Monday, March 31, 2014

Medline LCI: Charrette update

Jen Price @ Sycamore Consulting sends an update about the charrette that took place on Saturday:

Photos courtesy of Jen Price. Click to enlarge.
"The charrette went very well!  The weather did throw a wrench in our plan for the walking portion of the charrette but we ended up using the space outside of a vacant shop in Patel Plaza to show the typical size of a pocket park as well as the size of a small community garden plot (first two photos).  Tony at Intown ACE Hardware let us borrow all of the items which was so very nice of him. Dunkin' Donuts sponsored breakfast.

The turnout was good for a full day Saturday commitment.  We had some people leave early and a few that came during the workshop portion (35 at any given moment).  Commissioner Rader came and stayed for just about the entire day.
 
We are hoping to have a public open house to review the draft Master Plan in May."

CAN: Candidates' Fair [Apr 27]

The "summer election" is happening on May 20. Please review the flyer below for information about what is at stake. Note that the voter registration deadline is April 21.

SAMPLE BALLOTS: http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/CurrentElectionInfo.html. Note that these countywide sample ballots will contain districts and municipalities that will not apply to every individual.

Click to enlarge.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Medline: Charette Schedule [Mar 29]

Jen@ Sycamore Consulting wanted to share the
Charette Schedule

9:30 - 10:00 AM :: Registration, light breakfast & open house

10:00 - 10:30 AM :: Welcome, overview & purpose

10:45 - 11:15 AM :: Visit tactical demos (weather permitting, this will involve a short walk from Patel Plaza, south along Church Street to the adjacent vacant car dealership to view a few scaled greenspace ideas, crosswalk treatments, etc. )

11:30 - 12:15 PM :: Virtual study area tours -we've divided the study area into 3 districts.  When we return to Masala, we'll show a video tour of the 3 districts to provide more context.

12:30 - 4:00 PM :: Working lunch & charrette - attendees will select 1 of the 3 districts to study.  At their study table, they'll discuss and sketch ideas for transportation, land use, and greenspace solutions for their district.  At the end, each table will report their draft solutions.

4:00 - 4:30 PM ::  Next Steps & Wrap up.

Jen says "It's a pretty packed day, but we hope it will be interactive, engaging and fun for those who will participate.  We are encouraging people to commit to the whole day, however, if you cannot,  we hope that you'll be able to drop by at some point during the charrette."

For all the details on the Medline LCI, see https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/home

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Free Pet Vaccinations from Lifeline / DeKalb County

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
ATLANTA, GA – (March 24, 2014)  LifeLine Animal Project and DeKalb County Animal Services invite DeKalb County pet owners to attend "Healthy Pets DeKalb" on Saturday, April 5th, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Wade-Walker Park, 5585 Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain.  The event will offer over 400 free vaccinations provided by a licensed veterinarian, free pet food and much more!  No registration is necessary for this first-come, first-serve promotion.

“LifeLine offers veterinary services and pet education directly to pet owners in our communities who need them,” says Debbie Setzer, community outreach director for LifeLine. “These resources improve the quality of life for pets and their families, prevent unplanned litters and decrease the number of animals ending up in shelters,” she explains.

For more information on Healthy Pets DeKalb, please email community@LifeLineAnimal.org  or call 678.883.2FIX (678.883.2349).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

County will address damages at Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

Last March 4, several neighbors reported work at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (CSNP) that caused noticeable damage. The source of this disruption was heavy equipment operated by DeKalb Co. Watershed Management. Neither the CSNP nor the property owner were notified about the project [CSNP is privately owned but maintained by volunteers who, over many years, have invested thousands of hours into developing and maintaining trails and signage].

On March 20, MANA sent a letter to Commissioner Jeff Rader that read as follows:
Dear Commissioner Rader: 
We were greatly alarmed to learn of the recent destruction of green space within Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, a privately-held and volunteer-run asset to our neighborhood. It is our understanding that DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management began work along the sewer easement without making any notification to the landholder. While this action alone is disturbing enough, we were utterly appalled to see the large tract cut through the preserve and across one of the newest trails. Furthermore, we observed large pits dug into spaces that are not within the sewer easement. The creation of these craters further destroyed natural habitat in a space that is dearly beloved by the neighborhood and by many who visit from surrounding areas.
It is clear that the sewer line along Peachtree Creek needed improvements and that these repairs required Watershed Management to access the space through the preserve. However, the blatant disregard for the property owner and the inability to perform the work in a manner consistent with protocol by following established easements is yet another reminder that there are portions of our County government that remain dysfunctional. 
We know that you recognize the value of the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve to our community and appreciate the efforts of their board members and many volunteers who have worked tirelessly to maintain this green space as a vital asset to our neighborhood and all DeKalb County residents. Therefore, we ask that you give your full support to the board as they negotiate reparations from Watershed Management.
On March 21, CSNP President Chris Beck met with Commissioner Rader and the head of the Watershed Management--both were dismayed about the situation. CSNP will be filing a claim against the County outlining recommendations for restoration at the Preserve, and the County will assess the damage and then respond to the claim.

