A proposed “senior living facility” project in Lenox Park is being slowed after the developer requested more time to review Brookhaven’s new workforce housing mandate along with backlash from residents living in the area opposed to more apartments.
The Brookhaven Planning Commission voted Feb. 6 to defer for two months a request from Greystar GP II LLC to rezone four parcels at 1035, 1045, 1055 and 1065 Lenox Park Blvd. for the project. Originally proposed as a 199-unit apartment building for seniors 55 and older, the project now includes 188 apartments and 11 for-sale single-family attached townhomes. The proposal includes a two-story parking deck and a courtyard.
The property is a 5-acre, undeveloped lot at the intersection of Lenox Park Boulevard and Lake Boulevard that is informally as a park area by local residents. The current zoning of the property allows only for office buildings to be built on the site.
Carl Westmoreland, attorney for Greystar, said the deferral was requested because more information was needed on the city’s workforce housing requirement. As part of the city’s zoning code rewrite approved in November, new multifamily residential developments are required to include 10 percent workforce housing. The city defines workforce housing as households earning no more than 80 percent of the area median household income (AMI) for the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Several residents living in the area are opposing the project and two spoke out at the meeting, citing concerns about increased traffic and devaluing their property.
The residents cited a supposed “master plan” for the area that does not call for more residential development in the area. Planning Commission Chair Stan Segal said he and others on the commission keep hearing about the master plan, including nearly two years ago when another residential development was proposed, but that no copy of the plan has been found.
“I don’t know if it exists … and I’d like to see it,” Segal said, asking for the master plan to be produced before the next meeting.
Westmoreland said the property’s owner, Bellsouth Telecommunications, a division of AT&T, cannot find a developer willing to build anything other than a residential project.
“If AT&T could have had restaurants and commercial [uses] here, they would have,” he said. “This is a difficult piece of property.”
Commissioner Conor Sen also noted that while the property is zoned for office, there is no market for that kind of development in this area. “Downzoning to residential is a reasonable compromise,” he said.
The Planning Commission will take up the rezoning request April 3.