Thank you to all the neighbors this past month who have made Berkeley Park a great place to live.
· The beautification committee on the installation of benches, trash cans, neighborhood signs and fence at the Senior Center. Plus the street clean up and planting of flowers.
· The events committee on putting together the chili cook-off.
By Jim Martin
April was a busy month in Berkeley Park and at NPU-D. At our April 23rd
meeting, we had four zoning cases on the agenda. Two of these were deferred: the old Georgia Steel site rezoning, which we had already deferred to August, and the special-use permit application for the bio-solids treatment facility at the site of the dump, which we have been deferring since November. It is possible, that we will be ready to deal with the bio-solids permit in May. The applicant for that is still working out conditions with the Bolton neighborhood.
The first of the two cases that we dealt with was a change in zoning conditions for the proposed Defoors Station residential development off of Defoors Ave in Underwood Hills that would allow the number of units to be increased from 211 to 236. We approved this by a vote of 20 to 1 with a set of conditions that the developer, Mr Ashkouti, had agreed to with the Underwood Hills neighborhood association. These primarily related to the street frontage along Defoors.
The second of the two cases that we dealt with was for the proposed QuikTrip development at the corners of Chattahochee, Howell Mill, and Defoors. They were requesting a special exception to increase the on site parking from a maximum allowable 39 spaces to 59 spaces in order to accommodate their development. We voted to deny this by a vote of 22 to 1 with a pretty good showing of residents from Berkeley Park and Underwood Hills represented at the meeting. The case went to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on the afternoon of May 9th
. At that meeting, I spoke in opposition to this proposal along with Jacob Burton, Will Jungman, and David Soofian from Berkeley Park; and Wyatt Gordon, Heather Hubble, and Eva Nason from Underwood Hills. A transcript
of my comments. The memorandum
that it refers to, I had sent to the board before the meeting.
The staff recommendation to the BZA was to approve an increase from 39 to 44 rather than 59 parking spaces and delete 15 spaces in the SE corner of the site from the plan. QT’s recently hired attorney, Carl Westmoreland, readily agreed to this. Patrick Conner, who had represented the case at all of our previous public meetings did not seem as amendable to the change so the actual QT position regarding the staff recommendation was unclear. The BZA chose a very narrow focus for their deliberations on this, basing their criteria solely on the requested variance rather than on its relationship to the development that it would accommodate. Mr Westmoreland and Mr Conner argued that increase in parking would improve traffic by providing more room for cars off of the street. In this regard, their “improvement” would be over the nightmarish base condition that their development would create at the intersections for which it is planned. The board seemed ready to accept this definition but balked at the absence of any documentation supporting the alleged “improvement”. They decided to defer this case for 30 days to allow QT to document their proposed improvements through a traffic study. They will reconsider this application at the regular BZA meeting on June 13th
This was a suboptimal outcome for Berkeley Park as it is likely that QT’s traffic study will say whatever QT wants it to (traffic studies have an uncanny way of doing that) and we will not be afforded any opportunity to review it or any revisions to their site plan. Similarly, we may not know prior to the meeting whether they will attempt to argue for 59 or for 44 spaces. The cases against these two scenarios are somewhat different and we have never seen a site plan corresponding to the latter. It will be easier to make a more narrowly focused case against the parking exception in June as wall as the process preceding the June hearing, as all of the arguments for a zoning hardship that were put forward on May 9th
are clearly bogus.
If we do not prevail at the June BZA hearing, we will be afforded at least three more opportunities to defeat the QT proposal. The first of these will be by appealing an unfavorable decision to superior court. The second will be by arguing against, and appealing back to the BZA if necessary, an administrative approval that is still required for the QT plan. The third will be by arguing against any application that they make for a liquor license before the License Review Board (LRB), as the site fails to meet proximity requirements for that. There are also legislative options through the proposed NC zoning district or a much needed revision to the C-1 code regarding gas stations.
There does not appear to have been any further action on my complaint regarding the illegal signage at the Advance Auto Parts store from February (complaint #13CAP-00000125). There has been some action regarding the similar sign problem at the corner of Berkeley and Howell Mill (“We Buy Gold”). That has been assigned complaint #12CAP-00000353 and cited following an initial inspection. In response to this, the owners appear to have taped plastic garbage bags over several of their signs. I am not sure what this was attempting to accomplish or why they deemed it preferable to simply peeling the signs out of the windows. I will follow up on both of these complaints in May.
Bold progress was made on the BPNA beautification project in April. We had two neighborhood cleanup days on April 20th
with a good turnout of volunteers. We installed 6 trash cans and 4 neighborhood signs. We landscaped the NE corner of Verner and Howell Mill, spread two truckloads of topsoil in newly excavated planting beds at Verner and Buchanan, and picked up trash and debris along Forrest St. We also drank beer, ate pizza, and generally had a good time. During the week of April 15th
, the new security fence was installed at the Senior Center on Bellemeade. This was financed in part from our beautification budget and in part with a grant from the city. We also received an additional city grant for $2,200 in April that we will use to buy landscaping supplies for the focal points in the neighborhood that we have been working on. This brings the city’s total contribution to the beautification project up to $9,400 or ~25% of our beautification budget. I applied for an additional $1,000 grant through the city’s Love Your Block grants program. If we receive this, we will use it to repair the tree-protection fences on Forrest St.