We will keep you posted on this issue.

Friday, March 21, 2014

DeKalb County Animal Services' "Adopt a Lucky Charm" special

Click to enlarge.
LIFELINE ANIMAL PROJECT OFFERS SPECIAL ADOPTION RATES DURING ‘ADOPT A LUCKY CHARM’ PROMOTION AT DEKALB COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
 
ATLANTA (March 20, 2014) -- You don’t need a four-leaf clover to get the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day.  LifeLine Animal Project invites you to adopt your lucky charm at DeKalb County Animal Services (DCAS) and receive special adoption rates during their ‘Adopt a Lucky Charm’ promotion.  During the month of March, any dog or puppy may be adopted for only $40, and any cat and kitten may be adopted for only $25. Standard adoption screening criteria still applies.  Adopted pets will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, heartworm or combo tested and dewormed.  
 
According to DCAS Director Susan Feingold, there are plenty of ‘lucky charms’ waiting to fill your life with love.  “We have so many great dogs and cats who are ready to become loyal family members,” she says.  “Their luck will change for the better when you adopt one, and so will yours.”
 
To see pictures of available animals at DCAS, or for the shelter’s address or adoption hours, please visit www.dekalbanimalservices.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Medline LCI Study Charrette [Mar 29]

To RSVP for this event, go to medlinedesigncharrette.eventbrite.com
via Jen, from the Medline LCI Study Team:
We’ve put the final touches on our upcoming Design Charrette for the Medline LCI.  It will be held at Masala Indian Restaurant located in Patel Plaza on 3/29.  A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.  We hope that we can count on you to help us spread the word about the event to your networks, neighbors and other interested stakeholders.  Please encourage people to pre-register at:  medlinedesigncharrette.eventbrite.com. It should be an exciting and interactive event!

The community survey will remain open leading up to the Charrette.  Please continue to encourage folks to take the online survey, especially if they cannot attend the design charrette: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MedlineLCI
You can also visit the Medline LCI website to learn more about this study and review documents from previous presentations and community meetings.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Your DeKalb Farmers Market

A Decatur Metro reader recently posted a link to plans depicting a major expansion of Your DeKalb Farmers Market. The plans linked here are dated 2012, construction is now starting. Per the document,
"The proposed expansion will be built in four phases; Phase 1 will consist of 195,692 SF of Warehouse and 352,983 SF of Retail; Phase 2 will consist of 407,152 SF of
Warehouse and 101,788 SF of Retail; Phase 3 will consist of 53,186 SF of Warehouse
and 98,774 SF of Retail; and Phase 4 will consist of 223,530 SF of Warehouse. Phase I is expected to be completed in 3 Years and the overall project is expected to be completed
in 10 years."
 

via http://www.avondaleestates.org/resources/pdfs/Your%20DeKalb%20Farmers%20Market
%20Methodology%20Report_04302012.pdf

Current market space and parking appear in light grey roughly between 12 and 2 o'clock. 

You will be here! Medline study area is outlined in orange; the yellow
asterisk marks the Scott Blvd. / Medlock / North Decatur Road intersection.
That is a whole lot of edibles! Also exciting is how close Your DeKalb Farmer's Market is to our area and how much more accessible it will be through pedestrian and cycling improvements that will follow the Medline LCI study.



Monday, March 17, 2014

No mo' cities--this year, anyway

Self-consciously shaped like a stealth bomber, behold
the unholy child of that tawdry 11th-hour Lakeside and Tucker tryst.
It did not fly. 
Reporter Newspapers says that no new cities will be approved in DeKalb this year. The article quotes Senator Fran Millar (who withdrew the Lakeside bill he had sponsored) as saying
What you’re basically telling 70,000 people is they don’t have the opportunity to vote this year,” 
You could interpret that phrase as Millar having a late but welcome flash of understanding and empathy for all the people outside cityhood an and annexation proposals but nah, he was talking about the Lakeside faithful.

