Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Community meeting summary [Oct 27]

These are very informal notes so we can report on the meeting asap.

We had a great meeting and very well attended: around 135 people showed up to hear about our schools, zoning and yes, annexation.

Acting president Lynn Ganim acknowledged the many volunteers that worked on the annexation survey.

Schools Update (by Tanya Myers, MANA Schools Liaison): Brian McKinley, neighborhood resource coordinator at Laurel Ridge Elementary, gave a brief history and update from the school. Test scores have risen across the board from 2012-2013 in reading, science, math, and social studies. He also described a plan to set up a mini park/gathering area with a bunch of Little Libraries. Home Depot has donated materials for the libraries, benches, arbor and some landscaping material as well. Volunteers are welcome for grounds days (always the first weekend of the month, next one is Nov 8th from 9-1) and site prep day for the Little Libraries (Nov 15th from 9-1)! Laurel Ridge's Fall Festival is coming soon on November 15th.

Preliminary results: annexation survey
based on mid-afternoon, Oct 24, with 224 surveys in.

NOTE: THE SURVEY DEADLINE IS NOW EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 31. Same rules apply: complete online or mail in/drop off @ UPS store at Emory Commons (full info included in the newsletter/survey packet that MANA distributed door to door).

Preliminary survey results:
tiny so you can't read them  but
know we discussed them :) Full
report coming soon!
I. On the individual questions regarding whether the respondent would choose a certain option vs. remaining in unincorporated DeKalb County:

- Join City of Decatur ( 66%) vs Remain unincorporated ( ~34%)
- Join City of Atlanta (~45%) vs Remain incorporated (~55%)
- Join new city (Briarcliff/Lakeside) ( 60%) vs Remain unincorporated ( ~40%)
- Legislature decides now ( ~39%) vs. 1-year moratorium on all new cities and annexations ( ~61%)

II. On the question asking people to rank our various options, those options are listed below
1. Join City of Decatur [highest interest]
2. Join new city of Briarcliff/Lakeside
3. 1-year moratorium on new cities and annexations
4. Remain unincorporated
5. Join City of Atlanta [lowest interest]
Standing room only: House Representative Oliver addresses the audience. Around 135 people attended.
Guest speaker: Mary Margaret Oliver
(these are not complete notes nor a transcript)

Mary Margaret Oliver (no longer our rep, but still a member of the House of Representatives as well as Government Affairs Committee) and Elena Parent (our newest Senator, effective January 2015) were both at the meeting and answered questions about our concerns with annexation. It was a very informative session, thanks to both for attending.

It was a long meting but Ms. Oliver's message was strongly in favor of
1) deciding what we want
2) keeping on fighting for what we want, whatever that may be, by contacting the elected officials who stand to make decisions
Ms Oliver said our survey looked great and that other communities are doing surveys as well.

Ms Oliver answered questions about annexation to City of Decatur:

Q: How can we be talking about Decatur as an option if Decaur said they are not interested?
A: "it ain't over", do not accept defeat today

City of Decatur is likely to get commercial areas but there is an unspoken rule that commercial annexations should also include residents

We would need Representative Rahn Mayo to write legislation to propose that our neighborhood be annexed to City of Decatur. Even if the legislation is approved and a referendum is mandated, the Decatur Commission could still say no.

As to schools, Ms Oliver said that her personal opinion is that by refusing to vote on the highly supported Druid Hills Charter Cluster, DeKalb Schools have given the organizers a very good argument for approaching Atlanta. Atlanta sands to gain a new $79 million school (Fernbannk): if they get the kids, they get the school.

Q: What would happen to our neighborhood if we lose Druid Hills High School to Atlanta?
A: DeKalb Co Schools would reopen a closed middle school or high school to meet the need.

Ms Oliver offered that our neighborhood has desirable resources such as the Medlock Elementary site: is that something that City of Decatur might want for future use? What is valuable to Decatur that we have?

Ms Oliver briefly touched upon property taxes and who those might change due to annexation and she said that annexation to Atlanta or a new city would bring increases but nothing in the magnitude we can expect if we annexed to City of Decatur.

Q: What can we do to fight City of Decatur's annexation of commercial property?
A: Ms Oliver answered that this is a political rather than a legal battle. Last year, Decatur backed away based on strong arguments from commercial owners and voters.

