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Alta Brookhaven

A new project, currently named “Alta Brookhaven,” has been submitted to DeKalb County Planning Department for review of Overlay Zoning Compliance.  The project fills about 2/3 of the block between Dresden and Peachtree View and consists of 230 apartment units on 3.148 acres.  It’s a 4 story structure with internal parking deck and some on-street parking.  See below for the drawings submitted.  The BPCA will be reviewing the plans in detail for Overlay compliance and providing our comments to the Planning Department.  Please feel free to chime in.

Site Plan/Floor Plan

Dresden Elevation

Peachtree View Elevation

Hines Files for Variance

The Hines Co. has filed a variance request to reduce the public sidewalk width along Dresden in front of their project from 10′ to 8′.  The request will be heard at the Zoning Board of Appeals on April 11th at 1 PM.

The BPCA supports this request.  The Hines Co. has been cooperative in meeting Overlay requirements, and has put considerable effort into creating a pedestrian-friendly streetscape along Dresden.  As part of this, they have incorporated parallel parking spaces along Dresden per Overlay guidelines.  Parallel parking helps slow down through-car traffic and creates a barrier between faster-moving cars and pedestrians, making pedestrians feel safer.

The inclusion of parallel parking spaces means giving up some property to make a wider street right-of-way. This, in turn, pushes back the building face or crunches the space between street edge and building face where the sidewalk and plant strip must go (“pedestrian zone”).  Hines does not have room on the site to move the building back further, and feels they cannot condense the building more:  thus they’ve requested the variance.

The required 10′ wide sidewalk is important where streetfront retail exists; in this case, we have streetfront residences, and pedestrian traffic will not be as dense as in front of retail.  Thus we are comfortable with the 8′ width, given that Hines is voluntarily providing parallel parking to meet Overlay guidelines.

The Hines Co. provided the following updated plan and elevations to support their variance request.

Site Plan SP-01- Ashford at Brookhaven – 3-23-12 – CORRECTED

Elevation A4-01- Ashford at Brookhaven – 3-23-12

Elevation A4-02- Ashford at Brookhaven – 3-23-12

Elevation A4-03- Ashford at Brookhaven – 3-23-12

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.