Brookhaven, GA, January 1, 2017 – by Trey Benton – 2016 was another busy year in our Brookhaven coverage area, another year of growth and accomplishment, passes and fails, ups and downs. As a community we learned more about ourselves and how we live together, more about how local government works and worked diligently on plans aimed at shaping and preserving our communities. And, perhaps most of all, we learned that changes are going to take place and our participation in the process will play a vital role in what those changes look like and how we will live among them.
Taking a look back, The Post has assembled a collection of our most viewed Brookhaven stories we published in 2016. Please take a moment to reminisce. We would also like extend a sincere Thank You to our readers, donors and advertisers for their continued support as we strive to bring you the best in Brookhaven news.
Here’s to a Great 2017!
Brookhaven swears in Ernst as Mayor – Jones, Mattison as Councilmembers
Brookhaven, GA, January 4, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven, Georgia has a new Mayor – Mayor John A. Ernst, Jr. Before a standing room only crowd, Mayor Ernst was joined by his wife Monica and sons Jack and Evan, while Honorable Judge Mike Jacobs performed the swearing in ceremony Monday morning at Brookhaven City Hall.
Ernst was elected Mayor back in November of 2015 in landslide fashion, running on the promise of getting Brookhaven back to the basics, unifying the City and restoring the public trust by operating a common sense, transparent City Government.
District One Councilperson Linley Jones and District Three Councilman Bates Mattison were also sworn in on Monday, to continue their public service. Jones was appointed to fill former Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams’ seat when she was appointed Mayor, after Mayor J Max Davis resigned his seat to run for State House. Jones was later elected by popular vote.
Mattison, who is one of Brookhaven’s original Elected Officials, did not draw a contender and ran unopposed in 2015, resulting in him keeping his place on the Council. Mattison was joined by his wife Stephanie, his son Miles and his daughter Kathleen as he was sworn in. Read More
Brookhaven Police Chief outlines efforts to find missing 78-year-old woman
Brookhaven, GA, January 14, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura gave a run down Tuesday evening of some of his departments efforts to locate 78-year-old Janet Sue Miller, a Brookhaven resident that went missing on Christmas Eve after she attended service at Brookhaven Baptist Church.
Some of the search efforts for Ms. Miller, according to the Chief, have included:
- Aerial search by the DeKalb County Helicopter
- A pond was drained
- Another pond was searched
- Several grid searches – one with a command post set up at her last seen location
- Search dogs and cadaver dogs have searched
- Flyers have been distributed at local shelters
- Area hospitals have been notified
- Media alerts
“I feel that we have done everything, including having the church help us,” said Chief Yandura. “We are continuing to search.” Despite Police and community efforts, however, Ms. Miller has still not been located. Read More
Brookhaven ratifies $225,000 City Manager severance agreement
Brookhaven, GA, January 26, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven’s City Council ratified a $225,000 settlement and severance agreement with suspended City Manager Marie Garrett, Tuesday. Per the agreement, however, Garrett has until Thursday to back out of the deal. The $225,000 settlement amount is broken out as follows:
- $42,300.00 to Garrett’s retirement annuity
- $13,950.00 to Garrett’s One America account
- $168,750.00, less applicable withholding for state and federal income taxes to Garrett in a lump sum
On Tuesday, January 12th, Councilmembers held a Special Called Meeting and voted 5-0 to suspend Garrett. The next day, in a second Special Called Meeting, the Council decided unanimously to enter in to mediation with Garrett despite an agenda that stated Councilmembers were meeting to terminate her. Read More
Standing room only for MARTA Brookhaven/Oglethorpe TOD forum
Brookhaven, GA, February 2, 2016 – by Trey Benton – It was standing room only Tuesday evening at Brookhaven City Hall, as MARTA’s Amanda Rhein, Senior Head of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), walked approximately 150 attendees through a presentation of their plans for the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station. (Embedded below)
The multi-phase redevelopment of the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station is slated to include 126 senior affordable apartments, 560-580 market rate units, 120,000 to 400,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 to 60,000 square feet of retail space, 10,000 to 40,000 square feet of civic space and 150 hotel rooms. MARTA adds that 20% of the planned residential units will be affordable “Workforce Housing” to households whose incomes do not exceed 80% of the area median income.
