Residents near the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club are concerned the proposed townhome development on the property will add to their traffic woes and want to see less units proposed.
“You’re going to turn a very comfortable, residential street into a traffic nightmare,” one resident said at an Aug. 2 public meeting about the possible sale of the Boys & Girls Club property at 1330 North Druid Hills Road to developer Ashton Woods, which about 5o people attended.
The Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club is trying to sell its property to move to another location about four miles away in Chamblee at 2880 Dresden Drive, a property the organization already owns.
Bobby Dunn, the regional director for DeKalb and Gwinnett Boys & Girls clubs, said the new location checks all three of their goals: more space, better facilities and closer to the children they serve.
“The decision that we made to move from this location was very emotional and it was well-thought through,” Dunn said.
Mike Haun, a Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club board member, said during the meeting that the sale of the property to Ashton Woods, which is contingent upon it being rezoned for multi-family developments by the Brookhaven City Council, is important to furthering the Boys & Girls Club mission.
“In the facilitation of this sale, this mission gets to be carried out to another location,” Haun said.
Some residents argued that connection is misleading and using unnecessary emotional appeal.
“I just don’t think you’re ever going to get the people here to buy into that connection,” another resident said.
The new location is more than twice the size, and will they will be able to accommodate 250 kids, an increase over the 150 they can accommodate at the North Druid Hills Road location. The new location also has air conditioning in the gym, a fact mentioned several times at the meeting held in the current gym, which was hot in the summer evening heat.
Ashton Atlanta Residential LLC, a subsidiary of Ashton Woods, is seeking to rezone the property for the townhome development from R-75 (single-family residential) to RM-100 (multi-family residential). RM-100 would allow Ashton Woods to build 12 units per acre, and the current site plan comes in right under that 11.9 units per acre on a property just over six acres.
The site plan also calls for 74 units, a density almost every one that spoke at the meeting objected to, and a topic Mike Busher, senior vice president of Ashton Woods Atlanta, grew weary addressing.
“I’m not the sharpest knife, but I picked up on that one early,” Busher said of residents plea for lower density.
Busher said they can consider changing the plan or lowering the density, and appreciated residents offering their perspective on it. However, he said proposing 74 units for a six acre property is similar to other townhome developments in the area.
The plan calls for one entry and exit point on Sylvan Circle at the north end of the property, which concerned residents.
“It’s an awful thing to do to a very quiet circle,” a resident said.
Residents would like to see other entry points on Logan Circle to the east or North Druid Hills Road to the west if possible, but Busher said limited sight lines make those bad options.
Busher also said residents on Logan Circle have previously objected to an entry point on that road and the developers have to balance everyone’s opinions and perspectives when making the site plan.
Residents are mostly concerned about traffic and want to see traffic spread out on different roads. Busher said he will do more traffic studies to determine what is the best course of action.
A traffic study already completed with the assumption there is one entry on Sylvan Circle projects 41 cars entering and exiting during morning peak hour traffic and 47 in the evening.
A few residents at the meeting also expressed they and their children will miss having playground in the area, and asked if a public park could be built on the site to fill that void. Busher said that is unlikely because the Boys & Girls Club would have to sell the property at a lower price.
Bates Mattison, the city council member representing the district, attended the meeting and said the City Council will consider the public input, but cautioned if it doesn’t get approved a “lower-quality” developer could try to buy the property.
“We need to get something the community is on board with, and if they can’t get on board the city can deny the zoning request,” Mattison said. “But if we do that, they could come back with lower quality buyer and we’ll be back in the same situation.”
The case is slated to go before the Planning Commission Sept. 6 and to the City Council Sept. 26.