Here's to hoping that with these proposals on hold, with annexations also looming, we can spend the coming year deciding who we are and where we are all going (hopefully nowhere involving a hand basket and gusting dry heat).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AJC update: cityhood initiatives and a DeKalb County task force

April Hunt at the AJC has a summary on the competing cityhood proposal debacle currently unfolding in the legislature. Elsewhere, the interim County CEO, Lee May,
"... issued an executive order to create a 15-member charter task force as early as next week. 
Among its goals will be to plot the county’s march toward municipalization, as well as review whether DeKalb should eliminate its CEO form of government. 
May and the [DeKalb County] commission had agreed on that agenda for lawmakers, but none of their joint requests have been taken up this session. 
“Unfortunately, there has been no political will to address these issues at the state level, and we’re seeing the very real problem of how unclear the right to incorporate with your own borders can be,” May said. “So we have to show the residents, the lawmakers and everyone we are serious about handling this work ourselves.” 
What’s next: The House governmental affairs committee meets at 1 p.m. Wednesday in room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building in Atlanta." Read the rest @ AJC
p.s.
Thanks to the AJC for having this important item outside the paywall.

Dog found near Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

This dog (no microchip) was found near the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve earlier this month.

A kind neighbor has been holding on to him (?) but will need to surrender it to animal control or rescue soon.

If you know who the owners might be, or an interested in a small, sweet "mini-pin" or rat terrier-type dog, please email medlockassoc@gmail and we'll put you in touch with the person who is taking care of this puppet.

Puppies, kittens and flowers oh my!-- help Friends of DeKalb Animals


"Plant a Little Love  Our organization needs your help. For every purchase made on this site, Flower Power Fundraising will give 50% back to Friends of Dekalb Animals. Read through this page and see how you can help today! 

A Personal Message from the Campaign Manager  Plant a Little Love !! All of us pups, cats and humans at Friends of Dekalb Animals have spring fever so we decided to spread some sunshine and hold a plant fundraiser. 50% of proceeds will be donated to FODA by Flower Power, so order some bulbs or seeds for you, your mom, your best friend and your neighbor ! Plant a little love in your garden and help homeless animals ~ how fun is that ? For more info on our organization's life saving mission, please visit www.friendsofdekalbanimals.org

http://www.flowerpowerfundraising.com/campaign?q=campaign&campaign_id=18303"

And if you don't need flowers but still want to help, you can make one-time donations via Paypal at www.friendsofdekalbanimals.org.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DeKalb Commissioners transfer economic development oversight to new board

Decaturish has a great report on how the DeKalb Board of Commissioners has decided to set up a new, independent government agency to oversee County development that
"... transfers economic development activities to the board, removing them from the supervision of the county CEO. 
The commission’s actions followed a scathing report produced [by] Angelou Economics on the county’s market conditions. The report, which the county commissioned, said declining tax revenues and a culture of political corruption are holding back the county’s economic development efforts.
... Angelou Economics found the county’s tax digest has decreased 50 percent in the last six years as new cities have formed. DeKalb also suffers from a higher crime rate than its neighboring communities, including Atlanta."  Read on @ Decaturish
Did you catch that: "the county’s tax digest has decreased 50 percent in the last six years as new cities have formed." The last six years counts from 2008, the year when the bottom fell out, heck broke loose, and development stalled or retracted everywhere; it's fair to guess the national economic mood had some impact on the digest, too. Still, we have to acknowledge that as commercial property leaves the County, any new (taxable) development due to recovery will also be happening and most benefiting those incorporated areas.

Did you know that DeKalb is quite remarkable in terms of patent activity?
This is but one slide from the Angelou Economics report
The document that informed the Board's decisions can be found at http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/
pdf/2014_02_17_dekalb_county_market_assessment_report.pdf Definitely click on that link and learn more about our County!

The Angelou Economics report gathered information through its http://dekalbcounty2020.com/ link. Matrix Consulting was hired to collect information to help overhaul the County's permitting and licensing operations; their survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/
DeKalbCustomer  It is uncertain if information submitted to these surveys is still being collected.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Medline update

https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/
Awesome Jen Price at Sycamore Consulting has shared some documents from the second of three LCI Core Team Meeting. The core team consists "of stakeholders with knowledge and expertise" who can help guide the study "through the identification of issues and opportunities, development of plan goals and objectives, and review ...  the feasibility and effectiveness of recommendations." The meeting primarily summarized the feedback that was gathered during the Medline community meeting last week. A key item was to mark our calendars for March 29 for the public meeting / charrette, where the study group consultants will unveil some of their proposals to see what the community thinks. The location will be announced soon.

Until then, Jen wanted everyone to know that links to slides from the two core meetings so far can be found at  https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/core-team while materials from community meetings are housed at https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/community-workshops. As additional meetings take place, you can go to those links directly for updates.

