TreesAtlanta, QT lawsuit and more...
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Items in the July '15 Newsletter

 





 




 



 





 
Mark you Calendars

BPNA Monthly Meeting
Third Tuesday of the month, 7:00 p.m. at Senior Center

NPU-D Meeting
Fourth Tuesday of the month, 7:30 pm 
Agape Center, 2351 Bolton Road, NW
All NPU Residents Welcome


2015 Yearly Membership Dues
Complete online

 





 






 
Contact Information
Yahoo Group

BPNA Officers

Have you signed up for NextDoor?

Questions or Concerns
info@berkeleypark.org


Sponsors




 
Facebook
Facebook
Website
Website





 
Mark you Calendars

BPNA Monthly Meeting
Third Tuesday of the month, 7:00 p.m. at Senior Center

NPU-D Meeting
Fourth Tuesday of the month, 7:30 pm 
Agape Center, 2351 Bolton Road, NW
All NPU Residents Welcome


2015 Yearly Membership Dues
Complete online







 








 
Contact Information
Yahoo Group

BPNA Officers

Have you signed up for NextDoor?

Questions or Concerns
info@berkeleypark.org


Sponsors

Linda Alcott, Realtor


Florist Atlanta


Victoria Hurd, Realtor







 






 
Facebook
Facebook
Website
Website

President's Report

Hi neighbors-

Hope you had a fun filled and joyous Fourth of July surrounded by your family and friends! As Summer is in full swing, we want to remind everyone to watch your surroundings and to keep an eye on your neighbors’ house, especially if they are out of town. A watchful community helps deter criminal activity and we ask everyone to call the police if you see the slightest suspicious person or situation. It is better to be safe than sorry and the police will never think your call is stupid or unnecessary.

BPNA was able to obtain the Selig funds for our park expansion and will have an update in regards to this project at our next meeting.

Our next BPNA meeting is on July 21st starting at 7:30pm at the Senior Center. We hope to see everyone then!

Best,
Victoria Hurd

TreesAtlanta - October 17


Dear Neighbors,
  
We have been given the date of October 17th for Trees Atlanta to plant up to 30 trees in the Berkeley Park area!

As you remember, Trees Atlanta helped us plant 11 trees in the spring.  I believe the neighbors who helped with this project were impressed with the diligence of the volunteers and the leadership and direction of the representative (Sue) from Trees Atlanta.

Alex Beasely, the Neighborhood Coordinator for Trees Atlanta would like to meet with BP neighbors interested in the planning of this project - where to locate the trees and the type.  Keep in mind that property owners need to be contacted if they are interested in having a tree/trees located on their respective site.

As a note of interest, Alex would very much like to have some trees planted around the water treatment area.  I think this would be particularly helpful along the Howell Mill around Trabert towards 17th for a short distance.  At this time there is only the ugly fence and power poles.  Eric said to date he has not been able to get any cooperation from the Waterworks people and asked if any of us had an 'in' with the department?  This area is pretty ugly and most likely not to improve in the foreseeable future but certainly the planting of trees in this area would be a huge improvement - I know it's not Berkeley Park, but I think it would help to improve the perception of the general area and would be a community endeavor.  Anyway, its food for thought and I would appreciate your input and assistance.

Regards, Margaret

NPU Report, QT Update, and Beltline Progress


June NPU-D meeting: Not much happened at the NPU-D meeting on June 23rd. We had three liquor licenses, a parking exception, a subdivision and the proactive rezoning for Howell Mill Road on our agenda.

Three of these cases were previously considered at the June 16th BPNA meeting: The liquor license and parking exception for Urban Tree Hard Cider, which will be moving in to the old Eclectia space on Howell Mill Road, and the liquor license for Home Dream 22, which is a Japanese restaurant that will be moving into the old Cardamom Hill space in the Berkeley Heights development. We unanimously endorsed all three of these applications at both BPNA and NPU-D.

Our third liquor license application was for the Family Corner Market in Riverside. This was a case that had been bouncing onto and off of our agenda all year. I had expected that it would be controversial given some earlier comments from Riverside residents, but it proved to be otherwise and we unanimously endorsed it with relatively little discussion.

