Friday, December 23, 2016

SLUP for proposed hotel at 2754 North Decatur Rd. [Jan 4]

MANA has received a request to distribute the following notice, relating to a SLUP application for 2754 North Decatur Road (across the A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home). There will be a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 7:00pm at North Decatur United Methodist Church, 1523 Church Street, Decatur, GA 30030.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PATH: connecting Medlock and Leafmore neighborhoods

Image from PATH website.
PATH's recent press release notes that the South Peachtree Creek Trail is being extended across North Druid Hills Rd. This new construction is marked as "A" in the map to the left. Additional details about the South Peachtree Creek PATH extension are available here.

When complete, this "extension will connect with the South Peachtree Creek Trail at the Mason Mill Tennis Center parking lot thereby providing seamless walks and rides between Leafmore and Medlock Park."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tree planting at Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve [Dec 10]

from the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

This Saturday, we will partner with Trees Atlanta to plant 100 trees at the Preserve. We would welcome additional volunteers. They will start with a demonstration at 9am, so ask volunteers to be there at 8:45am to sign in. See below for more details.
Please share the below info and this video, “How to Plant a Tree” (  with your group and ask them to watch it before they arrive at the project. It will help them understand the work they will be doing and prepare them to plant the trees correctly.

• We will be planting trees from 9 am to 12 pm. Please arrive at 8:45 to get signed in so that we can begin promptly at 9 am. It is important to arrive on time as we only provide one demonstration (it takes 20 minutes) and every volunteer needs to see it. We also want all volunteers to stay for the entire project, and not leave before we finish.
• All ages are welcome, but volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian, and all volunteers between the ages of 16 and 17 who are not accompanied by a parent/guardian must have a parent/guardian sign a waiver for them (found here:…/Sign-In-and-Signature-for-Releas…).
• Please ask your volunteers to wear closed-toed shoes or boots, clothes that can get dirty, sunscreen and bug spray as needed.
• I recommend that volunteers bring drinking water in a reusable container. No one-time-use plastic bottles, please.
• Tree planting is hard work, so make sure to tell everyone to eat a good breakfast and come prepared to work hard. A snack might be a good thing for those who tend to lose steam.
• Projects happen rain or shine, so please check the weather beforehand and come prepared.
• Trees Atlanta will provide all necessary tools and instruction, though volunteers may prefer to bring their own work gloves.

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
2580 Pine Bluff Drive
Decatur, GA 30033

Friday, November 18, 2016

Two water-related announcements

via Commissioner Rader...

State of Georgia Announces Level 2 Drought Restrictions
DeKalb County residents move to odd/even schedule

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has announced a Level 2 drought response in 52 counties including DeKalb.

For more information, click here.

DeKalb County Adds Water Bill Dispute Locations
DeKalb County residents wishing to dispute their water bills now have additional times and locations throughout the county to begin the dispute process.

In September, DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May issued a moratorium through the end of 2016 on the disconnection of residential water accounts that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center’s Customer Assurance Team.  

For more information, click here


Note: one of the Bill Dispute locations is at North DeKalb Mall

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween!

A bit thank you to all the MANA and Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve volunteers who made this first joint Halloween/Fall Harvest festival such a success.
Great turn-out!
Dance, puppets, dance!
We always knew these woods were magical...  
Haunted trail... heading to the scary part.
Happy Halloween, y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DeKalb County launches ethics website

h/t AJC...
"The DeKalb Ethics Board was established in its current form in 2016 when a referendum vote overwhelmingly approved of the restructuring of the Board and the addition of a full time Ethics Officer. By law, the Ethics Board is completely independent of the DeKalb CEO, Commissioners and any officers or employees of DeKalb County government. 
The Board consists of 7 volunteer members who are appointed by independent organizations: the DeKalb Bar Association, the DeKalb Legislative Delegation, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb Universities, Leadership DeKalb, the DeKalb Superior Court Chief Judge, the DeKalb Probate Judge. The appointment of board members by independent organizations ensures that the Board is not established with an inherent conflict of interest – appointment of Board member by the same officials whom they also regulate. The Board Members serve staggering terms of three years."
The website,, lists the Board's members, meeting schedule and minutes from past meetings, and links to the County's Code of Ethics (2015). Additionally, under "Advice" there are a series of case studies (organized by code or subject). Other links offer educational resources (definitions and examples pertaining to ethics) and recent filings.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival [Oct 29]

Hope all of our neighbors can join us Saturday, October 29th from 5:30-8PM for a
Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve!

