Brookhaven, GA, April 12, 2017 – by Trey Benton – After numerous public meetings to discuss Brookhaven’s Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Corridor Study, Councilmembers decided during Wednesday’s Work Session to remove a 15 to 20 year long-term conceptual plan for the intersections of Ashford Dunwoody Rd. and Johnson Ferry Rd.
That long-term plan contemplates rerouting Ashford Dunwoody Rd. behind the Publix Shopping Center and aligning it with Blair Circle and rerouting Johnson Ferry Rd. behind the Cambridge Square Kroger to Ashford Dunwoody Rd.
But since that concept depends on the redevelopment of the Kroger and Publix shopping centers, and because it has been met with considerable opposition from area residents and business owners, Mayor John Ernst asked for it to be pulled out of the study.
“It’s not ripe yet. We have to work with the property owners,” Ernst said.
Laurenthia Mesh, who owns Mesh Corners, says she keeps her strip center running in memory of her mother and intends to pass it on to her children. Over the last few months she’s led a grassroots campaign to gather some 1500 signatures from area residents and 45 business owners in opposition to this long-term plan.
“Let’s stick with the short-term plan, wait for the PTOP planned fiber optic’s traffic program to get in to gear,” Mesh suggested during a March City Council Meeting.
With Council’s Wednesday decision, it looks like Mesh and others who are opposed to that long-term concept will get their wish.
Councilwoman Linley Jones, who represents most of the area contemplated in the Ashford Dunwoody Rd Corridor Study said, “I just think that adopting that particular piece of the plan is premature.”
Jones said while the Corridor Study has many great and exciting recommendations included in it, she has heard a considerable amount of concern about this one piece of the broader study.
According to Jones, business owners told her that if this long-tern conceptual plan is put in place, it could put business owners in a position where they would not renew their leases. She said there are also serious reservations by a lot of residents about the rerouting of major roads.
There was some discussion by Councilmembers about only taking out certain parts of the long-term plan, particularly the rerouting of the roads part, and keeping other portions in tact. But, Mayor Ernst pushed for it to be eliminated completely.
“I think if we table it, it will be seen as a ruse,” Ernst said. “It’s always going to be said, ‘we had it tabled, it’s in the back, it’s in the appendix, it’s always going to come back at the last second’. This is not imminent. Let’s concentrate on the short and mid-term stuff and get it done with.”
Councilmen Bates Mattison, Joe Gebbia and John Park agreed. “The feedback that we are getting, it’s not ready for prime time,” Mattison said. “The negative to it I see is much greater than the positive right now.”
City Manager Christian Sigman asked the Council to provide the specific changes they discussed Wednesday to him in writing. He said it would be prepared as a formal document and made part of the Public Record.
“These [changes] are in direct response to the citizen input that we have received,” said Jones. “We want to continue to be sensitive to that moving forward. Absolutely every step of the way we should be working with the residents to, if at all possible, make it value added for them and their families.”
The City is expected to vote on adoption of the entire Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Corridor Study during their April 25th Council Meeting as it is – less the one long-term concept.