Category Archives: News

It’s Official! Briarlake Forest is Public Greenspace

We have received official word from the DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs that the purchase of the Cathey property (all 21 acres) has closed.

The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs has reached out to BCFA to assist with the formation of a “Friends of the Park” group to help the department with planning, improvements and maintenance of the park. One of the first items mentioned by the department as a priority is naming the park.

We look forward to the process of discovering the thoughts and feelings of people in this community to help guide the department as it plans a public amenity we can all enjoy.

A brief meeting is planned this Saturday, July 25, at 9:30 a.m. for people interested in forming a Friends of the Park group. We will meet for coffee at the Panera Bread Company, 2100 Henderson Mill Road, near the Publix grocery store. The purpose of this meeting is to start an email list, fill out the application to send to ParkPride, and provide orientation materials to people interested in participating in Friends of the Park. An organizational meeting for the group will be held some time in August.

RSVP for this Saturday’s meeting by filling out the contact form.

Dekalb County Commission Votes to Purchase the Briarlake Forest


On Friday the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a proposal number H8 for “Purchase of property, real estate acquisition number 05-18-10.2, at 3330, 2880, and 2969 Briarlake Road for the appraised value of $9,847,000 Districts 2 and 7.”

The regular Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, February 24, was re-convened on Friday, February 27, to address certain items including the 2015 Budget. Commissioner Jeff Rader moved to add an item to the agenda, namely item number H8 for the purchase of the property. The motion was seconded, and the board voted in favor of adding the item.

Commissioner Sharon Barnes of District 4 asked for clarification of some details of the purchase, including procedural requirements that could be addressed by the Legal Department. A motion was made to address Commissioner Barnes’s questions in an Executive Session, the motion was seconded and carried, and the Commissioners recessed for a closed Executive Session to address her concerns.

The Commissioners returned from the Executive Session, a motion was made to come out of Executive Session, seconded and carried.

Item H8 having already been moved and seconded, the Board of Commissioners then voted and the motion carried 6-0 with no abstentions.

A video recording of the meeting can be viewed on the DCTV website.

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.

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.


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.