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41 Comments

  1. 2

    Frank scheuren

    If this is not approved what is the future look like for this area?

  2. 3

    Lonnie Baer

    Something lawful. 6 story office space.

  3. 4

    ???

    Can it be implied from your letter that you would support this project, as submitted, if the fifth story was not included?

  4. 5

    Thomas Porter

    Thanks Bob; the greatest threats we can face as a city are the ones that citizens don’t realize are wrong. You cleared that up.
    Since inception, Community Development Department has wrongfully endorsed positions that are outside the ordinances. They did it again with this report/recommendation.

    Planning Commission Members – please recommend denial as you did before!

  5. 6

    Red

    Are the mayor and council listening? If not, I would seriously question their motivations.

  6. 7

    Bob Sorrentino

    Not really. I have issues with the City confirming PC2 as an appropriate use on a 2 lane road when OCR is clearly the appropriate zoning district to be used here. I can understand and respect how people in the community may see things they like in this development. But it can not be 5 stories as the code is black and white on that issue. And a deliberate pass given to this one project will make defending future developments from getting the same pass impossible. So there is a real existential threat to the code that I wanted to bring to light.

  7. 8

    ???

    What can, or should, be built with OCR that can’t be done with PC2.

  8. 9

    Hunter Burke

    Silly comment, that’s not allowed, intended to frighten these readers. Typical shill.

  9. 10

    The sky is the limit, not 5 stories

    Actually, this would be allowed. And so would 6 story apartments.

  10. 11

    Barbara

    I asked the other day who exactly is running Brookhaven, it seems no one is actually listening or working to improve this city. When we don’t even have a community development director or arborist after 3 months yet we can move forward with these projects that is a big problem. Where is the city manager? Has he been removed from economic development responsibilities like he was at his previous job?

    http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2015/05/04/county-administrator-removed-from-economic.html

  11. 12

    Susan

    Face it, Brookhaven is all about development, not about preserving what we have. It’s all about taxes and revenue for the city. Oh, don’t forget about the Brookhaven jobs program.

    Welcome to Brookhaven.

  12. 13

    Karen Dernavich

    Brookhaven has ten zoning designations that allow for multifamily. Only one of those codes allows for density over 30 units per acre and that is PC2 – which allows 60 units per acre. PC2 is designed for City center and major corridors like Peachtree and Buford Hwy. Not a two lane road. OCR is one of the ten designations that allows up to 30 units per acre and would allow them to do a very similar development just less dense.

  13. 14

    Charles

    Excellent article. The Overlay and Zoning re-writes can’t come soon enough. We are all indebted to the smart citizens like Mr. Sorrentino that have dedicated their time and efforts to call out this nonsense and protect us all and our quality of life. Thank You, You make Brookhaven better.

  14. 15

    Hn Dan

    Does anyone know if the rezoning moratorium ended without a zoning code rewrite?

  15. 16

    Easy rider

    Personally, I appreciate the efforts of Bob & others both in representing the community interests & also in taking the time to educate us. However, there is a serious disconnect between the developer & the community reps. I can’t believe there have been over 50 meetings without an agreement. Sorry, it seems both sides are addressing moving targets.

  16. 17

    Daniel Harrison

    The developer is asking for something that is not allowed. Look at the pictures of the property. The developer intentionally blocks of the bottom floor so it looks like 4 stories. They all do it. Constantly ‘give up’ concessions that aren’t allowed. Tell the community we should be happy to have them build. Include an over inflated property price in their pro formas and expect us to roll over.

    Not happening. Thank you, Bob.

  17. 18

    Julie M.

    @Easy rider – 50 meetings or 150 meetings, doesn’t matter when the developer won’t listen to what has been said since meeting #1. Instead they decided to try the divide and conquer route concentrating on trying to flip a few by making changes to things that were never a part of the core conversations. Density, Height, and Apartments.

  18. 19

    bldvl89

    Just imagine how much easier it would be to satisfy the Overlay’s open space requirement if the density of this project was capped at 30 units/acre instead of the 48 they’re trying to cram in there. All at a time when the WSJ says there’s clear glut in the luxury apt market for 2017, both nationally and in Atlanta.

