By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

After three months of asking for deferrals and changing its plans, Ben Carter’s organization gained approval Aug. 5 from Neighborhood Planning Unit-B (NPU-B) to allow awnings, canopies, balconies and signage to encroach up to the property line on all roads within the Streets of Buckhead development.

According to Sally Silver, the chairwoman of NPU-B’s Development and Transportation Committee, three months of asking for deferrals and altering the variance request from the zoning ordinance essentially ended with Carter’s Streets of Buckhead LLC asking for the same concessions it had originally sought. The approval by the NPU allows retailers in the Streets of Buckhead to have awnings, canopies and balconies that reach over the sidewalk to the curb, reducing the normal 10-foot setback to zero.

The idea is to create more of the feel of high-end retail developments, such as Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla.

The Streets of Buckhead also won approval for reducing the required usable open space from 39,892 feet to 17,218 feet.

The NPU board also heard from city planner Jessica Lavandier, who was attending her first meeting after maternity leave, that requests might come before them in November for major zoning adjustments to plans for the former Buckhead Village area.

Some of those changes might involve properties owned by Charles and Robin Loudermilk on Peachtree, Roswell and East Paces Ferry roads, which are being handled through Cannon Equities. The effort is to get the properties rezoned to Mixed-Use Residential Commercial (MRC-3), which would allow a major “development of regional impact” for the sites.

There is no indication such a development will begin any time soon on the sites.

The NPU Public Safety Committee and board also approved several liquor license applications, including one for veteran Atlanta restaurant owner Tom Catherall’s newest venture, AJA, which will open soon at 3500 Lenox Road in the former location of Emeril’s restaurant. Also approved was a license change of location for the Buckhead Club, which is moving across Peachtree Road from the Atlanta Financial Center to the 26th floor of 3344 Peachtree, with a planned opening of Sept. 15.

The board approved a new liquor license for the W Atlanta Buckhead hotel at 3377 Peachtree Road, which will open in October. Mary Louise Fitzgibbon, general manager of the renovated former Crowne Plaza hotel, said it will be more upscale than the Midtown W hotel. She described it as “country club cool.” Finally, the board approved a liquor license for Urban Flats, a new restaurant coming to Lindbergh Center around Sept. 15.

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