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A Vision for
the Buckhead Village

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Following is a summary of a report that resulted from months of meetings by “an unstructured open assembly by lay individuals representing Village property owners, nearby neighborhood activists, city planners, area elected officials, civic leadership and others.” The findings have not been recommended by any formal organization. “It is probable, in fact, that none of the participants subscribe to every proposal … but it is hoped everyone will find some good ideas in [the] contents.”

The Village is an eclectic mix of scale and activity. Never planned as an urban area, it has grown haphazardly around service-oriented establishments that cater to the automobile more than the pedestrian. Nevertheless, the Village has taken on a mystique as a premier destination for dining, entertainment and shopping.

A key concept is the protection and enhancement of brand identity for the Village. This will be especially important as the mixed-use development at the MARTA Lindbergh station comes online. 

Currently, neither the applicable zoning classifications for individual parcels nor the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan promote a synergistic approach to development in Buckhead. Too often, isolated, stand-alone fortresses with lack of attention to urban design quality have been the result. 

The commercially zoned land in Buckhead is some of the city’s most valuable real estate. It is unreasonable to believe that development of this land can be prevented. However, current zoning entitlement for the Village would allow for a density and character with a negative impact on current businesses and Village residents, as well as surrounding neighborhoods.

Land use Transportation - Pedestrians - Streetscape - Action
Buckhead Village map

Proposed land use improvements

To protect and enhance the commercial viability of the Village, a better model for land use must be developed. High quality must be promoted more than high-rise. 

New developments must work within the context and scale of the Village and have an appropriate fit with a mix of uses.   

But, most importantly, we need to develop a formula for the Village that balances property values, market realism and quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Manage density and the impact of developments better

  • Consider appropriate height limitations and possible reduction of allowable floor areas.
  • Approach current densities and allowable heights only through an incentive program. Increased project density would be approved based on a developer’s compliance with urban design standards, such as including housing.
  • Make sure needed infrastructure is in place to control the pace of new development.

Promote better land uses

  • Discourage fortress-like, high-rise office buildings that are dependent on automobiles at peak congestion hours.
  • Encourage mixed-use developments with an emphasis on residential components, especially condominiums. This would create an environment where people can live, work, shop and play in the Village.
  • Discourage additional “big box” retailing. Work with developers to find ways to enhance or develop existing automobile-oriented strip centers as opportunities arise.
  • Encourage street-level retail and restaurants that are supported largely by neighborhood patrons.
  • Encourage creation of a gallery district by attracting additional fine arts establishments.
  • Discourage speculative surface parking lots and require all parking lots to be attractively landscaped.
  • Identify significant trees and forested areas remaining within the Village and require new developments to preserve them.
  • Specific improvements:
    • Create grand boulevard districts on Peachtree Road and Piedmont Road.
    • Create a neighborhood linear greenway on Pharr Road.
    • Make East Paces Ferry a Village commercial main street.
    • Integrate Frankie Allen Park into the community by linking it with the Pharr Road greenway and a greenway along Shadowlawn Avenue.

Update current zoning

  • Update current zoning to foster urban design quality and a reasonable scale of development.

  • Require that all zoning within the Village adhere to urban design guidelines. Coordinate existing and proposed development with affected business and residential neighbors.

  • Encourage legislation to require impact fees to be used in the neighborhood. Fees should be specifically utilized to mitigate infrastructure problems.

  • Limit the floor area ratio on existing commercial zoning to 3.0.

  • Review existing zoning for the Village area and consider the following options:
  • Modify zoning categories to require additional controls, primarily C-1, C-2, C-3, RG-3, RG-4 and RG-5.
  • Development a special public interest district with overlay requirements for urban design, mixed-use and height and density restrictions.
  • Develop a new Village mixed-use development zoning classification as an equivalent to current commercial zones, but requiring mixed-use development that meets urban design guidelines.


Buckhead Village zoning map

Additional considerations

  • Encourage new developments to relate new facades to existing, lower buildings through use of setbacks.

  • Consider building heights of 5 to 8 stories throughout the Village.