What: Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival 
Who: Hosted by MANA and the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 
Where: Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (of course!) 
When: Saturday, October 29th, 5:30-8:00PM 

The haunted trail will feature spooks for all ages - the further you go, the spookier it gets!

Food will be available for sale from our local Girl Scouts, and there will be games and crafts as well.

We encourage you to come out and celebrate Halloween with your neighbors. Come in costume if you like, and bring a flashlight!

We are looking for additional volunteers to help with the event. If interested, please email Adrianne Leonard at Thanks!

NOTE: Parking is available at the school - please take advantage of that rather than parking on Pine Bluff or Harrington. It is about a half mile from the trail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Water Billing Issue Resolution (from DeKalb Co. CEO)

UPDATE: DeKalb Disconnection Moratorium and Billing Dispute FAQ

via Commissioner Rader:
DeKalb Interim CEO, Commissioners Address Water Billing Issues
with New Resolution
New water meter installation halted

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution introduced by DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May which empowers the chief financial officer (CFO) with discretion to address unusually high water bills due to billing or meter errors.

The legislation clarifies code sections 25-106(f) to specify that the CFO has the authority to make adjustments to a customer’s account for billing errors, as long as the dispute was recorded within two years of the billing error itself.

The resolution also stops the installation of the new iPerl water meters and calls for the establishment of convenient bill resolution sites around the county during the moratorium.

Another proactive step addresses excessively high bills. In these cases, Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams has directed the Utility Customer Operations Center to send out estimated bills with messaging that indicates that the county is investigating the cause of the variance. Once a high variance is detected, a work order for a water meter inspection will automatically be generated.

“Sending out estimated bills will let our customers know what is going on with their accounts in a timely manner, as well as provide a mechanism for them to pay their average amount due while we get to the root of the problem,” COO Williams said.  

On Sept. 20, Interim CEO May issued a moratorium through the end of 2016 on the disconnection of residential water accounts that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center.  

Water customers who believe their bill is in error should notify the Utility Customer Operations Center at 774 Jordan Lane in Decatur, or call (404) 371-3000to speak with a customer service representative. Account holders with disputed balances are required to pay their average amount due until the case is resolved, with the balance, if any, due at the time the investigation is complete.  

Further, a third-party dispute process is being developed to provide customers an additional avenue to resolve their disputes. This process will be implemented during the moratorium.

There will be no water service disconnections for customers with account balances in dispute who have paid their average bill through the end of 2016.  

Jeff Rader

Monday, October 10, 2016

Suburban Plaza wins redevelopment award

The AJC reports that Suburban Plaza was recognized at the Metro Atlanta Redevelopment Summit this week with the 2016 Regional Redevelopment Award.

See the press release here.

To see our Suburban Plaza posts, click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cox Conserves Heroes program: VOTE for Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve's President!!

This is a great chance to support the volunteer projects that have made the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve such a gem, not just for our neighborhood but for nature lovers all over Atlanta.

"For more than 10 years, Chris Beck, our current president, has worked as a volunteer at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve. He was recently named a finalist for the Cox Conserves Heroes program. Voting for the winner is now open. The finalist with the most votes will receive another $5000 for their non-profit. In our case, we would use the funds for ecological restoration at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve.

Cardinal flower.
To see a video, click here.
To vote, go to
As always, thanks for your support of the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve."
Box turtle
The Rock: our baby Stone Mountain
A place of wonder.
Ten or so years ago, an American Bittern stopped by for a few days, to the delight (and eyestrain) of many birdwatchers. About that long ago, hundreds of crayfish made an afternoon quite memorable by making a beeline across the street, business unknown. These 28 acres just keep on giving: "...beavers, foxes, turtles, snakes, frogs, rabbits ...166 species of migratory and resident birds including wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, and sand-hill cranes..."  And let's not forget the many plant species, fungi, invertebrates and microbes that make a home at the Preserve.
A fallen tree now nurtures a shelf fungus and moss.

