The Brookhaven City Council approved Jan. 23 the controversial Peachtree Overlay District rewrite that is expected to provide clarity to developers and residents concerned about the kind of growth taking place along and near the busy Peachtree Road corridor.

The rewrite follows more than six months of public input from residents as well as the city’s study of neighborhood character areas that was added to the city’s comprehensive plan. Mayor John Ernst and the City Council also wanted an Overlay District rewrite to address the concerns many residents living in neighborhoods surrounding bustling Dresden Drive have raised about future development along the two-lane road that was intended to have a “village” feel.

“While this code is not perfect, it is a lot better than what we had,” Karen Dernavich, who sat on the steering committee for the rewrite, said during public comment. She also asked the council to “fight for us” should a developer find a “loophole” in the new zoning code that goes against the intent of the rewrite to address residents concerns about issues including density.

The Overlay rewrite includes dividing the district into three Peachtree Road Districts, or PR Districts. PR-1 includes the Peachtree Road corridor from North Druid Hills Road to Oglethorpe University. PR-2 includes Dresden Drive, Brookhaven Park and Town Brookhaven. PR-3 includes Apple Valley Road.

The Overlay is also written in a way that allows developers to build by right according to what is laid out in the zoning and code updates of the rewrite, rather than requiring a public zoning process for every proposed project.

To address height concerns along Dresden Drive, the council approved capping development of all buildings east of Apple Valley Road in PR-2 to four stories.

The new Overlay does require developers to apply for a special land use permit for multi-family developments with more than 120 units per acre in the PR-1 district.

The PR-3 district reduces the height to a maximum of three stories, but allows up to four stories as a bonus for developers. As part of the bonus, developers would have to add 20 percent green space to the project.

As part of zoning districts, Oglethorpe University will be removed from the Overlay and retain its office institution zoning; homes on Apple Valley Road and Dresden Drive will retain their R-75 single-family zoning; and Post Brookhaven apartments on Caldwell Road will retain their RM-75 multi-family residential zoning.

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