Under the core meetings section, you will also find a presentation titled "Health in the City" that discusses the history of the national health care infrastructure that led to building complexes such as the DeKalb Medical Center, Piedmont Hospital, etc. The presentation helped put in context how the DeKalb Medical site came to be (it was a 40-acre berry patch until 1960-ish) and where it and others hospitals like it may be headed as modern health care switches to a wellness emphasis and telemedicine, outpatient services, retail providers and smaller (acute, urgent care) models challenge the traditional hospital concept. The Medline study is in part named to reference the medical center's influence in the area;  whatever changes may come,  DeKalb Medical can be expected to remain an important player in the area's form and function.

At the March 6 meeting, Mike Sizemore (from the Sizemore group who leads the study) mentioned a walkability study conducted in Kennesaw, GA that has good examples [pages 49 – 56] of the complete street concept ("complete" means that the street is designed to serve not only cars but also pedestrians and cyclists). The presentation, titled "AARP Active Living Workshop", is now available via the Medline website at https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/resources [note: it's a large file, it may take a minute to load]. This report is worth reviewing: it has a lot of images that can give us ideas for how to fix some of our vexing, unfriendly roads.

The Kennesaw/ AARP report includes many tasty nuggets such as (on page 9 and on):
Speed kills: if you want to survive, be picky: make sure you only
get hit by cars traveling under 20 mph! Red indicates # dead
pedestrians for every10 who are hit by cars traveling at noted speeds.
•  A 5 to 10 mph reduction in traffic speeds increased adjacent residential property values by roughly 20 percent. Reduced traffic volumes on residential streets increases home values by an average of 18 percent.
• A 10-point increase in Walk Score increases commercial property values by 5 percent to 8 percent. ... a one point increase in a neighborhood’s WalkScore (www.walkscore.com) increased home values as much as $3,000.
• Cycling and walking investments return up to $11.80 for every $1 invested.
Those who were closely following the North Decatur Road Safety Audit will find much to like in this report, so check it out!

Lastly, the study group has generated a lot of maps describing the different attributes of the Medline site. Those maps can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/medlinelcistudy/community-workshops.  Maps begin on page 17 of the first community workshop presentation.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

MANA statement to the GA Legislature regarding cityhood and annexation

... from the MANA Board. 

March 5, 2014  
To the Members of the Governmental Affairs Committee: 
The Medlock Area Neighborhood association has closely followed the cityhood proposals for DeKalb County.  We have strongly supported the City of Briarcliff Initiative because it is the only cityhood proposal to give our neighborhood the possibility of expressing our opinions through our votes. Now, we are appalled to learn that part of our neighborhood is being excluded even from the latest proposed Briarcliff map because of back room deals with existing cities, in our case Decatur. We realize that maps will be changing until the final vote. However, the ham-handed way this issue has been handled has reflected badly on everybody involved in it. 
We are not na├»ve about the political process, but a major argument in favor of new cities is that they will lead to more transparency in government, at least in the beginning. This process has destroyed even that tattered illusion. It has created more distrust in government than existed before, which is saying quite a lot. 
We respectfully ask you not to consider arbitrarily breaking up existing neighborhoods under any circumstances because a small piece of the neighborhood borders on something that an existing city MIGHT want in the future. The Medlock neighborhood goes all the way to Scott Blvd and should not be truncated because of some vague desires that will probably never be acted on. Even considering such action is arrogant, manifestly unfair to the citizens of the entire area, and wrong. 
More importantly, we urge you, our elected representatives, to assume responsibility to slow this race to cityhood. It has become confusing, embarrassing, and damaging to all of us. If there truly are valid reasons for a new city, then waiting a year or so should make those reasons more valid. Of course, there are terrible problems with DeKalb County, but creating flawed new municipalities will not help anybody, except those who profit from them.  As it is, this entire process has created frustration and cynicism among the voters and done severe damage to our belief in the possibility of true democracy in Georgia.

Please stop this.  You can do better, and you owe it to the voters to give us all more time to consider the details and implications of these proposals. 
Thank you.
Sincerely,
The Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA) Board
medlockassoc@gmail.com



If you would like to reach out to your elected officials, the House Governmental Affairs Committee will hold hearings about both the Briarcliff and Lakeside proposals today March 6, 1-3pm. See the meeting notice here. Per the Briarcliff Facebook page, Briarcliff statements will be heard at 1pm and Lakeside's at 2pm. The Briarcliff Facebook page also has a map with directions. 

