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Published on November 24th, 2015 |

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NPU-B zoning review of Brand Properties project may draw crowd

If Alhambra condo owner Ben Howard, president of the Buckhead Condo Alliance, has his wish come true, the Neighborhood Planning Unit-B Zoning Committee meeting tonight will be crowded with people in opposition to Brand Properties’ planned redevelopment of the former Garden Hills shopping center site on Peachtree Road.

Ben Howard

Ben Howard

Howard, who also is president of the Alhambra’s homeowner association board, earlier posted an online plea to fellow condo owners and/or BCA supporters: “The Alhambra’s board is asking for your support in its effort to oppose the proposed site plan for Brand Property’s development” at 2815-2839 Peachtree Road.

“We would ask that you send the following information and plea to your owners and networks in hopes of showing the NPU-B board that A.) Condos deserve a place at the table and B.) This development’s site plan is sub-par,” Howard wrote online.

The above is the new site plan for the Brand Properties development, with the building moved forward toward Peachtree Road.

The above is the new site plan for the Brand Properties development, with the building moved forward toward Peachtree Road.

Howard posted that “the Alhambra currently has a significant portion of its units on record (it turns out the 19 is less than a third of the Alhambra’s 65 condo units) as against the proposed development based on two main issues:” 1.) The current site plan calls for a new driveway on Peachtree and 2.) The Transitional Height Plane of the building as it is currently zoned will evaporate if the rezoning is accepted (C-1 to MRC-2).

“The Alhambra, and other neighbors and citizens believe that this new ‘curb-cut’ will increase traffic as well as endanger safety to pedestrians in the area since the plan calls for two retail outlets (both presumably restaurants) to go into the ground floor increasing the pedestrian presence,” Howard wrote.

Regarding the transitional height plane, Howard wrote, “This will allow Garden Hills (neighborhood association) and the developer to push the property all the way up to Peachtree, creating a building that will sit around 50′ away from the Alhambra with 135′ of total height vertically from the Peachtree elevation. This will be much taller than our building and will impact our quality of life.”

The above is the new design for the Brand Properties development at the site of the former Garden Hills shopping center.

The above is the new design for the Brand Properties development at the site of the former Garden Hills shopping center.

Howard, who admittedly has been in discussions for months with both Garden Hills Civic Association representatives and the developer, wrote, “Despite our best efforts, our neighborhood Garden Hills, has opted to support the development making the opposition that much more difficult.”

The former Garden Hills shopping center site at Peachtree and Rumson roads which Brand Properties plans to redevelop. The Alhambra condos are at the top of the photo.

The former Garden Hills shopping center site at Peachtree and Rumson roads which Brand Properties plans to redevelop. The Alhambra condos are at the top of the photo.

In a call to action, Howard urged, “We ask that at a minimum you take five minutes and review, sign and possibly share via social media our petition that was drafted to target the driveway on Peachtree.” The petition can be found here.

“If you are really interested in helping preserve what is left of Peachtree, we would also ask that you join residents of the Alhambra at the NPU-B Zoning meeting next Tuesday evening to voice your opposition in person to this group of Buckhead community volunteers that will help to shape the future for this development and this site plan,” Howard wrote online.

The NPU-B Zoning Committee meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight, Nove. 24, at The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road. There will be a posting of the room number for the meeting in the main atrium.

There were many people who signed the petition online, but it is difficult to determine who among those signees live within view of the

Brand Properties President Michael Hoath (left to right) and CEO Brand Morgan discuss the plan with Alhambra condo resident and Buckhead Condo Alliance President Ben Howard at the Nov. 17 meeting.

Brand Properties President Michael Hoath (left to right) and CEO Brand Morgan discuss the plan with Alhambra condo resident and Buckhead Condo Alliance President Ben Howard at the Nov. 17 meeting.

development site, since the only address recorded by their names is “GA”.

In response to a question from BuckheadView concerning where these people live, Howard responded that is not important. “All voices are valid, commuters and neighbors alike. This is a state route and is arterial in nature. Anyone who uses it should be able to voice an opinion especially since GDOT, a state agency, will ultimately get the final say.”

(BuckheadView did recognize some of the names on the list and knows they do not live close to the development site.)

Normally, the NPU-B Zoning Committee pays primary attention to the position of association which represents the neighborhood where the property is located and then also will listen to neighbors who live adjacent to the property in question. But not to people who are just passersby.

This photo of the earlier rendering of the Brand Properties project (yellow building in middle of photo) shows its position in relation to surrounding condos.

This photo of the earlier rendering of the Brand Properties project (yellow building in middle of photo) shows its position in relation to surrounding condos.

The Alhambra, along with three other condominium buildings along the east side of Peachtree Road (Gallery, The Carlyle and The Phoenix) all are located within the boundaries of the Garden Hills neighborhood, but are not members of the Garden Hills Civic Association (GHCA).

BuckheadView does know that GHCA representatives and the developer listened to arguments and requests from individuals from both Alhambra and Gallery who were opposed to certain aspects of the proposed new development.

However, GHCA last week voted overwhelmingly to support the proposed development with certain conditions. Neither of Alhambra’s two points of opposition were included in the conditions approved by the GHCA board.

The Buckhead Condo Alliance, of which Howard is president, does claim membership that includes Alhambra, Gallery, The Carlyle and 2828, which is across Peachtree Road from the development site and looks down upon it. Also across Peachtree is the Crestwood condominiums. All are in view of the proposed development.

However, the Buckhead Condo Alliance does not have official recognition and a seat at the table of NPU-B as Garden Hills and other official city of Atlanta neighborhoods do. Therefore, BCA has no actual vote on the zoning issue before the NPU-B Zoning Committee.

It is also the understanding of BuckheadView that Alhambra is the only one of those condominium buildings that has actually polled its unit owners on their positions on the proposed development. Gallery did not poll the owners of its 203 condo units, for instance.

It will be interesting to see who and how many show up at the NPU-B Zoning meeting tonight at 7 p.m. and whether they are in favor or opposed to the proposed Brand Properties mixed-use office/retail development.

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