FEBRUARY 2020 • VOL. 12 — NO. 2
Brookhaven Reporter WORTH KNOWING
These ‘angels’ save pets
City authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts PAGE 5
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I-285 toll lanes could take buildings, backyards; residents and officials express concern
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A portion of a Georgia Department of Transportation map showing a conceptual layout of the toll lanes system and its effects on properties in Dunwoody to the north and Brookhaven to the south. The area shown is to the west of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.
ry University at I-85 and North Druid Hills Road and are asking a state agency to intervene in the city’s newest annexation proposal. The property owner of the nearly 7 acres at 2601 North Druid Hills Road is seeking annexation into the city to make way for Miami-based Related Group to build more
Approximately 155 properties in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs could be affected or demolished by Georgia Department of Transportation right of way acquisition for the I-285 top-end toll lanes project, according to new maps unveiled during January open houses in local cities. The draft plans show the project razing several residential and commercial structures, including some or all the Chateau Club Townhomes and possibly the swimming pool of the Georgetown Recreation Center, both in Dunwoody. Also
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DeKalb pushes back against Brookhaven annexation BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org
The city could soon spread its borders even further south of I-85, just two months after annexing the LaVista Park community. But DeKalb County officials are fighting back against the snowball effect generated by the multibillion-dollar expansions of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emo-
BY DYANA BAGBY AND HANNAH GRECO
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2 | Education
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District cuts funding for new Cross Keys High School BY HANNAH GRECO
It is unclear what the long-term plan for Cross Keys High School is. In the interim, DCSD will be adding portable classrooms, according to the district. The plan is still un-
The DeKalb County School District has cut funding for the anticipated new Cross Keys High School. DCSD had nearly $85 million set aside for the planned 2,500-seat school in its ESPLOST budget. Now, the funding has been cut down to $80,000 due to “insufficient unit cost estimates and insufficient escalation provided by Education Planners,” according to a budget update presented at a Jan. 13 Board of Education meeting. The new high school was one of the priorities for the current E-SPLOST budget. It was planned to alleviate overcrowding at the current Cross Keys High, which is located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road.
der consideration by the BOE and could be voted on as early as the Feb. 10 board meeting, the district said. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said he hopes in the meantime, the district will explore other options for the location for the new school. “I have said from the beginning that a new high school should be constructed north of Interstate 85, within the city limits of Brookhaven, as that is where the vast majority of Cross Keys students live,” Ernst said in an email. “We hope that this postponement will provide the time necessary to further explore locations which make sense to the community.” — Dyana Bagby contributed
In November 2018, the BOE approved a $90,000 construction management contract for the new school. The school was slated to be located at the former Briarcliff High School site on North Druid Hills Road, despite opposition from some groups and residents who say the new location would be inaccessible for many on Buford Highway due to the traffic. At a press conference discussing the 2016 E-SPLOST budget, former superintendent Stephen R. Green said $230 million of the $500 million would go toward alleviating the severe overcrowding in DeKalb County schools, most notably in the Cross Keys district. At the Jan. 13 meeting, Ramona Tyson, the district’s interim superintendent, also rec-
DeKalb Schools reveals different, temporary redistricting for Doraville United school
ommended an “Interim Redistricting Plan” intended to prepare the way for a Compre-
BY HANNAH GRECO
hensive Master Plan, which will be completed in the 2020-2021 school year. The inter-
im plan has been introduced following a controversial redistricting plan that affected several Brookhaven schools.
