Members of the Brookhaven Planning Commission expressed cautious optimism over a draft development plan for the area around Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road during its Dec. 1 meeting.
Allison Stewart Harris of VHB, which leads the consultant team for the Windsor-Osborne Special Area Plan, presented a draft of the project during the commission meeting. The city has held two public input sessions for the Windsor Osborne area, one in September and one in October. The changes to the area are part of Brookhaven’s Comprehensive Master Plan.
The draft plan builds off of and around Avellino’s Wood Fire Pizzeria at 1328 Windsor Parkway. According to the plan, a new commercial space – most likely a restaurant – would come in nextdoor to Avellino’s. Across Osborne Road, there would be another 3,000 square-foot commercial business. The parcels of land next to that business would be turned into five townhomes.
Harris said while public input didn’t yield much support for townhomes, the consultant team believes townhomes would help reduce traffic and bolster pedestrian safety more than single-family residences would.
“People were very concerned about traffic, and if you have three single homes here you’ve got three driveways coming right on top of … your roundabout,” Harris said, referencing a new roundabout at Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road, which is expected to be completed by Dec. 31. “This at least kind of consolidates that access to these homes into one spot and reduces some of those conflicts.”
The draft includes 73 parking spaces and expanded sidewalks. The plan also includes opportunities for murals and public art in the design.
Harris also presented zoning recommendations in the draft. Many of the buildings in question are currently zoned to C-1, or Local Commercial, which is intended for retail and services that serve multiple neighborhood areas, according to the city’s code. Harris suggested rezoning those buildings to NS, or Neighborhood Shopping, which is meant to accommodate small or moderate-sized businesses to serve the surrounding neighborhood.
Harris also recommended rezoning the parcels along Windsor Parkway that would hold the townhomes to R3, which is intended to accommodate duplexes and triplexes.
Commission Chair Stan Segal spoke optimistically about the project and praised the draft plan.
“If this intersection, this area, looks anything like the drawings when it’s done, I think it will be fabulous,” Segal said.
Some commissioners were more hesitant, worrying about which developers would be interested. Commissioner Kevin Quirk said he worried about the effect on the area if the plan to redevelop didn’t work, and wanted to avoid failing businesses and vacant buildings in the area.
“Your concepts and your drawings … they just look fantastic,” he said. “If it works, it’s just going to be wonderful. But if it doesn’t work, it could … be bad in this sense.”
Harris said that out of the four property owners involved, three of the owners were interested in redeveloping the parcels of land themselves. The other owner, she said, is interested in selling. She also said the consultant team has heard from a few interested tenants.
“We’ve been hearing from a tenant perspective that people want to be here in this community,” Harris said.
The draft will go back to the Planning Commission in January before going before the Brookhaven City Council. Residents can watch the meeting in full at the city’s Facebook page.