While those plans focus on a certain area, the overall comprehensive plan will be the umbrella to include each of the individual focus initiatives, along with its own mission. Last week the comprehensive plan steering committee met to discuss its goals, brainstorm ways to improve economics, infrastructure and the overall feel of DeKalb County’s newest municipality and ways to grow.
“We’re excited the city is engaging themselves in this initiative,” said City Manager Marie L. Garrett. “It speaks very well of the ownership the city is taking with the future. Fasten your seat belts, get ready; it’s going to be a very exciting ride.”
Garrett said the comprehensive plan will take longer than the other plans, but she said they will make sure the other plans are slowed down to be complete along with the comprehensive plan.
The 20-year plan, according to Community Development Director Susan Canon, will contain a five-year work program that will allow Brookhaven to prioritize and budget for items contained in the plan. “We will be looking at a lot of different components — economics, natural resources and community facilities, which will have to be a coordinated effort along with transportation issues and the parks and recreation master plan,” she said.
Amanda Hatton, with Jacobs Engineering, is the expert on the committee whose company will be working with the city on the overall plan. Hatton said the committee is charged with setting up Brookhaven’s future.
The committee’s scope of work includes community goals, needs and opportunities, the community work programs, land use, demographics, economic development and housing.
An August deadline is set for a finished plan to go to the state for adoption, said Canon. Canon and Hatton both said the community will be actively engaged throughout the process, and will be able to approach committee members to tell them their concerns and wishes regarding the city’s future. Committee members are then charged with relaying that information back to the group to help develop the plan.
“We will be looking at DeKalb County’s comprehensive plan, but you all are a new city for a reason,” said Hatton. “I think it’s valuable to start from a fresh perspective. This is your vision for the future and not a continuation of DeKalb County.”
She said the committee should focus on what is unique about Brookhaven and what makes the city a unique place to the metro Atlanta area and the Southeast.
Several of the ideas brought forth from committee members included a desirable pedestrian environment, more connectivity, less reliance on cars and walkability. Density and how to deal with future residential development was also discussed.
“The No. 1 issue we need to manage is that we are going to be denser, we have some premier neighborhoods in the metro area, but everything coming in is higher density and we already have pushback on apartments and multi-family, but there’s more to come,” said Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams. Williams, along with council members Joe Gebbia and Jim Eyre, sat in on the meeting.
At its next meeting, Hatton said the group will focus on preliminaries needed to make decisions on in the next couple of months.