Tucker neighbors prepare to fight Lawrenceville townhomes again

Developer Mike Embry, center, listened to neighbors concerns about a potential two-part development on Lawrenceville Highway. The meeting took place on Feb. 3. Photo by Logan C. Ritchie

Tucker, GA — About 50 people showed up Feb. 3 to a public participation meeting at Lawrenceville United Methodist Church to hear from Embry Development Company about a potential two-part development of townhomes and single family homes. City Council members Virginia Rece and Cara Schroeder were also present.

The proposed development flanks Lawrenceville Highway near Cooledge Road. Lawrenceville North is located at 3298, 5254, 3304 and 3320 Lawrenceville Highway and 4350 Henderson Drive. It was rezoned in 2018. The plans for this phase include 18 single family homes starting in the $400,000 range.

Lawrenceville South is located at 3207, 3217, 3227 and 3259 Lawrenceville Highway and 3563 Bishop Drive. Emby is seeking a rezoning of this land from R75 (residential) to RSM (small lot residential mix) for 52 townhomes, a dog park and a community garden.

CEO Mike Embry said Lawrenceville South will have 30% greenspace. Embry said at the meeting he’s willing to deepen the buffer between the property and residents on Bishop Road.

But neighbors who spoke at the meeting said they don’t want townhomes, plain and simple.

“I don’t want a wall of townhomes towering over my gorgeous neighborhood,” said Karen Hagerman, who moved to Tucker in 2012 and lives directly behind the proposed development. “We moved away from Decatur to get away from townhomes. Please don’t chase me out.”

Embry responded, “I don’t intend to chase people out.”

One of the goals of Tucker residents is housing that allows aging in place, said Dennis De Gracia.

“I’m not sure you can age in place in a three-story townhouse, but that’s just one part of the issues with this that I see,” said De Gracia. “Sure, people want to move to Tucker. Sure, you want to lower the barrier to entry. Guess what? We’re interested in people moving in. I’m just not interested in townhomes.”

De Garcia added, “I’ve got news for you. We want to attract the kind of people who can afford single family homes.”

The only part of Lawrenceville Highway between I-285 and Mountain Industrial that is low density, single family is this part of Highway 29; Everything else is medical, commercial, industrial, Embry said.

“We know this has been contentious,” said Embry, referring to the neighbors fighting the 2018 rezoning decision. “There’s all different types of products and all different types of citizens. It doesn’t mean someone moving in here doesn’t want to be a part of the community, it just means they have a different lifestyle or want a different product to live in.”

Embry runs the company with his daughter, Erica Embry, and son, Vincent Embry. The family-run business has been in Atlanta for 60 years.

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