Pileated woodpecker feather
Please vote for Chris. This award will help him and his volunteers fight invasive species and as he explains in the video, bringing back native vegetation is a key component of restoring this habitat.

Deer track
Here's a link to some of our prior posts with photos of the Preserve. If you have not visited, now's a great time. The weather's cool and there's always something to see if you look closely...

The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is located at 2580 Pine Bluff Drive Decatur, GA 30033.
For Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve updates, follow them on Facebook.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Level-One Drought declared for DeKalb County

Per the September Drought Indicators Report (link below), it's dry and expected to stay that way...
The AJC reports that we are on a level-one drought response holding pattern due to low rain levels. We should limit outdoor watering to the hours of 4pm - 10am. According to the AJC, "One inch of rain or water every 7 to 10 days is all your plants need."

See the GA Environmental Protection Division announcement here.

The September Drought Indicators Report for September 2016 is available here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Emory Campus Traffic Advisory [Oct 1]

via Emory University...
"Several roads on and adjacent to the Emory University campus will experience lane closures between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, due to the 6th annual Winship Win the Fight 5K, in which more than 3,000 walkers and runners are expected to participate: 

• North Decatur Road between Haygood Drive and Clifton Road will have only one lane open in each direction from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 

• The westbound lane of North Decatur Road, from Clifton Road to the roundabout at Oxford Road, will be closed between 8:30 a.m. and 8:50 a.m., open eastbound only. 

• Oxford Road, from the roundabout to Eagle Row, will be closed northbound between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., open southbound toward the roundabout. Motorists should avoid the area if possible. Those traveling in the area should expect delays until 10:00 a.m"
Registration for the Winship 5K ends September 29.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SJ Collins development agreement with the Community

This image highlights the new development in context (Suburban Plaza redevelopment & former site of Scott Blvd. Baptist and adjacent plots being redeveloped by Fuqua Development). Image via SJ Collins.
SJ Collins (developer of the parcel at the corner of North Decatur Rd. and Church St.), working with the DeKalb Cross-Neighborhoods Council (DCNC), signed off on a zoning agreement and conditions based on the input of neighborhood representatives.

Some highlights:
  • traffic enhancements such as thermoplastic pedestrian crossings throughout, a new traffic signal and an upgrade the timing system to coordinate new and existing lights
  • $100,000 towards the installation of a traffic light with pedestrian crossing at the Church St. and Milscott Dr. intersection
  • 10% of the units in the multi-family residential building will be priced as workforce housing (and reserved for residents demonstrating income at or below 80% of area median income)
  • these agreements apply to any future owners of this property. That includes making good faith efforts with any future adjacent developments to maintain connectivity between the properties.
  • 1 acre of open public space was negotiated
  • utilities will be under ground
  • bike racks will be available around the development, one near the grocery store
  • a contact person will be available to address concerns during the construction phase; construction traffic will be routed away from residential streets
Click on the links to see the conditions attached to this development's approval:
UPDATE: SJ Collins has issued a press release and their website has links to
Site Plan per SJ Collins's website

Lawrenceville townhomes, SJ Collins development approved

A very quick zoning update... At last night's meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved these two nearby projects. Click on the links to see all our content on these developments:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Medlock Park: parking lot to be re-paved [Oct 3,4]

BlackJack will seal the Medlock lot next Monday 10/3 and stripe the following day Tuesday 10/4. They do not anticipate requiring the lot any longer than these two days.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Application hearing for proposed townhomes on Lawrenceville Hwy. [Sept 27]

This application will be heard at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday (9/27) 6:30 pm at the Maloof Building.

via Erik Spavins, President of the Greater Valley Brook Civic Association

Click to enlarge.

Last Thursday, Commissioner Kathy Gannon invited several local leaders to discuss the townhomes proposed for Lawrenceville Highway between Orion and Hollywood Drives. The attendees were: the board of the Greater Valley Brook Civic Association (Erik Spalvins, Kenna Simmons, Jack Barnes, Kimberly Merritt and Elizabeth Roberts), Jim Smith (Dekalb Cross Neighborhood Council), Susan Rossi (Community Council Representative), Jane Donofrio (president of the Little Creek Farm Conservancy) and Mike Cooper (Representative of Little Creek Farm Conservancy) , Davis Fox (Policy and Projects Manager for Commissioner Gannon), and staff of the Dekalb County Planning Department.

