No details were given on which properties are being considered for testing. City Manager Christian Sigman said the city lacks large enough public parking lots to work for conversion into drive-thru testing sites.
“Being a fully developed city, we do not have a lot of options for drive-thru or mobility-based health services,” Sigman said. “So the city needs the flexibility to identify those locations, both public and private, and utilize them based on emergency basis.”
City staff will begin negotiations with private property owners, but the city has the options to issue a temporary easement if necessary.
“Any and all areas in Brookhaven are under consideration,” a city spokeswoman said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We of course want to use spaces that the owner is agreeable to allow. But in the event we have exhausted all other opportunities we wanted to have another mechanism to protect residents and citizens.
The city’s current site, which is run through a contract with CovidCareGA, is at Northeast Plaza, 3371 Buford Highway. The DeKalb County-run mass testing sites are all located outside of Brookhaven’s city limits.
The additional power is tied to the city’s declaration of emergency, which is set to expire Jan. 30. Establishing a testing site doesn’t require a vote and can take place before the council’s next regular meeting Jan. 11. However, Balch said it would require ratification from council if a site is established.