Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Support Needed: DeKalb Co. Ethics Board

Many of us remember that voters approved the establishment of a much-needed DeKalb County ethics board a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, because of the way its members were selected, its existence was challenged and undone in court. (For a brief history and update see

There is action in the legislature this year to undo that damage and create a new ethics board whose members must come more directly from the voters or their representatives than the earlier version. This action should resolve the problems the court found and create a strong, objective, and independent ethics watchdog group. But there is also the predictable opposition.This issue is important for the future of the county and the integrity of OUR government. The MANA Board urges you to contact the following members of the DeKalb County delegation to the Georgia House of Representatives as soon as possible to let them know how you feel.

Previous MANA posts pertaining to ethics reform in DeKalb can be accessed through this link.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Medlock neighborhood redistricted to Fernbank Elementary

The Dekalb County School District has finalized its attendance zone review and on February 4, 2019 approved the redistricting of Medlock children from Laurel Ridge Elementary to Fernbank Elementary. Attendance to Druid Hills Middle and High Schools remains unchanged. Fernbank Elementary is authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme and is located in the Druid Hills neighborhood.

New Fernbank Elementary attandance map (in green), approved Feb 4, 2019.
Medlock Area Neiborhood Association homes are outlined in bright pink.
Please refer to full-size map at Click to enlarge
This announcement is not unexpected (multiple meetings are documented in the DCSD website, with the final approval available here). The news is still bittersweet for many. As is the case for most neighborhoods, our elementary schools have served as community engagement cores as parents partner with local teachers and administrators in the care and education of the little ones. When Medlock Elementary closed in the spring of 2011, that focus primarily turned to Laurel Ridge Elementary (and later, also to the International Community School, a DeKalb K-5 charter school that relocated to the old Medlock Elementary site). Laurel Ridge welcomed Medlock's kids and parents with open arms and, with an influx of young families moving to our neighborhood, grew by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Laurel Ridge is now beyond capacity, and, as an older school, the physical plant is in need of upgrades. Enter Fernbank Elementary, whose prior buildings (circa 1957) were replaced by a new, larger facility that opened in 2015. Since reopening at 157 Heaton Park Drive, Fernbank has also welcomed school children from the Cross Keys attendance zone while a new facility for the John R. Lewis Elementary was built. As the new John R. Lewis school opens in Fall 2019,  Cross Keys children will leave Fernbank, passing the baton to our Medlock kids (as well as others, please see the new attendance map here). Elementary is helping the transition as follows:
"If you are a parent who is being redistricted into Fernbank's attendance zone, we are excited your family will be joining us! We are planning some things for you:
  • One evening in March, we will host an open house for parents and students alike. This date and more details will be announced soon! 
  • On Saturday, May 4th, at 3pm, we will be holding a "family play date" on our playground and back field. This will be an opportunity for our existing Fernbank families to welcome, mix and mingle with our new ones before school lets out. 
  • For all new families who will be joining Fernbank in the fall, we will be extending an invite (and accepting new members) to join our Fernbank Parent Facebook group once the cluster redistricting is finalized."
Additionally, campus tours are available as outlined in its Future Students page at Please visit Fernbank's website for information on the Pre-K lottery. Also note that Fernbank is inviting new and transfer students to participate in their summer camp

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

North DeKalb Mall on hold: rezoning application withdrawn

The Dekalb Cross Neighborhoods Council has been notified that Sterling Enterprises is withdrawing their rezoning application for the proposed redevelopment of North Dekalb Mall. Their lawyer, Kathryn Zickert, informed us that the project has become too expensive to proceed. At this point the owner/developer has not shared their future plans for the property. We will share more information as it becomes available.

Update 2 (12/13/18): Tomorrow's News Today adds to the discussion, suggests that forward movement was probably impeded by merchants existing leases, and that Costco remains interested.
Update 1: Decaturish covered the announcement.

Monday, November 19, 2018

School redistricting may impact Medlock

A series of meetings have taken place as the DeKalb County School System (DCSS) considers redistricting options for some elementary schools in the Druid Hills cluster. Decaturish summarizes the landscape leading to that decision here.

Medlock's attendance pattern to elementary school will likely change as a result.

MANA has sent the below letter to DCSS, outlining support for an option that "maximizes elementary school seats in the cluster and keeps the Medlock area together."