The overwhelming majority of attendees were concerned with the density of the proposed development and how that density could pose a negative effect on their quality of life. “We as a City will always be a car city,” one man said. “I love the development, but this is the wrong site for this much density.” Read More
Mayor announces ‘moratorium’ on Brookhaven MARTA TOD rezoning, Comprehensive Plan Review
Brookhaven, GA, February, 22, 2016 – by Trey Benton – During his second Town Hall since taking office, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst announced Monday that MARTA and its development partners have agreed to a “moratorium” on filing rezoning applications necessary for a planned Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station Transit Oriented Development.
At the request of Mayor Ernst, MARTA and Brookhaven City Center Partners (a joint venture of Integral Development and Transwestern Property) agreed to postpone rezoning applications until some time after June 1st. Those applications were initially slated to be filed with the City in late February or early March.
According to Ernst, MARTA and its partners also agreed to engage the City of Brookhaven and regional partners, including the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), as well as County and State agencies to address infrastructure and other issues involved with this large development before submitting any application. Read More
Revived ‘Rape Kit Bill’ passes in final minutes of 2016 Legislative Session
Atlanta, GA, March 24, 2016 – by Trey Benton – What started out as House Bill 827, later becoming Senate Bill 304, the Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act, a.k.a. The Rape Kit Bill, passed in the final minutes of the 2016 Legislative Session.
“I’m very proud that this important legislation passed,” said State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-HD81), the bill’s author. “I’m extremely grateful for all of the help and support along the way.”
Despite numerous news reports that uncovered a serious backlog of untested kits, Senator Renee Unterman (R-SD45) decided to single-handedly block the bill saying that if there was actually a problem, she would have authored a bill herself. She said the issue of untested rape kits would be all cleared up via a $1.8 million Federal Grant. She received widespread criticism of that decision.
But Legislators out maneuvered Unterman when Senate Bill 304, sponsored by Senator Elena Parent (D-SD42) originally dealing with guns and mental health, was literally gutted to become the vehicle for Holcomb’s rape test kit language. This move also meant the measure would no longer have to travel through Unterman’s committee which she would not allow, sending the bill directly to the Senate Floor.
The passage of SB-304 requires care providers to notify local law enforcement when they receive a sexual assault kit, and for law enforcement to deliver the kit to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) within 30 days. SB-304 also requires care providers and law enforcement to inventory and deliver all untested sexual assault kits to the GBI in order to audit the number of untested kits, and pave the way for their ultimate forensic examination. Read More
Brookhaven, GA, April 8, 2016 – by Trey Benton – On Wednesday, the Brookhaven Innovation Academy (BIA) announced they will be opening their doors for the first day of school in August, in the City of Norcross – not the City of Brookhaven. Shortly after the announcement was made, BIA posted on Facebook that Brookhaven folks interested in the school should contact their City Council representatives to assist in helping the BIA find a permanent home in the city for which the school’s name bears.
Going further, the BIA pointed the finger at the City for “no support” in their “extensive real estate search” to find a Brookhaven home.
In the beginning of Brookhaven’s charge to seek “education initiatives” back in 2013, Council allocated $30,000 in the Budget to hire Edevate, a consultant, “to provide guidance and expertise to study education possibilities”. That initial effort failed, but the BIA was encouraged to reapply in 2015. In late 2014, Council members made a decision to give Edevate another $30,000 of Brookhaven taxpayer funds to continue pushing the BIA through the SCSC for approval, which was successful. In September of last year, the BIA got its Charter.
In a questionable and highly publicized action, the City did in fact try purchase the former Skyland Elementary School to house the BIA via a $3.3 million Development Authority deal, a deal that was eventually killed because of conflicts of interest concerns that revolved around Council involvement and their relationship with the BIA. Read More
Brookhaven approves DeKalb BOE’s purchase of Skyland Park for new school
Brookhaven, GA, May 10, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven City Councilmembers unanimously approved the sale of Skyland Park to the DeKalb County Board of Education (BOE) for $4.7 million, Tuesday evening. This purchase is part of a plan for the DeKalb School District to construct a new elementary school in Brookhaven and is also part of a larger $7.5 million deal that includes the BOE’s purchase of Skyland Center from the Georgia State Properties Commission.
The school at this point is slated house 900 students and cost approximately $22 million to construct. I will be called the John Lewis Elementary School.
