The Brookhaven Planning Commission voted 5-1 on Aug. 3 to recommend the City Council deny a rezoning request for a $60 million mixed-use development on Dresden Drive.
The recommendation now goes to the Aug. 23 City Council meeting where the council will have the final say.
The vote came after much discussion by commission members who said a major issue is determining what kind of development is appropriate for Dresden Drive.
“I think what were really trying to struggle with is what’s the benchmark for density on Dresden,” said Conor Sen.
Bert Levy added the commission is “trying to design a city block.”
Chair Stan Segal said the current Dresden Drive development, with restaurants and boutique stores, contributes to an environment residents desire.
“How do we get that village feel but still protect what we have, what we want so much?” he asked.
Developers for Dresden Village, a proposed 194-unit apartment complex with 20,000 square feet of retail space, are seeking to rezone more than 3 acres at 1336-1370 Dresden and 2544-256 Caldwell, where the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner office is located, from O-I (office institution) and PC-2 (pedestrian community) to entirely PC-2.
The city’s Community Development staff recommended approval for Dresden Village but only if the density was lowered from the requested 56.6 residential units per acre to 45 units per acre, or from 194 apartments to some 155 apartments.
Density is the sticking point — many residents living in surrounding single-family neighborhoods have criticized the number of apartments projects on Dresden Drive, especially with the proposed Brookhaven MARTA station redevelopment on Peachtree Road that could add another 547 multifamily units.
Community members speaking out against the project suggested that 30 units per acre is a reasonable compromise.
JR Connolly, CEO of Connolly Investment and Development, developers for the project, told commissioners they are working on determining if the project is economically feasible at 45 units per acre as recommended by city staff.
“Going below is not feasible,” he said.
Speaking out in favor of the of project at the meeting were former City Council member Jim Eyre and Dan Woodley, the original developer of the popular Village Place mixed-use development on Dresden Drive.
Connolly said Dresden Village “will complete the pedestrian connection” between Brookhaven Village and the proposed Brookhaven MARTA redevelopment.
Opponents, however, said too much development on Dresden Drive, a two-lane road, means heavy traffic and cut-through traffic for residential neighborhoods abutting and near the development.