We discussed the townhome proposal's merits, the concerns of residents and the concerns of the Conservancy board. The view of the County is that the townhome proposal is a "down zoning" - it is a less intense use of the property than could be allowed under the current zoning. According to County Staff, the zoning would allow up to 18 units per acre whereas this development is less than 11 units per acre.

Commissioner Gannon said she would like to revise the conditions drafted by the developer, the board of the Greater Valley Brook Civic Association and the County Staff. The revision by Commissioner Gannon's office is below for your review. Please let me know if you have comments. If you prefer, you should always feel free to communicate them to Susan Rossi, Commissioner Gannon's office, or Commissioner Barnes-Sutton's office.

We are still working on potential improvements to the intersection of Orion and Lawrenceville Hwy and to the public use areas of the Little Creek Park, however the off-site improvements cannot be a part of the conditions for the zoning. I will provide updates as they are available.

Thank you, Erik

Board of Commissioners 9/27/2016
Proposed Conditions

1. The subject property shall be developed for no more than 41 fee simple townhomes, in substantial compliance with the layout shown on the site plan titled “Lawrenceville Hwy & Orion Dr.”, prepared by Planners and Engineers Collaborative, dated August 22, 2016 and attached as Exhibit A; and in substantial compliance with Elevation Plans dated 8/102016 and attached as Exhibit B. Side elevations shall have windows or other architectural features to prevent blank walls.

2. The proposed development shall be consistent with the conceptual landscaping plan titled, “Tree Replacement Plan”, prepared by Planners and Engineers Collaborative, dated August 15, 2016, and attached as Exhibit C subject to approval by the County Arborist and submitted to the Planning and Sustainability Department on August 22, 2016.

3. No vehicular access shall be permitted from Lawrenceville Highway. Access from Orion Drive and Hollywood Road shall be limited to one curb cut subject per street subject to the Transportation Division of the Department of Public Works.

4. Building facades shall have four sided architectural finishes which shall consist of brick, stone, stucco, hardi-plank or man-made equivalents (such as EIFS, architectural split block) or combination of these finishes.

5. A 50-foot transitional buffer adjacent to single-family detached residential zoned property along the southeast property line shall be established by protecting the existing trees and providing additional landscaping to enhance the buffer as approved by the County arborist. Pedestrian paths are permitted in the buffer.

6. All exterior lighting shall be screened from Little Creek Horse farm and adjacent properties, or shielded to minimize glare and keep light inside the development.

7. The townhome units shall not exceed 35 feet in height as measured by DeKalb County Code and shall be a minimum of 1,800 square feet in unit size.

8. The developer shall design, construct, operate and maintain an underground storm water management plan that is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

9. A mandatory homeowners association shall be created and shall be governed by a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions that shall include, among other components, a provision limiting the number of leased units to 10% of the total units. The homeowner association shall be responsible for the maintenance of the transitional buffer, open space within the property, street lighting, amenity areas, pedestrian paths and other common areas within the site.

10. Open space and common areas within the community shall be owned, maintained, and controlled by the mandatory association.  The common space areas shall be used primarily for recreational purposes; however, they may also include such features as gazebos, benches, amenity areas, walking trails and two dog walk stations with waste receptacles in common areas.

11. The park areas and pedestrian trails in the buffer shall connect to the sidewalks on Orion Dr. & Hollywood Road and will remain open to public use for the larger community.

12. The sidewalks along Lawrenceville Highway shall be a minimum width of ten feet. A minimum six-foot wide landscape strip shall be located between the edge of pavement or edge of curb of Lawrenceville Highway and the sidewalk. The landscape strip shall be planted with a low hedge to separate pedestrians and cyclist from Lawrenceville Highway subject to GDOT approval. Street trees planted at a minimum of 40 feet on center shall be planted on the southern side of the sidewalks, subject to approval by the County Arborist and the Georgia Department of Transportation. The developer shall take all necessary precautions to protect the two specimen oaks on the southwest corner of the property. These precautions include 6’ metal fencing to protect the root zones from vehicles and the storage of building materials during site development and construction. The sidewalks along Orion and Hollywood shall be a minimum of 5 feet in width. The developer shall dedicate the necessary right-of-way to accommodate these improvements.

