Brookhaven, GA, February 7, 2017 – The Post Reports – The Brookhaven Planning Commission is asking for residents’ input on the proposal to create a Design Review Board (DRB), which would regulate the exterior design and appearance of buildings and structures. The current draft ordinance proposes these regulations would be enacted on proposed improvements to or new building of structures within the Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay District.
Input is requested on points such as:
- Should a DRB be created?
- How should members be chosen?
- Should its scope be limited to commercial buildings?
- Should its scope be limited to the Overlay District?
- Instead of creating a DRB, should design regulations be written into city code?
The Department of Community Development has determined that the initial cost to implement a DRB with a city-wide purview would cost approximately $150,000. Alternatively, the initial cost to implement a DRB with a limited area would be approximately $75,000.
Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin told Planning Commissioners during the February 1st Planning Commission Meeting, if the City of Brookhaven does decide to create a DRB, support staff would need to be hired – a Planning Technician – to handle the additional work in the Planning Department.
Brookhaven’s neighboring cities of Chamblee and Sandy Springs have (or had) a DRB, or in Chamblee’s case, they call it an Architecture Review Board (ARB). The ARB serves as a recommending body who is responsible for hearing and reviewing the exterior architectural design of all Planned Unit Development (PUD) and Development of Community Impact (DCI) applications – as well as other initiatives as requested by Council. Their board is composed of at least six members who are appointed by the Mayor and Council.
The Chamblee ARB makes their recommendations ahead of the City Council voting to on the associated applications. In cases where a plan has major modifications, Council will often direct the case be sent back to the ARB for another review for a new recommendation. They can also make their recommendations conditional. But Chamblee does not have a Planning Commission. And their ARB does not add another layer like it would in Brookhaven.
In Sandy Springs, they used to have a DRB. But they did away with it and amended their code of ordinances to address many of the items a Brookhaven DRB would. Their DRB was collapsed back into their Planning Commission.
City Attorney Chris Balch told Commissioners when tapped for direction, there is no consensus on City Council where the DRB would apply. He said Councilmembers are also struggling with the same things Planning Commissioners are. It was apparent Commissioners’ minds were boggled as they took their first swipe at trying to figure out the scope and powers of a proposed DRB, and whether one is even needed in the first place.
The City is asking citizens attend the next Planning Commission meeting on March 1 at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, to weigh in on the topic. For those that cannot attend the meeting, the City says comments can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the binder of information provided to Planning Commissioners on the DRB formation.