they’ll be market rate alright. Wait till they put a courthouse there. Or Police protection isn’t paid for or 20 years from now they look like Buford Highway. Did I mention there is NO access into the development from Peachtree Rd.? Let that sink in.

    The really ironic part of the entire discussion is the traffic we are continually told is an old, worn out, not relevant argument. The most effected people will be anyone driving from North to South in the morning or South to North in the afternoon on Peachtree. Perimeter corporate office space will see a pop as those utilizing Buckhead for their business space living in D1 will finally decide to work a little closer to home.

    The howls will come in 3 years after Phase one has been built. “I can’t even get into Capital City Club from my own house in Historic Brookhaven to play golf in the afternoon. Mabry Road and Windsor Parkway are parking lots. I thought they said traffic will get better.” Caldwell Road? fuggettaboutit.

    Here’s an upside. Maybe home values south of the development spike as people continue buying homes down here. Best start buying your houses in District 4 now. There’s a clog coming. And you’ll be close to that big beautiful Monorail in the sky that rides above it all. We’ll need a lot more fees going to the Brookhaven Development Authority to pay for that. BTW, those come from Phantom Bonds. I wonder what they’ll do with the $250K received now from Hawks Players Facility, LLC. You know, of course, those pass the judgement, transparency and vote of the taxpayer? Oh, didn’t know that?

    Someone should write a book…

  21. 21

    Chad

    Thanks, Eric. We”ll be neighbors a long time hopefully.

    The perspective from my industry is a little different. Millenials want cars and homes but can’t afford it because they were convinced by a college trying to enter the lending business they should borrow for college. Then the Feds eliminated community banks with Dodd Frank and made home mortgages so hard to get they can’t buy a house. MARTA ridership continues to decrease. Check the Chamblee statistics.

  22. 22

    Erik Steavens

    Good news is you will get your traffic vision on Peachtree if nothing is built. Have you checked the upstream and downstream activities on Peachtree in Buckhead and Chamblee. Not to mention what might come in Doraville. Saying we should not do anything and we will be OK is not a solution.

    There are several places that tried the head in the sand approach like Austin and that has not worked well for them.

    Now what we need is to have a good conversation about how we improve transportation in our City and how we are going to pay for it.

    There is definitely places that need improvements on what are our major streets – North Druid, Dresden, Ashford Dunwoody, Peachtree, Johnson Ferry. Got to talk capacity folks.

  23. 23

    Chad

    The solution lies in MARTA giving up Peachtree Road frontage to make the road wider and selling to a competent for profit developer.

  24. 24

    Resident

    For those of you that don’t know this, but the government is back into the subrime mortgage lending business. Check FHA.gov. FHA offers mortgages with credit as low as 500 down and collections are OK.

    It’s a sure bet on the units to be sold that Marta will apply for FHA approval. Attached units have to be FHA approved in order to buyers to purchase a unit with an FHA mortgage. Does anyone know at what price range those units are expected to sell for?

    Chad has a good point. Brookhaven is going to “bookended” by Buford Highway on the East and Marta low income, section 8 housing on the West.

  25. 25

    Snowden 5

    I have information that the Planning Commission as well as all city boards and commission are directly directed by the mayor and council and not at all independent. This was the case with Marta and Connelly and all the decision in the city. It has gotten way worst since Ernst has taken office. They do not do it over email but over phone calls and private in person meetings.

  26. 26

    The Brookhaven Post

    You are welcome to submit tips or info and your identity will be protected. You can email me at editor@thepostnews.net or call me at 404-345-0011. Thanks. Trey Benton

  27. 27

    Frustrated

    But who’s negotiations should be allowed and who’s should be ignored- according the the Marta lawyer they will only work with groups registered with the Secretary of State – translation – the developer friendly BPCA and some select HOA’s – a big kiss off to the voting residents. You need to remember that during the next election and when Marta puts their hand out for even more of your money.

  28. 28

    Frustrated

    So I’ve heard too

  29. 29

    Parker

    That’s what they meant by “local control”. Don’t think for a minute that the same old usual suspects aren’t pulling the puppet strings. They stay silent behind the scenes, kiss up to the new mayor, and control every move. The Dirty Dozen is alive and well. We are just DeKalb II.

  30. 30

    Just a thought MARTA

    MARTA, keep ignoring your financial supporters. At some point, they will be voting against you.

    Do you and your attorney really want to ignore voting citizens at large? For me, with a comment like that YOU ARE DONE!

  31. 31

    Barbara

    I am 100% against this but your logic is immature as it gets. If you don’t understand how business works and registering with the state then stay out of the conversation. The only thing it takes to register is 5 minutes and a computer.

  32. 32

    Barbara

    If his is accurate it needs to be exposed immediately

  33. 33

    Frustrated

    So every citizen should have to register to have their voice heard? When 100 voting residents show up at a meeting they are only to be considered if they haven’t formed a registered organization….

  34. 34

    RAJ

    Don’t think the five letters noting limits to future sewer capacity were retracted, just that future letters will go out over the Director’s signature; timing and wording are everything I suppose. Don’t think the City will have much luck suing the Fed’s or the County, besides the County never promised cities unlimited sewer capacity that is a burden on all county taxpayers when the cities allow run away development. Work that $20M into the tax abatement rebate and everything will be just fine!

  35. 35

    Chad

    And pay for it twice?

  36. 36

    RAJ

    Paying twice is part of the price Brokenhaven pays for not working more closely with the County on this and many other issues. The City is in a position to have a positive influence on County governance and I would encourage city officials to attend County meetings and take a public stance on W&S and other issues as we have the opportunity to move the County forward with new Commissioners and a more competent, experienced CEO. County officials(whomever they may be in the future)should, for their part, recognize the great tax windfall the Brookhaven has provided the County in the last three years!

  37. 37

    Janice

    I think you mean increase. I have take Marta to the airport monthly for about 10 years from Brookhaven. The trains have significantly more riders than years back. It is way better than driving.

  38. 38

    Janice

    Well in about 6 months you will be able to go to State Farms new HQ by Marta from Brookhaven and also ADP’s in midtown and couple of other large repos in Midtown I can’t remember. Thats 15k + more jobs that Brookhaven residents can take Marta to without getting in a car. I also know plenty folks already who use the station to commute to midtown and the airport so in reality Marts is becoming much more useful as a transit system for Brookhaven residents..

  39. 39

    They don\'t represent us!

    Marta’s website says take a bus to St Farm, quicker than taking the train to Lindbergh and switching which makes it almost an hour trip….. think people will still drive.

  40. 40

    They don\'t represent us!

    Seems like more because of horter trains, and they don’t run as often. According to their own numbers ridership is declining.

  41. 41

    Chad

    Ridership has been decreasing for 10 years. It is fact. Look it up.

  42. 42

    Janice

    Yep plenty, soon you will be able to live in parts of Brookhaven without a car which is a good thing.

  43. 43

    Babara

    you just have to sit in 20 min of traffic to get into tod, pay to park, ride train for an hour, then take a cab to your office! Then do that in reverse on your way home. So amazing!

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