Bellaire Decision by ZBA

By a 5-2 vote, the Brookhaven Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted to defer a decision on the Bellaire property appeal until their May 15th meeting.  The purpose is to give the property owners and neighbors a chance to negotiate an agreement.

After a 2 hour meeting, the ZBA voted to defer, much to the disappointment of the 100 or so Brookhaven residents packing the Brookhaven Court Chamber.  Half the crowd had to stand along the edges of the room and in the lobby outside; everyone sweltered as the HVAC system, apparently turned off for the evening, failed to cool.

Each side was given 30 min. to make their case, with Atty. Kathy Zickert presenting for the Tomlinson Family (property owners) and Linda Dunlavy presenting for the BPCA, HBNA and Bellaire neighbors.  Zickert, et al., maintained that the DeKalb County Planning Dept. incorrectly interpreted the density allowed on the site in denying the owners a Certificate of Overlay Zoning Compliance.  Furthermore, she argued, DeKalb County should have allowed them to make any necessary changes to their site plan and continued to process their LDP application rather than pass on the application to the City of Brookhaven.

Dunlavy, et al., countered that DeKalb Planning Dept.’s interpretation of allowable density was a correct interpretation of the zoning code and therefore the denial of a Certificate of Overlay Compliance should stand.  The Brookhaven ZBA should read Brookhaven’s code and form their own clear opinion, with no deference given to prior decisions made by DeKalb County on other projects.

In the end, the likelihood that either losing party would pursue their case in Superior Court, with the City of Brookhaven as defendant, seemed to convince the ZBA to encourage a negotiated solution.

If such a solution isn’t reached by May 15th, the ZBA will be forced to decide yes or no on the property owners’ appeal.  For more details and a video, see this Brookhaven Post article.

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