A proposed luxury residential project that cracks the seal on Brookhaven’s brand new zoning code cleared its first hurdle Feb. 6 after the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval.

An illustration of a proposed courtyard housing subdivision at 3876 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road where a church is currently located. (City of Brookhaven)

The project, proposed for nearly 5 acres at 3876 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, would include 26 bungalow houses built around a central courtyard. This kind of development, new to the city, is now possible after the city approved in November an overhaul of its zoning code that includes a provision for “courtyard housing” subdivisions.

The Planning Commission recommendation for approval came in a rare 4-3 split vote. Voting in favor of recommending approval were Chair Stan Segal, Conor Sen, Shannon Cameron and John Funny.

Those opposed were Madeleine Simmons, Michael Diaz and Bert Levy. Among the reasons they voted to delay the vote for 30 days was to allow residents living in surrounding neighborhoods more time to review last-minute changes to the site plan submitted to the city by the developer the day before the meeting.

A Google Earth image shows the property where a developer wants to build 26 detached bungalow homes on nearly 5 acres of property around a central courtyard. (City of Brookhaven)

One site plan change made in the hours before the meeting is to reduce the project from 28 houses to 26 houses. Ken Warlick with Harrison Development & Construction, the local developer, told the commission that when the company entered talks with the city last August, plans were to build 32 bungalow houses.

The proposed project would “bring the new zoning ordinance to light,” Warlick added.

The houses would be two stories with 2-car garages and be high-end, luxury residences priced in the high $600,000 to low $700,000 range.

The central courtyard would be about 400 feet long and include open lawn areas and landscaping. A small green space would be included near the development’s entrance fronting Chamblee-Dunwoody Road that would be open to the public.

Seven homeowners from the area spoke in opposition to the project. They voiced concerns about traffic and density. Several also said having the houses facing in toward a courtyard does not fit in with surrounding, traditional neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs and would drive down property values of their homes.

“This is like a condominium complex, separate from the rest of the community and existing neighborhoods,” Charles Hughes of Chamdun Place said.

Commission Chair Segal said it was clear the community has anxiety about infill development like this. “Nobody likes change … and we are all wrestling with density increasing,” he said.

The recommendation and project goes before the City Council at its Feb. 26 meeting

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.