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East Lake neighborhood rejects townhomes at 2535 Glenwood

Business Kirkwood and East Lake Trending

East Lake neighborhood rejects townhomes at 2535 Glenwood

The East Lake Neighborhood Community Association has once gain rejected developing town homes at 2535 Glenwood Avenue. Image obtained via Google Maps

Atlanta, GA — After the East Lake Neighborhood Community Association voted to recommend the approval of a zoning request for 2535 Glenwood Avenue back in November, members voted to recommend the denial of the request during their monthly meeting on Monday night, March 13.

In January, the Atlanta Zoning Review Board voted to deny the application. It returned at Monday’s ELNCA meeting, making it the third time this application, in its various forms, was in front of the ELNCA.  After almost an hour of discussion, 64 people voted, and 92 percent recommended denying the application.

The property at 2535 Glenwood Avenue sits across from the East Lake Golf Course and is adjacent to the Olmstead neighborhood.

“We took time to meet with Ms. Keyetta Holmes, the head of the Office of Zoning & Development, and we discussed some changes that we could make to satisfy her office,” said Michael Palazzone, presenter of the application and associate at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services.

Per Holmes’ suggestion, said Palazzone, they amended their site plan to show three single-family detached homes facing Glenwood Avenue. Each of these units would have its own driveway and turnaround. They also added a new entrance and exit on the east side of the property.

Here is a breakdown of other changes:

— Rezone from R4 to PD-H

— One less townhome, going from 10 to 9 units

— Square feet per unit taken from 1,750 to 1,945

— Increased number of beds/baths per unit from 2 bed / 2.5 bath to 3 bed / 3.5 bath

— Reduced available guest parking from 6 to 5 spaces

Despite revisions, several East Lake neighbors were not pleased with the application. John Marshall spoke up first, which he said was on behalf of Olmstead residents.

“The great majority of Olmstead neighbors, many of whom are on the call this evening, will be opposing the applicant’s nine-unit proposal,“ Marshall said. “They believe strongly that the East Lake neighborhood plan, and the city of Atlanta’s comprehensive development plan, indicate that 2535 Glenwood is simply not appropriate for what’s proposed and is much more appropriate for three to four single-family, detached homes.

“Despite literally hundreds of hours of discussions and meetings, and conversations and emails and deliberations, the applicant and the 90-plus households here in Olmstead have not been able to reach a compromise that we feel honors…the letter and spirit of the East Lake neighborhood plan, and importantly, the City’s comprehensive development plan. We think it’s critical to highlight here that we’re back at the ELNCA.”

Marshall went on to cite the Zoning Review Board meeting that took place on January 5, 2023, where the application was denied. Members of the board “spotlighted important substantive concerns,” articulating how the density of the proposed development didn’t fit into the neighborhood and city plans.

ELNCA member Lisa West praised Marshall for his comments.

“The concern that I have is the repeated statement that Olmstead approved this proposal. And when that statement is made, it leaves out the fact that Olmstead overwhelmingly rejected it in September,” West said. “The so-called approval that came about in November was a compromise…the community felt that it was really forced to try to reach a resolution because it was hearing, ‘You guys should be happy that they’re not trying to put 25 units on.’ The representatives were unwilling to speak with us; however, it was clear that they were speaking to the developer. We were hearing it from all sides…so it was a compromise the community made, knowing that it was not in the best interest of Olmstead, and more importantly, the best interest of East Lake.”

Jeff Philliber, Vice Presdent of ELNCA, spoke up after Walker with his own views on the proposal.

“I have a problem when we’re talking about density, and against the density, when Olmstead has at least two to three tracks of townhomes already existing,” Philliber said.

“There was not a ‘so-called approval,’ there was a definite approval in November, as voted by ELNCA, no matter what anyone thought,” Philliber continued. “So, the developer has done nothing but come back, based on recommendations on the application we already approved. I think it would be a bad precedent to just change our mind because we changed our mind…and they came back with actually lower density, which seems to be the biggest issue in the argument.”

Another ELNCA member, Paula Brown spoke to the precedent Philliber mentioned.

“The thing about people changing their minds is, the developer, as Lisa has pointed out, has been flip-flopping all over the place and told us stuff that really was never a commitment, and they changed their minds,” Brown said.

Other neighborhood residents agreed.

ELNCA member Vuyani Jones added, “When facts change, the meeting has every right to change their decision. And in this particular case, the facts have changed…The Olmstead development and community is way bigger than the site that we’re talking about. We have a green space, we’ve got a gazebo area, and we’ve got plenty of parking. So, we’re not comparing apples to apples.”

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