At its May 7th meeting, the Doraville city council unanimously approved two big changes to the area around Longmire and Buford Highway. Because of these decisions, you will see more activity in that area over the coming months and years. I think that the changes move us closer to the active, diverse and thriving vision our city has laid out for Buford Highway in both our 2016 Comprehensive Plan as well as the 2017 Doraville/Chamblee Buford Highway Master Plan.
- The council approved a zoning change for 3747 Longmire that will allow a dry cleaning business to open there (it was previously zoned for automotive repair shops only). This brings the zoning for this parcel in line with the parcels that surround it, and to what we have laid out in our master plan.
There were a few concerns that were brought to me about this re-zoning by members of the public, which I believe the council addressed:
Some people were concerned that, because the owner plans to use this location to process dry cleaning from other locations he owns, that the store would not be open to the public. The council addressed this by requiring in the conditions for rezoning that the business be open to the public. For his part, the owner stated that the reason he wants to open the business there is because it is better situated for retail traffic. He had no problems with adding this provision.
The other concern I heard about from residents about opening a dry cleaner in this location was that this business may pose environmental hazards to our community. Council addressed this by requiring that the establishment not use any solvents that have an ignitable flashpoint of less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, PERC (a toxic cleaning substance) is prohibited in this establishment.
With the recent loss of Pride cleaners in Pinetree Plaza, I think a new dry cleaner along Buford Highway is something Doraville sorely needs, so I am excited to be welcoming this new business to our city.
- The council approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow Renovation Church to open at 5660 Buford Highway – the former Atlanta Eagle Sports Complex (it was Lionel Playworld before that). Their timeline, now that the Conditional Use Permit has been approved, has them moving into the new church in Summer 2019.
Harold Shinn, owner of Buford Highway Farmer’s Market (which is across the street this property) expressed deep concern in the public portion of the meeting about how having a church across the street from him with over 1100 members would affect his Sunday morning parking.
The pastor of the church, Leonce Crump, offered several solutions and committed to work with Mr. Shinn to make sure parking didn’t become a problem. The church would have parking monitors patrolling Longmire to make sure that people aren’t parking where they shouldn’t. He’s also exploring a deal with Chik-Fil-A to use their parking (since they are closed on Sunday). A condition was placed on the church that they must seek third party parking if there are verified complaints against them.
My biggest concern was pedestrian accessibility to the church (they are promoting its location as a short walk from MARTA as one of the reasons they are moving here). I’m pleased to say that, in addition to extending the sidewalk along the length of their property on Longmire, Renovation Church will also build it out all the way to New Peachtree (assuming the city is able to secure right of way). They are also going to build a covered bus stop and offer a shuttle service to and from the Doraville MARTA station.
Renovation Church’s move to our city is exciting. They should help activate a part of Buford Highway that has long been under-utilized, and I am hopeful that the people who go to church there will spend money at many other Doraville businesses. I also think that the church seems to be committed to having programs at their location that will service some currently under-served members of our community. These are exciting times to be in Doraville!