DeKalb County Schools says the new elementary school, which should be completed in Fall of 2019, will provide relief for several existing elementary schools including Dresden, Montclair, and Woodward.
Details included in the IGA with the City of Brookhaven and the State of Georgia are as follows:
- Acquire the former Skyland Elementary School site from the State of Georgia, which now houses the State Vital Records Office for $2.8 million for 5.3 acres
- Transfer 4.17 acres of the acquired State property to the City of Brookhaven
- Purchase the existing Skyland Park of 10.6 acres for $4.7 million from the City of Brookhaven
Of the $4.7 million Brookhaven will receive for Skyland Park, roughly $2.3 million will be spent on demolishing Skyland Center and building a brand new park on the property, in accordance with the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The remaining $2.4 will be spent on greenspace and park acquisition in other areas of the City. Read More
Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare break ground on Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven
Brookhaven, GA, June 24, 2016 – The Post Reports – The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Emory Healthcare broke ground Friday, on the Emory Sports Medicine Complex located on Executive Park Drive and the newly-minted Hawks Lane in the City of Brookhaven. The 90,000-square-foot complex will be the first of its kind, integrating four state-of-the-art facilities on its five-acre campus.
On June 22nd, Brookhaven’s Development Authority approved authorizing and issuance of revenue bonds to finance the new training facility. This deal includes a $36 million tax abatement.
Details of the deal include:
- The Hawks and Emory will use 100% private funds to build the building valued at $50 million
- The Hawks will transfer title of its training facility, valued at $36 million, to the Brookhaven Development Authority (DA), making the DA the new legal “owner”
- The DA will lease the training facility back to the Hawks through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement or PILOT fee
- The amount of the bond is $36 million, which is less than the building is valued at, and the Hawks make an annual PILOT payment to the DA of $302,900 for 15 years
According to Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, the PILOT fee of $302,900 is $254,900 more than the annual taxes the City would receive post-construction. That fee, Ernst said, represents half of the total taxes the Hawks would have to pay without this abatement. Read More
Brookhaven, GA, June 23, 2016 – by Trey Benton – A group of thirteen religious leaders from nine congregations in the City of Brookhaven, are appealing to the City to consider the impact of “gentrification” and the ramifications of “unabated” development.
In a letter dated June 7, 2016, religious leaders say they are concerned about what rapid increases in the cost of housing is doing to members of the community. They say many members of their congregations who have lived in Brookhaven for a long time have been effectively displaced. “Though this started before the creation of our city it has continued, seemingly unabated,” the letter says.
Understanding the market forces behind gentrification and the city’s desire for higher revenues and curb appeal, members of Brookhaven’s clergy say they are compelled to “speak up for the poor and dispossessed, and those who are unable to speak up for themselves” and “caution our city against neglecting the natural benefits of a diverse city.”
Religious leaders are asking the City to include them in their discussions of planning the future of the community in order to provide a voice for those who are unable to provide one for themselves. Read More
Legal tab tops $269K in Brookhaven’s battle with ‘sexual device shop’
Brookhaven, GA, June 24, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Legal fees continue to pile up in the fight between the City of Brookhaven and Stardust, a retail store “that sells adult toys and novelty products; party supplies, and a complete line of smoking accessories” located at 3007 Buford Hwy. According to City records, legal fees have topped the $269,000 mark, and the meter is still running with little sign the case will end soon.
Chattanooga Attorney, Scott Bergthold, who essentially wrote Brookhaven’s Sexually Oriented Business (S.O.B.) ordinance single-handedly, has since been getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars defending it on Brookhaven’s behalf. Bergthold was the same attorney that was paid $283,000 in the highly contentious battle with the Pink Pony, which ended in a settlement agreement back in November of 2014.
Brookhaven’s code enforcement officers issued Stardust more than 500 hundred citations in 2013. Read More
Planning Commission recommends City Council deny Dresden Dr. development
Brookhaven, GA, July 7, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven’s Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday evening to recommend City Council deny a Terwilliger-Pappas proposal to rezone several parcels to construct a four-story mixed-use development comprised of 113 apartments, 8 townhomes and retail space at the corner of Dresden Drive and Appalachee Drive.