There has still been no word from DPW about our sidewalk project. I did pester the folks at DPW April, but I am planning a summer offensive against them that will begin in May.
Next NPU-D meeting:
Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 pm
Agape Center, 2351 Bolton Road, NW
ALL NPU RESIDENTS WELCOME!
Monthly Meeting Minutes
By Hollie Meyer
Berkeley Park Neighborhood Association
April 16, 2013 – Monday Night Brewery
1. Meeting called to order my Will Jungman and introduced Joel Iverson, an owner of Monday Night Brewery. The brewery has been open since January and offers tastings Monday, Thursday and Fridays.
2. BPNA Spring Party – Chili Cook-0ff
- Sunday, May 5 from 1-5 pm and Monday Night Brewery
- Committee looking for celebrity judges for the chili
- Ask that participants notify committee prior to event, if they plan to participate
- Grilled items and entertainment will be available
3. BPNA Cleanup day – Saturday, April 20
- Meet at Buchanan and Verner at 9 a.m.
- Bring shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, etc and have them labeled with your name
- Several locations have been identified for the day’s work, including putting up the new signs, trash cans, and planting.
4. QT parking variance
- Zoning parking variance for proposed QuickTrip at corners of Defoors, Howell Mill and Chattahoochee.
- The site would include 20 fuel bays and 5000 sqft convenience store and they request to have an increase in parking spaces, therefore increasing paved area.
- Jim Martin motioned a vote to “deny the parking variance”. Seconded. 19 yes, 1 no.
- Jim and Will strongly encouraged the neighborhood to attend the NPU meeting, the next Tuesday, for support against the variance. The next step would the Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting on May 9, noon at City Hall Council Chambers for the final decision.
5. Public works updates
- Have been notified to fix the street sign at Berkeley and Bowen and to investigate the road damage at the corner of Antone and Forrest.
6. NC zoning update
- Will have received updates from Underwood Hills and is combing the two versions. It is being reviewed by the committee and will soon be sent off to the next level of approval.
Submitted by Hollie Meyer, secretary
Our next neighborhood beautification project will take place in a couple of weeks - information will be forthcoming.
In the meantime thanks need to go to several neighbors who have not been acknowledged on our BPNA site, namely Marci, who lives on Holmes and worked so hard on the landscaping at the Friendship House. Thanks also to Ron, Andrew, Teddy, Rustin and Jacob who worked with Barry and Jim to help install the new neighborhood signs and landscape at the Buchanan mini park.
Also a big thanks to Linda Alcott who has done more than her share to improve the neighborhood with her landscaping on the sidewalks at Bellmeade and Tallula. Her sidewalk daffodils were spectacular and transformed the entrance to Berkeley Park last month. Linda is constantly picking up sidewalk trash in her vicinity and I would encourage all neighbors to follow her example. Linda has expressed an interest in the formation of a Berkeley Park Garden Club- this would be a real asset for our community for we can all see the wisdom in this pursuit.
Thank you again to all our neighbors who have helped to date with beautification in our community and to those who plan to assist in the upcoming weeks.
Thank you to all who attended the Chili Cook-off on May 5. The rain held off and it turned out to be a wonderful event enjoyed by many. Ten outstanding chili’s were entered into the judging contest across the three categories. Our top winners are as follow,
1. Jennifer Gibson—27 Minute Chili
2. Andy Hurd—Dinosaur Beer Chili
Other Meat / Veggy:
1. Victoria Camac—Victoria’s Awesome-o Chili
2. Clark Dumas—Maple Pecan Porter Chili
1. Jenn and Shawn Whaley—Chili del Fuego
Thanks to our judges Felicia Moore - District 9 councilwoman; Paul Luna - Chef, restaurateur, and current candidate for Mayor of Atlanta; and Stephanie Ramage - Citizens Advocate for the Office of the Mayor and former reporter.
Thanks to Barry Sermons for putting the live entertainment together, Ron Horgan for his mastery at the grill, Jenny Cockrill for organizing kids’ activities, and of course Joel Iverson for hosting us at Monday Night Brewery.
Chili Cook-off Team: Georgia and Teddy Wooller, Hollie Meyer, Jacob Burton and Jim Martin
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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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Discount shopping and dining coupons from local merchants
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Berkeley Park was originally a farm owned by John Whitley. It was developed in 1921 and until 1995 was a part of Underwood Hills neighborhood . That year, Berkeley Park residents formed their own organization and called it the Berkeley Park Neighborhood Association.
In order to vote on issues at meetings, you must be a dues-paying member of the association. Effective January 1, 2009, BPNA membership is $20 per person (up to 3 adults per address are eligible to become members), and $10 for seniors. To join the association, attend a monthly meeting and pay dues to the treasurer, Nina-Daniela McCormack, or the president, Terry Horgan . If you cannot attend a meeting but wish to join, or for more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to fill out the form and pay online.
About the newsletter
The Berkeley Park Bulletin is published monthly in print and at www.berkeleypark.org by the Berkeley Park Neighborhood Association, a non-profit organization. To subscribe to the monthly edition, submit an article, or inquire about advertising, contact the editor, Hollie Meyer, at 765-532-1164 or email@example.com. We accept appropriate articles from all Berkeley Park residents or other interested community members at the discretion of the editor and as space permits.
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