By Jody Steinberg

When the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meets Jan. 26, it will give the go-ahead, step-back or stop to projects that range from industrial zoning to breathing new life into a vacant office tower.
The board will even consider an application of its own – to designate 600 acres in southern Brookhaven as a Town Center.
The issues have already been before the Community Council and Planning Commission, each of which held recent public meetings and heard from the applicants and community members about the issues. Members of each are appointed by commissioners to represent their community on issues.

Here are some key issues for Brookhaven:

Marist expansion
The Marist School continues discussions with neighbors over a 10-year plan to expand buildings, add parking and relocate activity fields.
Marist originally asked for a deferral of its permit request so it could work things out with the YMCA, whose soccer fields could be affected by construction and changes in traffic. Marist revived the application, but might be put on hold again. While the planning staff recommended approval with conditions, neighbors requested another deferral.
Ron Sprinkle, president of the Ashford Alliance Community Association, asked the Planning Commission to table the application until Marist resolves code variance issues. Neighbors want to know if Marist will be allowed to remove trees in a flood plain, how many can be removed and if that will require a variance or waiver to proceed.

Biomass or biomess
A mess of zoning rules and concerns about traffic, pollution and runoff into North Peachtree Creek generated opposition to a biomass renewable energy facility that developer Raine Cotton wants to build off Briarwood Road near Northeast Plaza. His application to rezone the area from light to heavy industrial could set a precedent and attract other industry, which would conflict with a Town Center designation of the corridor.
The Community Council and the Planning Commission have recommended denial, which could influence the board’s vote, said Dist. 2 commissioner Jeff Rader.

North Druid Hills and E. Roxboro
Laurel David wants to build 47 single-family homes on 8.33 acres along East Roxboro, North Druid Hills, Goodwyn and Wright roads. According to the county planning staff, plans for setbacks, right of ways, greenspace and buffers have not met the conservation standards. The Planning Commission recommended deferral so the developer can resolve issues with planning staff and neighbors.

Executive Park North
Harrick Westech’s plans to redevelop the former AT&T tower at I-85 and Tullie Circle on the north side of Executive Park is consistent with the 2025 Comprehensive Plan to promote mixed-use development and to redevelop existing sites. The developer has applied for a number of permits to proceed with its plans for a 432 multi-family live-work community. In addition to the existing 19-story building, it would like to add a five-story hotel and eight-story parking deck.
The project must be reviewed by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) and Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) as a development of regional impact, so the Planning Commission recommended deferral pending further review.
The board is expected withdraw its own request to designate close to 600 acres of the lower-Buford Highway corridor between I-85 and Buford Highway/North Druid Hills as a Town Center, which had originated with county planners who want a framework for smart growth, incorporating more greenspace, better traffic plans, higher-density retail/office/residential and good urban design.

For more information on development that can impact your community, visit