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President's notes

Hi neighbors-

Please join us on February 16th at 7:00 pm at the Senior Center to hear updates about ongoing projects and happenings in our neighborhood.

With spring around the corner, our BPNA Spring Fling will be fast approaching. If you are interested in volunteering or helping organize this event, please contact me at victoriahurd@outlook.com.

As always, please remember to keep an eye out in the community for suspicious behavior or activity. Please do not hesitate to call the police at the slightest uneasy feeling. Always be aware of your surroundings and the people in it.

See you on February 16th!

Best,
Victoria Hurd

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


Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA)
April 7 at City Council Chambers

2016 Yearly Membership Dues
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Contact Information
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BPNA Officers
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NPU Report

By Jim Martin

NPU-D: The January 26th NPU-D meeting should have been a fairly quick one, but it did not work out that way. Our only business items on the agenda were four liquor license requests. We deferred two of these at the request of the applicants, approved one, and denied one. The deferrals were for change-of-agent requests at the Walmart and at the strip club at the corner of Huff Rd and Marietta Blvd. The approval was for a change of ownership at The Whelan, which is in the old Corner Tavern location at the corner of Huff and Ellsworth. The denial was for a new license for a proposed gas station and convenience store at the corner of Marietta St and Marietta Blvd. This site is outside of, but adjacent to, NPU-D. The applicant’s representative did not seem to have a very good handle on what was going on there, as he asserted that all of the other permits were already in place whereas the project has not received a special administrative permit or a building permit and was panned by the Beltline’s development review committee. It suffers from some of the same deficiencies as the QuikTrip proposed for Berkeley Park, only not quite as many.
 
The reason why our meeting did not end very early was that we were joined by several elected officials and their representatives. These included Councilmen M.J. Bond and Felicia Moore, Ali Carter from Andre Dickens’ office, Maceo Williams from Mary Norwood’s office, and School Board member Jason Estevez. They discussed the pending (now final) deal between the city and APS regarding the Beltline tax allocation district and its missed PILOT payments. Part of this deal involves the city turning over the old Bankhead Courts housing location to APS for use as a school bus terminal. This would put most of the school buses housed there onto Bolton Road during rush hour, when that road is already a traffic nightmare. It would also add yet another sprawling low-density industrial use to the northwest quadrant of the city. It is not a proposal that the nearby communities are fond of.
 
The Bankhead Courts aspect of the Beltline deal did not get as much press as the cash payments that will or won’t be made. That part of the deal involves the city forking over $15 million to APS in the current fiscal year out of its general fund in order to clear the overdue debt. This is a pretty much a direct subsidy by Atlanta tax payers to support the Beltline, which was something that we were told would never ever happen when the TAD was created. Since this once inconceivable direct funding mechanism is now an observable reality, the reason for creating the TAD in the first place seems murkier than ever, since we always could have paid all of the Beltlines costs directly and saved a lot of money in interest expense by doing that. This is because the city’s general obligation debts (like the infrastructure bond) are borrowed at lower interest rates than its TAD debts. Next year, there is to be another $10 million payment to APS. It was not clear from the publicly available information whether or not this too would be made out of the general fund. It sounded as if it would be an obligation of the TAD, but would amount to an enormous budget cut for the Beltline unless it was paid from another revenue source. After next year, the payments to APS will get much smaller and TAD revenue ought to be able to cover them. Of course this does not mean that all of Atlanta’s tax payers won’t still be subsidizing the project, but we will be subsidizing indirectly by paying for the increased costs in the city’s operated budget brought on by background growth, inflation, increasing population, and new development around the Beltline. This was the way that our subsidy was originally intended as it gives plausible deniability to our elected officials. Two years from now, they will once again be able to claim that the whole thing is happening for free due to the miracle of TADs, pixie dust, and magic beans.
 
NPU Grant: The city funded our grant application. They have ordered three new benches for us. We should receive these in a couple of months. I have already received 2 new dog-poop-bag dispensers and 4,000 replacement bags. We should be able to install the new benches and poop-bag dispensers in the spring. Although it has not yet been announced, there will be another round of grant applications in the next few months. Anyone with ideas for the use of one of those should contact me, as all applications must be submitted through the NPU.
 
QT Update: On December 22nd, the city planning office granted approval for a special administrative permit for the construction of the QT. Although I had requested notice of this several months earlier, I did not find out about it until January 9th and then only by coincidence. On January 20th, I filed an appeal against this decision. Currently, this appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on April 7th, although the planning office has made some noise about shifting this hearing date. Turnout from the neighborhood at this hearing will be very (very!) important. I have not received anything new with regard to the Superior Court appeal of the parking exception that was granted for the QuikTrip in June since I was sent the copy of the hearing transcript that the city submitted to the court on November 24th. Court records indicate that nothing has occurred since then. Presumably, they will schedule a court date for this case in the next few months. The city does not seem eager to move this forward, as they were the last time. An optimistic interpretation of this is that the city attorneys agree that any development rights conferred by the decision were erased when the property was rezoned in September (as noted in the SAP appeal), and they are not eager to litigate over an irrelevancy.

Zoning Code Update: The city has begun a process to revise its zoning code. I attended one of their initial meetings on this topic on January 11th. This mostly involved a discussion of the deficiencies of our current code and the processes that other municipalities have pursued in updating theirs. It isn’t clear what the next step in this process is or when it is likely to occur.

Redevelopments in our area: In January, I reviewed two SAP applications. One of these was for a portion of the old Midtown West Apartments site. The redevelopment there appears to be moving ahead along the lines of the rezoning that we approved last year. This is described in the February 2015 BPNA newsletter. The other application was for the renovation of the old Martin Electric building at the west end of Forrest St. This will be converted into office space with a wrap-around driveway and parking along its east side. The comments that I submitted to the planning office. I was also contacted by a group who are interested in redeveloping a site on Chattahoochee that is inside the Beltline overlay. They met with some folks in Underwood Hills about this and everybody seems to be of pretty much the same mind: that the site can and should be redeveloped without variations to the overlay requirement, or at least with only very minor variations.

Monthly Meeting Minutes

Hollie Meyer, Secretary

January 20, 2016
  1. Victoria welcomed everyone
  2. November 2015 minutes were presented
    1. Jim motioned to approve the minutes, Margaret seconded; approved by the group
  3. Northside Drive Corridor Study
    1. GDOT is conducting a study of Northside Drive from I-75 south to I-20.  They will be looking at traffic data and environmental impact.
    2. They are going out to the community looking for representatives to for their Citizen Advisory Committee for each segments. Looking to create project lists, will then prioritize and then request funding sources.
    3. Complete paper survey in next couple of weeks.
  4. QuickTrip
    1. Dec 22, Planning office approved the QT SAP and Jim will file an appeal. 
    2. Next BZA hearing will be March 13
    3. Still waiting to hear about the parking acceptation
  5. Mini Park expansion
    1. Committee is waiting to hear back from land owner as they review estate. Process may take up to 6 months.  Survey of land is on hold until we receive okay from land owner.
  6. BPNA Storage Unit
    1. Victoria is holding several boxes of BPNA items in her home and will look into getting a BPNA storage unit at one of the local businesses.  Items to store include clothing, flags, cups, and event supplies.
  7. Beautification
    1. Margaret is looking for suggestions for spring beautification projects. Ideas include murals, benches, rocks, and shrubbery.
  8. Walmart - Change of Agent of their liquor license
    1. Jim motion to approved the change of name on the Walmart liquor license. Dwight seconded.  Approved by the group.

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