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Published on November 7th, 2012 |


NPU-B approves land-use, zoning changes that pave way for new East Andrews mixed-use development

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    Camden Properties has won approval from Neighborhood Planning Unit-B of land use and zoning changes that pave the way for phase 2 of its planned mixed-use residential/retail development on the 30-acre site that formerly was The Paces Apartments on East Andrews Drive between Roswell and West Paces Ferry roads.

    And, although to date the only visible activity on the property has been demolition of the old Paces Apartments, the new owners told BuckheadView construction of the new development likely will begin before the end of the year—possibly this month.

     NPU-B Zoning Committee Chair Bill Murray, left to right, and committee
    member Bob Connally, along with Andrea Bennett, chair of  Development
    & Transportation Committee listen to the Camden Properties requests. 
    The first approval came during NPU-B’s joint meeting of its Zoning and Development & Transportation committees Oct. 30 and that was affirmed  during the full NPU board meeting Tuesday night (Nov. 6) as part of the consent agendas for both committees.  

    The approval was based on certain conditions being worked out between the developer and adjacent neighborhoods.

    The first action taken was to change the land use element of the city’s 2011 Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) to re-designate both Tract One and Tract Three of the property located at 77 Andrews Drive in Buckhead from low and medium density residential to low density commercial use.  

    The two tracts in question were 5 acres at the corner of East Andrews Drive and West Paces Ferry Road, which is Tract One, and the 11.5 acres that form the corner at East Andrews Drive and Roswell Road, which is Tract Three.

    The development plan shows the 5-acre tract at bottom at the corner
    of West Paces Ferry Road and East Andrews Drive, the 11.5-acre
    tract at the top, at the corner of Roswell Road and East Andrews,
    and the residential tract in the middle of the 30-acre site. 

    The developers had requested that the two sites be re-designated as low-density mixed-use, but the city instead advertised the change to low-density commercial, which , according to Camden’s attorney Carl Westmoreland, also allows the developer to do what it wants, which is to put residential stacks on top of the retail in both locations.

    The second set of actions approved were to change the zoning of the two tracts from RG-2 and RG-3 to SPI-9 Sub Area 2 and SPI-9 Sub Area 3. SPI-9 is the Special Public Interest District that encompasses much of the old Buckhead Village commercial area , but does not actually  presently include the Camden property. The development restrictions in SPI-9 are more demanding and include an emphasis on walkability and streetscapes. .

    The center part of the 30-acre site had previously gone through all of the necessary city processes for rezoning from RG-3 to RG-4 and will be occupied only by residential apartment buildings. The developer told BuckheadView on Oct. 30 the plans are to begin construction of those buildings before the end of the year—possibly this month.

    The approval of the developer’s plans for that center section of the property came with 23-26 conditions on petition from the residents in the Valley Road neighborhood that backs up to the rear of the property.

    The architectural rendering above shows the style of the buildings that
    Camden Properties plans for the residential part of the development
    on East Andrews Drive. The townhomes in foreground front directly
    on East Andrews Drive, with taller residential buildings behind.  

    Those same neighbors have asked the developer to be more specific on conditions for the two end pieces as well. Westmoreland explained that they initially were not as specific on the usage of the 5-acre tract at East Andrews and West Paces.

    The development team explained to the NPU-B committees that a two-story bank and office building is planned for 2 of the 5 acres and they plan for 2 stories of offices above retail on the other 3 acres. Structured parking would be under 25 feet high.

    At Tuesday night’s NPU-B board meeting there still remained some minor items on which the adjacent neighborhood wanted clarification and more precise commitment, Westmoreland told the board. However, he said the points dealt mainly with what was going to be developed on the 3-acre site and were minor and that they would be worked out in a new document that would be ready for signing on Wednesday. 

    Carl Westmoreland

    NPU-B board chair Sally Silver said, that she understands there is agreement between the developer and the neighbors. But she said she would be at the Zoning Review Board meeting and would address any problems at that time if the agreement is not reached. 

    On the 11.5-acre tract, which has frontage on both East Andrews and Roswell Road, the developer plans for high-rise residential with retail on the street level. The total height would be 10 stories, but the land drops off dramatically from Roswell Road, so the height on the Roswell Road frontage would not be that high, explained Cannon Reynolds, senior associate of Niles Bolton Associates the architects on the project.

    On the Roswell Road portion of the tract, which goes all the way up to the Peachtree Road Presbyterian Church property, there would be a signaled street cut for a driveway across the street from the Gramercy Apartments, which would include left-hand turn lanes.

    NPU-B chair Sally Silver

    There would be no street parking along Roswell Road. However, the metered street parking that presently exists on East Andrews would remain.

    Westmoreland pointed out that there are two specific conditions the developer has agreed to, related to the retail tracts. There will be no bars or nightclubs allowed on these retail sites. Second, there is a prohibition on allowing use of the parking areas for this retail by bars in the West Village area.

    During the Oct. 30 meeting with the committees, NPU-B chair Sally Silver commended the developer for agreeing to a large buffer and SPI-9 streetscape requirements early on in the process. She said it is a testament to Camden’s plans and involvement in the community that retailers currently located across East Andrews have told her they are looking to move into this development.

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