The Brookhaven Planning Commission approved the recommendation of a real estate developer’s application to build 62 townhomes in the Lenox Park neighborhood in a 5-1 vote during a virtual meeting on May 6.

Developer Minerva USA’s request to rezone the Lenox Park Boulevard property on the Buckhead border from “office-institution” will move on to the Brookhaven City Council for a final vote. The commission’s recommendation of approval included variances for rear-yard setbacks of 10 feet rather than 30 for three units; and to waive requirements that garages be less than 50% of the facade, to install two-car garages in the narrow townhomes.

An illustration of the townhomes proposed on Lenox Park Boulevard as shown at the May 6 Brookhaven Planning Commission meeting.

Brian Davison, a managing partner at Minerva, said the development company was considering input from community members on specific design elements of the new townhomes, including “classic, yet fresh and modern architecture” and “lots of windows and outdoor space.” The proposed development would also provide a point of connection with nearby Lenox Park.

Davison acknowledged the ongoing concern from residents of the nearby Arbors neighborhood about the creation of an additional left-turn lane into the Minerva development site, which would be directly across the street from the Arbors.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, residents voiced concerns that a new turn lane would reduce space in the median for pedestrians waiting to cross the street, potentially violate Americans with Disabilities Act crosswalk guidelines, and require the removal of several trees.

A map of the controversial left-turn lane proposed on Lenox Park Boulevard as shown in an application filing.

Davison said in his opinion the turn lane was unneeded as well, but he would leave the decision to the discretion of the Public Works Department and City Council.

Public Works director Hari Karikaran said the recommendation for the lane was to ensure driver safety in the high-traffic area.

Commissioners stressed the need to find a balance between pedestrian and driver safety. Commissioner Kevin Quirk recommended that an existing crosswalk be moved to the eastbound median to avoid any interaction with the left-turn lane. The application was recommended for approval with that condition, as well as with an amendment urging the developers to replant trees where possible.

The sole opposing vote came from Commissioner Cary King who said he still didn’t see the necessity in creating the left-turn lane at all.

–Jordan Meaker

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