Your Thoughts on Briarcliff and North Druid Hills

A major developer has announced plans to purchase the Park Apartments and is negotiating to purchase the school property at the corner of Briarcliff and North Druid Hills Roads. The developer’s proposed high-density, mixed-use commercial and residential development would include approximately 107 acres of land, 3,700 residential units, and 1.5 million square feet of retail space.

Your county commissioners have hired a consultant and are holding a series of public meetings, the next of which will be Wednesday, July 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Kittredge Magnet School, to discuss potential improvements to the transportation infrastructure and greenspace around Briarcliff and North Druid Hills Roads.

I have attended some of these meetings, listening to the presentations and citizen comments. One of the things that struck me about the meetings is that nobody is asking you, the neighbors who live in the vicinity of the proposed project, a very fundamental question: do you or don’t you support the project, and if you do support the project, is that support conditioned on ensuring that transportation, traffic flow, sidewalk, streetscape, and greenspace improvements actually get done?

As your state legislator, I have no control over whether or not the zoning changes for the project ultimately are approved. That is the exclusive role of your county commissioners. However, if your support is conditioned on improving the surrounding infrastructure, I may be able to help with legislation to ensure that DeKalb County’s tax revenue windfall from the new development actually is spent in our community in the vicinity of the development.

As we have seen in the past, the DeKalb County Government often does not invest its tax revenues in our community, even when it has promised to do so. For example, the list of projects from the county’s 2005 general obligation bond issue has resulted in a list of unfulfilled promises in Toco Hills and throughout House District 80.

Now is the time to make your voice heard. I have distributed a survey using a direct marketing company to residents in the North Druid Hills Residents Association (the area bounded by I-85 on the north, Clairmont Road on the east, LaVista Road on the south, and North Druid Hills Road on the west) and the Merry Hills Homeowners Association.

I will compile the results of this survey, make them public, and use them to determine whether there is a way I can help achieve our community’s objectives. I look forward to hearing from you.