Nothing brings people out to City Hall in the City of Brookhaven like a good old-fashioned multi-family mixed-use development rezoning case in the Dresden Drive corridor. Such was the case Wednesday evening, when hundreds of residents from the Ashford Park, Brookhaven Fields, Drew Valley and surrounding communities showed up, many dressed in red, to oppose the project called Solis Dresden.
In the end, Planning Commissioners decided to recommend City Council deny the Solis Dresden application. They opted to not grant Terwilliger-Pappas another deferral, citing they do not believe there would be an appreciable amount of change to the proposal to make it work on the proposed site. Read More
Brookhaven, GA, July 6, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The 100th Georgia Amateur Golf Championship will be decided where the tournament began in 1916, at the Capital City Club‘s Brookhaven Course in Historic Brookhaven. Atlanta golfing great Bobby Jones won the inaugural event at the age of 14, marking the beginning of one of golf’s most storied and influential careers, 100 years ago.
Now a century later, a field of the top 144 amateur players in Georgia will begin their quest to “capture the Cup” at the Club’s Crabapple Course with 36 holes of individual stroke play. The 32 players with the lowest scores will then advance to the Brookhaven Course where the Championship will be decided in Match Play format. 2016 marks the sixth time the Championship has been held at the Capital City Club, according to the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA). The tournament will be held from July 11 through the 17th.
The Capital City Club was chartered in 1883 with the mission “to promote the pleasure, kind feeling and general culture of its members” in downtown Atlanta. The Brookhaven golf course was originally completed in 1911 as a nine-hole tract and was designed by English professional golfer and golf course architect Herbert Barker. Barker also designed another Atlanta course with a similar look and feel, the Druid Hills Golf Club. In 1915, when the club bought the land it had leased for a couple of years, the Capital City Country Club added another nine holes making it an 18-hole facility. The “clubhouse” was constructed in 1928. Read More
MARTA files application for Brookhaven TOD, tax abatement sought
Brookhaven, GA, July 12, 2016 – by Trey Benton – MARTA filed an application with the City of Brookhaven’s Community Development Department on July 1st requesting to rezone an assemblage of land totaling 17.57 acres around the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station to construct a controversial Transit Oriented Development (TOD). The land is bordered by Peachtree Rd, Apple Valley Rd., Dresden Dr. and North Druid Hills Rd. In order to construct the TOD at the densities proposed, MARTA needs to rezone this land to PC-2. Currently the parcels have a mixture of zoning classifications such as C-2, M, R-75 and RM-75.
Included in the application, MARTA has “ticked the box” indicating they will pursue tax incentives in the form of Tax Abatements.
Also included in the application packet is a Sewer Capacity Letter (Embedded below) from DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management. The County says that based on collected flow data, “sanitary sewer capacity may be available for the subject property at this time.” However, the County notes the determination of available capacity expressed is not guaranteed because it is “based upon the known conditions as of the date of this correspondence and on the provided anticipated capacity needs associated with the project.”
The County further states in the event sewer system infrastructure improvements are required to accommodate the “new flow contribution and ensure adequate sewer system capacity as a result of development on the referenced property, the developer will be responsible for the cost associated with installing any such improvements to the existing sewer system infrastructure.” Read More
Brookhaven urges DeKalb BOC decline placing SPLOST and E-HOST on November ballot
Brookhaven, GA, July 19, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Brookhaven has sent a message to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners (BOC), asking them to vote down a Resolution to add a proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and an Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax (E-HOST) to November’s General Election Ballot.
Significant questions regarding language in House Bill 596 have been raised because, if passed, the Bill would essentially do away with the DeKalb County Homestead Property Valuation Freeze. More specifically, if County Officials place a SPLOST and E-HOST referendum on the November ballot and voters also approve, for the term of those measures, the freeze would be suspended.
But the “flawed” language does not appear in the ballot question itself, it appears on line 22 of the Bill, and is part of the following paragraph: “(2) If the General Assembly enacts an equalized homestead option sales and use tax and such tax is placed into effect in DeKalb County during the period the exemption granted by subsection (b) of this section is in effect, the exemption granted by subsection (b) of this section shall be tolled for as long as the equalized homestead option sales and use tax is in effect.” (The full Bill is here).