    Connolly’s also trying to paint a picture of their opposition as a few disaffected neighbors who have no idea what they’re talking about, when it’s them playing the shell game with the Overlay rules, while trying to wear neighborhood opposition out by asking for repeated deferrals till right after the holiday season.

    But last I checked, Dresden was still a two lane road designed to connect
    n’hoods to Peachtree – not bring Peachtree level density to the n’hoods.

  19. 20

    Riley OConnor

    As has been repeatedly pointed out, the apartment boom is getting a little long in the tooth. Phrases such as “The turnaround follows a more than 26% jump in U. S. apartment rents since 2010, far outstripping inflation and income growth.” have been our daily news for seven years. So, there is the powerful temptation to build yet more, but at some point, the music stops and everybody has to find a chair. Please see here:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/luxury-apartment-boom-looks-set-to-fizzle-in-2017-1483358401

    None of this takes place in a vacuum, just look up Peachtree Road to Chamblee to see all the new construction taking place there. And more is proposed.

    It is not the place of the City to determine the financial viability of a particular project, so arguing that there is a developing glut is inappropriate. Simply put, if you’re foolish enough to spend money on something that will be a losing investment for years, then go right ahead. This is still a free-market economy. And, from an investor’s perspective, putting money into a physical structure beats having it sitting around in non-productive cash. And, maybe down the road, things will look better.

    That said, we still have zoning laws to control what development takes place where. You don’t like zoning? Move to Houston. At the same time, variances are there because of the realities of construction. However, the Dresden Village project pushes too far. Even its name is misleading. “Village” conjures up warm images of too-cute-for-words little shops and restaurants, with cozy apartments and a wide open village green. It is none of that, and the neighborhoods are already looking at more high-intensity development around the MARTA station, blocks away.

    Another project in the vicinity was rejected for being out of scale with the existing neighborhood and out of character with the surrounding neighborhoods. This project is more of the same. It should not be approved.

  20. 21

    Easy Rider

    Hopefully, there is a satisfactory resolution. Personally, I like the idea of the community simplifying the argument to one thing, no PC2 zoning. This wouldn’t take 50 + meetings & would give the community more credibility.

  21. 22

    Brittany Neighbor

    You are right, Susan. Who needs an arborist when the plan is to remove as many trees as possible? And the back up plan is to have an ordinance but overlook it in favor of fines.

  22. 23

    Frank

    Yes the moratorium will end before the zoning code. the Character Area Studies were going on, the zoning rewrite should be starting shortly but I heard that it is a 18 month process.

    The overlay dive down would have been close to complete but Bates….. Did his Bates thing and held up the overlay

  23. 24
  24. 25

    Susan

    So having a city arborist has worked well in saving your precious trees? Look again. The entire city is a jobs program. Look at the inflated salaries being paid.

  25. 26

    Barbara

    We started a city to do things right and in a common sense way. Not having an arborist and not having development staff is not right. Nor is the current way Tyler are doing business. All we have managed to do is create a place where previous government employees find the same job they had in a new office with higher pay. Take our old and new city managers and their past employement history/salary, what exactly is DIFFERENT about Brookhaven? Nothing. We are the same as all these other places with the inability to listen to citizens or do things correctly.

    If this new guy can’t even be bothered to hire people then what is he doing all day? Because I don’t see a whole lot going on for him since hiring, handling traffic, and development is going unchecked. Since very basic fuanctions are going to the side, what exactly is his job other than to collect $200k a year to manage a city the size of a stamp? Where is the mayor and council? Again, who is running Brookhaven?

  26. 27

    Lonnie Baer

    Hiring good employees takes time. The current CM is paid $35 k LESS than the previous CM that had never even been a CM before. The current CM has 30 plus years of experience and will make calculated hires to replace the Dev Dir and the Arborist when the right candidate comes along. FYI, he did not hire the two who just quit. The old CM did. To answer your question, the CM runs the city. That’s our form of govt. But you already knew that I am sure.

  27. 28

    Barbara

    4 months to find “the right person”? No, it doesn’t take that long if you are searching and doing your job.

  28. 29

    Julie M.

    @Easy Rider – I would have to say that the community credibility in this case far outweighs any that the developer may still be trying to grasp onto.

