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48 Comments

  1. 1

    Tom Reilly

    THAT’S MY CITY COUNCIL!! Great work, from both a tactical and a strategic standpoint!! Thank you so much!!

  2. 2

    Slowly but surely.

    It seem like the elected city officials are finally starting to listen.
    Yeah.

  3. 3

    Karen Dernavich

    Awesome job by Mayor and Council! Thoughtful and deliberate in your approach. Thank you also to all of the residents that have spent countless hours digging into the application and zoning code to understand the details. We can get this right! Go Brookhaven!!

  4. 4

    Whoa Nelly. We\'re hot now!

    You mean Brookhaven has a City Council that listens? Damn right we do! Developing the MARTA station is imminent. But I’m with my City Council – too many profound uncertainties. Great work MARTA and great work Brookhaven citizens. We can get to a happy place. More work required though. I am so happy. This is a City Council I can get behind. Today. Good job.

  5. 5

    Frank McCloskey

    “the Council decision leaves the project on uncertain ground.” Well, given all the unanswered, unresolved or fuzzy responses to a broad assortment of big ticket public concerns by MARTA and its development partner, that is not necessarily a bad outcome. What specific discussion took place regarding the bogus (to date) traffic study and impact to surrounding residential neighborhoods?

  6. 6

    The Brookhaven Post

    Please see the video I just posted here for more of the evenings discussion. https://youtu.be/N4ZKBkRdCg0

  7. 7

    The Brookhaven Post

    Fast forward to 1:20 for Traffic Consultant.

  8. 8

    Frank McCloskey

    Thank you Trey…as usual, you’re on top of things.

  9. 9

    The Brookhaven Post

    It’s actually at 1:36. Sorry bout that.

  10. 10

    Concerned Observer

    As someone that is seriously contemplating moving my family to Brookhaven, all of the vitriol and negativity put forth by the “Save Our Parking” lot committee is completely mind boggling.

    When looking at a home to raise our family, Brookhaven stood out to us because of its access to MARTA and its moves in the right direction to create a more walkable community with restaurants and shops. The city councils digging its heels to cowtow to a group of folks that clearly would rather not even have MARTA to begin with is seriously disconcerting.

    Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and Chamblee would try to kill this type of investment…why does We Are Brookhaven GA seem hell-bent on saving this parking lot.

  11. 11

    JCT

    Thanks for typing up such a detailed article last night – I always love that even if i cannot attend a meeting, I can look to the Brookhaven Post for a very timely and fair recap almost instantly!

  12. 12

    Dean

    No one is saving the parking lot. The discussion is about the degree of development, cost responsibilities and sufficient infrastructure. You might want to do your homework and educate yourself instead of making such broad and unformed statements.

  13. 13

    Eddie E.

    With the deferral until the General Assembly session begins, the DEVELOPERS have an opportunity to pool their resources within their cohort all around the METRO area to lean hard on the General Assembly for real and effective expansion of transit options. Aside from the very legitimate infrastructure cost assignment (which obviously should be entirely upon the developers) the problems of additional traffic CAN BE AMELIORATED. IF our transit system had a plan for growth so that the higher density requests did not require attachment to vehicles the resistance might well abate.
    The current notion of ‘build now while we can borrow the money and don’t worry about gridlock’ need not be the only option.

  14. 14

    Riley OConnor

    Councilwoman Jones put it best. This development is in “downtown” Brookhaven and what is required is something more significant than the series of drawings that we have been shown. As was noted last night, this is a “50-year” project that will be with us a very long time. Even by Atlanta standards. And the magnitude of the project also compels us to make something that improves life in Brookhaven, and more cars isn’t it.

    The MARTA traffic consultant noted that increased capacity could be achieved by narrowing the traffic lanes, as has been done in downtown Buckhead. He does not seem to have actually driven in those narrowed lanes. It makes for a driving challenge but, maybe, that’s the whole idea. Make it so difficult that people avoid the area entirely.

    As the evening wore on, the magnitude of the unanswered questions made a compelling argument for deferral. And if MARTA and its chosen developer can’t get it together, then maybe another deferral is on the horizon.

    And, by the way, after everybody left, the Council voted on a $125,000.00 sidewalk project. Without a peep.

