Residents of a tony Buckhead neighborhood, including a former mayoral candidate, are alarmed by a proposal that would put a townhouse development within its boundaries.
Developers are angling to put 23 townhomes at an entrance to Tuxedo Park on about two acres of land, near where Piedmont Road turns into Blackland Road at the busy Roswell Road intersection. On either side of Blackland Road’s roughly 1.3-mile stretch, enormous single-family houses with manicured lawns are tucked away from businesses such as Landmark Diner and Walgreens.
Monte Hewitt Homes filed with the city in July to rezone the land on Blackland Road, currently designated part single-family residential and part community business, to a multi-family residential district. The expected market price would be $1 million each for four of the units (three-bedrooms) and $1.15 million each for the other 19 (four-bedrooms), according to the filing.
A Monte Hewitt representative declined to comment on the proposal.
More than 400 neighbors have signed a Change.org petition against the proposed development. Former Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who was once president of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association and has lived there for more than three decades, has attended zoning and neighborhood planning meetings speaking against the plan.
The former Atlanta mayoral candidate isn’t opposed to development on the land — several single-family homes could go up in its current zoning, she said, or she’d love for it to be turned into greenspace — just no townhomes. Single-family home neighborhoods add to the city’s beauty and vitality, and there is precedent for “holding the line” against intrusion, she said.
“Being actively involved in this is very much in line with my history of being a neighborhood advocate,” Norwood said, referencing votes she cast as a councilwoman opposing such rezoning in all areas of Atlanta.
At an Oct. 11 city zoning board hearing, city staff recommended approval. The rezoning “has the potential to add value to the character of the neighborhood and serve as a transitional residential use” between the businesses along Roswell Road and the homes on Blackland Road, zoning staff said.
Grady Clinkscales Jr., a board member of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association, called such commercial encroachment “a threat to our quality of life and housing choice.”
“Once single-family residential land is lost to rezoning, it is never regained,” he said in an Oct. 17 press release from the community group.
Neighbors also fear the project would increase cut-through traffic in the neighborhood — which the release called “an already untenable situation” — and worsen a flooding issue due to development in the area.
The association’s president, Mercy Wright, said the townhomes would only benefit the developer of the land and the seller: the Harold E. Bailey Family Trusts.
“For Tuxedo Park, it will mean the beginning of a precedent-setting destruction of a lovely, historic neighborhood of single-family residential homes,” her statement said.
The proposal will go before the city again at a to-be-determined date.
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