Patience has become a virtue for Grubb Properties in its effort to re-develop a large tract in Perimeter Center.
The company began talks with the city more than two years ago and has seen its plan make multiple trips before the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association and the city planning commission.
The commission voted unanimously last week to support Grubb in its revised effort to build 900 condo units and attendant parking decks in four towers. In its first go-round, Grubb proposed building 1200 apartments.
The new plan also won the support of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association. The DHA’s former president, Robert Wittenstein testified before the planning group.
“We like this project very much,” he said, adding that it includes an agreement to limit the number of rental units at any one time to 10 percent and for a non-voting DHA member to sit on the homeowner’s board for the condos.
The project will replace three buildings, 41, 47 and 53 Perimeter Center East, one of which contained the first Dunwoody city hall and police headquarters.
Attorney David Kirk stressed that the mixed-use project will allow what is now a large parking to become a park of almost three acres. The project will connect to a new city trail that will run to the Georgetown area and to the Brook Run trail.
“The park is the key driver of value in this,” said Kirk.
One Dunwoody resident expressed opposition to the project, citing the impact on schools and the additional vehicle traffic.
Kirk responded that traffic studies two years apart showed the new proposal would add 9,000 vehicle trips per day as opposed to 11,000 if apartments were built. The number of students projected to enroll in public schools was estimated at less than a dozen.
“I appreciate very much how far you’ve come,” said Vice Chairman Thomas O’Brien.
The planning commission spent most of its three-hour and 20-minute meeting reading through the city’s proposed changes in the Dunwoody Village overlay district. It approved all them either unanimously or with just one vote in dissent.
Much of the discussion was inaudible because of a weak public address system.
The key changes are a broader approval of building materials, removal of development thresholds, approval for flat roofs, no drive-throughs for new buildings and more parking spaces for restaurants.
The need for Special Land Use Permits would no longer exist. Instead changes in the overlay would go to the Board of Zoning Appeals, a quasi-judicial body. A city official said the change would reduce the time for obtaining city approvals to six weeks instead of the current four to six months.
The DHA’s Wittenstein testified that his group seeks more time for discussion and public input.
The meeting ended with Chairman Bob Dallas speaking generally of the need for what he called inclusionary housing and regulation of AirBnb rentals.