  •  Prepare to be competitive with developments such as the Lindbergh MARTA mixed-use project by creating the equivalent of a “retail mall manager.”

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Buckhead Village zoning categories map

Proposed transportation improvements

Transportation in and around the Village is key to maintaining a livable environment for residents, visitors and shoppers.

“Interceptor” parking decks

  • Create “interceptor” parking decks to collect automobiles before they enter the Village to reduce vehicle congestion and encourage pedestrian travel.

  • The ownership of such decks could be private, public or a public/private partnership.
  • Integrate the new parking garages by providing ground-level retail.
  • Position decks at the major roadways that bring visitors in from outlying areas. Possible locations include:
 Buckhead Village parking proposals map

Oxford Bookstore site on Pharr Road
Frankie Allen Park on Pharr Road
Surface lot south of Rio Bravo on Roswell
Buckhead Plaza at West Paces Ferry
Peachtree United Methodist Church

Parking permits

Develop a parking permit system for neighborhood residents.  

 Shuttle bus routes
  • Run a fixed-route shuttle bus from the interceptor parking desks into the Village. BBA, the Buckhead Coalition, BATMA and MARTA are moving aggressively to implement a shuttle system. 

  • Develop shuttle routes that connect the Village with Buckhead’s three MARTA rapid transit stations: Lindbergh, Buckhead and Lenox.

  • Consider designating exclusive shuttle lanes on Peachtree Road during the evening.

  • Explore a model like Chattanooga, where parking deck revenues fund the shuttle operation.  

Pharr Road improvements

Pharr Road, at five lanes is oversized for the amount of traffic it carries. Two possible alternatives: 

 Pharr Road improvements map
  • Eliminate one traffic lane and add a landscaped median. Add east- and west-bound bike lanes on the outside edges of the road. 

  • Or, do not add the median, but eliminate one lane of traffic, add bike lanes, and develop parallel parking on each side of the road.  

Limit traffic on Bolling Way

Limiting traffic on Bolling Way, at designated times, would eliminate a gridlock area and reduce vehicle and pedestrian conflicts at the intersection of Bolling and Buckhead Avenue. 

  • Close Bolling Way to automobiles at night and occasionally during the day for special events and community festivals.

  • Close the street north from Buckhead Avenue to the East Village Grill parking deck entry and south from Buckhead Avenue to Pharr Road.

  • Add removable bollards in the street to facilitate closings.

  • Limit taxi and limousine traffic within the Village to taxi stand areas.

Realign Peachtree- Paces Ferry- Roswell intersection

This intersection and the Buckhead Park form a major landmark and node in the Village. It is the center of the “bowtie” formed by the East and West Villages. The park is underutilized because of its small size and the high traffic on surrounding roads. Several alternatives: 

  • Study the “Buckhead Square” concept in the 1994 Buckhead Blueprint. This would expand Buckhead Park by taking in the block bound by Peachtree, East Paces Ferry and Bolling Way.

  • Reroute Roswell to align with Sardis Way. This could create improved traffic and better accessibility to Buckhead Park for pedestrians. 

Both these ideas raised concern. Park expansion and intersection rerouting could result in slowing traffic and more congestion on Peachtree. Further study of this crucial intersection is needed.

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Proposed pedestrian improvements

Improve the definition of the Village boundary and improve accessibility, specifically at Peachtree, Piedmont and Pharr roads 

  • Maintain 12-foot sidewalks with trees.

  • On Pharr Road, add 4-foot bike lanes with a 12-foot landscaped median.

  • On Peachtree Road, add 4-foot bike lanes.

  • On Peachtree and Piedmont roads, create median islands with signals for pedestrians to cross at mid-block.

Buckhead Village bike, pedestrian proposals map

Improve bike and pedestrian connections to neighborhoods

  • Improve the sidewalk network. 

  • Fill gaps in the sidewalk network and repair uneven sidewalk surfaces.

  • Remove sidewalk obstacles and create “thru-zones.”

  • Create a pedestrian walkway from Piedmont to Maple between Peachtree and East Paces Ferry. 