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In the wake of controversy over a redistricting plan affecting several schools, the DeKalb County School District has announced a significantly different, temporary version that will take effect in July. The “interim” redistricting for the new Doraville United Elementary School will move 108 students from Hightower Elementary to Doraville United; 209 students from Cary Reynolds Elementary to Doraville United; and 381 students from Dresden Elementary to Doraville United. The plan was released at a Jan. 13 DeKalb County Board of Education meeting. Ramona Tyson, the district’s interim superintendent, recommended an “Interim Redistricting Plan” intended to prepare the way for a Comprehensive Master Plan, which will be completed in the 2020-2021 school year. The Master Plan process will include a permanent redistricting plan, but it is unclear when it will be put into effect or what the process will look like. “This minimal redistricting recommendation is phase 1 for redistricting so as to not impact the comprehensive redistricting recommendations that are expected from the CMP,” a DCSD memo said. “It provides breathing space to develop a strategic vision for the CMP.” The interim plan will affect a total of 800 students in the district and remove 50 portable classrooms, or trailers at schools. It will also locate land for a new elementary school for the Dunwoody/Chamblee clusters. The district began a redistricting process in 2019 ahead of opening the new, 950seat Doraville United, formerly known as Cross Keys North, in August. The new school is expected to alleviate overcrowding at Brookhaven’s Ashford Park, Dresden and Montgomery elementary schools, and at Cary Reynolds and Huntley Hills elementary schools in Chamblee, by relocating students to the new school. During the redistricting process, the district held three public meetings with a large group presentation and small group discussions held in individual classrooms at Chamblee-Charter High School. At the final meeting in November, the staff-recommended plan suggested moving 381 students from Dresden to Doraville United; 93 Huntley Hills students to Doraville United; and 108 Hightower Students to Doraville United. The staff-recommended plan was controversial amongst Brookhaven parents, with many saying it splits up neighborhoods and doesn’t adequately address overcrowding in the long term. The interim recommendation comes from Tyson, who is serving through June 30, by which time the Board of Education expects to have hired a permanent superintendent.
Community | 3
Community Briefs M AY OR , C OUN C IL MEMBERS SWORN INTO O FFICE
Brookhaven mayor and council members take office after swearingin ceremony City Hall was packed Jan. 7 with family, friends and supporters to witness the swearing in of the mayor and two City Council members. DeKalb State CITY OF BROOKHAVEN Court Judge Mike JaDeKalb State Court Judge Mike Jacobs, at right, swears in cobs swore in John John Ernst to serve another four years as mayor. With Ernst Ernst for his second are his wife, Monica Vining, and sons Jack and Evan term as mayor and Linley Jones for her second term as the District 1 representative on the City Council. Madeleine Simmons was sworn in for her first term as the District 3 representative on the council.
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Construction crews have started work on one of the city’s busiest intersections to make changes that are expected to improve traffic flow. Work is expected to be completed this spring. Work at the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads started Feb. 3 and is expected to last four months. The project includes extending the right lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to create a dedicated left-turn lane as well as a longer lane for turns and through traffic. Timing of the traffic signal will be adjusted to help the flow of traffic. Sidewalks will be widened and sidewalk gaps along the east side of Ashford-Dunwoody Road will be filled. The cost of the project is $481,769. The project work hours will be Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturdays, the work hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But work involving the closure of traffic lanes will only happen 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no work on holidays. The project is part of the Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor Study approved in 2017, which envisions a more walkable and bikeable thoroughfare while also alleviating traffic congestion.
BR OOK H AVEN RESI DEN T NAM ED TO G EORGI A BOA RD OF REG ENTS
A Brookhaven resident is one of five people who were named Jan. 3 by Gov. Brian Kemp to serve on the Board of Regents. The 19-member Board of Regents is responsible for overseeing public higher education in the state. Cade Joiner, founder of Shred-X Secure Document Destruction, was appointed by the governor to serve as an at-large member on the Board of Regents, according to a press release from the governor’s office. In 2018, Joiner served on Kemp’s Finance Committee and he was also on the executive committee for Kemp’s inauguSPECIAL ration, according to the release. In early Cade Joiner. 2019, he was named the co-chair of the Georgians First Commission. Kemp formed the commission in January 2019 to review state regulations, policies and procedures for small businesses. Joiner is the chair of the National Federation of Independent Business of Georgia with 8,000 member businesses from across the state, according to the release. He is also a board member for the UGA Entrepreneurship Program, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Workforce Development Board. BK