13. Each townhome may have a fenced yard as permitted by DeKalb ordinance. The proposed development or future homeowners association may not construct a perimeter fence around the property to create a gated community. A gated drive or entrance along Orion shall not be permitted. A exit only gate on Hollywood may be permitted to reduce cut-through traffic

14.  Construction on the property will occur Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m. and on Saturdays 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Loud music during construction will not be allowed.  There will be no construction on Sundays and holidays unless such activity arises from an emergency which places the neighboring or subject property at risk of harm or loss.

15. Construction traffic will have a right-in, left-out access to the property on Orion Drive.  The applicant will inform all construction traffic that they must access Orion Drive from Lawrenceville Highway and shall not travel southeast on Orion Drive into the residential area.

16. All land disturbing activity shall be carried out in accordance with the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975 and shall contain provisions for application of soil erosion and sedimentation control best measures and practices. In addition, the applicant must also comply with the DeKalb Tree Ordinance and all other best measures and practices required by County, state and federal laws.  The best measures and practices shall apply to all features of the site, including street and utility installations, storm water management facilities, drainage facilities and other temporary and permanent improvements.

17. The approval of this rezoning application by the Board of Commissioners has no bearing on other approvals by the Zoning Board of Appeals or other authority, whose decision should be based on the merits of the application before said authority.

18. Final lot layout subject to sketch plat approval in accordance with DeKalb County Ordinances, Chapter 27 (Zoning Code) & Chapter 14 (Land Development Code) before applying for a Land Disturbance Permit (LDP).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Prevention Program [Sept 22]

via Commissioner Rader...

Fall Prevention Program - Date Change Correction:
Fall Prevention Program will be this Thursday, September 22nd at 12:30p.m. with Sandy Bramlett at the Central DeKalb Senior Center. We apologize for the incorrect date previously sent.

Stay Balanced, Active and Independent - Strategies for staying strong, active and independent. Learn how your BODY and BRAIN help with Balance & Fall Prevention, so that you are able to move with comfort and ease, and with youthful vitality. Get the FACTS about Falls, and what to do if you fall, get TIPS on how to prevent falls in the first place, and sample simple brain/body ‘games’ and exercises you can do daily to keep you steady, active and mobile for life. Lunch is available on Thursday, but requires a reservation, at $7.00 per meal. Call Center Director, Victoria Kingsland at Phone: 770-492-5462.
The Central DeKalb Senior Center is located at 1346 McConnell Dr. 
The Center's website is:
That page includes links to the monthly activity schedule, registration form and interest sheet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Volunteers needed @ Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve [Sept 23]

from Chris Beck, President, Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
Last minute call for volunteers!! The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve has been nominated as one of three finalists for the Cox Conserves Heroes program and WSB-tv needs to get some footage of volunteers working at the Preserve. The footage will be put on the website ( and used for voting as to which finalist wins the prize (a $5000 donation to the non-profit). So, we need anyone who is willing to show up for a short period of time on Friday evening at 5pm or so to haul some mulch, pull some privet, and working on clearing the pond.  We just found out today that they need to have the footage edited by next Tuesday. 
If you can definitely make it, please add your name and number of volunteers to the online form at
Thanks for all of your support for a Preserve and I hope that you can make it out for a short time on Friday. 
Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
2580 Pine Bluff Drive
Decatur, GA 30033
To see some of our posts on the Preserve, click here, or see the Facebook group.

Things that go croak in the night

According to the Savannah River Ecology Lab: "Although Leopard Frogs are often found close to water, they are more terrestrial than other ranid frogs and can often be found far from water. They are active both by day and night and can be seen in large numbers on rainy nights. Leopard frogs breed primarily in the winter and spring but sometimes breed again in the fall. Often a heavy winter rain will prompt explosive breeding in this species."

Beware, Harrington Drive denizens, beware!