  • Eliminate driveway curb cuts on Peachtree, Piedmont and Pharr roads.   

Improve dangerous intersections 

  • Mark all four sidewalks at intersections.

  • Add crosswalk markings.

  • Make sure that future traffic improvements improve safety for pedestrians.

Improve access management

  • Reduce the number of driveways.

  • Reduce the radius of driveway curb cuts.

  • Improve existing sidewalks and driveways and confirm that they are ADA compliant.

Add traffic calming devices

  • Reduce curb radius to 15 feet.

  • Add curb extensions, “bulb-outs,” on East Paces Ferry.

  • Close Bolling Way to automobiles.

Buckhead Village traffic calming proposals
  • Add a 4-way stop at Buckhead and Bolling.

  • Add a median on Pharr Road.

Develop MARTA shuttles

  • Add a private or new smaller MARTA bus that can be a shuttle.

Add embedded flashing lights for pedestrian crossings of East Paces Ferry  

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Proposed streetscape improvements


  • Fill in the gaps and make repairs.

  • Consistent sidewalk standards should be established.

  • Reduce the width of select streets to accommodate wider sidewalks and streetscapes.

  • Encourage decorative paving materials to add interest.

  • Crosswalks should be better emphasized.

  • Ramps for disabled pedestrians should be improved.

  • “Bulb-outs” at intersections will improve parking conditions, calm traffic and add to pedestrian safety.



  • Develop a signage standard for the Village.

  • Add street signs within the Village. The signs could have a special character to set them apart from other neighborhoods.

Buckhead Village intersection improvements map
  • Eliminate billboards. While no new billboards can be constructed, an amortization program should be studied to reduce or eliminate existing billboards.

  • Develop a way-finding signage system.  

Street furniture

  • Standards should be set for all streetscape elements, including benches, trash receptacles, tree grates, newspaper vending boxes, bike racks, bollards, planters and light fixtures.

Building facades

  • Urban design standards should be developed to safeguard the Village character. Building facades should be reviewed for color, material, style and height.


  • Decorative street and pedestrian lighting should be standardized to reflect the Village character.

Open space 

  • Areas for open space should be encouraged.


  • Areas for landscape should also be encouraged.

  • Continue to add street trees.

  • Maintain Shadowlawn as a greenway.

  • Create a new greenway on Pharr Road.

  • Pedestrian links to Frankie Allen Park should be strengthened.


  • Electrical and communication lines should be relocated underground.

Public art 

  • Public art should be encouraged. Statues, sculpture and fountains can add to the Village character.

Trash cans 

  • A consistent style of trash receptacle should be encouraged. The city trash schedule should be reviewed to avoid existing conflicts between residents, retail shops, restaurants and bars.


  • Parking lot codes should be changed to affect parking lots of 10 or more spaces instead of the current 30 spaces.

  • New parking structures on the Village perimeter should be encouraged to minimize area traffic.

  • Parking structures should be developed that include retail on the ground level to create a better streetscape.

Visitors’ center 

  • Develop a visitors’ center within the Village to provide information and public restrooms. This facility could be tied to a police precinct.

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Action plan

  • Continue the dialogue and build consensus among all affected business and neighborhood groups.

  • Work with the Urban Land Institute’s Atlanta chapter.

  • Consider a charrette with the Georgia Conservancy to follow up on specific community development standards.

  • Clarify the Buckhead Business Association mission to emphasize its unique role in bringing together all stakeholders into one proactive civic organization reflecting a true balanced vision of the community.

  • Seek funding for professional planning.

  • Request city Bureau of Planning review of current Village zoning to determine which approach – SPI overlay, modifications to existing zoning categories, or creation of a new, equivalent zoning category – is most appropriate to implement the desired improvements to the Village. Consider use of a zoning consultant.

  • Coordinate Village efforts with other initiatives, such as the Lindbergh MARTA development, the Buckhead Community Improvement District (ULI study) and the Buckhead Coalition Piedmont Plan.

  • Permitting controls: Consider a moratorium or interim permitting controls only as a last resort if these action steps cannot be implemented in a timely fashion. 

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