Brookhaven, GA, May 4, 2017 – by Trey Benton – After a lengthy discussion, Brookhaven Planning Commission members voted Wednesday evening to recommend City Council approve a rezoning request by Green Implementation Group. LLC, to construct a 79-unit assisted living facility at 3523 Buford Hwy.
If constructed, The Orchards at Brookhaven would be the sister site of The Orchard at Tucker. Arkadiy Yakubov, a Brookhaven resident, is the owner of Orchard Senior Living. The facility would sit on 3.042 acres, have a staff of 10, and 10 of the 79 proposed units would be companion compatible (such as a husband and wife in the same unit).
One after one speakers from Tucker, Lithonia, Brookhaven and Decatur told Commission members about their experiences at the Tucker location and said the proposed facility would be greatly beneficial to Brookhaven.
82-year old Brookhaven Resident William Hamilton, said he is interested in Assisted living and has been looking at options. “There are not many smaller facilities around,” Hamilton said. “The facility is needed.”
Joan Dobinson, another Brookhaven resident who spoke, said she has an 87 year old mother who is really in need of assisted living. “The Orchard is a small family owned company and what they offer appeals to me,” she said. She made the point that the owners live in Brookhaven. “You guys should be thanking them for wanting to put this place in Brookhaven,” Dobinson said.
Attorney Linda Dunlavy, who represents residents in the 22 home Peachtree Village Subdivision that sits adjacent to the proposed facility, said her clients do not oppose the property being used for assisted living. She said the term “boutique” appeals to the small residential neighborhood, but residents want some assurances their standards and quality of life are not diminished.
Annie V., an Afton Lane resident who said she works in a senior living facility, described her neighborhood as “an Oasis in an urban setting”. She said the reason for that is the lack of traffic – surrounded by everything within a community. She said they don’t want any access through their neighborhood to the proposed facility, but if it must be, a gate would be preferred over an arm.
The main problem Commission members wrestled with having only Buford Hwy. access for service vehicles, was the topography of the land making it difficult for semi-trucks to enter and perform the necessary maneuvers to get in and turn around. Had GDOT allowed the existing Buford Hwy. curb cuts be moved a little, this problem could have been largely resolved – but they did not – therefor limiting options.
While the Peachtree Village residents requested only emergency vehicles be allowed to utilize an access drive to the facility from Afton Lane, Commissioners decided to instead limit service vehicle access from Afton Lane to off-peak hours – 10 am to 3 pm. Commissioners said that solution was the most practical way they could come up with.
Another issue that was dealt with was the height of the building. The application requests the construction of a 73,121 square foot building with a maximum building height not exceeding 3 stories or 45 feet. Attorney for the applicant, Doug Dillard, argued the unusual topography of the site would require a variance be sought to construct the building on its proposed footprint. He said should that variance not be approved by the City, the applicant would need to add a story but keeping the same overall square footage inside the building.
Commissioners obliged that request and directed Staff to include the condition, along with 19 others, in their recommendation to Council to approve the rezoning.
The case is scheduled to be before City Council on May 23.