Ms Oliver said the trend seems to be smaller government that is closer to the voter but that is also costlier in terms of property taxes. However, that because of inefficiencies within DeKalb County, it is possible that smaller local municipalities can provide the same services at a lower cost. On taxes, she said that very roughly speaking, there should not be huge changes except if annexed to Decatur. Each municipality has different senior exemptions, for example.

Regarding annexation to City of Decatur, Ms Oliver stressed that City of Decatur needs to hear from us: we need to make a financial case--what is in it for Decatur? We in the Medlock neighborhood have assets. The more folks speak out, the greater the leverage.

Q: How can we leverage the results of our survey?
A: Ms Oliver said that the key is is to be politically strategic and effective. We could put together a legal team, use the survey, make the arguments.

There were many questions from concerned seniors about how their property taxes may go up and create hardship.

Q: Why did the Briarcliff proposal team back away and allow City of Decatur to claim all this commercial property?
A: (Alan Venet answered) When the process began, the cityhood planners were given some rules. One was that they cannot draw maps that create islands. Another guideline, not a rule, was that they were advised to "politically respect reasonable annexation plans" in order to get a hearing for their plans.
Q: was Briarcliff told that they would not be heard at the legislature if they did not honor the "reasonable plan" that City of Decatur proposed?

Ms Oliver again stated that we have more leverage than we think.

At the end of her enjoyable back-and-forth with the audience, Ms Oliver asked for a show of hands as to how those present felt about the options available. The results (with 1 having the highest show of hands and 5 having the lowerst):
1. City of Briarcliff/Lakeside (amusingly referred to as Briarpatch throughout the meeting)
2. City of Decatur
3. moratorium/wait a year to decide what we want to become
4. City of Atlanta
There was a strong message, be the squeaky wheel. That means contacting the elected officials that represent us but also those who don't directly represent us but stand to make decisions that do affect us (e.g., City of Decatur council members, state legislators who sit in key committees such as the Government Affairs Committee). So hold the WD-40 folks, here we come!

To join Ms Oliver's e-newsletter, go here: http://marymargaretoliver.org/
To join Ms. Paren'ts e-newsletter, go here: http://www.elenaparent.com/about/

Zoning Report (from Theresa Same, MANA Zoning Chair): 
Walmart construction has begun. Moe's, hearing aid shop, Pizza Hut are staying; bowling alley not confirmed. Starbucks and LA Fitness confirmed, additional junior anchors should be announced soon. So, not too many updates since the last Medlock Matters newsletter, which you can read online

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reminder to complete your MANA survey

Dear neighbors,

Doodle says "Read the newsletter and complete the survey. Or you get no kisses!" :)

Just a reminder that the survey closes on Oct 28 and that we will report on preliminary data at the MANA community meeting on Oct 27. If you have questions, email medlockassoc at gmail.

Doodle is a rescued puppy who now has a MANA newsletter delivery route. Photo by Barb.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The way we were, in plaid and stripes

Ruby found a photo in the Medlock Elementary alumni group on Facebook that just has to be shared and saved for the Medlock history books. It's the 3rd Grade class at Medlock, circa February 1953.
Click to enlarge.

1953 fashion favored plaid and stripes and ruffles, and these Medlock kids wore them well. Looks like it was a nice day, with a high in the low 60's.

Now, when we look at the great 1950's aerial views of the neighborhood that Greg Germani shared in the Atlanta Time Machine (Medlock page), we can also picture the kids who lived, played and grew up in our neighborhood... back in the day when our houses were new and our trees were little.

For a list to all our posts on Medlock history, including some fun strolls down memory lane by long-time residents, click here.
Click to enlarge, see full-size image at the Atlanta Time Machine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clifton Corridor light rail gets a second wind

h/t Anne

The failed T-SPLOST wounded it, but did not kill it: The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that MARTA, in conjunction with the Federal Transit Authority, will launch a study to explore the Clifton Corridor light rail project.

