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Druid Hills neighbors are fighting development in shadow of Fox 5 tower

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Proposal of Art Modern-style flats and townhomes is in a danger zone, opposition contends

Proposed apartments near the Fox 5 Studios.
Revised development plans for the site.
OBSA/FB

Around the corner from Emory University, a group of Druid Hills neighbors says their opposition to a residential project goes beyond traditional NIMBY concerns of noise and traffic and is a matter of life and death.

Dubbed the Old Briarcliff Safety Alliance, the opposition fears that a multifamily proposal by Minerva Homes on woodsy Old Briarcliff Road would impact public safety, the surrounding forest, and overall character of the historic neighborhood.

Plus, they say, there’s the issue of falling ice.

Minerva describes plans for the 1517 Briafcliff Road site, which they hope to rezone for residential use, as a collection of “Art Moderne style flats and townhomes.” The kicker, neighbors contend, is that the homes would be built in the shadow Fox 5 Atlanta’s broadcast tower. At 1,140 feet, it stands taller than any Atlanta skyscraper.

The potential that falling ice could damage adjacent properties or cause personal injury, neighbors say, is reason enough to vote it down.

Tentative plans for 1517 Briarcliff Road.
Minerva

One alliance member, Russ Haynie, wrote the following to Curbed Atlanta: “At least one resident on Briar Park Court, an adjacent architecturally significant midcentury modern neighborhood currently nominated as a DeKalb County Historic District, has had property damage from ice falling from the tower.”

The group is wondering aloud why a DeKalb County restriction that requires residences to be set back at least half a communication tower’s height is not being enforced, Haynie said. He points to the so-called Freedom Parkway “ice bridge” in Old Fourth Ward as a safety measure that speaks to the potential problem of falling ice daggers.

“A residential development susceptible to property damage and personal injury to its occupants seems incompatible with Druid Hills’ reputation for thoughtful development,” wrote Haynie. “[But] time is not on our side since the rezoning application that will enable this development is working its way through the current county review cycle.”

The opposition has T-shirts.
Images: Old Briarcliff Safety Alliance/FB

And here’s their stance, in simplified, visual form:

A revised plan (below) for the site submitted by Minerva Homes to DeKalb County late last month. The matter will come up for discussion at a Dec. 13 meeting of the DeKalb County District 2 Community Council at the Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library.

And lastly, some drone-level images of the tower and site in question:

Emory University

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