Author Archives: Laurie Marion

DeKalb County Planning Commission Votes to Deny Sketch Plat

Last night the DeKalb County Planning Commission voted to deny the sketch plat submitted by TPA-Arrowhead Real Estate Partners that proposed 43 lots for R-100 single-family detached residences on the Cathey property.

Sketch plat review procedure allowed a total of five minutes each for comments from the developer or from the public.

Speaking in support of the sketch plat, Attorney David Flint agreed with the Planning Department staff that changes needed to be made to the sketch plat to ensure compliance with Georgia stormwater management regulations.

Briarlake Community Forest Alliance President Richard Marion enumerated several ways that the sketch plat did not comply with Federal, state and county regulations.

Staff from the DeKalb County Department of Planning and Sustainability recommended a two-week delay to allow TPA-Arrowhead to revise the sketch plat.

District 2 Planning Commissioner Jon West asked about flooding in the area of the Briarlake Forest. Tom Shillock, Certified Floodplain Manager from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, explained the flooding situation in the Briarlake area.

District 2 Planning Commissioner Jon West commented on the serious flooding and infrastructure issues in the area of the Briarlake Forest.

After a few more questions to the Planning Department staff by several Planning Commissioners, District 2 Planning Commissioner Jon West made a few final comments.

Planning Commissioner Jon West made a motion to deny the sketch plat, the motion was seconded, and the Planning Commission voted to deny the sketch plat. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause.

Map showing approximate area of appeal territory


The above map shows the approximate location of properties that are within 1,500 feet of the Cathey property. If your property is within a radius marked by the outer edges of the yellow lines, you may be eligible to file an appeal to any decision made by the Planning Commission regarding the proposed development on February 11. The Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed development of this property for February 11, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Manuel Maloof Auditorium in Decatur.

Paper copies of the sketch plat are available in boxes next to the signs posted on the Cathey property.

Public Hearing Date Announced

publicnoticeSigns have been posted on Amberwood Drive and Briarlake Road announcing a public hearing on the sketch plat that has been submitted to the DeKalb County Department of Planning and Sustainability. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur.

Paper copies of the sketch plat are available in boxes next to the signs.

The Planning Commission must adhere to certain standards listed in the DeKalb County Code: (Ord. No. 30-02, Pt. II, 7-9-02)

There is an opportunity for public comment at the Planning Commission hearing. According to the DeKalb County Code (see (Ord. No. 30-02, Pt. II, 7-9-02; Ord. No. 01-04, Pt. I, 4-13-04), any person whose property line is within 1,500 feet of the property line of the proposed subdivision has the right to appeal decisions of the Planning Commission.


Briarlake Area Residents Needed for Focus Group Meeting

Briarlake Area Residents Needed

Focus Group

“A Vision for the Briarlake Forest”

Light refreshments served

The Briarlake Community Forest Alliance is hosting its first set of focus groups to learn what this forest means to people in our community and how it contributes to our quality of life.  If you live in this area, we would like to invite you to participate in a small group discussion facilitated by one of our board members to help us understand the value of this forest in our community. The feedback from the groups will be used to develop a positive vision to present to possible funding sources that support conservation and environmental education.

TIME: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
DATE: Monday, January 12, 2015
PLACE: Tucker Recreation Center
4898 LaVista Road
Tucker, GA  30084

For more information or to RSVP, email

New Sketch Plat for Amberwood Drive at Briarlake Road

A new sketch plat was submitted to the DeKalb County Planning Department in late December by Arrowhead Real Estate Partners. The sketch plat shows plans for 43 lots that are a minimum of 15,000 square feet in area. The size of the lots varies; some are over 20,500 square feet. The sketch plat also shows two roads: one is an extension of Castleway Lane up the hill ending in a cul-de-sac, and the other extends inward from Amberwood Drive to the extended Castleway Lane, starting about 300 feet from the Amberwood entrance on Briarlake Road, essentially bisecting the main tract north to south.

In addition to the lots and roads, the sketch plat includes three stormwater management facilities: one large one at the intersection of Parkview Drive and Amberwood Drive, a smaller one at the end of Silvapine Trail, and the smallest one at the intersection of Amberwood Drive and Castleway Lane.

Sketch plats are reviewed by the Planning Commission after comment by various county departments. Once these comments are received, the Planning Commission holds a regularly scheduled public hearing to allow public comment on the sketch plat. The timing of the submission of the sketch plat suggests that it might appear on the agenda for the hearing scheduled on January 28 at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium. Stay tuned for further details.

Below is a rendering of the sketch plat with the topographic map showing the specimen trees on the property overlaid onto the plat.


If the plans indicated in this plat were in fact executed, over half of the specimen trees would be destroyed just to make space for the houses, roads and stormwater management facilities. It is not clear that this development would result in a net gain for the county, for the local community, or for the communities along the watershed.

Old-growth trees provide substantial environmental benefits that are recognized by the U.S. government as having economic value. The sixty specimen trees on this property clean our air, cool the air in summer, conserve soil and water, and add beauty to the neighborhoods. They contribute to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of residents in the area. Without them, the people who currently live in the surrounding neighborhoods would experience a significant loss in quality of life. A meaningful connection with nature would be destroyed.

Research shows that children who experience a healthy connection with the natural environment perform better at school, learn more easily, and achieve better emotional balance than those who have little opportunity to interact with a diverse ecosystem. With two schools within walking distance, the Briarlake forest could be a resource for enhancing both learning and character development.

Core drilling

Core drilling took place on Thursday to test the soil in the forest. Samples were taken from several places on the property to determine whether the soil can support building and whether there is a significant granite deposit under the surface.