Per the statement in the Regulations.gov website, the study will review a no-build option (no light rail) and two light-rail scenarios:
"No-Build Alternative: The No-Build Alternative includes all transportation improvement projects within the Clifton Corridor project area that are programmed in the Atlanta Regional Commission's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) with the exception of the Clifton Corridor LRT project. The No-Build Alternative serves as a comparison baseline for the project build alternatives. 
Build Alternative 1: Build Alternative 1 is a new LRT line that was previously referred to as the LPA following the 2009 AA study and includes segments that are at-grade, tunnel, and on aerial structure. From Lindbergh MARTA station, the alignment for Build Alternative 1 would parallel the existing MARTA heavy rail transit (HRT) line to the CSX railroad corridor, then continues eastward adjacent to the CSX railroad right-of-way, then along Clifton Road, adjacent to and under the CSX railroad corridor and Clairmont Road. The alignment would then proceed along Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road, DeKalb Industrial Way, and North Arcadia Avenue to Avondale MARTA station. 
Build Alternative 2: Build Alternative 2 is a new LRT line that includes at-grade and aerial segments only. From Lindbergh MARTA station, the alignment would parallel the existing MARTA HRT line to the CSX railroad corridor, then continues adjacent to the CSX railroad right-of-way and then along Clifton Road, N. Decatur Road, DeKalb Industrial Way, and North Arcadia Avenue and finally on to Avondale MARTA station."
Public commentary will be welcomed at two sessions, each to take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as follows:
Thursday, December 4, 2014 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church located at 1438 Sheridan Rd. NE., Atlanta, GA 30324.  
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at the Emory University Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC), Room 316, located at 1946 Starvine Way, Decatur, GA 30033.
We have kept an eye on this project, as a potential Suburban Plaza stop could bring light rail service closer to Medlock Park. To see our previous reports on the Clifton Corridor with an emphasis to the light rail option, click here.

POTENTIAL Suburban Plaza Station CONCEPT by MARTA (as proposed in 2012)
As illustrated in this MARTA document with visualizations for the potential Clifton Corridor light rail (pdfcirca 2012), the proposed Suburban Plaza station could deliver folks right to the steps of the gym and coffee shop that are included in the current redevelopment plan for Suburban Plaza (see below).

ACTUAL year 2014 plan for Suburban Plaza redevelopment (corner of North Decatur Road and Church Street corner) showing LA Fitness and the future Starbucks ("Shop J").

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great show @ Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

Thanks to the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve volunteer crew for organizing another wonderful harvest festival. Great turnout and the perfect weather to walk around the preserve, say hello to neighbors, partake in some s'mores...

... and enjoy great music by The Higher Choir.

Check out The Higher Choir's website here. Photo by Tanya.

Pumpkins with an attitude :)

An even higher choir :) -- these fellas were honking as they headed towards the harvest festival around 5:40 pm. 

2nd Annual Avondale Estates Garden Club Tree Walk [Oct 25]

Click to enlarge.
From Nancy Martin
"Mother Nature will reveal the newest colors in her fall collection during the second annual Avondale Tree Walk on Saturday, October 25th from 10:00 am- Noon. Sponsored by the Avondale Estates Garden Club as a conservation project, this year’s walk will include beautiful specimens chosen by the Tree Walk Committee to strut on the catwalk of Avondale Estates. 
Local arborists who will lead the walk include Mark Livingston, Arborguard; Gretchen Musser, Elements of Landscape Design; Neil Norton, ISA Certified Arborist; Gary Peiffer, Dekalb Co. Extension Agent; Steve Sanchez, HGOR; and Joan Scales, U.S. Forestry Commission. 
Tree Walk Guides will point out the enormous benefits trees add to the urban environment, such as: 
• For every ton of new wood that grows, about 1.8 tons of carbon dioxide is removed from the air and 1 .3 tons of oxygen is produced;
• One recent study reported that urban trees could be about 10 times as effective as forest trees for lowering carbon dioxide in cities;
• Trees provide climate control & moderate the “heat island” effect of the urban setting;
• Trees protect soil and water quality. 
To take part in this free event, meet in the parking lot of the Avondale Community Club at 59 Lakeshore Drive at 10:00 am. A new feature of this year’s walk will be the opportunity to ask a panel of experts about any concerns homeowners have with trees in their landscapes. The Avondale Estates Garden Club is a member club of The DeKalb County Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc., the Redbud District of GCG, and the National Garden Clubs, Inc."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Annexation Round-Up: DeKalb County Edition

A City of South DeKalb? This week (h/t to Deanne!), our representative Rahn Mayo (D - Decatur. District 84) issued a press release through his email list on his stance on annexation,

"Generally speaking I support a community in pursuit of self determination. My reluctance to supporting additional new cities in DeKalb County is based on the lack of cohesiveness with which new cities are often created. In the past, there has been a tremendous disconnect between DeKalb citizens, and political leaders driving cityhood efforts. In my opinion, cityhood plans have provided very little concern for the impact on the DeKalb County as a whole. 

