Happy Holiday, hope everyone has been enjoying the season. We look forward to the annual BPNA Christmas party this year it will be at 814 Holmes this Sunday, December 7, from 2-5.
It was also voted at the November meeting that the party would serve as the December BPNA meeting. So, we will not be having a December 16 meeting this year. Merry Christmas!
Elections were a great success at our November meeting and I welcome and look forward to working with new BPNA officers and board members
. The officers and board members will assume their new roles starting at the January 2015 BPNA meeting. It has been a great pleasure working with the community during my time as an officer.
NPU-D and Neighborhood Updates
By, Jim Martin
We wrapped up the November-25th NPU-D meeting with several business items on our agenda including the election of officers for 2015.
Our officer elections went quickly. I was reelected as chair for 2015 â€“ an unprecedented 9th term, with only my own vote in opposition. Karyn Hudson will be returning as unanimously elected vice chairperson and Victoria Camac hesitantly agreed to take over from Margaret, who was out of town in November, as secretary. Barry Sermons has agreed to continue in his semi-official capacity as backup secretary. Between the three of them, the secretary job ought to get done pretty well. We voted to cancel our December NPU-D meeting and defer all December business until January. The only deferred business item that I am aware of at this time is a zoning variance to reduce the east-side and rear-yard setbacks at 818 Antone Street for a shed. This should also be on the January BPNA agenda.
At the November meeting, we unanimously endorsed a rezoning request and a set of associated variances for an industrial building on Marietta Blvd that is to be converted into a community center by the Agape Center folks. We had already endorsed a CDP (comprehensive development plan) change to accommodate this project in October. We also endorsed a parking reduction for an industrial building on Huff Road just opposite Ellsworth Avenue. There were a few issues with the excessive curb cuts at this site, but the project is also subject to a Beltline SAP review, which we figured would be a better way to address those.
We had two cases that were near but not in NPU-D. One of these was for a set of zoning variances associated with the project at the corner of 17th and Northside Drive in NPU-E that was presented to us last month. The other was for a liquor license change-of-agent for the gas station just north of the freeway on Howell Mill Road in NPU-C. Neither of the applicants was present for these cases, so we took no action on either of them.
With a few objections (including mine) we also endorsed a set of revisions to the tree ordinance, although no one seemed to understand what those were supposed to accomplish. It seems likely that they will make it even easier for big developers to cut down many healthy trees and more of a nuisance for homeowners to cut down a few dead ones. Although it was once a very good idea in principle, Atlantaâ€™s tree ordinance seems to have become little more than a pretext for needless bureaucracy in practice.
The Marietta Rd townhouse rezoning that we rejected in October sailed through the ZRB (zoning review board) and council committees in November. Apparently, none of the neighbors who objected to it felt strongly enough to show up at any of the public meetings where it was reviewed, and city staff thought that it was a fine idea (they like increasing density in pretty much any form that they can get away with). Perhaps, if these townhouses actually get built and occupied, their new tenants will become more involved in the community and prevent things like this from happening in the future. Perhaps not.
