Brookhaven’s first “cottage courtyard” residential development allowed under the city’s recently revamped zoning code is set to begin construction in the next few months.

The development on approximately 5 acres at 3876 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, currently the location of a vacant church, includes 26 bungalow-style houses built around a central courtyard.

An illustration of the “cottage courtyard” development. (City of Brookhaven)

The City Council unanimously approved rezoning the property to make way for the first-of-its-kind residential development in the city at its Feb. 26 meeting.

A new “courtyard housing” provision included in the zoning code rewrite approved in November was designed to provide more housing affordability through smaller footprints. The concept was favored by residents participating in character area studies, according to city officials.

But residents living in the neighborhoods in traditional cul-de-sacs surrounding the new Chamblee-Dunwoody Road development fear the smaller, less expensive homes will cause their property values to sink.

The cottage-style homes are expected to be priced in the $675,000 range while the traditional neighborhood homes in cul-de-sacs are priced about $800,000.

The cottage-style homes will be two stories with two-car garages and a road will encircle the development. Landscaping and fencing are being added to buffer between adjacent neighborhoods.

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

Guest parking is also included in the development. The cottage courtyard residents will also share costs on maintenance of the courtyard and the property.

Houses in adjacent cul-de-sacs are typically priced in the $800,000 range and include individual yards. While several people from the area attended the meeting, no one spoke out against the project during the meeting.

At a heated Planning Commission meeting last month with the commission voting in a rare split 4-3 vote to recommend approval of the project, residents criticized the development because they said having the houses facing in toward a courtyard does not fit in with surrounding, traditional neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs. The design of the subdivision would drive down property values of their homes, they argued.

Councilmember Linley Jones, who represents people living in the area, known as the Lakes District, said current the zoning for the property allows for the development of up to four-story houses with only a 30-foot buffer.

A property owner could come in and build a house that would look over neighboring high-end homes, she said. If a property owner wanted to add on a deck, she added, the buffer between homes could shrink to much less than 30 feet.

The courtyard development also requires landscaping, trees and fences to buffer between properties. No such amenities are required with traditional cul-de-sac neighborhoods, she said.

“Any time we are faced with a rezoning, we have to consider what could go there as a matter of right if we do not approve rezoning,” she said. “What is proposed here what is what the character area envisioned.”

Mayor John Ernst congratulated Brookhaven-based Planners and Engineers Collaborative Inc. and Harrison Development & Construction on the project after the vote.

“You get the first taste of the rewrite … and we look forward to more like it,” he said.

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