State Rep. Scott Holcomb, (D-81) said he will proposed corrected legislation in 2017. Read More
Brookhaven Mayor announces 6 month moratorium on rezonings that add density
Brookhaven, GA, July 15, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Residents who attended Thursday’s Character Area Study Kick-off Meeting at Brookhaven City Hall, applauded when Mayor John Ernst announced the City will be voting in early August to approve a six month moratorium on new rezoning applications that increase density.
“We are stopping the train for a six month period,” said Ernst. “This gives time to get through the Character Area Study and in to the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite.”
Ernst also made it clear that this moratorium will not affect applications that have already been filed, nor would it stop property owners who do not require rezonings from applying for, and if approved, proceeding with, development. Read More
Brookhaven City Council denies Solis Dresden development
Brookhaven, GA, July 26, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Following recommendations from the City’s Community Development Department and Planning Commission, Brookhaven City Councilmembers voted to unanimously deny Solis Dresden Tuesday evening. The applicant, Terwilliger Pappas Multi-Family, LLC, ended a PC-2 zoning to develop a mixed-use project that consisted of 121 Residential Units, 3,600 Square Feet of Live-Work Units, and 9,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
Attorney Laurel David, with the Galloway Law Group who represented the developer throughout the process, asked Councilmembers to withdraw the application. She said if the application is denied, no one would be able to develop the property for two years, which would cause detriment to the owner.
Councilman John Park said emphatically that he has been telling developers to bring their “A-Game” early, get community support early, because if they don’t, the City will not hesitate to follow its laws, laws Park says are in place for a reason.
“The reason why the denial option is in the law books,” said Park, “is because, it’s in order to protect the citizens so that every 6 months they don’t have to come back and sacrifice hundreds of hours of their time. These aren’t people that are retired, with plenty of time on their hands, doing this for fun. These are people with jobs, with children, who are working hard to protect their neighborhoods. For us to ignore that, and to not send a clear message, and not deny when it’s warranted, I think is irresponsible on our part as a council.”
As far as the “damage” the denial has done to the owner, Park said as far as he is concerned, the owner of the property is the applicant who has hired an agent to represent him. “That agent did not act without the owner’s permission,” Park said. “So that to me, that argument is dubious. It’s like a ZBA hearing…creating your own hardship and asking to rectify that.” Read More
New Murphey Candler Park Nature Trail Bridge Arrives
Brookhaven, GA, August 17, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The new replacement Murphey Candler Park Nature Trail bridge has officially arrived in Brookhaven. After an overnight trip from Fort Payne, Ala., the new 120 foot long bridge has been unloaded and is being prepped for installation. The bridge arrived in two 60 foot sections on flatbed tractor-trailer trucks and two cranes were already in place to lift the bridge off for staging. The original bridge was damaged last year when a tree fell on it, damaging it beyond repair.
In addition to the Murphey Candler Bridge installation, the path between the parking lot and the bridge edge will be replaced along with an area of the lake bank that has suffered significant erosion. Ernst explained a pipe has been discovered that is filled with silt which will be replaced. Once that is done the eroded area will be filled in with a permanent surface with stairs leading to the water’s edge. “Look for more Parks and Rec. improvements to become a reality throughout the City,” Ernst added.
In May, Brookhaven Councilmembers awarded a $241,421.31 contract to Whitesburg, GA based Integrated Construction and Nobility, Inc., to replace the bridge that was damaged by a fallen tree last year. The installation includes a pre-fabricated steel pedestrian bridge, granite wing walls and concrete trailways. $100,000 of the bridge costs were covered by insurance. Borden said, “We have the check in hand.” Read More
Brookhaven adopts Peachtree Creek Greenway Master Plan
Brookhaven, GA, August 23, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven Councilmembers and supporters of the proposed Peachtree Creek Greenway celebrated Tuesday evening as the City unanimously approved the Peachtree Greenway Master Plan. Scores of Peachtree Creek Greenway supporters spoke in favor of the project and reacted to the approval with applause and celebration.
“We are thrilled that the work of so many people over many years has taken hold!,” Betsy Eggers, Chairperson of the Peachtree Creek Greenway and founder of PGC, Inc. told The Post. “I am grateful that the City is stepping forward so that future generations will enjoy this legacy adventure — for walkers, runners, moms and dads with kids, people in wheelchairs, and visitors from all walks of life can enjoy this beautiful creek!”