I have witnessed what appears to be "cherry picking" of valuable commercial assets by newly formed cities and communities sponsoring annexation plans. Furthermore, there are often contentious boundary disputes with maps and exclusion of neighborhoods bordering proposed cities, which often feel neglected and without input regarding their fate. 

Currently, there are several proposals for annexation and incorporation in DeKalb County. I recently requested a feasibility study (on behalf of organizers) from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, for a proposed City of South DeKalb. My current position is to carefully review the feasibility and equity concerns of each cityhood and annexation plan and consider the overall fiscal impact on DeKalb County as a whole."

Brookhaven favored? The City of Briarcliff, in conjunction with the City of Lakeside leadership, protested a move by North Druid Hills Rd businesses east of I-85 to requested inclusion into Brookhaven. These businesses have been part of the Lakeside Initiative's map and would be important in providing services for a new city in north central DeKalb (aka the expected  Lakeside/Briarcliff combined city proposal).

Briarcliff and Lakeside tango! Briarcliff/Lakeside Briarcliff and Lakeside continue to struggle towards compromise, but Reporter Newspapers says that they are not ready to release a combined map yet.

A Tale of Two Cities? Even after the 2014's messy legislative session, compromise in map-making was stalled.  Late in August, State Representative Mike Jacobs (R-80, Brookhaven/Chamblee), with the blessing of the House Government Affairs Committee, set a November 15 deadline for finalizing new city and annexation maps. The Brookhaven Post reported that State Representative Scott Holcomb (D-81, Northlake/Brookhaven) guesses that when five-member House Government Affairs sub-committee meets, they will propose a two-city solution for North DeKalb: Tucker and the expected combination of the Briarcliff and Lakeside proposals.

Charter helter-skelter.  The Druid Hills Charter Cluster withdrew its petition amid allegations that the DeKalb County School System illegally log-jammed the review and approval process, and stated that the organizers would "step away from our efforts in order to give life to other active processes underway in our communities that affect our constituency, such as annexation and city-hood." Druid Hills residents have been pondering the possibility of annexation into the City of Atlanta; in that eventuality, Druid Hills High School, Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools would join the Atlanta Public School System. Update: WABE/NPR reports on this issue.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve Harvest Festival [Oct 19]

from Chris Beck, CSNP President:
"We are looking forward to seeing everyone next Sunday from 4-7pm. A local girl scout troop will be holding a bake sale and we will have hot dogs, drinks, and fixings available as well. We will also be joined by Cutie the sheep, who is part of flock who will be grazing our English ivy later this winter. Come early to walk the trails and do a little bird watching or geocaching."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MANA annexation survey will launch this weekend

The MANA Annexation Survey seeks feedback from
residents within our organization's boundaries.
Click to enlarge.
Over the coming weekend, MANA volunteers will distribute the latest issue of the Medlock Matters newsletter. The newsletter includes the usual updates about going ons around the neighborhood, but is also a special issue on cityhood and annexation that complements our annexation survey. To get this information out there as soon as possible, the Fall newsletter is now available online (pdf) ahead of the print edition.

We encourage you to read articles by your MANA Board as they explore the potential impact of annexation and cityhood on key concerns such as our property taxes and schools. Much is unknown, but we still need to voice our preference so that our elected representatives and annexation proponents understand our wishes.

The home-delivered newsletter includes an insert with our survey and instructions on how to complete it by the October 28 deadline. Survey content is shared below. We hope that this information is useful and encourages conversation and discussion. We will start reporting on our survey results at the next community meeting (October 27). For timeline information, see our earlier post.

Thank you for your patience as we prepared these materials.



Click to enlarge.
This map (dated July 2014) was shared by the City of Tucker Initiative and has been edited to highlight key features. The map has been cropped to focus on annexation activity in our area. The Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA) has been highlighted in white. Proposed cities are labeled in italics and existing cities are labeled in capital letters. To see the unedited map, click here.

We highlight Decatur’s proposed annexations (which include Suburban Plaza, Medlock Plaza where Meltons is located, and the whole Medline LCI study area as well as businesses at the Clairmont and North Decatur Road intersection, among others) because their annexation into Decatur would primarily allocate those properties’ commercial taxes to a small city that already possesses ample resources. Combined, these commercial annexations would increase Decatur’s footprint by more than 10%. We believe these commercial properties should serve as large a number of DeKalb citizens as possible:

City of Decatur population (2013):
~ 20,000
DeKalb County population (2013):
~ 700,000 (~500,000 unincorporated)
Proposed Briarcliff population (2013):
~ 93,000
Proposed Lakeside population (2013):
~ 63,000 

The map also illustrates how the Medlock neighborhood might be squeezed into an unincorporated island scenario.


