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Citizens get vocal about future of Brookhaven
by LaTria Garnigan
May 20, 2014 09:11 AM | 1657 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Brookhaven is moving ahead with its 2034 comprehensive plan and last week held a visioning workshop for the public to weigh in on what the city can look like in the future.

At the workshop, there were several maps up for view, along with a couple of posters where residents could write down their personal thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the city.

Amanda Hatton, with Jacobs Engineering Group and the project lead for the plan, said the goal of the meeting was to collect ideas of the vision of the city, which will ultimately set the pace for the comprehensive plan.

“We want to establish a community-based, long-term vision for the city’s future,” she said.

While the plan spans a 20-year period, it will be broken up in five-year increments, said Hatton. That will allow the city leaders to have an implementable program to pursue.

After a brief overview of some aspects of Brookhaven and a review of possible development projects, the room was split into three small groups, with each taking a section of the city and inputting their ideas of where certain development should be, what should be preserved — in regards to historic Brookhaven and tree canopy — and what should be utilized as public space/park areas. After working on a certain section for a few minutes, the groups switched until all had been able to submit their ideas about all three areas of the city.

Several ideas came out of the groups: mixed-use development around Blackburn Park, gateways that identify when someone is entering or leaving Brookhaven and improvements along Buford Highway.

During her presentation, Hatton presented the top assets and opportunities for the city — significant redevelopment of old commercial along key corridors, the potential for new mixed-use opportunities, the chance to have more tailored zoning districts and leveraging and incorporating “parallel planning” efforts.

Some of the weaknesses residents wrote included — not enough public input, no arts and culture, doing too much too fast and the need for more publicity for the public process. In regards to strengths, they included the city having great neighborhoods, a large natural tree canopy and “smart people.”

The consensus from the workshop was that residents wanted a comprehensive plan that included more public input and smart development, while also preserving many of the natural resources residents have come to enjoy.

The next public workshop will focus on needs and strategies and will be June 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road.

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