Hey baby, hey baby, hey baby.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Water bill woes? Attend County meeting [Oct 6]

Per the AJC, on the ongoing issue of water bills that do not reflect actual usage, Commissioners Gannon, Jester and Rader are organizing a meeting:
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Maloof Auditorium in downtown Decatur.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Community meeting -- North Decatur Rd./Church St. development [Sept 19]

The site, bound by Church St., N. Decatur Rd. and Milscott Dr.
Following feedback sessions with the community last July and August, SJ Collins will present final concepts of the development to take place at the corner of Church St. and North Decatur Rd. (former Naley dealership).

The 18-acre development will include restaurants, retail, greenspace and apartments. A "365 by Whole Foods" market anchors the development.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beltline, here we come: South Peachtree Creek expansion to Leafmore Creek Park and Emory University

"The PATH trail that meanders through Medlock Park, following South Peachtree Creek to the Mason Mill Tennis Center will soon double in length...." Read all about it here. It includes some mock-ups of how improvements will look.

Some highlights:
  • Expansion from Mason Mill Tennis Ctr. to North Druid Hills Rd. at Spring Hill Creek Road, linking to the Leafmore Creek neighborhood
  • Southerly expansion to the Clairmont Place retirement Complex. Later, that trail will connect to Clairmont Road near the VA Hospital.
  • "PATH and Emory University are teaming up to connect the Emory Transportation Center on Starvine Way to the South Peachtree Creek Bridge where the trail will pass under Clairmont Road to connect with the future phase described above (D on map). Construction on this phase could begin in early 2017. Emory University plans to make improvements for walking and biking through their campus between the Clairmont Road entrance to the campus and Emory Village. When all extensions are completed, residents of Leafmore, Medlock Park and Emory will be connected by PATH to the Freedom Park Trail and the Atlanta BeltLine."
View this and other images at the PATH's website: open each image in a new tab then zoom in for details.

Friday, September 2, 2016

DeKalb Co. library now checking out... seeds!

"The DeKalb County Public Library has launched what it says is metro Atlanta’s first-of-its-kind seed library.” Read all about it at the AJC:

To go directly to the library's "DeKalb Invests in Growing Gardens (DIGGS) Seed Library", visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Emory pursues annexation to City of Atlanta

DeKalb County's Parcel Viewer map highlights Emory University property in grey. The graduate student housing complex on Briarcliff Rd. sits across the street from the City of Atlanta boundaries, marked by a dashed line.
Late last week, Emory University issued a brief statement about its intention to pursue annexation to the City of Atlanta. Around the same time, neighborhoods adjacent to the Emory campus were invited to a meeting, led by Commissioner Rader, to discuss the ramifications of such a move.

The meeting was covered by multiple sources:


11 Alive (video)

Atlanta.Curbed: Emory annexation could be a smart move for Atlanta

Creative Loafing: Emory wants to be part of Atlanta--and according to some observers, speed up the long-awaited MARTA rail line

MANA board members attended the above meeting. As aways, we will be on the lookout for new developments and share what we learn through this website.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Community meeting: Comet Pub and Lanes seeks SLUP to extend hours [Aug 17]

Community meeting -- North Decatur Rd./Church St. development [Aug 16]

The site, bound by Church St., N. Decatur Rd. and Milscott Dr.
Following a feedback session with the community last July, SJ Collins will present draft concepts of the development to take place at the corner of Church St. and North Decatur Rd. (former Naley dealership).

The 18-acre development will include restaurants, retail, greenspace and apartments. A "365 by Whole Foods" market anchors the development.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Medline LCI Study adopted by DeKalb County (with community feedback)

via Theresa Same, MANA Zoning Chair
Medline LCI study area as originally conceived (2013). Yellow asterisk
marks the Medlock/Scott Blvd./N. Decatur Rd intersection. Click to enlarge.
On July 19, 2016, the DeKalb County's Board of Commissioners adopted the Medline LCI study with amendments to address concerns voiced by the community.

In 2013, Commissioners Rader and Gannon's Medline Livable Communities Initiative study was funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The purpose: to develop a vision to guide future development of the area. The study was conducted by the Sizemore Group and was presented to the Community in June 2014.