BZA - QT update
The November 6th BZA deferral of the QuikTrip zoning appeal was reported in the November newsletter. There it was erroneously reported that the subsequent hearing would be on January the 15th, as was stated at the hearing on the 6th. In fact, the next BZA hearing on this will be on January 8th at noon in city council chambers. Once again, it will be important for all of us to attend the hearing in order to show our support for the appeal and our opposition to the QT proposal. On November 19th, we met with the QT folks at Atlanta Beltline Inc (ABI) offices downtown to discuss what they could do to make their plan more palatable to the community and to ABI. At that meeting, we presented them with three alternative concepts for the site. The first of these involved reconfiguring their plans so that they met all of the requirements of the Beltline zoning overlay, which has never been all that difficult to do. They rejected this one pretty casually because it did not comport with QuikTrip company policy. Apparently, they believe that QT policy takes precedence over the zoning code of the city of Atlanta. Oddly, our city planning office seems to implicitly agree with that opinion. The second concept involved subdividing the larger parcel, from which this site would be split off, differently so that the gas station fronts Chattahoochee Blvd only and the northern (commercial) portion rather than the western (industrial) portion could then be developed for a different use. They did not seem particularly fond of this proposal either. The third concept involved a relatively minor change to their floor plan that would allow windows and a main entrance along the Howell Mill frontage, but still contained several variances to the overlay requirements. I tried to impress upon them the fact that these remaining variances would need to be justified by modifications to the plan elsewhere on the site, but it wasnâ€™t clear whether that part of the message sunk in (i.e. that this was a starting point for making changes rather than an end point). Of course, they liked the third proposal best of the three. The three QuikTrip folks who attended the meeting did not have the authority to commit to any changes to a site plan, so they took all this back to the main office and promised to get back to us on the matter later. I have not heard from them since then. It seems clear to me that, regardless of the state of these negotiations on January 8th, the BZA should decide to uphold our appeal. The existence of these negotiations is clear evidence of the flaws in the administrative decision that we are appealing and any positive outcome from these negotiations will implicitly overturn that decision. i.e. the only way that the negotiations could undermine our case is if we showed ourselves to be completely unreasonable, which we do not seem to have done (yet).
Planning and Advisory Board
I attended two meetings of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board (APAB) in November. One of these was the regular monthly meeting and the other was the annual planning retreat. At the regular meeting, we elected officers for 2015 and nominees to fill open seats on the Beltline TAD advisory committee (on which I currently serve) and the Atlanta Development Authority (ADA). Unfortunately, the slate of nominees for the open ADA seat is now different from the one that we presented to the Mayor last year. This places us in the awkward position of having lobbied for a year to have one of these nominees appointed and then, when this finally seemed likely to occur, to ask that the process be restarted (i.e. â€œignore what we have been sayingâ€¦ now we want something differentâ€). I do not know how the mayor will react to all this, but there doesnâ€™t seem to be any scenario where APAB comes away from it looking good.
The city awarded NPU-D another grant for beautification in November. We decided to use this grant for a neighborhood sign in Bolton. There should be a second round of grants announced soon. We may apply for some additional benches and trash cans along Howell Mill road unless a better proposal is put forward by one of the other six neighborhoods in NPU-D or by someone else in Berkeley Park. Suggestions are always welcome.
Sidewalks and NC Zoning
I still have not received any updates on our sidewalk project, but I have been too busy with other matters to follow up on that. Similarly, I have not had any status updates on our NC zoning proposal.
Monthly Meeting Minutes
Hollie Meyer, Secretary
- Crime Watch
- There has been an increase of crime on Holmes Street and Arbors at Berkeley.
- Arbors will be adding additional lights on their property, onsite security (walk and drive) and trim back their bushes.
- It was suggested to contact the precincts and ask to do a ride-along with the cops
- Lt. R. Vazquez gave a brief report on the incidents in the area and around the city
- Starts with a vehicle stolen and then commits crime over the city
- Zone 2 has increased their traffic enforcement and added plain clothes officers to the area
- He doesnâ€™t see a relation in the various crimes in the area
- Donâ€™t leave valuables in car; call 911 if see suspicious activity; lighting around the home and cut back shrubs; video cameras; call 911 with car tags
- Notify Georgia Power of street lights out
- Beautification and Cleanup â€“ Nov 8
- Good turnout of residents
- Moved trash can from outside Sizemore to animal hospital and painted the neighborhood signs
- Trees Atlanta â€“ planting Feb 2015
- Will be planting trees in Underwood Hills and BP. If you would like a tree planted in your front yard (elms, oaks, pines) please let Jacob know.
- Would also need community support to help plant
- QT discussion
- Review meeting with BZA, Jan 8 at noon, City Council Chambers, wear green to meeting
- Holiday Party â€“ December Meeting
- Holiday Party Sunday December 7 at Burtons
- No December meeting
- President - Victoria Hurd
- Vice President - Thom Sokol
- Treasurer - Will Paschal
- Secretary - Hollie Meyer
- At-Large Board Members - Dwight Glover, David Soofian, Jacob Burton
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