Strongly opposed development plan awaits Brookhaven City Council decision

The five-person committee charged with deciding how the city of Brookhaven will set itself up has been formed.

Credit: Brant Sanderlin,

Credit: Brant Sanderlin,

The five-person committee charged with deciding how the city of Brookhaven will set itself up has been formed.

Developers be warned – Brookhaven residents are a force to be reckoned with.

A video of the planning commission meeting Wednesday evening shows residents who attended in overwhelming opposition to a developer’s plans to build a mixed-use development on the corner of Dresden and Appalachee drives.

“I know we’ve got a lot of opposition here tonight,” Woody Galloway said in the video. He's the lawyer who represented the developer at the meeting.

The room was at full capacity, with many people standing along the back wall. Citizens wore red shirts to show their opposition to the project, which would include 121 apartments and townhomes as well as ground-floor commercial space for businesses.

“Let’s see if we can change a lot of those red shirts, at least some of those red shirts, into supporters,” Galloway said.

But 15 residents submitted cards to speak during public comment, and Brookhaven Planning Commission Chairman Stan Segal noted that none of the cards were marked for support.

Galloway spoke first, detailing the changes the developer has made to the plans to appease the community. He explained that they have held four large public meetings, and many smaller gathering with community leaders. According to Galloway, the developers have made changes to parking, building height, landscaping and traffic plans, among other things.

“They have shown a willingness to make changes and be flexible,” he said.

He asked for a 30-day deferral to give the developer more time to make changes.

After his speech, the commission made no motion to approve the 30-day deferral, and public comment began.

The 15 residents that spoke out against the development named issues ranging from the saturation of apartment complexes to an infrastructure that can’t handle the density. They pointed out traffic studies, other cities that have failed in similar efforts and the “true spirit of the community” that would be affected by this development.

A representative of the Brookhaven Fields Civic Association spoke out against the project, and another resident claimed they had collected more than 600 signatures in opposition.

One child even spoke out on behalf of the wildlife that would be negatively affected by the mixed-use building plans.

The planning commission made two separate motions to extend the time limit for public comment, allowing more citizens to give their opinion. This also gave Galloway more time to rebut their concerns at the end.

He addressed all of the concerns that were voiced, citing drone studies and traffic studies that have been conducted and reiterating the changes that have been made.

After the commission asked their questions and public comment was closed, a motion was made and seconded to recommend denial of the developer’s proposal.

“Mr. Galloway has made a very good argument about the changes and the work that’s been done today,” Chairman Segal said. “But we have deadlines.”

Because those deadlines were not met, the commission voted unanimously to recommend denial. Now, it’s up to the city council whether or not to accept the recommendation at its next meeting, which is scheduled for July 26.