If you can't make it to this meeting, we encourage you to call or email the House Governmental Affairs Committee:

alanpowell23@hotmail.com
alisha@alishamorgan.com
Rep. Amy Carter, Chairman
amy.carter@house.ga.gov
barry.fleming@house.ga.gov
bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov
Rep. Buzz Brockway, Vice Chair
buzz.brockway@house.ga.gov
Rep. Darlene Taylor, Secretary
darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov
dustin.hightower@house.ga.gov
howard.mosby@house.ga.gov
hughfloyd@mindspring.com
jay.powell@house.ga.gov
john.meadows@house.ga.gov
larry.oneal@house.ga.gov
mark.hamilton@house.ga.gov
mmo@mmolaw.com
rusty.kidd@house.ga.gov
tyrone.brooks@house.ga.gov

Additionally, you may want also want to communicate your thoughts to the Speaker of the House, David Ralston (david.ralston@house.ga.gov) and to Senator Jason Carter (jason.carter@senate.ga.gov), who recently aired his concerns about the current process.
For your convenience, all the emails above in an easy cut-and-paste format:  
alanpowell23@hotmail.com; alisha@alishamorgan.com; amy.carter@house.ga.gov; barry.fleming@house.ga.gov; bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov; buzz.brockway@house.ga.gov; darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov; dustin.hightower@house.ga.gov; howard.mosby@house.ga.gov; hughfloyd@mindspring.com; jay.powell@house.ga.gov; john.meadows@house.ga.gov; larry.oneal@house.ga.gov; mark.hamilton@house.ga.gov; mmo@mmolaw.com; rusty.kidd@house.ga.gov; tyrone.brooks@house.ga.gov; david.ralston@house.ga.gov; jason.carter@senate.ga.gov

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Georgia rides to the Capitol [Mar 18]

Do you ride a bicycle? Would you ride a bicycle if you felt safer on our area streets? Join the annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol event! Riders gather in downtown Decatur and depart at 10:45 a.m. and reach the Capitol at 11:40am. The ride is free but you should register in order to be covered by event insurance. Read on for more information...

See full-size version at
http://www.georgiaridestothecapitol.org/images/flyer-2014.pdf
"Hi All,

The ninth annual Georgia Rides To The Capitol bike ride is coming up Tuesday, March 18th. I know a lot of y’all have done this ride and we hope y’all can join us once again.

The ride supports cycling advocacy efforts in Georgia and we routinely have over 30-40 metro area mayors and other elected officials join us on the ride. The ride is split into two parts – the Decatur option leaves from the E. Lake MARTA station parking lot (north side of DeKalb Ave.) and is a slow paced, 5 mile ride to the state capitol. We always have plenty of beginners, families and folks just riding for fun!

The ride is police escorted to the capitol, but cyclists are on their own for the return trip. Last year we had Lt. Governor Casey Cagle address the riders along with other statewide officials. It’s a great way to show support for cycling and an opportunity to meet (and ride with) a lot of elected officials!

For details, start times and registration (all pre-registered riders are covered by event insurance AND receive a free commemorative leg band), please visit the website:

www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org

Please feel free to spread the word! Apologies for any cross postings.

Fred Boykin
Event Director"

DeKalb Cooperative Extension Annual Plant Sale [order by Mar 10, pick up on Mar 22]


Order form and list of available plants from 
http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/dekalb/documents/2014PlantSaleOrderForm-webversion.pdf
DECATUR – DeKalb Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce its second annual Plant Sale. The office will accept orders between January 6, 2014 and March 10, 2014.  The one-day pick up is Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the DeKalb Cooperative Extension office.  We have several varieties to choose from including azaleas, blueberries, hydrangeas, gardenias and many more.

“Although this is just our second year, we are excited to see this annual sale grow.  We are committed to helping citizens realize and understand the role they play in the beautification and sustainability of their own neighborhoods, said Jessica E. Hill, Director of the Cooperative Extension office in DeKalb.

For more information about ordering plants or to learn more about other programs and services, please contact the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension office at 404-298-4080 or visit us at www.ugaextension.com/dekalb.

Lynwood L. Blackmon II
DeKalb County Horticulture Agent
DeKalb County Cooperative Extension
4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 200
Decatur, GA 30032
404-298-4087
404-298-3084 Fax
blackmonl@dekalbcountyga.gov

Sunday, March 2, 2014

MANA Community Meeting [Mar 3]

Please join us on March 3, 7pm at the North Decatur Presbyterian Church (611 Medlock Road) for our first meeting this year. 

On the agenda:
Election of officers for 2014
ICS updates
Laurel Ridge updates
Neighborhood Watch
Lifelong Communities
Cityhood updates
Medline LCI
Georgia General Assembly Updates – Rahn Mayo
Candidates for Senate seat - Elena Parent and Kyle Williams
Zoning updates