  29. 30

    Susan

    Barbara, welcome to Brookhaven!

  30. 31

    Saul

    Mr. Sorrentino, excellent article. You have been gracious with your presentation and facts, no doubt all involved with our city, elected, non-elected and in related city boards are well aware of the facts as you have detailed them. Now how about elaborating on the motivations and quality of city leaders, unelected staff and anyone else involved representing our city that would let this continue as long as it has without raising the same objections as you have.

    By the way, this would NEVER happen in D1.

  31. 32

    Kathy Forbes

    A big thank you to Mr. Sorrentino for taking the time to so clearly articulate the primary reasons why this development should not be approved. Coming from someone who really cares about Brookhaven but is presently too busy to stay on top of every development (I’m talking about me) . . . this type of well-researched commentary is very valuable.

    It’s easy to simply express an opinion on-line – anybody can do that. It’s a whole different thing to do the work behind the scenes . . . attend countless meetings, study the zoning codes, conduct a careful analysis of each proposed development, meet with developers and city officials, write op-ed articles and so forth. These things take a tremendous amount of time and commitment.

    As a community, I think we are very fortunate to have people like Mr. Sorrentino who are willing to do a whole lot more than simply express an opinion. They do work that needs to be done to make a difference.

  32. 33

    Barbara

    I’ve been here a very, very long time. Change can be good, so far though I am unimpressed with what I have seen in this new city. Wish there was more concern about what citizens want while preserving property rights and obeying ordinances. If the city staff suggest disobeying the ordinances then there is a severe leadership issue for us to resolve.

  33. 34

    Brookhaven Mother

    Sad we have to have citizen watchdogs watching over elected officials and nonelected city officials that are in charge of a city created to eliminate the waste and corruption that many objected with in DeKalb County government. History once again repeats itself!

  34. 35

    Saul

    “And smaller cities like Dallas, Atlanta and Nashville are expecting some of the largest supply gluts.”

    “The sluggishness is expected to spread across the U.S., hitting markets from Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas to Los Angeles and Atlanta.

    Dallas is expected to see nearly 25,000 new apartments delivered, compared with the long-term average of roughly 9,000 new apartments a year, according to Axiometrics. Los Angeles is expected to get roughly 13,000 new apartments, nearly double the historical average.

    Nashville could see some 8,500 new apartments, more than triple the typical 2,400 apartments completed annually.

    John Tirrill, managing partner at SWH Partners, an Atlanta developer that has several projects under way in the Nashville area, is leasing a new five-story property with a fitness center, yoga and barre studio and swimming pool. He has lowered rents from $2.25 a square foot to $2.10 a square foot—a $150 discount on a 1,000-square-foot apartment—and is offering one to two months of free rent.”

  35. 36

    flubber

    Your obsession with D1 is crazy. Stop the crazy.

  36. 37

    Saul

    Flubber, just letting you know whose boss. BTW, SAVE THE RATTY D1 FENCES!

  37. 38

    Barbara

    Do you really think this would come anywhere close to flying in D1? Serious question? The place that the parks take a majority of the funds for all the parks in the city? The place where traffic is bad but not as bad as buford peachtree or roxboro yet the D1 issue is fixed first. Or the private property and fences all of us had to pay to spruce up? ONLY in D1.

    Although Saul is more than repetitive his points are more than valid and are becoming more concerning with developments like this from our city leadership.

  38. 39

    Joe P

    Why do you think employees are leaving the COB? And I am seriously asking for your opinions.

  39. 40

    Opinion Granted

    They leave because of one of several reasons.

    It’s the nature of municipal employment, or any mobility of employment. Maybe they are being offered more money to leave.

    COB doesn’t have an unsustainable pension plan, but one is coming as our city manager encouraged and included it in the new Financial Policy. The idea was then affirmed by a unanimous vote of the city council and mayor.

    COB employees are ideologues meeting resistance from a powerful, vocal constituency.

    They don’t like their old boss or their new boss.

    They want to be in a larger organization where incompetence is hidden by the vast number of gov’t employees at the county level

  40. 41

    Betty

    after he was pressured by “I want an iconic glass building” and the people “just need to be educated to know what is best for them” J&J with the BPCA.

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