We deferred action on the Howell Mill rezoning, pending a response from the planning office regarding the changes that we requested to the zoning ordinance. I have not heard anything back from the director of planning on this matter since our meeting on June 3rd. This should be on our BPNA agenda on July 21st and on the Underwood Hills agenda on July 13th before we hear it again at NPU-D on July 28th.

The subdivision case on our June agenda was another no show. Although these are not business items for the NPU, applicants are required to appear. I suspect that no one has been enforcing that requirement recently as no-show seems to be the new norm.

QT update: On July 6th, I filed an appeal with the Fulton County Superior Court of the June 4th BZA decision awarding a parking exception for the construction of the QT. A copy of that appeal is linked here. The appeal requests that the case be remanded to the BZA. Even if this appeal is successful, it may not alter the outcome of the original hearing since the BZA has been extraordinarily unwilling to listen to evidence on this matter, but I think that it is worth a try. Currently, the city has 30 days to respond to this filing, so the ball is now in their court. In the mean time QT has submitted an application for a new special administrative permit (SAP) to accommodate their development (see the May BPNA newsletter for details). If this permit is granted, we will again have an opportunity to appeal it through the BZA. As part of the SAP process comments are solicited from the affected NPU’s chairperson. The comments that I submitted regarding this application are linked here. As should be apparent from these comments, there is no way that this plan should receive administrative approval. Unfortunately, as we have learned from prior hearings on this matter, the law matters less when the interests of a large corporation are contravened by it.

As we learned at the May 26th NPU-D meeting and the June 4th BZA hearing, the Underwood Hills Neighborhood Association (UHNA) now supports QT in this matter. How that came to be is a quite confusing since none of the residents of Underwood Hills actually seem to support this development. The official story, if there is one, is that when the neighborhood voted to endorse the substitution of the new SAP application over its predecessor at their last meeting in March, someone seemed to have gotten the idea that preventing construction consistent with the first application was UHNA’s primary goal, and that the best way to achieve that would be to insure the construction of a QT consistent with a different plan. A corollary to this position seems to be that the QT itself was inevitable and would be built according to whatever plan the QT guys wanted. Thus any concession to the adjoining neighborhoods vis-à-vis the first SAP plan was the best outcome that could possibly be achieved and ignoring the entire issue (now deemed to have been “resolved) is the best course for UH residents going forward. In pursuit of that goal, someone decided that it would be a good idea for UHNA to enter into a contract with QT guaranteeing UHNA’s support. Oddly, they then signed that contract (linked here) after the administrative approval of the original SAP had already been nullified. The contract itself appears to have been neither ratified by nor read by the membership of UHNA who are mostly unaware of its existence because they only meet 3 or 4 times a year and no effort was made to circulate it among the membership. UHNA will next meet on July 13th. I have made several proposals to UHNA leadership as to how they can mitigate the damage that they have done to our effort at that meeting, although I am not sure how that is likely to play out.

Emboldened by their recent success with UHNA, QT is now pursuing special legislation to enable a beer and wine license for the site, which is otherwise too close to two nearby convenience stores to receive such a license. These licenses seem to be a pretty big deal for convenience stores in general, as the sale of beer is a significant source of their profits. The license ought to be an even more of a big deal for QT, as their business model involves rigorous adherence to a precisely defined floor plan, which could not be constructed without installing cases of beer in the place(s) that they are called for in the plan. Under normal circumstances, getting this license would have been extremely difficult for them because it would require the elected officials on our city council to take a public position in opposition to the public interest with no clear political benefit. This is something that elected officials are normally loath to do. Although the license has nothing to do with the SAP, the site plan, or the contract, UHNA’s silence on the matter allows the QT folks to assert community support for the license without fear of contradiction. Hopefully, we will be able to change this situation at the July 13th UHNA meeting.