  15. 15

    lkaye

    It’s not about ‘saving a parking lot.’ If you lived in the surrounding neighborhoods you would know that what MARTA is proposing is not going to work – simple math will reveal you can’t put that many more cars on the streets. No one said anything about not wanting MARTA, but the irony of calling this a TRANSIT-oriented development when they KNOW how much more traffic will be created, simply underscores the ineffectiveness of MARTA. Building high density apartments, a hotel, an office building as well as businesses and restaurants does not change the direction of the tracks. MARTA still goes to very few places and is an inefficient system. They want the residents of Brookhaven to bear the burden of more traffic, an already overloaded sewer system, overloaded water system, and overcrowded schools. All of this in order to make money leasing the land. If you do not currently live in the area, please do not try to ‘shame’ those of us who do. We live it everyday. We see the mess that is already there. We deal with the cut-through traffic in neighborhoods.

  16. 16

    Read Between The Lines

    Bates and Joe want to turn the MARTA Citizen Review Board into an Architectural Review Board to give broad license to our local high density planners. The Architectural Review Board will consists of the same people responsible for the Overlay District. The action is a plan to eliminate any opposing voices in the future. Voices that have done so much to highlight the gaps in the MARTA story.

  17. 17

    Ida Beth

    Read the article, there are legitimate concerns. Everyone has worked hard to understand every detail of the development. There are unresolved major concerns involving millions of dollars that could fall back on tax payers not to mention the county infrastructure problems and the traffic issues. We all want responsible development. but we have a responsibility to make it right.
    It’s obvious you haven’t been to the meetings for the past 6 months, thank you to everyone who has been . We will do this but it will be done right.
    Thank you city council.
    They had almost worn me down, but thank you Joe Gebbia for pointing out some very ,very important issues that just have not been resolved. Great Job Joe!

  18. 18

    Chad

    Thanks for sticking around, Riley. Narrowed lines on Peachtree and Dresden is like ten pounds of traffic in a five pound bag.

  19. 19

    Chad

    Councilman Jones compared a denial based on traffic to a city council that never approved anything. Councilman Gebbia then compared a developer that needs tax abatements to a developer that would never develop anything.

    Do all developers need tax abatements to profit? Or does MARTA need tax abatements because they are projecting losses from the outset?

    Thanks for the deferral Mayor and City Council. That John Park’s got a real way with words. Loved his closing statement.

  20. 20

    Thomas Porter

    Mayor & Council got it right! Too many questions, too many dollars & absolutely no rush to make a zoning decision whose effects will dog us for 50 years. Thank you! Demand good answers before you decide.

  21. 21

    Janine

    The BPCA- that group of 5 to 7 people who only live in their history and in that foggy place of Bates’ mind. They don’t represent anything other than the overlay of 10 years ago. They’re not relevant anymore, they don’t connect, just go away!

  22. 22

    Chad

    @Concerned Observer “Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and Chamblee would try to kill this type of investment…”

    And they have leveraged their collective future to do it. I assume you meant, “would kill for this type investment.”

    Sandy Springs over $200 million in tax abatements
    Dunwoody approaching $800 million in tax abatements
    Chamblee topped $100 million this summer.

  23. 23

    Susan

    May I suggest you consider looking for your new home in the Buckhead area close to the Lindbergh MARTA Station? Its already there, TOD built out and will fulfill your stated desires. I think you would be much more happier there.

  24. 24

    Kathy M.

    Maybe now the FPHOA, BFCA, and BPCA will finally see the “big picture” and and real concerns of the entire community. I think they all can offer constructive input and dialog once they accept the fact that this is bigger than them and their personal wants or acceptance of.

  25. 25

    Will

    Many, many citizens HAVE been asking these questions and getting no answers from day one.

  26. 26

    Riley OConnor

    That $125,000. ultimately came from taxpayers, which serves to point out that abated taxes mean abated projects. MARTA’s representative stated that the City would still get tax revenue from those who reside in the proposed complex. This would be the “half a loaf is better than no loaf” premise that sells such an idea. But if there’s only a half a loaf available when the project requires an entire loaf………

    This also illustrates how the City is operated. The City Manager sets the projects and the Council approves them. Which makes for interesting politics since the Council is elected and the Manager is not.

  27. 27

    Saul

    “Do all developers need tax abatements to profit? Or does MARTA need tax abatements because they are projecting losses from the outset?”

    No, they dont.

    Maybe a better question would be why do governments continue to insist on growth at the expense of their citizens and with the potential to negatively impacting the neighborhoods they chose to live in. Makes you wonder if the Councillors represent the electorate or themselves.

