Architecture firm meets with residents to discuss proposal for 15 townhomes on Scott BoulevardAndrew Rutledge (center), principal at Office of Design, met with residents during a community meeting on Aug. 29 to share details about a proposal to build 15 townhomes at 1602 Scott Boulevard and 2488 Blackmon Drive in Greater Decatur. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Greater Decatur, GA — Architecture firm Office of Design met with residents on Monday, Aug. 29, to share more details about their proposed 15-unit townhome development on Scott Boulevard and Blackmon Drive.
The site is made up of two properties and is located at 1602 Scott Boulevard and 2488 Blackmon Drive, across the street from Chick-Fil-A and next to the Tuxworth Springs Condominiums. The developer is seeking to rezone the property from R-75 (single family residential) to MR-2 (multifamily residential).
The plan is to have three buildings and would be three stories.
The sidewalk on Scott Boulevard will be extended across the property and will be 10 feet wide.
Each unit will have a two-car garage, allowing for 30 parking spaces. There will be an additional five parking spaces for guest parking. One concerned neighbor raised about the parking was where delivery trucks and other vehicles would park when the guest parking spaces are full. Rutledge said the firm can look into that.
The entrance and exit to the townhomes will be off of Scott Boulevard, and residents will only be able to turn right into and out of the property.
The townhomes will eventually be run by a homeowners association and about 10% of the units could be leased.
There was an existing driveway leading to Blackmon Drive that the developer was going to connect to, but that will not be used as an exit. There will be no additional traffic on Blackmon Drive, said Andrew Rutledge, principal at Office of Design.
The developer is also seeking to reduce the setback on part of the property.
“At the back against Tuxworth, the code is written that we’re to provide a 50-foot rear setback easement. We’re asking for the to be reduced from 50 to 20 feet,” Rutledge said. “It really is not going to have a huge effect on those woods and that park space that’s back there.”
The proposal includes two parks — one at the rear of the property and one on the east side of the property — and there will be a path along the perimeter of the property.
An eight-foot wood privacy fence will be installed around the property and evergreens will be planted in between existing trees.
Rutledge said some concerns had been raised that the townhomes would tower over the Tuxworth Springs condos. He explained the grade on the site will be lower, so that the top of the roof meets the top of Tuxworth’s roof.
Part of the proposal includes stair penthouses that would have the option to add a rooftop deck to that unit. Fourteen rooftops decks would be available to be built, but the homeowner would have to buy the rooftop deck as an upgrade in order for it to be constructed.
Rutledge said a six-foot tall wall would be added to the back edge of the units that opt to have a rooftop deck, so those residents wouldn’t be looking into other units or properties.
After concerns were raised from the neighbors living on Blackmon Drive, Rutledge agreed to not put a rooftop deck on the unit closest to Blackmon Drive.
“The rooftops are optional, so if you want a rooftop it’s an additional cost because rooftops are expensive to construct. Not all of these units are going to have rooftops because of that, but the one thing we can do with that one unit is make it so there’s no option to have a rooftop on that,” Rutledge said.
Ritu Shrivastava and Sam Tandon live on Blackmon Drive next to the townhome site. They appreciated the compromise to respect the privacy of their home, but were also concerned about the noise. Neighbors were also concerned about privacy and the buildings looking like they are four stories if the walls are added for rooftop decks.
“People are going to hold parties up there,” Shrivastava said. “If people play music over there at night holding a party, it invades everybody’s privacy. My concern is the rooftops. I don’t know how much the builder is ready to work on that, but that seems like the biggest issue to me.”
Another resident on Blackmon Drive said he is a real estate agent and deals with properties like this often. He said the people who will own the properties typically are not people who will be throwing parties on the rooftop.
But some residents wondered if the rooftop decks could be taken out of the proposal.
“I honestly think it’s a lot to ask the developer because you’re strong-arming them a little bit,” Rutledge said. “At best you’ll probably 70% of them that will actually do it, but I would assume you might even get 50% depending on what the cost of the upgrade is.”
The developers will have various meetings with DeKalb County in the coming months. The next meeting in the process will be the District 2 community council meeting on Oct. 12. The developers will go before the DeKalb Planning Commission on Nov. 1 and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners on Nov. 17.