Contractors were eager to hear what the new city had to say about inspections and permits during an open house on Jan. 16.
Contractors were eager to hear what the new city had to say about inspections and permits during an open house on Jan. 16.

Brookhaven’s Community Development Department is officially open for business.

Jan. 18 marked the first day after a month-long moratorium on new building and zoning applications expired. On the new city’s first official day, Dec. 17, City Council members voted to enact a 30-day moratorium to allow time to get city staff in place.

The city has hired Clark Patterson Lee to operate the Community Development Department, which handles city permitting.

On Jan. 16, Brookhaven hosted an open house to introduce the development community to the Community Development Department, which handles permitting and inspections. About 120 builders, developers and contractors came to learn how the department will operate.

City Councilman Jim Eyre said for many, the Community Development Department will be their first interaction with the city of Brookhaven. Council wants the department to run smoothly and efficiently, so people do not have any issues getting the permits or inspections they need for construction, he said.

“It shouldn’t be an impediment to development,” Eyre said. “If their first impression of the city is their builder saying ‘the city is holding me up on my permit,’ that’s not good.”

Contractor Mark Graffagnino said he is looking forward to working with the new city because of issues he’s had with DeKalb County in the past.

“I like some of the comments from council members and staff about making it more customer service friendly,” Graffagnino said. “I’m very happy to be dealing with the city of Brookhaven now.”

Reiner Rietig, a residential builder and developer, has been doing work in the Brookhaven area for the past year.

“We’re real excited. It seems like there’s a lot of good, not only elected officials, but staff in place,” Rietig said. It seems like they’re eager to work with residents and developers in the city.”

Rietig said he has some Brookhaven projects that are already underway with DeKalb County. He said he came to the open house because he was interested in how those projects would transition from the county to the city.

“So far we like what we hear,” Rietig said.

Councilman Bates Mattison said the high turnout at the city’s open house is a positive sign for future development in Brookhaven.

“It’s a hot area to develop in,” Mattison said.

Mattison said the council wants to make the permitting and inspections process as smooth as possible for the development community.

“The economic development of our city depends upon private enterprise’s willingness to invest in our city,” Mattison said. “We need to be aware of how we’re addressing their customer service issues.”