A developer who has caused controversy last year regarding a Kendrick Road subdivision should not be allowed to build a similar project on the same street, said the Brookhaven Planning Commission at a Feb. 3 meeting.
Donald Neustadt, who is a builder and developer for the home at 1230 Kendrick Road — owned by Michelle R. Gray, according to DeKalb County’s property records — had a similar ordinance approved for a separate property at 1221 Kendrick Road last year. He said developing the property as a single-family lot would diminish the value for the owners.
“They’re only asking for the same thing that other people have had in the past,” he said.
Commissioner Kevin Quirk said he did not see a “particularly compelling reason to change the status quo,” and that a builder could profit on the land as currently zoned.
“It might not be a maximum profit,” he said. “But I’ve got to imagine that they could do pretty well.”
Chairman Stan Segal agreed, and said the lot has “reasonable economic value, and can be built on today in its current zoning.”
Neustadt faced backlash from some residents during public comment who raised concerns about other properties he owns in the area. Some neighbors said Neustadt has let his properties fall into disrepair, notably the property at 1221 Kendrick Road.
“You guys approved a subdivision for him just this past year, which we did not fight him on,” said Erin Mosher, a real estate agent and Brookhaven resident. “But now we’re at the point where he’s just acquiring many, many properties and doing nothing with them and allowing them to look horrible in our neighborhood.”
Neustadt said the property at 1221 Kendrick Road is an “eyesore,” but the coronavirus pandemic, which hit just after the lot was approved for rezoning, prevented him from working on it for some time.
“I have one property, 1221 Kendrick, that is an eyesore,” he said. “It was an eyesore when I bought it. I just finished developing it, and I plan to build on that.”
The commission stressed that while it was sensitive to the neighbors’ concerns, its recommendation was based solely on the current application.
“I think it’s important for [Neustadt] and the public, everyone listening, to understand that every application is unique to itself,” said Commissioner John Funny. “We look at every application individually.”
Neustadt did not say whether he would rework the project or take it to the Brookhaven City Council for a vote.