To the editor:
I have lived in the Brookhaven Heights Community for 15 years and I have a question for the DeKalb County government planners, the commissioners of DeKalb County and CEO, Burrell Ellis: How can the years of work and cooperation by the people who live here to improve the Brookhaven community be sacrificed for the insensitive and selfish demands of corporations with no interest in our community except for profits?
The answer to this question will determine whether the stretch of Peachtree Road that runs through Brookhaven will look like a strip shopping center or the attractive, lively and successful mixed-use developments on Dresden Road.
We are at a critical juncture. Walgreens wants to build its standard suburban building on the corner of Peachtree and Colonial. Their plans do not comply with recommendations and building codes in the Livable Centers Initiative plan and the overlay ordinance.
Here’s a bit of history about the LCI overlay: To ensure that the stretch along Peachtree Road that runs through Brookhaven did not develop like Buford Highway, a group of concerned citizens formed the Brookhaven Peachtree Community Alliance and secured funds from DeKalb County and the Atlanta Regional Commission to pay for a comprehensive multi-year study to define the community’s vision for Brookhaven’s future.
The recommendations were unanimously adopted and implemented in the Brookhaven Overlay Ordinance – zoning and development codes for new development. The overlay is meant to ensure Brookhaven will develop into a livable, urban community with features such as sidewalks, trees, and attractive building fronts with rear-area parking.
The differences between the LCI vision and the Walgreens proposal are stark. In the instance of Walgreens, the importance of preserving and protecting the LCI and overlay has more significance than usual because a single-story, free-standing, suburban-style Walgreens will establish an unfortunate precedent. Approval of Walgreens as proposed will create significant problems for the community regarding future development. Twisting the building codes in the LCI overlay and permitting by variance will be the norm.
The handful of residents who have been working behind the scenes to enforce the LCI overlay cannot continue to carry the flag for all. They need support and assistance with various tasks. Here’s what the residents of Brookhaven can do right now:
Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LGHC5CH and sign the petition that requests strict compliance with the LCI overlay and no variance or other compromise.
Attend the Board of Appeals meeting at 1 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Maloof Building Auditorium in Decatur, wearing a white shirt. If we can get a few hundred people to show up, it will make a huge impact.
The stakes are high. Please be there.