NPU-B board also nixes Lindbergh area ‘big box’ development; hears hope for saving historic house
The full board of Neighborhood Planning Units B voted 19-3-1 Tuesday night to deny the latest zoning request to build a mixed-use development off Piedmont Road in the Lindbergh area, that would include a “big box” Walmart store rather than a regular grocery store.
|NPU-B board chair Sally Silver
|But, while casting that vote of denial—following a year of “fruitless negotiations” with The Sembler Co. and Jeff Fuqua of Fuqua Development attempting to arrive at an acceptable plan– NPU-B chair Sally Silver announced positive negotiations that may result in moving and saving Buckhead’s historic Randolph-Lucas House.
With May Massey, property manager of the 2500 Peachtree Condominiums Association, sitting in the audience, Silver talked about a meeting earlier Tuesday involving many interested parties in saving the Randolph-Lucas House from destruction, which she said suggested there may soon be a possible plan for saving the house.
The 2500 Peachtree Condominium Association has filed for a permit to demolish the house, which was built in 1924 and a sole remaining example of the mansion homes that once lined Peachtree Road in Buckhead.
Silver told her NPU-B board, “We need a fund-raising campaign. Every dollar would help.” She said she has been in talks with people about a site in Buckhead where the house could be moved, restored and become useful for public use. She said a couple of people have even indicated they might donate a site for the house if it can be moved.
While Silver expressed optimism about saving the Randolph-Lucas House, she expressed little optimism the board would ever accept any of the plans Sembler and Fuqua have brought before the NPU for the Lindbergh area development.
|Attorney Stephen Rothman presented the latest plans for the mixed-use
development planned for the Lindbergh area off Piedmont Road during
the NPU-B Zoning Committee Meeting in June.
Before the NPU board meeting ever started, Silver explained to many of the board members a disturbing set of affairs that had taken place since the NPU-B Zoning Committee voted to deny the zoning request 7-1-0 at its meeting on June 26.
Silver explained that a meeting had been set up for June 29, following the June 26 Zoning Committee’s vote, with city Planning Department management, the developer and NPU-B representatives but had been changed to Monday, July 2, at 2:30 p.m. But the meeting had then mysteriously been changed to 10:30 Monday morning without notice to the NPU-B representatives who were supposed to be attending.
Silver told the other NPU board members she broke all driving records and got to the meeting to find that the developer was presenting to the Planning Department the same plans the NPU had denied because it contained a big box store rather than simply a requested grocery store.
|Members of the NPU-B Zoning Committee thoroughly discussed the new
set of plans for the proposed Lindbergh area development in June.
She also told the board members that she had learned that the existing Target big box store in the adjacent mixed-use Lindbergh Plaza development—which had been a Sembler project—had just announced that it had expanded its grocery store element to include a major fresh food section.
“There now already is a grocery store right across the street” from the proposed development by Sembler and Jeff Fuqua, Silver said, which also included a grocery inside a big box store. She suggested there now is no reason at all for this proposed new development Sembler and Fuqua are trying to get approved.
The developers are getting ready to ask the city to amend its comprehensive development plan to allow them to build the shopping center on the proposed site, which is actually several parcels bounded by Piedmont Road and Morosgo, Adina and Lindbergh drives. The approximately 21-acre site is currently zoned for high-density residential and home to several outdated (and occupied) apartment complexes and a vast vacant lot.
|Proposed development plan for the Lindbergh Sembler/Fuqua project.
The zoning issue for the development was the final item on the Zoning Committee’s report for consideration of the full board and Silver called almost immediately for a board vote, which ended up once again denying the plan from being approved.
During the brief discussion, attorney Stephen Rothman, of Wilson Brock & Irby LLC, who represents Sembler and Fuqua on this project, sat by himself in the back of the meeting room at the Hinson Center at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Peachtree Road with a large presentation board, in case he was given the opportunity to again present the developers’ plan.
He never got that opportunity on Tuesday night.
The issue still is expected to go before the city’s Zoning Review Board at 6 p.m. on July 12 in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue in downtown Atlanta.
Silver is urging residents who live within District 7 in Buckhead to let their opinions be known about item Z-11-19 by sending emails to Dist. 7 Councilman Howard Shook (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Zoning/Zoning Administrator Charetta Wilson-Jacks (email@example.com) and Commissioner of Planning and Neighborhood Conservation James Shelby (firstname.lastname@example.org).