The Peachtree Creek Greenway project (See plan below) is large in scale and would involve multiple parcels to create the 2.7 mile linear park that according to the plan, is envisioned to “feature a series of trails including nature trails, paved multi-purpose trails, and paved promenade trails near the revitalized corridor dotted with residences, offices, restaurants, bike rental stands, coffee shops and picnic areas.” The plan also suggests spanning beyond Brookhaven’s borders, providing a connection to the Atlanta Beltline and PATH400.
Brookhaven man who lost home in fire extends heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to neighbors, friends, first responders
Brookhaven, GA, August 30, 2016 – by Trey Benton – His home was consumed by fire Saturday. And he’s working through the process of pulling the pieces of what is left together, dealing with his insurance company, navigating a path forward. But in the middle of it all, Brookhaven resident Joe Gorrell took the time to speak with The Post Monday to say “Thank You”, “Thank You” to all those who played a role in keeping more than 100 guests – friends, family, neighbors – safe while a fire ripped through his home.
The fire was so intense more than 40 DeKalb Firefighters from seven different Fire Stations and Brookhaven Police Officers were needed to work the scene.
“In this world, nobody tells you how good people are,” Gorrell told The Post. “All they tell is the bad. In the middle of everything I’m going through, I wanted to tell people how thankful I am.”
The fire broke out in the upstairs attic in his Wimberly Road home Saturday afternoon, around 5:30 PM. It was during his 9th annual Football Kick-off Party that raises money for charity, charities that have raised more than $2 million over the years to fight cancer. Read More
Brookhaven couple charged with felony murder in infant death case
Brookhaven, GA, September 2, 2016 – The Post Reports – Based on information obtained from an autopsy of 8-month old Kamonine Whitehead, Brookhaven Police have charged her mother, 24-year old Shavone Nicole Whitehead and her mother’s 33-year old boyfriend, Edward Fair Wilson, with Felony Murder.
According to Police, on August 1st, Officers responded to the 1800 block of Corporate Blvd. after being advised the infant was unresponsive. On scene, Officers observed Kamonine to have noticeable bruising – injuries consistent with child abuse. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Brookhaven officers administered first aid.
The Medical Examiners report says Kamonine suffered a Traumatic Brain injury caused by the acceleration and deceleration of the head. Police say the actual injuries which caused her death occurred within 2-hours of the 911 call. Read More
Tempers flare as community discusses potential land acquisition with Brookhaven Officials
Brookhaven, GA, September 21, 2016 – by Trey Benton – A heated meeting between Brookhaven City Leaders and residents of the Dunwoody Forest and Ashford Glen communities took place at City Hall Wednesday, a meeting that often took an exit from a rational two-way conversation about the City’s interest in purchasing a 1.7 acre parcel at the end of Remington Rd. The City says they would like to purchase the land and preserve it as greenspace. Neighbors say not so fast.
Several attendees said the City has only one logical intention, to create a connection through their neighborhood to Murphey Candler Park and they want no part of that. They said, some times shouting angrily, the City is trying to put one over on them and is not being completely transparent. They fear there are bigger plans in the mind of the City, plans that include a walking trail or maybe even a parking lot, a road, a bridge – a destination.
City Manager Christian Sigman, Mayor John Ernst and Councilwoman Linley Jones explained Brookhaven is looking at acquiring greenspace throughout the entire City, some for parks, some to simply leave undisturbed. And they said if anything were to occur on the property after acquisition, the community would be notified and be made part of the planning process.
Making an effort to settle the fear, uncertainty and doubt felt by the community, Ernst said nothing has been contemplated by the City for the land other than keeping it as it is – a forested lot. Jones and Sigman also expressed the same. Neighbors said they are skeptical. Read More
Brookhaven couple claims $246.8 million Powerball prize
ATLANTA, GA, October 4, 2016 – The Post Reports, Special – Brookhaven residents William and Heather ten Broeke arrived at Georgia Lottery headquarters Monday to claim their $246,764,131 million Powerball jackpot prize. They selected the cash option, which totaled $165,613,511 before taxes.
A few days after the September 17th drawing, they checked their ticket after seeing news reports that the winning ticket purchased in their area still hadn’t been claimed. “We were shocked,” Mr. ten Broeke said. “We couldn’t believe it. We checked the numbers numerous times.”
