The Brookhaven City Council Nov. 14 unanimously voted to reverse a decision it made last month to prohibit a developer from building a gated community on Pine Cone Lane. The decision came after the city attorney said the city would likely lose if sued by the developer.

The City Council then voted to approve the development as originally approved by the Planning Commission.

“The method by which we pursued it was procedurally flawed,” City Councilmember Linley Jones said.

Jones, who added the amendment at the Oct. 24 council meeting to deny Ardent Companies request to build a wrought-iron fence around a 22-townhome development on Pine Cone Lane as part of a rezoning request, said the city will work toward creating a broad policy to consider whether the city should allow future gated communities as it works to create connectivity and promote walkability.

Mayor John Ernst, who in a rare vote broke the tie at the Oct. 25 meeting to deny Ardent Companies request, said the way to make legislative change was not through an individual zoning case.

“We will have staff take a look at an amendment to our code about not allowing gates outside the SLUP [special land use permit] process,” he said.

The new fencing means that the popular vehicle and pedestrian access of Burton Plaza Lane will be closed to the public because under the developer’s plan, Burton Plaza Lane will be shifted slightly to the north and the new private street will be gated at Coosawattee Drive and Pine Cone Lane, according to city staff.

Councilmember Bates Mattison, who supported the developer’s request for a fence, said there needs to be considerable debate about gated communities in the city. Restricting fences citywide is contradictory to the city’s pedestrian-friendly policy because it encourages cut-through traffic in residential neighborhoods, he said.

Ardent’s Neville Allison told the council at the Oct. 25 meeting that Ardent could already build gates along Pine Cone Lane and Coosawattee Drive as part of a 73-unit townhome development already under construction where the Park Villa apartments were once located. The reason to add the fence surrounding the additional 22 units is because, in part, these kinds of townhomes attract a younger, mostly female demographic who want gates for security and exclusivity, he said.

9 replies on “Brookhaven reverses vote to prohibit gated community”

  1. Democrats John and Linley, could care less about personal safety, and protection of personal property, that many of us have worked so hard for.

    To them – stealing delivery packages, cars, mail out of mailboxes, breaking into homes, stealing personal property and so on – is simply “wealth redistribution.”

  2. I’m not in favor of gated communities. I’m also not in favor of letting fear of a lawsuit set zoning precedent for the City of Brookhaven.

  3. So will this block off pedestrian and/or vehicle access to the current Burton Plaza Lane? It’s a huge property which can hold a lot more than 22 townhome units, so something seems weird here.

    1. Hi, Greg. Thanks for the questions. I cleared it up in the story, but, yes, Lake Burton Plaza will be closed off to vehicle and pedestrian access when this development is finished. The 22 townhome development is being added to a 73 townhome development going up where the Park Villa apartments were located, so the property is actually for 95 townhomes all together. The 22 townhomes are going up where a few rental houses are currently located.

      1. Thanks Dyana. Disappointed to lose an alternate exit from Pine Cone Lane.

        I’m a little confused…. there is a townhome community from developer Taylor Morrison nearing completion on Pine Cone Lane called Townsend at Lenox Park. Are those the 73 townhomes you’re referring to? The apartments which were vacated recently will have room for a lot more than 22 townhomes. Is the developer also Taylor Morrison?

        1. Sure, Greg. There are I believe two or three townhome developments in that immediate area, all by Ardent/Taylor Morrison. The one nearing completion is separate from the one about to go in where the Park Villa apts were located. So this brand new development will be a new 95 unit development. Hope that helps.

          1. Yes, thank you! Looking forward to the new neighbors (despite what will likely be boring, predictable architecture). I hope they’ll consider giving nearby residents pedestrian or bike access through the community.
            Not looking forward to more cars… but already a pretty quiet street. I’ll survive.

  4. It’s wasn’t fear of a lawsuit setting a zoning precedent. It was the city council and mayor, 2 of which are attorneys and should know better, crossing their legal authority and restricting gates on private property. There was no zoning precedent, this was nothing more than overreach by a team of people who should know better than to pass illegal measures. It is the job of the city attorney to stop this kind of thing and that’s what happened. Thus the 100% unianmous vote. This should never have been an issue but instead it became one based on politics and misplaced democratic ideals instead of legal authority

  5. Agreed. This was a totally pointless move by the Mayor and Jones. They have a personal agenda and were going to kill redevelopment in our community. Wish they were this passionate when the community actually cared!

    And how about the city focus on real things rather than creating more “policies?” We voted for a city to avoid this kind of crap.

    Thank you brookhaven reporter for highlighting it!

    And thank you Bates! You deserve kudos for pushing back

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