Brookhaven, GA, January 20, 2017 – by Trey Benton – Just days before the January 24th Brookhaven City Council Meeting where Councilmembers will consider a controversial proposed MARTA Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe University Station, Art Lomenick, President of Development with Integral, has filed a request with the City to postpone the case until February 28th.
In his Friday letter to Brookhaven Officials, Lomenick cited the reason for his request for postponement is “to continue to work with council and staff on areas of the project still needing further clarification and discussion.”
Integral is part of a master development joint venture with Transwestern Development Company, who, for the Brookhaven MARTA project, are calling themselves Brookhaven City Center Partners (BCCP).
While the request for postponement has come in, that does not mean Councilmembers have to accept it, however. But, Councilman Bates Mattison told The Post the City has never approved an application when the developer has requested deferral, they’ve only denied, such as in the Terwilliger Pappas Solis Dresden case that is now being contested in DeKalb Court.
To further complicate matters, forming a Design Review Board (DRB), which the City said in October must be in place before they will consider approving plans for the TOD, is taking time and will not be in place before the January 24th Meeting.
Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin said on January 10th, the Council for Quality Growth suggested the DRB be governed by zoning law. Anything that deals with zoning in the City of Brookhaven has to go through the Planning Commission. That’s the way the code reads and that’s the process Councilmembers say they intend to follow, and will result in additional time to go through the DRB formation process.
Once formed and “staffed”, the purpose of the DRB would initially be to provide guidance to Council on aspects of the TOD then review future projects of this magnitude.
Back in October ’16, after a lengthy deliberation involving questions and answers from the community, staff and the developers, Brookhaven Planning Commissioners voted 6-1 to recommend City Council approve the BCCP rezoning requests with 36 conditions. A Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) request to construct an office building 25-feet taller than the 100-foot height allowed in the Brookhaven Peachtree Overlay District, however, was recommended for Council’s denial.
During their October 25, 2016 meeting, City Councilmembers deferred the case 90 days to the January 24, 2017 meeting, which will occur next Tuesday.
In July of 2016, BCCP filed their application for parcel rezonings needed for the TOD, the day after a 6-month moratorium imposed in February ’16 expired. The PC-2 zoning sought would allow for the construction of the TOD, with a mixture of uses on “underutilized” parking around the station. Currently the parcels have a mixture of zoning classifications such as C-2, M, R-75 and RM-75.
The proposed Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA multi-phase TOD project is described currently as:
- An 8-story, 200,000 square foot office building,
- A 75,000 square foot, 125 room hotel;
- Two for rent multifamily buildings aggregating 340 units;
- Two for sale multifamily buildings aggregating 107 units;
- One senior housing building with 100 units; and
- Retail and restaurant uses aggregating 55,768 square feet.
MARTA says currently the site generates no tax revenue and upon completion the project is anticipated to add over $200 million to the property tax digest. They say the planned retail space is expected to generate significant additional sales tax revenue for the City as well.
The final decision on whether BCCP gets their requested postponement lies squarely in the hands of the “ultimate deciders”, the Brookhaven City Council.
Councilmembers will meet on Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00 PM at City Hall located at 4362 Peachtree Rd.