Click to enlarge. 
1The Medlock Area Neighborhood Association includes residents within a boundary approximately defined as the following: North: North Druid Hills Road at Willivee Drive and North Druid Hills Road at North Hills Drive; South: North Decatur Road; East: Willivee Drive (both sides) between North Decatur Road & North Druid Hills Road; West: North Hills Drive, Pine Bluff Drive, Harrington Drive & Scott Blvd, Lawrenceville Highway, excluding Tuxworth Springs Condominium .
DCSS's website notes that there is a one remaining public information meeting on November 28, and feedback can also be delivered via survey.
Meeting 3: The third meeting presents one “Staff Recommended ” op on and gives the public one more opportunity to provide feedback. The proposed dates for the third meeting of each process are:
  • John Lewis Redistricting: Tuesday, November 27 , 2018 @ Cross Keys HS, 7 PM
  • Druid Hills Redistricting: Wednesday, November 28 , 2018 @ Druid Hills MS, 7 PM
  • Online Survey: November 27 – December 6, 2018 (midnight)
Board Approval: After the third public meeting , Planning department staff will incorporate all public feedback into a “Superintendent‐Recommended Redistricting Plan ”.
  • First Read: January 7th, 2019 Board meeting
  • Board Approval: February 4th, 2019 Board meeting.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

DeKalb Neighborhood Survey - Comparing Possible Futures

via MANA President Lynn Ganim...

The Georgia Legislature goes into session in early January of 2019. Among many other possible issues, the specters of new cities and annexations might once again appear and affect our neighborhood, so we need to be prepared--again.

MANA is coordinating with nearby civic associations, including Clairmont Heights, to find out what our residents might prefer if we were forced to choose or have a choice: to stay unincorporated, join a new city, or an existing city. For more information and to express your current opinion, please go to, read the introduction and brief survey there carefully and answer the questions.

We realize that you have many questions about annexation and incorporation, which this survey does not answer, but for now we simply hope you will start thinking about the issues and consider what you might choose IF you had to. 

The MANA board will continue to monitor developments and try our best to fill in the blanks as we can or need to (e.g., we will conduct a Medlock-specific survey and canvas the neighborhood door-to-door as we did a few years back if necessary).

If you have questions, please contact

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Alternative Gift Market [Dec 1]

Deedee Murphy. 404-276-0593
Alternative Gift Market at North Decatur Presbyterian Church
Saturday, December 1, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm 

North Decatur Presbyterian Church invites the Medlock community to its annual Alternative Gift Market, Saturday, 
Dec. 1, 10 am to 3 pm. Shop for Fair Trade*, environmentally sustainable and reasonably priced holiday gifts
supporting international and local charities. Gifts for sale include handmade items from South and Central America;
African and Nepali inspired ornaments, jewelry and clothing; baked goods from refugee owned businesses;
Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and tea; olive oil from Palestine; hand loomed rugs and soup and cookie mixes
supporting people in transition. Holiday Gift Cards will also be available to support many charitable organizations
including El Refugio, a hospitality house for families of detainees at Stewart Detention Center; Casa Materna
Ana Sayre, a birthing center in Guatemala; and the EcoVillages School in Haiti, plus many more.

A Children’s Craft Corner and hospitality snacks will also be available while you shop.

NDPC is at 611 Medlock Road at the intersection of Medlock, N. Decatur Rd. and Scott Blvd. 

Credit Cards, Checks and Cash accepted. Make a difference in the world, one gift at a time!

Contact: Deedee Murphy
*What is Fair Trade? (text credit: Fair Trade Federation) Fair Trade is an economic partnership based on
dialogue, transparency, and respect. Fair trade is not about charity. It is a holistic approach to trade and
development that aims to alter the ways in which commerce is conducted, so that trade can empower the
poorest of the poor. Fair Trade Organizations seek to create sustainable and positive change in developing
and developed countries.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

QT rezoning SLUP (Lawrenceville Hwy)

Following up on the QT Rezoning/SLUP request at Lawrenceville Highway that we reported on last June, Theresa Same (MANA Zoning Chair) brings us this update:
With MANA zoning team support, I was able to work with the immediate neighbors to negotiate the attached zoning agreement and conditions for the QT redevelopment. In the end, we basically got everything that was requested. 

Of benefit to the community: New 10 ft wide multi-use sidewalk around the edge of their property (Lawrenceville Highway and Orion Drive), new 8 ft wide multi-use sidewalk to Harrington Drive, new painted crosswalk at both Qt entrances, and re-striping of Orion Drive as it leads up to the intersection.
Of benefit to the immediate neighbors: Replace existing wood fence at the property line with new 8 ft fence, addition of new double-sided 8 ft fence on QT side of buffer, Removing dead trees from the buffer, cleaning up and replanting the buffer, dumpster enclosure to minimize sound, and in general moving the more intense use away from the residential homes (gas pumps, lighting, underground gas tanks, etc).
The Board of Commissioner's meeting will hear this request on 11-13-2018. No opposition is expected.
UPDATE: The request was approved by the BOC on 11-13-2018.

Please review this file for high resolution site maps, elevations, signage, as well as the arborist report: Store 741 Proposed Zoning Agreement 11-12-18 rev.pdf