This is a sample, shared to ensure all residents have ample time to prepare for the survey -- do not complete it or send it in. The real survey is being distributed with the newsletter. If you don't receive a newsletter and you live within the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association's boundaries, email medlockassoc@gmail.com.

I. Respondent Information: Questions marked with an asterisk require an answer. Age information will help us better understand our population and represent our residents’ diverse needs and concerns, now and in the near future. Please answer as many questions as you can.

Your Name (optional):
Your Street*:

Describe your household: how many residents in each age category?*

 [ _____ ]  0-4         [ _____ ]  5-10         [ _____ ]  11-14      [ _____ ]  15-18      [ _____ ]  19-30  

 [ _____ ]  31-40     [ _____ ]  41-50       [ _____ ]  51-60      [ _____ ]  61-70       [ _____ ]  71+

II. Annexation Questions: If we had the opportunity to vote on this...

The Medlock neighborhood faces several possible options as alternatives to remaining in unincorporated DeKalb County. MANA board members met with City of Decatur officials who stated they are not interested in annexing our Medlock Park neighborhood, however, the Decatur City Commission has not voted on such a decision.
Each item is a separate question; you may answer “yes” or “no” on multiple proposals. 

How would you vote on a proposal to become part of City of Decatur?*
☐ YES: annex to City of Decatur    ☐ NO: remain in unincorporated DeKalb County

How would you vote on a proposal to become part of a new city to the north (currently represented by the Briarcliff and/or Lakeside proposals)?*
☐ YES: annex to a new city (Briarcliff/Lakeside)    ☐ NO: remain in unincorporated DeKalb County

How would you vote on a proposal to become part of City of Atlanta?*
☐ YES: annex to City of Atlanta    ☐ NO: remain in unincorporated DeKalb County

Would you support a one-year moratorium on all new cities and annexations in DeKalb County?*
☐ YES: I would support a 1-year moratorium during which we stay in unincorporated DeKalb County
☐ NO: the legislature should take action now

All things being equal, what is your preferred outcome for our Medlock Park neighborhood? Please rank these options, from 1 to 5, with 1 being your most favorite and 5 being your least favorite.* Please do not use the same number more than once.

[___] Join City of Atlanta  

[___] Join City of Decatur

[___] Join a new city to the north (currently represented by the Briarcliff/Lakeside proposals)

[___] Remain unincorporated

[___] 1-year moratorium on annexations by new AND existing cities


Druid Hills Charter Cluster withdraws its petition

In a letter published on its Facebook page, the  Druid Hills Charter Cluster explains why it has decided to withdraw its petition to create a charter cluster involving the Druid Hills High School and all its feeder schools.  See https://www.facebook.com/DruidHillsCharterCluster for the whole statement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'tis the season to get flu shots

Flu: so far so good, but for how long?
via http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
This is a public service reminder that the ideal time to get a flu shot is as soon as the vaccines are released (which is now).

The CDC's Flu Page tells us that takes about 2 weeks to develop enough antibodies to enjoy the vaccine's full benefit. January and February are typically the peak time for the flu but infections can occur from fall to spring.

We are only seeing sporadic reports in Georgia so far, which makes this the perfect time to get immunized:

The Flu I.Q. widget is an interactive quiz to test your flu knowledge.
Test your Flu IQ!
1) to enjoy the longest protection from the flu (the whole season vs. parts of it). The chance that you will come in contact with the flu grows as the season progresses. People can be contagious before they show symptoms. When you encounter the Flu Class of 2014, and you will, you want your antibodies to be ready to rumble!

2) to keep the holiday season jolly and the new year happy: get immunized now before things get busy and you forget. If you hate needles, there's a nasal spray option.

3) to protect others. Vaccination can help you jinx the flu's nefarious plan to use and abuse you while turning you into a juicy virus factory. Take that, influenza!

Find a flu shot provider near you by typing your zip code in the widget to the left. This handy article explores the cost of flu shot costs and finds them ranging from $14.99 to $31.99 at stores such as Costco, Walmart, and Kroger and pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid.

