The Brookhaven City Council has deferred a decision on a controversial rezoning application that would allow St. Martin’s Episcopal School to build new athletic facilities. 

At its Oct. 25 meeting, the council voted unanimously to defer a public hearing about the rezoning. Mayor John Ernst said the application was deferred because Councilmember Madeleine Simmons could not attend the meeting, and the rezoning falls in her district. 

The school announced it was under contract to buy a roughly 7.2-acre tract of land along Osborne Road in May. The land is historically known as Morrison Farms, and St. Martin’s is looking to rezone the three parcels to R-75 with a special land-use permit that would allow school land use in a residential district.

The Brookhaven Planning Commission recommended approval of the application by a vote of 3-2 at its Oct. 5 meeting. Multiple residents spoke in opposition to the application during that meeting, citing concerns about noise levels, the impact on their property values, and increased activity in the area that might disrupt its residential character. 

The application was deferred until the council’s Nov. 8 meeting, which falls on Election Day. One resident who spoke in public comment expressed concern about holding the public hearing on a day when some residents might not be able to attend. 

The council discussed the possibility of pushing the start time back on the day of the Nov. 8 meeting, but City Attorney Chris Balch said he didn’t think that would agree with Georgia’s Zoning Procedures Law. 

“Polls close at 7 p.m., and we don’t start until 7 p.m.,” Ernst said. “So there’s not a conflict in that regard.”

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.