Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Retaining wall bumped back

via Theresa Same, MANA Zoning Chair

The Point at Decatur Crossing (Fuqua’s Phase 1 apartment building) has now taken shape at the corner where Scott Boulevard Baptist used to sit. It is clear that the height is going to take some getting used to for many neighbors.

Via Google Maps Street View: Inset shows the old Scott Blvd. Baptist Church circa 2014;
to the right, Fuqua's development as of May 2016.
Several months ago, it came to our attention that due to the topography and a planning department oversight, we have ended up with the building elevated and a tall retaining wall at the point at North Decatur and Scott Boulevard. This was not the intention of conditions/agreement we negotiated with Fuqua Development.  

The Dekalb Cross-Neighborhoods Council (DCNC) has worked with Northwood Ravin (developer that purchased this property) and Commissioner Rader to come up with a solution that will stay true to the original intention to create a plaza area at the corner. The wall has been moved back closer to the building to allow a larger pedestrian zone at the Scott Blvd and North Decatur Rd. corner, as negotiated.

When there is not a lot of room to work with, every inch counts to keep pedestrians safe. Click to enlarge.

To the left, a rendering of the building as shared by the developer in Fall 2015. To the right, the building as it stands today.
The renderings below are what has been agreed upon to remediate and break up the bulk of the tall wall. Click on the images to enlarge them.

As a result of this oversight, the DCNC has been very careful in negotiating conditions and agreements on other projects to make sure that the intent is very clear and can not be misinterpreted.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Community input on SJ Collins / Whole Foods 365 development [July 21]

The following e-mail is being sent on behalf of Julie Sellers:

Community Members, Thank you for attending the Community meeting regarding the North Decatur Square project which includes the 365 Whole Foods. In an effort to maximize the public use of the open space area at the project, the developer, SJ Collins retained the Sizemore Group to host and facilitate public engagement regarding the design of these spaces. We are hosting a design focused conversation and welcome your attendance on Thursday, July 21st 7:00-8:30 at North Decatur United Methodist Church. We hope you will be able to join us for this conversation and encourage others to attend. If at any time during our application process you have questions about the project or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

"The Comet Pub and Lanes" opening at Suburban Plaza [July 15]

Eater reports that The Comet Pub and Lanes opens today. See the details at [includes the menu]

The Comet is a much-anticipated bowling alley featuring not-your-average bowling alley food and beer. Created by the owners of Twain's Brewpub and Billiards in downtown Decatur, The Comet fills in the void left when Suburban Lanes left when Suburban Plaza entered its renovation a couple years ago.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Clifton Road delays [July 18-22]

via Emory University...

This month, Emory is constructing and installing the frame for a new two-story pedestrian bridge over Clifton Road.  The new bridge will connect Emory University Hospital with the hospital bed tower currently under construction across the street, and it will eventually replace the existing bridge.   

Related to the bridge construction, expect significant delays next week (Monday, July 18 - Friday, July 22) with single lane traffic in either direction on Clifton Road between Eagle Row/Haygood Drive and North Decatur Road.  

  • If possible avoid Clifton Road and use alternate routes. 
  • Pedestrian access and emergency access will remain open. 
  • Bus service will continue; bus stop and route changes are at
Note that this work is weather dependent and subject to change; if there are changes, Emory will provide updates.   Thank you for your patience as these improvements are made on Clifton Road, and visit for updates.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tax Appeals and Land Use Workshop Meeting

via Commissioner Rader...

Tax Appeal 2016 Information & Land Use Workshop Meeting

Recently, DeKalb County sent out 2016 Tax Assessment Notices.  If you do not agree with the valuation of your property, you have an opportunity to appeal your assessment. The DeKalb County website has a link that provides instructions for the entire appeal process.

Click here for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What form do I need to use?             
No specific form required but DeKalb County provides a form on its website that you candownload here.
Along with the form, you should include any supporting documents that help support your position.

2. Can I appeal online?
Yes, you can appeal online. First, view your property tax information here:
Fill in your property information, and then click on "I want to appeal."
You can also call the county at 404-371-0841.

3. When is the appeal due?
The date the appeal is due is on your notice, and it is likely July 18th.  You must submit your appeal on time. If you choose to mail your letter of appeal, it must be postmarked by the appeal deadline to ensure acceptance as a timely appeal. Late appeals will not be processed, and DeKalb County does not accept appeals by email or fax.

Keep a copy of your appeal and any supporting documents that you submit and any correspondence with the county.  You will need these documents for your hearing.

4. Which form of appeal should I use?
As shown on the appeal webpage,  you have three venues:  the Board of Equalization (BoE), a hearing officer, or an arbitration panel. The appeal to the BoE is free, while some cost is involved in the other two options.

5. What documents can I use in my appeal?
There are two primary bases for filing an appeal—fair market value and uniformity.

Fair market value is based on the 2015 calendar year as reflected on January 1, 2016, so you need to find information documenting comparable homes that were sold during that time. You can look online at websites such as  or and look for sales in 2015.  (In addition, you may want to include recent sales in 2016 if they are lower than the assessed value of your home. This information can help to show market conditions, because prices likely were not higher in 2015.)

Uniformity is based on the assessed value per square foot for similar homes. To make this determination, divide the 100% assessment value by the total square footage (this information should be on your form and you can also find it by looking up your home on the county’s website—see above for the link).

6. What happens after I file my appeal to the BoE?
The tax assessor’s office will review your appeal and will contact you to let you know if they have decided to grant a reduction in value. They may send you a letter or call you. If they call you and make an offer to reduce the value and you accept, they will confirm this in writing.

If the tax assessor does not grant a reduction, you have the right to go before the BoE.

Generally, a reduction lasts for three years whether granted by the tax assessor or the BoE.

7. If I have a live hearing, how should I prepare for it? 
You have the right to review the tax assessor’s comparable properties and other documents before the hearing. You can either go to the assessor’s office before the hearing or submit written request for this information. You should do this as it will help you prepare your presentation.

At the hearing, you can request for the tax assessor’s representative to present first so you can respond to the points that are raised.

Be organized. Bring five copies of all of your appeal documents with you—three for the BOE members, one for the tax assessor’s representative, and one for yourself.  You should plan ahead of time how you want to present your case, and have the documents to support your position.

8. What about the tax freeze?
The tax freeze covers county government taxes, but not school and city taxes.  County taxes generally account for about 1/3 of your total property tax bill, which means that an increase in property value results in a higher tax bill, even if your County tax remains the same.

Land Use Workshop Public Meeting

For additional information, see
July 14th
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Maloof Center
1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur, GA 30030