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Buckhead residents sue Bobby Jones Golf Course developer

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The plaintiffs say project officials aren’t playing by City of Atlanta rules

Bobby Jones Golf Course, its clubhouse, and the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center are drastically changing.
This view used to look a whole lot greener.
YouTube, Mike Williamson

Mere months before Buckhead’s revamped Bobby Jones Golf Course is set to reopen, neighbors of the project are still crying foul about the way the developer has been circumventing Atlanta’s building and environmental ordinances.

In March, Saporta Report spotlighted major clear-cutting being done to make way for the nine-hole reversible course and other new facilities that will be delivered with the $23 million overhaul at Memorial Park.

With hundreds of trees felled, the publication called it a “tree massacre.”

Now, a handful of Buckhead residents who live near the site are suing the developer, the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation, claiming it’s ignoring city rules that mandate planting new trees to replace the ones chopped down for construction projects, according to WABE.

The foundation is leasing the 130-acre parcel from the state of Georgia, which acquired the property in a 2016 trade with the city—Atlanta obtained ownership of a parking deck needed to advance Underground Atlanta’s redevelopment in the deal.

Although the lawsuit, filed by six golf course neighbors in Fulton County Superior Court, demands the developer abide by Atlanta codes, Chuck Palmer, chairman of the foundation’s board, said it’s state-owned land, and thus municipal ordinances shouldn’t apply to this project.

In addition to the clear-cutting, the plaintiffs also take issue with plans for a maintenance building on Northside Drive and a cell phone tower.

Palmer told WABE the foundation is considering replacing each of the chopped down trees and planting “pollinator-friendly” plants on one side of the property.

A hearing is set for June 19.

Here’s a clip that illustrates the decimation of the trees: