Brookhaven, GA, March 28, 2017 – Letter to the Editor, by Brookhaven Resident Daniel Loventhal – The Ashford Glen HOA sent survey results to the City of Brookhaven showing 80% against the city purchase of the Remington Road property. In response, Councilwoman Linley Jones asked for our individual thoughts and showed concern for our opinion, but not a desire to deviate from her vision. My personal response is below.
Thank you for your response to our community survey. Thank you for your interest in learning more about why I personally oppose this land purchase.
I believe in green space and saving trees. I just do not believe in this current city action.
If there is a concern about a vacant empty house, use the existing code and city powers to have the owner demolish the home.
The concern about the “development” of this 1.7 acres is also not accurate. The lot is very narrow. There is a pipeline easement in the front on which the owner can’t build. The remaining topography and narrow nature of the lot is not conducive to “development” beyond a single family home. And again the city already controls zoning so the city can ensure it stays a single family home property.
The city also has a tree ordinance to insure the property is not clear cut for the building of a new home. And if you are unhappy with the strength of your ordinance make it stronger.
I believe the use of taxpayer dollars (be it Brookhaven’s or Dekalb County’s or both) to buy the 1.7 acre lot is a misuse of funds and disingenuous of the city’s overarching long term plan. At a minimum, it is a misuse of funds to add green space in a section of Brookhaven/Dekalb filled with green space, when there are other sections of Brookhaven/Dekalb that have ZERO green space.
The green space your district already has (Murphey Candler, Blackburn, etc.) needs major funding for improvements, playgrounds, bathrooms, erosion, etc. These are already outlined in the master plan…and require so much funding it will take many many years to complete the improvements. Misallocating dollars (Brookhaven or Dekalb’s) for 1664 Remington only slows the action on those other needs down…and keeps other residents in Brookhaven and Dekalb wanting while they wait for their first park.
How does the entire county feel about spending $350k for a private residential lot in area already filled with greenspace?
It is disingenuous because of the reality of the city’s control over final usage of the 1.7 acres. You have personally stated that once bought, the city must take community input on the usage of the land. If the majority of voices at these meetings ask for a playground with parking, then that is what will end up there. You can’t guarantee the 1.7 acres will stay “natural and undeveloped” from the very start.
This mayor/council will not have the same make up in 5 years or 10 years…so even if it stays natural today, you can’t guarantee the people and council of the future won’t develop this lot into something other than green space. You have refused a deed restriction (which would insure against development) and opted for a city resolution…which is only good until the next resolution.
Promises are only good for so long…the original Murphey Candler forest (now the gravel parking lot by the football fields) is a perfect example. My neighbors on Ashford Trail were told that area would stay forested when they bought their homes, only to wake up to chainsaws less than a year later…when the needs changed. Was the parking necessary…a different discussion…it is an example of a promise broken when needs changed.
It also disingenuous to say this is for a pocket park. Again the shape of the lot being long and narrow with access limited to a small section of a cul de sac does not make this suited for a pocket park.
Which brings us to the more comprehensive issue I am most concerned about and the most disingenuous part of this whole concern – the almost 6 acres owned by Ashford Glen HOA. As outlined above, and in previous articles in Brookhaven Post, and evidenced by the long term master parks plan and master bike/trail plan on the city’s website ….THERE IS NO REASON to buy the 1.7 acres on Remington…unless the city also wants to buy the 6 acres owned by Ashford Glen.
You have personally stated your vision is to provide access to Murphey Candler. You have personally stated you envision at least one bridge across the creek. The master plans show a paved trail through our property and the properties on Remington connecting the GA 400 Trail and Brook Run trail. The number of trees cut down to PAVE these very wide trails would have a significant impact on Nancy Creek. (As an aside I am not sure when the definition of Trail changed to include pavement….).
The parking issues at Murphey Candler are so significant. The people who live on surrounding cul de sacs are inundated…their streets are lined with cars on both sides of the street all day during both spring and fall baseball. I am aware of their plight and feel bad for them…they need relief in the form of smart change at the existing park.
It is disingenuous and completely unrealistic to believe that people will not park where access is given and most convenient. People already walk with carts from the cul dec sacs by the pool to the fields. Given access and opportunity, people will certainly park on Ashford Trail, Glen Crest, and Remington and walk to Murphey Candler….a much shorter walk.
I chose my neighborhood because the only reason people enter is if they live here. If there is access to Murphey candler I fear our streets will end up like those cul de sacs…filled with cars. I am concerned about how fast someone who does not live in our neighborhood will drive down the hill to park at the bottom and walk across to the fields. I am concerned for my children on bikes with cars lining both sides of the road. The people on Remington have expressed the same fears and concerns.
Right now I back up to 6 acres of PRIVATE green space that I and my neighbors enjoy peacefully together. We currently take care of this space together and maintain it as green space. We do not need the city to take/buy existing, private, maintained green space, that can’t be developed due to flood plain, and turn it into public green space. Not do we need the city buying a random residential lot if Ashford Glen is not interested in selling its 6 acres.
Is this really a good use of government dollars under the seemingly innocuous idea of preservation and protection from development…or a canard for bigger long term development of all this land by the city? Under the worst assumptions of the devious nature of the city council, the facts would state the latter. Under the best assumptions of your intentions they would state the former…simply a poor use of tax payer dollars and an indication of poor forethought about the long view of these properties…..Either way it is AGAINST the wishes of the two neighborhoods most effected and impacted…and in your opinion “benefit” from these actions.
BOTH Dunwoody Forest HOA (Remington Road) and Ashford Glen HOA have come out with surveys showing an OVERWHELMING response against the city buying this land. At some point, rather than ramming your own vision forward, the higher ground as a councilwoman would be to stand up and say: “I listened to my constituents and they don’t want this purchase to take place, they don’t want the taxpayer dollars, Dekalb’s or Brookhaven’s, spent this way…and I Linley Jones represent them.”
Ashford Glen Resident
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