The Brookhaven Planning Commission unanimously voted Sept. 6 to recommend a 60-day deferral to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in its rezoning request to build an office building and parking deck on the Northeast Expressway. The postponement will grant CHOA more time to finalize its master plan for its massive redevelopment at North Druid Hills Road and I-85.
The mayor and City Council will consider the deferral recommendation at its Sept. 26 meeting. If approved, the council will send the rezoning request back to the Planning Commission. Plans are then for CHOA to return to the Planning Commission on Nov. 1 with a master plan and to seek rezoning for more than 11 acres on the Northeast Expressway to make way for an 8-story office building and 7-story parking deck.
Planning Commission Chair Stan Segal thanked CHOA’s representatives for heeding the commission’s request to see the master plan. The commission delayed voting on the rezoning request in July because CHOA did not yet have a master plan for what it intends to do on the some 45 acres of land at the busy interchange of North Druid Hills Road and I-85.
“This [area] is the gateway to our city, from that side. I appreciate you all listened to us,” Segal said. “We said we were concerned … and we wanted to see how everything is going to integrated. You listened and we really do appreciate it. I know how difficult this is for CHOA. It’s going to get done … and it’s going to get done right.”
Currently an 8-story Center for Advanced Pediatrics building is currently being built at the interchange and plans are to build a $1.3 billion hospital to replace CHOA’s Egleston Hospital on Clifton Road near Emory University.
Residents living in the area and city officials have said they need to know more information about plans for the overall campus due to the already notorious traffic in the area.
Laszlo Pallos, who lives on Timothy Drive near Cliff Valley Way, asked the commission that if the city does approve CHOA’s rezoning request for new development, then the city should also require CHOA to find ways to lessen the burdensome traffic in the area.
Woody Galloway, attorney for CHOA, said the hospital plans to spend up to $9 million on traffic improvements as part of the proposed office building and parking deck. He also noted that when the master plan is submitted to the city of Brookhaven, a Development of Regional Impact, or DRI, is triggered at the state level which will include more traffic improvement proposals including public input.
CHOA representatives have said they need to build the new office building and parking deck as soon as possible so it can relocate staff currently working in the office complex on Tullie Circle and Tullie Road to the new building. Plans are then to tear down the office complex buildings to make room for the new $1.3 billion hospital. CHOA officials say Egleston Hospital is filled to capacity and it needs to build a new hospital to provide specialized care to children from across the state.
The mayor and council will also be considering CHOA’s request to annex into the city the approximate 11 acres on the Northeast Expressway where the proposed office building and parking deck would go. The annexation request can only be considered after the property is rezoned.