Just prior to the September 17th Powerball drawing, the ten Broeke’s were grocery shopping at the Publix Super Market in Town Brookhaven. Heather reminded her husband to buy a Powerball ticket. So as luck would have it, they bought the lucky winning Quik Pik ticket. And the rest is history. Read More
Brookhaven Community Development Director resigns for position with Gwinnett County
Brookhaven, GA, October 19, 2016 – by Trey Benton – On the heels of Brookhaven’s City Arborist Kay Evanovich turning in her letter of resignation to the City for a position in Decatur last week, Community Development Director Ben Song notified the City on Monday that he will be leaving Brookhaven for a position with Gwinnett County.
Song told The Post Tuesday, the main impetus for his decision to leave his role in Brookhaven is so he can spend more time with his family. He said with all that is going on in Brookhaven, the time commitment is significant.
“A lot of my time is devoted to making Brookhaven a better place and with the addition of more studies and demands of my personal time, especially with evening meetings, I have missed out on spending time with my young children,” said Song. “The past three years at Brookhaven has afforded me with a wealth of local government knowledge and experiences that I would not have been able to obtain in any other local jurisdiction. The time I have spent in Brookhaven has been unprecedented and exciting.”
Back in February of 2013, Song was promoted to Community Development Director when the former Director, Susan Cannon, was promoted to Assistant City Manager under former City Manager Marie Garrett. Song joined the City of Brookhaven originally as the Planning and Zoning Manager shortly after incorporation. Read More
Hanson edges Bennett in tight House District 80 race
Brookhaven, GA, November 9, 2016 – The Post Reports – With all precincts reporting, totals show Republican Meagan Hanson is the new House District 80 Representative Elect. Vote totals bounced back and forth Tuesday night in a tight race between Hanson and Incumbent Democrat Taylor Bennett. In the end, based on unofficial vote totals, Hanson once again fared well in Fulton County, an area that represented the catalyst that pushed her over the top.
In what was a virtual dead heat contest in DeKalb, Bennett pulled in 120 more votes than Hanson. That lead was erased by Fulton voters who cast 368 more votes for Hanson than Bennett – resulting in a final victory for the Brookhaven Republican by approximately 250 votes. Read More
Brookhaven Council sends proposed Dresden Village development back to Planning Commission
‘Final’ Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor improvement plans presented in Brookhaven
Brookhaven, GA, November 30, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Back in October of 2015, Brookhaven City Councilmembers awarded Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P) a $125,000 contract to study and develop a comprehensive vision for the Ashford-Dunwoody Road corridor. And, after several public input sessions and stakeholder meetings, Tuesday evening around 70 attendees got a look at the recommended corridor improvements and had a chance to give feedback during an Open House held at City Hall.
The plans, set up on boards and easels throughout the room, were each manned by representatives from GS&P who explained the particulars and rationale behind their final formulations. Some of the recommendations were met with support and others were met with concern. The largest crowd seemed to congregate around the boards showing the short and long-term vision of the intersection of Johnson Ferry Rd. and Ashford Dunwoody Rd.
Beginning at Peachtree Rd. and working along Ashford-Dunwoody Rd. to the Perimeter Summit area, each plan shows an implementation of lane changes, changes in traffic movement, a mixture of sidewalks and a multi-use path. Along the sidewalks, pedestrian lighting is contemplated as well as the addition of trees and plantings. Read More
Brookhaven, GA, November 26, 2016 – by Trey Benton – DeKalb County Fire Station #2 on Dresden Drive in Brookhaven was transformed into a Thanksgiving smorgasbord on Thursday during an annual event hosted by Debbie Leonard-Mayer and Ronnie Mayer that feeds local first responders and their families.
This years event was dedicated to Burma Elliott, a.k.a. Grandma Bobby, Debbie’s grandmother, who attended the event and shared some of her experiences with eager listeners for eleven consecutive years. This Thanksgiving, sadly, Grandma Bobby was not in attendance physically as she passed away just prior to her 103rd birthday earlier this year.