  28. 28

    OverTheBashing

    Hey Kathy M! Do you live in Fernwood Park or Brookhaven Fields? If so, do you volunteer on the board? Do you volunteer your time to make a change? Or a difference? It is getting realllllllly old to hear the criticism of volunteers who do their best from people who armchair their advice and don’t step up to help. Ask those boards if they need help, I’m sure they would say yes.

  29. 29

    Jennifer

    I have and continue to ask how to engage with the BPCA (Brookhaven Peachtree COMMUNITY Alliance) which has their members on the boards or committees of the BFCA, FPHOA, BHHOH, HBHOA and possibly more. The problem here is the COMMUNITY in the BPCA is the BPCA community and not the Brookhaven Community. The BPCA served a purpose and could be as relevant as it wants to be IF they had a dialog with the community. Several of their members feel the need to lecture anyone that has an opinion that differs, hence the push back from a community that is now engaged. By the way…. BPCA likes to speak for more than Brookhaven Fields or Fernwood Park. Maybe letting the COMMUNITY know when they have meetings or posting information on how to join or what they intend to stand in support or denial of before doing so… just some suggestions.

  30. 30

    Hunter Burke

    Amen Jennifer, BPCA isn’t an organization, it’s a very tiny private interest club of self-important people who swallowed much too much kook-aid. Their private vocations make public positions even more suspect.

  31. 31

    Mel

    Hi. I suspect you have some soul searching to do. People are sick and tired of the whining and complaining all the time. We get it. You’re pissed because of the development in and around the area you live. We’ve heard that time and time again. But the jabbing at people who do their contributions to the community in their own ways should not be singled out as bad just because you disagree or they won’t let you join their club.

    Yes, no one group should be speaking on behalf of another. Agree to that. But isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Take a good look in the mirror tell me if you see the reflection of someone who is perfect. My guess is no one can do that. Your moxie is admired, your drive is admired and your determination is commendable. But hey, why not give the bashing and name calling a rest and work toward unity instead or more divisiveness.

    Give a little to get a little, you know? You have a lot to offer the community but in a sense you are contributing to its segmentation.

    And just so you know, when I look in the mirror it ain’t the word perfect that comes to mind. But I think we will all be better off if we respect each other for the contributions each of us do make and build on that. Together.

    IMHO of course.

  32. 32

    Kathy M.

    OverTheBashing – Maybe you missed the part that said “entire community” This is important and will affect more than just one immediate area. I live next door to Brookhaven Fields and Fernwood Park, I am on several boards, I do considerable amounts of volunteer work, I have made change and a difference. Come out of your little world for a minute and take a look at the community as a whole. Any more questions OTB?

  33. 33

    Susan

    Mel, might want to look at the number of respondents to Jen’s survey in such a short period of time. She isn’t alone with her feelings.

  34. 34

    Curious

    We’ve heard the current MARTA proposal is too dense and creates too much traffic. What is an acceptable density? Is it 30 units/acre, 20, or 10. If the residential component is reduced, how will you support the retail. In a nutshell, what is it you want built on the property? Can you describe what is acceptable? Or is a parking lot where we remain.

  35. 35
  36. 36

    Joseph Palladi

    The accident rate went down with the construction of the narrower lanes and raised median. The vehicle throughput went up about 30%. Speeds are more uniform and the signals are interconnected. That is why it works. Narrower lanes usually means slower traffic. With the way some of the zombies drive (did not mean to slander zombies), slowing them down would be a plus!

  37. 37

    The Brookhaven Post

    So the comments may be headed off track. So I’d like to pose a couple of questions in hopes we can have a productive dialogue.

    1. Is there a path forward for MARTA and their development partner with the current plan?

    2. What would be the best way for the City, the community, MARTA and their developer to utilize the 90 day deferral as it pertains to this proposed development?

    3. What should the community and the city work together to accomplish during this deferral period as it relates to this proposal?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Trey

  38. 38

    Amanda

    Density at MARTA is old news and by far not a main point. Check out the hearing videos and I think you will have a better understanding of issues. i.e. traffic flows, current traffic levels, 2 lane streets, how density is actually calculated and how the business components will effect traffic, etc. If the parking lot remains as it is for now that is better than just accepting the alternative currently before us. A lot has been accomplished but we still have a ways to go. Thank you citizens of Brookhaven for working to make this a better project.

  39. 39

    Jennifer

    Mel,
    My response will be too long to answer your questions and judgmental statements as a comment to this post and will be off topic of Trey’s article. I will put them on another forum and provide you the link here this evening that will be public.