Beltline: On June 22nd ABI (Atlanta Beltline Inc) held a public quarterly briefing for the Beltline project at the Fulton County Government Center. Most of what was presented there has already been disseminated to the public through the media (i.e. the new west-side trail’s construction schedule, the plan to extend the east-side trail across Dekalb Avenue, and the new streetcar plans). Although all of this is wonderful stuff, none of it is very close to our part of town, and development in our area still seemed to be a very low priority except for one very interesting change to the official Beltline story: the Beltline model that is publicly presented is now a “hub and spoke” model for both the transit projects, which embraced this model last year in order to incorporate the extant and proposed cross-town streetcar lines into the Beltline, and for the trail network. Previously, trail connections outside the loop had been discussed as if they were something other than the Beltline itself. The in-town connection to the Silver Comet trail, which will come very close to our neighborhood, was specifically mentioned at the quarterly briefing as a “Beltline project”.

This is the plan that has been advocated by a group of local residents and was presented at NPU-D several months ago. That plan can be seen at http://www.connectthecomet.org/, where there is also a petition of support that can be signed. The alliance with ABI comes at a good time for the Connect the Comet effort as the state is currently renegotiating rail leases with CSX, who own the disused corridor, and private development along this line has been picking up (it passes by the old Midtown West site and ends by the new Top Golf development). It is not clear how this is likely to play out in the next few years, but it will certainly benefit from the public support that we can give to it.
 
 

Monthly Meeting Minutes

Hollie Meyer, Secretary
June 16, 2015 – Fire Station 23
  1. Thom welcomed everyone and thanked Fire Station for hosting
  2. May 2015 minutes were presented
    1. Jim motioned to approve the minutes, Kevin seconded; approved by the group
  3. Urban Tree Cider – Liquor License Request and Parking Variance
    1. 1465 Howell Mill Rd – former Eclectia location. Space will be manufacturing and tasting room. Space is categorized as winery.
    2. Motion to approve liquor license by Jim, second by Chandler. Vote 12-0-0
    3. Parking variance with 4 tenants in the building = 103 spaces needed, however with the mix of use in businesses and day vs night, 56 spaces needed. Can also look into restriping to add 7 spaces.    
    4. Motion to approve the parking variance by Jim, Margaret seconded. Vote 13-0-0
  4. Japanese Restaurant – Liquor License and Change of Ownership
    1.  1700 Northside Dr – former Cardamom Hill
    2. Motion to approve the liquor license by Will, Josh seconded, vote 14-0-0
  5. Karl Smith-Davids from Office of Planning – rezoning of Howell Mill Rd
    1. Council Moore put into legislation for rezoning of the area, which includes: prohibited uses of businesses, preserve right away for future use/improvements, reduce the amount of curb cuts and encourage businesses to use side street and incentives for shared access to parking, certain % of land has to be green space, limit hours of operation, grandfather in current businesses
    2. Items in question by community: MRC2 to MRC1 zoning areas, number of gas stations allowed (currently 1, but plan allows for 2), 24 hour businesses (number and business type), and being able to pave transitional yards up to 10 feet of border instead of 20 feet
    3. Jim motioned to defer with the recommendations until we hear back from Charoletta in the planning office. Also prefer MRC1 zoning east of Howell Mill, south of Bellemeade next to residential. Will second, vote 6-0-4.
  6. Quick Trip
    1. Neighborhood has option to appeal case as the council chose not to hear the case before them.
    2. QT is awaiting approval on new SAP application
    3. Jim has suggested to redraw neighborhood boundaries making the QT land in Berkely Park instead of Underwood Hills. This would have to be mutual agreement to redraw the lines.
    4. Jim asked for the neighborhood to cover the costs of the appeal file of $250, plus documents fee, to total $320.  Will motion to approve, Laura seconded  Vote 11-0-0
  7. Mini-park
    1. Committee of 4 has been created and will be contacting Selig about receiving the total final funds for the project
    2. If funds come to BPNA, BPNA will need to approve purchases over $500
  8. National Night Out -  Aug 4 (1st Tuesday of August)
    1. Looking for volunteers to head up an event for the neighborhood
  9. Trees Atlanta – Margaret
    1. Would like to schedule an event this fall/winter to plant 30 more trees in the neighborhood
    2. Need to approach property owners for approval
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Become an active part of a lively and innovative urban setting by joining the Berkeley Park Neighborhood Association. The neighborhood teems with restaurants and other amenities, and includes the largest number of technical and production facilities in Atlanta. Its residents love food, and love art and technology.

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