Residents and volunteers from around the area served our brave men and women in uniform. During their meal, several fire fighters quickly traded their knives and forks in for their first aid equipment as they rushed off to a person in cardiac arrest call. See More
Councilman’s ‘What If?’ scenario moves DeKalb Services Center from Brookhaven Park to PDK Greenspace
Brookhaven, GA, December 12, 2016 – by Larry Felton Johnson for The Post – Talking about an idea he has that involves potentially relocating the DeKalb County Services Center currently located in Brookhaven Park, Councilman Bates Mattison raised the possibility during a community input meeting Saturday, of striking a deal that would give Brookhaven control of the entire park, not just the rear parcel the city is currently working to create a Master Plan for.
Mattison says currently, part of the reason the city can’t get their hands on the front portion of Brookhaven Park’s some 21-acres, is that DeKalb County doesn’t have the money or doesn’t have appropriations to fund the construction of a new building in a new location or to move the center somewhere else.
Mattison’s idea would be to work with the County to relocate the service center to the Peachtree-DeKalb (PDK) greenspace the city is currently working to purchase on Clairmont Rd., at its appraised value of $5.7 million. He stressed that it was only an idea at this point, but could create a win-win situation for Brookhaven and DeKalb County. He says in talking with the service center staff, in a perfect world, they’d want to be a little more central to where their clients are coming from – perhaps a little closer to Toco Hills or central DeKalb. Read More
Brookhaven approves $5.7M contract for PDK Greenspace purchase, now DeKalb BOC must decide
Brookhaven, GA, December 13, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven City Councilmembers voted 3-1 Tuesday, to approve a Purchase and Sale Agreement contract prepared by City Attorney Chris Balch and outside counsel, an agreement that if the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners also vote to approve, would secure approximately 30-acres of land known as the PDK Greenspace, as greenspace. Brookhaven wants to buy the mostly forested former runway protection zone for $5.7 million.
A number of residents spoke in favor of the acquisition and as many spoke in opposition. Chief among the opposition points were concerns the City is spending money that could be used elsewhere. Speakers in support said the land should be left in its natural state, commenting that if the City misses this opportunity it will eventually be developed and the greenspace will be lost forever.
Parents from the Brookhaven Innovation Academy as well as their Board Chair lobbied the Council to pause and consider options that could include their school “coming home” to the City that was instrumental in creating it.
But the City and the County have already agreed on a Letter of Intent (LOI) to preserve the land as greenspace. Tuesday’s Council decision to approve the contract language, formalizes the City’s intent. According to the executed LOI, the County’s interest in selling the land to Brookhaven is for preservation of greenspace, quite literally, and it is to be used exclusively for park purposes. The County says that if Brookhaven proposes any uses other than parkland, it may very well be a “deal breaker”. Read More
Annexation approved: Woodcliff Dr. area now part of Brookhaven
Brookhaven, GA, December 13, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Residents in the Woodcliff Dr. area petitioning to join the City of Brookhaven, got their wish Tuesday evening as Councilmembers voted unanimously to accept their annexation application, along with the related rezonings.
Councilmember Joe Gebbia, who will represent the Woodcliff area welcomed the new residents to the City. He commended Rick Bennett, Executive Park Townhome HOA President, for his efforts in putting the package together that ultimately led to annexation.
“You’ve done a stellar job,” Gebbia told Bennett. “We’ve been in conversation for an extended period of time. You’ve done this the best I’ve ever seen it done.” Read More
VIDEO: Brookhaven Officer receives $23K check to help with expenses while he fights cancer
Brookhaven, GA, December 21, 2016 – by Trey Benton – An outpouring of support for Brookhaven Police Officer Joel Coward, who is battling stage 3 stomach cancer, enabled the Brookhaven Police Foundation to present him with a $23,000 check Wednesday, a portion of the amount raised in less than three days via a GoFundMe campaign. The fund was set up to aid Officer Coward with expenses he is and will continue to incur during this fight.
“I believe I am a living testimony of what God’s plan is for me,” said an emotional Officer Coward. “I never would have thought in a million years that I would get the support that I am getting right now. I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for everything that you are doing for me at this time right now.” He says he is continuing to remain positive and is looking forward to spending the Holidays with his family.
Officer Coward was joined by fellow officers, Brookhaven Police Foundation President JD Clockadale, Brookhaven Police Foundation Members Stuart Marsden and Mayor John Ernst, Police Chief Gary Yandura and IberiaBank VP Fred Andrew, who presented him with the donation. Read More