A Line in the Sand: No to Defoor

Perimeter Summit, where the former HP office tower is located, and the office buildings on the eastern side of Ashford Dunwoody Road across from Perimeter Summit, constitute the southern boundary of Perimeter Center. Everything south of there is the strictly residential North Brookhaven-Murphey Candler-Ashford Alliance enclave many residents of our community, including me, call home. Or so we thought.

Franco Defoor Properties has purchased six parcels of residential property at the entrance to the Oak Forest subdivision, located at Ashford Dunwoody Road and Oak Forest Drive. They intend to build an assisted living facility and an office building. They have applied to the county for rezoning of these parcels from single-family residential to office-industrial, a type of zoning that is prevalent in Perimeter Center.

At a recent meeting hosted by the Ashford Alliance, I was appalled at the dismissive tone of the developer’s lawyer toward the concerns of the community. He talked at one point about the residential land uses along Ashford Dunwoody Road needing to be upgraded. At another point, he discussed how these new large-scale development projects would be a much-needed “step down” between Perimeter Center to the north and the residential neighborhoods to the south.

I stand with the residents and neighborhoods in our community that have contacted me in opposition to the effort by Defoor Properties to push the boundary of Perimeter Center further south along Ashford Dunwoody Road. Once that boundary between commercial and residential uses moves south, another developer surely will come along wanting to move the line southward yet again.

It is time the residential neighborhoods of the Murphey Candler area demand and receive the respect we deserve. Young families are moving in. New construction is sprouting up here and there. The area is doing very well as a residential community.

Furthermore, for residents of Oak Forest, the supersized Defoor projects simply are not appropriate for the entrance to their neighborhood.

DeKalb County Commissioners Elaine Boyer and Kathie Gannon ultimately will decide whether or not this rezoning is approved. Please contact them via phone or e-mail and let them know what you think. You can find their contact information at www.co.dekalb.ga.us. Also, please consider attending the various zoning meetings that will occur during the next couple months.

Whether our residential community remains residential hangs in the balance. Perhaps the types of “infill” cluster homes and townhomes that have popped up along Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Harts Mill Road in recent years would be appropriate for this Ashford Dunwoody location. What Defoor has proposed clearly is not appropriate.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand on Ashford Dunwoody Road.

A version of this post was published in the February 20 edition of the Dunwoody Crier.

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