Concerns about the 2014 study
In July of 2014, the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA), Clairmont Heights Civic Association (CHCA) and Good Growth DeKalb (GGD) drafted a letter to Sycamore Consulting (Sizemore's outreach consultants) and the Dekalb County Board of Commissioners to inform them that while we were supportive of the process and results, that we had serious concerns about proposed zoning overlay as suggested on pages 102 and 103 of the report. The main concerns, as posted here, were:
1) Our residential areas require appropriate, generous setbacks and clearly defined medium density. The Medline Study “encouraged high density mixed use development in the center of the study area, with medium density residential at the periphery, as a transitional buffer into the surrounding single family neighborhood" (p 102) while the actual zoning overlay map page 103 shows high density in the majority of the study area, often with no medium density between it and R-75 properties. The proposal also fails to include any recommended setbacks from residential property. 
2) Clearly defined medium density is appropriate for the area; high density “up to 14 floor” developments are not healthy for established residential neighborhoods and set a worrisome precedent for homeowners within and beyond the Medline LCI. Since high density is defined as "15-30 units/acre allowing up to 14 floors" per the marked-up map below, this means, for example, that our neighbors on McCurdy could have 14 story buildings in their backyard and they would have no grounds on which to oppose it. This is also true for all the cul-de- sacs coming off the east side of Woodridge, some of Woodridge, Blackmon Drive, some of Medlock Road, Eastway, Sunstede (as the Woodshed and Melton's lots are also zoned for high density). This is also true of the streets in Springdale Heights, Decatur Heights and others.
Annotated Figure 4w from the Medline LCI created by Jim Smith [CHCA]. Red outlines mark single family residential properties adjoining high density; green areas denote single family residential properties up-zoned to medium density (up to 5 stories high); yellow denotes pockets of high density on small parcels on the west side of Lawrenceville Highway.  Click to enlarge.
At that time, we presented the map above to illustrate all the areas we identified as needing transitional buffers to ensure density stopping points and protect the integrity of our established single family neighborhoods. We felt strongly that supporting the redevelopment of the Medline could be done without jeopardizing our residential communities.

Adoption of the Amended Medline LCI Plan
With the support of the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association and the Dekalb Cross-Neighborhoods Council, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution on July 19, 2016 to adopt the Medline Regional Activity Center LCI Study and to amend the Dekalb Comprehensive Plan with Supplemental Plan Section 5.7 (Supplemental Land Use and Zoning Recommendations).

Medline LCI amendment rationale
The Medline LCI, as officially adopted. Notice slight differences from the original plan seen in the preceding map.
The approved Supplemental Land Use and Zoning Recommendations override the land use and zoning recommendations in the original Medline LCI Study. The supplement was negotiated to address the concerns of the community about the lack of transitional buffers between high density and the adjacent single family neighborhoods (with R-75 zoning).
The Original Medline LCI study is available here [pdf, 144 pages].  
The Supplemental Land Use and Zoning Recommendations are available here [pdf, 32 pages]. This file includes an executive summary for Medline LCI as well as the resolution to adopt the study with amendments.
Highlights of amended zoning and density recommendations follow.

Page 5 outlines density limits for areas abutting established neighborhoods.
Page 6 spells out the details for redevelopment along the named residential districts.

A Suitable Compromise: 
After nearly 2 years of collaboration with Davis Fox (Policy and Projects Manager for Kathie Gannon County Commissioner for Super District 6) and Larry Washington, (Senior Planner, Long Range Planning Dekalb County Department of Planning & Sustainability) we were able agree on the approved supplemented map. We feel it adequately addresses our concerns - keeping the dense development concentrated at the core with transitional buffers to protect the adjacent neighborhoods.

The Medlock Plaza Area (including what is currently The Woodshed) was the most difficult area to reconcile. It may be noted that the height approved for the Medlock Plaza lot ranges from 3-5 stories. Though there are currently no plans to redevelop this corner, the County feels it would be appropriate for the frontage on N. Decatur Road to match that of the apartments across the street. The height would then have to transition to 3 stories and be compatible with the homes across the street on Sunstede Drive and Eastway Road.

The new code has a differential height plane that will have to be observed.

Page 4 illustrates the "step down" from higher density to single-family areas.
Additionally, the community would have an active role in redevelopment of this property through the rezoning process.This supplement will serve as a blueprint for development that will be allowed in our area - especially as it pertains to the maximum heights and density that will be permitted.