Brookhaven city officials are considering creating an “Apple Valley entertainment district” that would allow residents at nearby restaurants and bars to walk outside with their beer, wine or spirits in hand.

Councilmember Joe Gebbia said the idea is to create the new district around the future redevelopment of the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA Station, where he envisions several chef-driven restaurants and bars along the back of the development where Apple Valley Road is. The city already has several restaurants on nearby Dresden Drive, he said.

“The whole concept is we have agreed to look for how to best position an entertainment zone if we do one, and it makes sense to do one around the town center when the MARTA redevelopment gets done,” he said. “My expectation is it will include a policy on open containers.”

Nothing has been determined on when a MARTA redevelopment would occur, Gebbia said, but his hopes are that more discussions between the city and MARTA take place this year.

The nonprofit Urban Land Institute is currently conducting a study for Brookhaven on creating an Apple Valley entertainment zone, Gebbia said. The city applied for the free study and received it last year, he said. Also studying the idea is the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the restaurant association.

“There’s a high demand from the Dresden Drive restaurants for an open-container ordinance,” he said. But how big the zone would be and what regulations would be in place still to be determined, he said. “There’s no rush,” Gebbia said. “We want to have a really sound thought process behind this.”

A brief presentation on an open container ordinance was presented at the Dec. 10 City Council meeting by the Brookhaven Chamber and backed by the Georgia Restaurant Association. They proposed the ordinance include allowing open containers along Apple Valley Road, Dresden Drive and in the Town Brookhaven mixed-use development.

“This is the opening salvo on this whole discussion,” Mayor John Ernst said. “This is part of a longer process.”

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