  40. 40

    Thomas Porter

    I think:
    1. The current plan is still too dense and the phasing is very uncomfortable. Their M.O. seems to ask for more and more incentives from the City. It feels like it is unraveling and I see zero reason to fund their development. Whether they stay in the game on them.
    2. Most productive use of time would be to thoroughly evaluate/validate effectiveness, probability & timing of all infrastructure needs. The developer needs to spend that money, City & citizens dont. We shouldn’t go forward or rezone unless all infrastructure seem effective AND imminent.
    I also agree with Linley Jones, all of the architecture is terrible and should be vastly improved. Showing an ugly compliant building to get their non-compliant desired building flies in the face of community & City respect.

  41. 42

    Riley OConnor

    I was thinking of the lanes in “downtown” Buckhead, between Pharr and Shadowlawn. I agree with the work done further up Peachtree, between Piedmont and Wieuca.

  42. 43

    Riley OConnor

    As with other projects (Solis and Connelly), one problem was coming up with “who represents the community”. In most cases, it is those who are willing to take the time and talk about it. After that comes the followup from those who did not participate. Given the general character of the neighborhoods around MARTA (along with Solis and Connelly), it is hard to come up with a general consensus. Which is to say, that you can’t get the neighborhoods to agree on much of anything. “Tastes Great” / “Less Filling”. Wearing white after Labor Day. Whatever. All that any dialogue can achieve is a general sense of agreement.

    1. I don’t see a path forward for the current plan because the process has been thoroughly trashed. They may have worked very hard, but the spirit of today’s political environment makes agreement on anything largely impossible. And some personal animosity has emerged that makes progress more difficult.

    2. The best way for “the City, the community, MARTA and their developer to utilize the 90 day deferral as it pertains to this proposed development”. Is to sit down and think about something else. Anything, just not focus on zoning and development. This has been the summer of our zoning discontent, and watching the World Series, a few high school football games and maybe putter around in the yard is a helpful remedy for what ails us. It’ll still be there when we get back.

    3. I don’t see the community working together right now. It doesn’t help that the current general political environment is so fractious. And we don’t need to be lectured to about why this project is so important. We need a break.

    At the same time, Brookhaven has apparently developed a reputation within the general political community as being a hot spot. You can kind of see why. Lots of political activism, lots of community involvement, lots of economic activity, lots of traffic. MARTA has got to go back and rethink things and there needs to be a much clearer path to achieving mutually acceptable outcomes. There are too many loose ends, unanswered solutions to problems caused by this development. That’s not a big secret.

    Say what you will, there’s a new sheriff in town. Whatever premise was the basis for founding Brookhaven by political elites has run into community populism. And if you look around, you can see the conflict between the elites and the people is all over the place, not just in Brookhaven. Social media has accelerated this and we as a society are still trying to get our arms around this.

    And the one common thing is the traffic. I am now aware of two people who had very good jobs working in well paid environments who have quit those nice jobs because the commute to and from those jobs was killing them. Which makes having a successful MARTA even more important.

  43. 44

    Mickey Robertts

    Jennifer, there are no BPCA members on the Fernwood Park HOA Board of Directors, nor on any Fernwood HOA committees as far as I am aware.

  44. 45

    Jennifer

    Noted, I had been told otherwise.

  45. 46

    Riley OConnor

    You make an interesting point. If the developers are now more inclined toward using incentives from the City, could this be an indication of caution on their part? An indication that they are anticipating a post-election correction where traditional channels for construction money have either dried up or have become more expensive?

    One of the arguments used earlier against this development and others was that the market had become glutted. The argument itself fell by the roadside, but maybe the early indications now are that a glut has developed.

    This deferral gives everybody time to assess the direction in which the economy is headed.

  46. 47

    B\'haven Birdie

    Integral projects always require multiple tax abatements and public financing. Just look at the old GM site in Doraville….

  47. 48

    Frank McCloskey

    Working my way through all the comments, I believe Tom Porter has captured many of my concerns. Regarding the traffic impact to surrounding residential neighborhoods, if I properly followed the discussion beginning at 1:36, it seems there are numerous conditions from three different governmental bodies who are responsible for enforcement. Does anyone have a matrix that lists the various conditions identified, who has authority to enforce and where are the overlaps? There is too much mumbo jumbo going on for broad base citizens to understand what the real deal and impact is being discussed.

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