The DeKalb County Board of Health offers flu shots for $30. They are located at 440 Winn Way, and the clinic is open Monday-Frirday 8:15-11am and 1-4pm. Walk-ins are welcome.

Monday, October 13, 2014

MANA annexation survey coming soon

from the MANA Board:

Dear Medlock Area neighbors,

MANA boundaries: residents of the shaded (grey) area
should complete the survey. See our About page
for more information about our civic organization.
 Click to enlarge.
We have been working on a survey to better understand how residents within the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association's (MANA) boundaries feel about our annexation options. We have been very deliberate with this process, as we aimed to

1) design a survey that gathers the data we need (no more, no less),

2) release informational materials that are accurate and current and help our residents better understand the choices we face and

3) report on our findings in a timely manner.

The survey timeline will be as follows:

Week of October 13: Information (on the impact of various proposals on property taxes and schools) and survey questions will be posted on the MANA website to allow everyone to familiarize themselves with the issues and survey content.

October 19ish and on: MANA volunteers will distribute our Medlock Matters newsletter door to door. The newsletter will include an insert with the same information previously posted on the website, the actual survey, and instructions on how to complete it. A phone number and email address will be provided for anyone who would prefer to have a MANA volunteer visit their home and help them complete the survey. Likewise, anyone with a delivery or access concern (e.g., will be traveling during the survey period) should contact medlockassoc@gmail.com.

October 27: We will report on survey responses at the MANA community meeting (7pm at the North Decatur Presbyterian Church). House Representative Mary Margaret Oliver will be our guest speaker. Ms. Oliver no longer represents our neighborhood but did in the past; she is part of the House Government Affairs committee, which will play a significant role in the legislative process. Hard copies of the survey will be available at the meeting.

October 28: The survey closes at midnight (no additional data will be received). Data analysis begins the next day.

by November 3: Final survey results will be shared via the MANA website and other neighborhood media, and e-mailed to our legislators, elected representatives and civic collaborators.

Thank you for your patience and please mark your calendars to complete the survey by October 28. We will send some reminders too.

As always, let us know if you have any questions through medlockassoc@gmail.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Yard sale success

Another great neighborhood-wide yard sale! What a nice chance to recycle, repurpose, bargain hunt and chat with neighbors. The many Halloween decorations around the neighborhood added to the festive mood.

Thanks to Stephanie for planning. Photos by Barbara O.

A haunting sight: you can try selling your ghosts, but they keep coming back...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Suburban Plaza Starbucks variance approved

via Deanne, from the Cross-Neighborhoods Committee:

Starbucks is now clear to build a new shop with patio and drive-through in Suburban Plaza. The last hurdle was cleared on October 8, when the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a setback variance with no public opposition. Starbucks had successfully applied for a SLUP to allow a drive-through but a setback variance was required to allow pedestrian access through a sidewalk (to be built) along North Decatur Road.
"Shop J" marks the future location of Starbucks. "Tenant H" will be home to by LA Fitness.
Starbucks SLUP conditions.
Click to enlarge.
The plan, mentioned in an earlier post, reflects what Commissioners and community had visualized through the Medline LCI Study: walkable businesses and community interaction.

The plan was approved with the conditions (see image to the left).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flow meter installation announcement from DeKalb Watershed Management

Received by MANA; please address questions to Mr. James (information follows).

Dear Association Representative:

Dekalb County has reached a Clean Water Act settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the form of a Consent Decree.  The attached letter will provide residents with details of the upcoming Flow Meter Installation project.  This is the first in a series of on going projects associated with the Consent Decree.

It is our goal to keep residents informed of the activities which may be taking place in their neighborhoods.

Click to enlarge.
Please share with your association members via your website, newsletter, or other means of communication.

Thanks in advance.

John F. James
Project Manager
Consent Decree Program Management Team

CERM | Corporate Environmental Risk Management
Engineers nSurveyors n Planners nManagers n Scientists

2296 Henderson Mill Road, Suite 200 | Atlanta, GA 30345 | www.cerm.com

p 678.999.0173 | m 678-524-4176| f678.999.0186

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ICS "walk to school" day: Wednesday, October 8

Click to enlarge.
International Communty School

Kids will be walking on Medlock Road/Harrington/Eastway/Winelease etc.
ICS Kids will be walking from different neighborhood intersections.

Please drive carefully.

Watch out for the little kids from 8:00 a.m. till 9:00 a.m. 

