Kroger Meeting Report, 3/6/12

Representatives from several area neighborhood groups and the Brookhaven Peachtree Community Alliance  (BPCA) met with Weingarten  yesterday, and the outcome of the meeting was disappointing.  Our primary objective for Cherokee Plaza is to get landscaping / street frontage improvements (i.e. wider, safer sidewalks).  The Kroger expansion is a lesser concern.

We believe that the extent and amount of investment of  the Kroger expansion should require Overlay  Ordinance compliance on the landscaping / streetscape issues.   In separate meetings with Weingarten and Kroger, both  have said that these improvements are either not their responsibility or there is no money for such improvements.

If DeKalb Co requires such improvements, they can figure out who is responsible and somehow divide the financial responsibility.

The only negative outcome for  Overlay compliance would be that Kroger and Weingarten would  spend more money  now, a relatively small investment considering the cost of the Kroger expansion and the value to Weingarten. However, the negative outcome for Brookhaven will be felt for  probably 30 years  (the Kroger lease term)  if these improvements are not required  with this improvement.

Beyond this specific situation, the message that we consistently and unequivocally send to property owners and developers is that  Overlay  compliance and achieving the vision of the LCI study is  a non-negotiable commitment of the community and DeKalb County government.

Cherokee Plaza is  the oldest development in Brookhaven with a long history of providing commercial services to area residents. However, it is a relic of an age of strip commercial development that the Brookhaven LCI study recommendations and the Overlay has purposely sought to transform to a better alternative for the community’s future.  Situated in the heart of Brookhaven and  being the first commercial property to encounter driving north on Peachtree from Atlanta’s Buckhead, a new  Overlay compliant streetscape will not only greatly enhance our community, it will serve as a model for future development along the Peachtree corridor and be a symbol of Brookhaven’s and DeKalb County’s future.

 

Billboard Update 3/8/12

A neighbor actively fighting the billboard just received a letter from DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, who had announced at his Ashford Park Town Hall Meeting that he would meet with representatives of Action Outdoor Advertising.  The letter states:

….my staff and I recently met with representatives of AOA to discuss whether it could be moved to another location.  However, another standard billboard located on Peachtree Road approximately 1,300 feet away is also allowed, per a settlement from a lawsuit, to be converted to an LED billboard.  The owner of that billboard has applied for conversion to an LED billboard, but his request is being held in abeyance by a GA DOT regulation that requires LED billboards to be at least 3,000 feet apart.  The current LED billboard constructed nearby by AOA has pre-empted conversion of the other billboard to an LED billboard.  If AOA removes its billboard, the owner of the other billboard would then have rights to convert it to an LED.  Thus, we are now in the process of contacting the owner to see if he is willing to waive his rights.  Otherwise, removal of the current sign will not help us reach the desired goal.

COMMENT:  The “other billboard” referred to is the one above the Waffle House by Dresden.  Yes, an LED board there would also be unsightly and annoying–let’s get rid of them all!  Short of that, which would you prefer to keep?

Walgreen’s does multi-story!

Walgreen’s started in Chicago with many first-floor drug stores in multi-story buildings.  They’ve grown to prefer their one-story, suburban store because they can put them up quickly and own them themselves.  However, they do very nice new stores in multi-story, mixed-use buildings when required, as this example from Orlando shows.

Walgreen’s in Orlando–note separate entrance to 2nd floor offices

Hines Project Sketches

Here are sketches of Hines’ proposed apartment project on Dresden (click “Hines Co.” in sidebar for more info) as presented at the neighborhood meeting on Feb. 20.  Note that design is still in progress and the “look” may change somewhat before construction.

Hines site plan

Site Plan

Hines pict

Fernwood Circle/Dresden Corner

Hines--Ellijay/Dresden

Ellijay/Dresden Corner

Hines project pict

Elevations

Hastings Update 2/24/12

Subsequent to the initial meeting, revised plans were submitted for review and consideration.  Given the lack of any material change, BPCA declined to meet for another plan review.

The plans submitted included the note:

”The following variances from zoning and overlay ordinance will be required:

1) Exceeding maximum parking requirements

2) 20 ft wide pedestrian zone along roadway

3) Street fronted buildings

4) Two (2) story building minimum

5) Parking between building and road

6) Allowance of drive-thru restaurant

7) Impervious ratio”

BPCA has offered the owner’s representatives its cooperation and assistance in developing Overlay compliant plans for the property’s development.

Kroger Update 2/24/12

BPCA met with representatives of Kroger on Feb. 13th to discuss its recommendations for improvements in the elevations to break up the long and uniform appearance, provision of pedestrian connections between Peachtree and Colonial and the shopping center stores, and the introduction of landscaping in the parking lot, and the creation of a pedestrian street scape for Peachtree Road frontage.

Kroger’s head of real estate for the Southeast listened attentively and indicated she would like to address the community’s concerns.  Kroger intends to keep open the current store while the expansion is under construction, and they are focused on starting as soon as possible.  She said that BPCA’s requested site and streetscape improvements would come under Weingarten’s purview, as Kroger is only responsible for store construction.  Kroger will have a 30 year lease on the space, meaning it will be a long time before any Overlay District requirements will have a chance to be applied to the site in the future. Here is a sketch of the Peachtree Road side of the expanded Kroger.

 

A meeting with Weingarten Realty is scheduled for Tues., March 6, to discuss BPCA’s recommendations for parking lot landscaping and street frontage improvements.

 

B’haven Village Street View

Hines Apts. Update

Hines will present their proposed project to us (neighbors, Brookhaven-ites) on Monday, Feb. 20, at 7 PM at the University Baptist Church.  The church is the same as our polling place and is directly across Fernwood Circle from the Hines site.  This meeting is a required part of permitting in DeKalb County.

Come by to take a look at their proposal, comment as you see fit and share suggestions on how to make it better!

Savi Expansion Updates

The DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals voted yesterday (8 Feb.) to defer the Savi Market variance request for 30 days so that “DeKalb staff, the owner and neighborhood representatives can meet to work out the issues that arise from this development”.  Specifically that means adequate parking.  We (BPCA reps Bill Draper, Jim Eyre and myself) had an amicable chat with Paul Nair (Savi owner) and Doug Dillard (Paul’s atty.) afterwards and they are going to explore a shared parking agreement.  Paul agreed that this issue is as important to his business aspirations as it is to the n’hood since investing $1 million in expansion/improvements means he needs lots more customers, and if customers can’t find convenient parking not enough will come.  So at heart it’s a business problem as much as a n’hood problem,  We all agree that we like what Savi brings to Brookhaven.

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