Birdwatching, Fall Festival @ Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve [Oct 11, 19]

The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is hosting two events that are sure to take advantage of the lovely fall weather.
Great blue heron.
BIRDWATCHING: Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve and Atlanta Audubon Society are co-sponsoring a birding field trip at the nature preserve this Saturday, October 11 from 8 to 11 AM. Dave Butler will lead the trip along with Jay Davis. No experience is necessary so please come and learn about birds and your nature preserve. The event is free. Bring binoculars. No children under 12, please--this is an Audubon event and likely to be well attended. If there is interest, Dave is happy to organize a separate event for young birdwatchers.

And after all that birdwatching, hit the MANA Yard Sale! Who knows, someone may be selling your next pair of binoculars or birding guide...

FALL FESTIVAL: A neighborhood tradition! October 19 from 4-7pm, dust off your fall jacket and come on down for food, kids activities, music, and s'mores by the bonfire.
Perennial morning glory.

Fiery skipper.
The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is a 28-acre privately-owned greenspace maintained by volunteers and located at 2580 Pine Bluff, Decatur GA 30033 | map |. The Preserve has been featured in "Hiking Atlanta's Hidden Forests" and in Birdwatching Daily.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Around Medlock

Some views around the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve...

Fall color preview, from the ground up.

Great Blue Heron hunts for breakfast.

Morning glories are always an unexpected treat. Wonder what this one looks
like to a bee?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Update on Greg Germani: thumbs up

Greg Germani Trust Fund
Beth Anne writes on Facebook: "Thumbs up! Greg Germani gave me the go ahead to share this photo. The past four months have been extraordinarily tough, but Greg's here and giving it his all every day."
As we all know, Greg was (purposefully) hit by a driver while commuting on his bike last July. That driver has been arrested, is charged with attempted murder, and awaits trial. Greg is a Medlock resident and the genius behind the Atlanta Time Machine.

Greg's rehab is ongoing and so is the campaign to ensure that he continues to receive the very best support.

Beth Anne also posted that there's an fundraising even next November 7 at the Star Community Bar. Continued fundraising is needed because "Once Greg leaves the hospital and goes into outpatient treatment, his insurance benefits are less generous. Once he has utilized all of his insurance covered outpatient therapy visits (just about 2-4 weeks), the figure for daily outpatient therapy is in the neighborhood of $500 per day. Greg needs and deserves the best care possible and his incredible friends, family, neighbors and strangers are making that happen."

For anyone who can't attend this concert or just can't wait to pitch in, donations are possible through Greg Garmani's fundraising page at http://www.gofundme.com/GregGermaniTrust
Well-wishers can also send good vibes to Greg:

Greg Germani c/o Shepherd Center 
2020 Peachtree Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30309

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Notes from “Blueprint for DeKalb” presentation

“Blueprint for DeKalb” is a citizen-led initiative first organized by Commissioner Kathie Gannon to improve and revitalize DeKalb County. The group has worked hard to identify best practices that, going forward, will elevate ethical and professional behavior while also providing the type of oversight that is typical of top-notch organizations.

To learn about the people who are leading this effort as well as review white papers and other documents and resources the team has gathered, go to blueprintdekalb.org and don't forget to complete their surveyBlueprint representatives area available to attend civic organization meetings and discuss the Blueprint's plan.

The September 30 meeting at the Maloof Building was well attended (140+ people?) and provide specific examples of the governance targeted by the Blueprint. Presenters (all Blueprint leaders) included Beth Nathan, Brenda Pace, Ted Daniel, Gil Turman, Martha Pacini, Robert Glover, Dan Wright, Patricia Killingsworth, Calvin Sims and Jana Johnson.

Making the Blueprint’s recommendations a reality will require changes to the Organizational Act; proposals will need to be approved by the DeKalb Delegation and later, the state legislature. A key recommendation (for internal auditing and ethics) is that these oversight structures need specific budgets, set to a percentage of the overall County budget (e.g., 0.01-0.05% or similar "industry standard”). A set budget would be protected from political machinations and ensure that oversight departments have sufficient staffing and resources to process complaints and conduct and complete investigations.

Below are some of the examples provided, and links to the Blueprint’s pages that deal with those issues.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MANA Yard Sale Map [Oct 11]

The treasure hunt is ON! Next October 11, 8am - 3pm, prepare to shop 'til you drop. 

You can also view this map here via GoogleMaps or dowload it as a pdf.

Big thanks to Stephanie for organizing this year's sale and generating this awesome map for us!