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More than 20K tons of sediment to be removed from Murphey Candler Lake BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 20,000 tons of sediment and debris are expected to be removed during the dredging of a portion of Brookhaven’s Murphey Candler Lake over the next six months. Dredging of the lake within the 135-acre Murphey Candler Park on West Nancy Creek Drive began Jan. 15, a day after the City Council approved a nearly $1.8 million contract to Merrell Bros. Inc. of Kokomo, Indiana, to complete the job. Dredging the lake was recommended in the city’s Nancy Creek watershed plan approved in 2016 to improve water quality. The project includes removing approximately 13,768 cubic yards of sediment, weighing 20,650 tons, from the northern section of the lake near I-285. The accumulated sand and debris have created sand berms where invasive species are growing, according to the city. Largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and channel catfish live in the Murphey Candler Lake. It is also a natural habitat for Canada geese, mallards, beavers and other wildlife, according to the city. The dredging includes opening an emergency sliding gate, or sluice gate, to a large drainage pipe under the dam located in the southern section of the lake. Doing so will release water into the north fork of Peachtree Creek to lower the lake level and allow for any needed maintenance along the edges, according to the city. Opening and closing the gate near the low-level drain to make sure it is working was also recommended as part of the Nancy Creek watershed improvement plan as part of ensuring the dam’s safety. Public Works Director Hari Karikaran said residents downstream will see an increase in flows due to the release and a discoloration of the water in Nancy Creek due to sediment accumulation around the low-level drain. The Murphey Candler Park ballfields will not be affected by the dredging, but the project requires closing the lake’s east side parking lot and walking trail. An overhead power line adjacent to the parking lot will be removed to make way for
a large crane. The dredging will include putting three barges in the lake and staging two excavators along the eastern shore of the lake, the city said. The dredged material will be hauled to designated landfills in metro Atlanta, meaning an increase in truck traffic during the project. The CITY OF BROOKHAVEN truck route is limCrews began dredging Murphey Candler Lake in ited to West NanJanuary and expect to remove more than 20,000 tons cy Creek between of sediment and debris over the next six months. the parking lot and Ashford-Dunwoody Road, and on Ashford-Dunwoody Road between West Nancy Creek and I-285, according to a news release. The contractor will be working Mondays through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The city’s $40 million parks bond included $1 million to dredge Murphey Candler Lake. The city is taking the remaining $800,000 needed to pay for the project from the general fund’s unassigned fund balance, or reserves. The $800,000 will be reimbursed from SPLOST revenue, according to the city.
New Lynwood Park master plan approved amid concerns about neighborhood traffic BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
A redesigned Lynwood Park master plan that includes a splash pad and swimming pool was approved by the City Council at its Jan. 28 meeting. Neighborhood residents say they are looking forward to the new amenities but are also worried about them attracting visitors and creating more traffic gridlock along their narrow streets. The splash pad replaces a “lazy river,” a shallow pool that floats like a river, approved by voters just over a year ago as part of a $40 million parks bond referendum. But the lazy river was controversial with many residents. Some alleged it was not included in the public master planning process. Others questioned why a lazy river, popular in water parks and resorts, was being built in a small neighborhood park. In response, city officials decided to look at other options. “The original project design infamously included the lazy river, as you all know,” City Councilmember Linley Jones said to a crowd of some 50 people at a Jan. 9 town hall to discuss the changes to the master plan. “Since that time based on community feedback, not in an organized community meeting like this, but we’ve gotten all kinds of feedback in emails and had personal contacts and everything else … the feeling was to move away [from the lazy river],” she said. She and Mayor John Ernst co-hosted the town hall at the Lynwood Park recreation center. “We are at the point now where this project is going to happen,” Ernst said at the meeting. The resolution approving the master plan change was necessary to ensure the city meets the ballot language of what was approved by the voters. A similar resolution was approved for the new Briarwood Park pool now under construction. The volunteer parks bond oversight committee recommended last year doing away with the lazy river after saying it would cost too much. Over the past several months the committee has been reviewing concepts for a splash pad. The committee’s final recommendation of an approximately 4,200-square-foot splash pad coupled with a 4-lane lap pool that could also be used as a recreational swimming pool. The swimming pool’s depth would range from 2 to 5 feet. “But I did not want anything to proceed without us having a meeting like this, where everybody knows we’re meeting about it, where everyone can give input and feedback
and where … nobody is surprised when the project starts going into the ground,” Jones said at the Jan. 9 town hall. Of the $40 million parks bond, roughly $11 million was set aside to renovate and improve Lynwood Park. Approximately $5 million is budgeted for the water features. The remaining $6 million will be used to build a new pool house, restrooms and cover a grassy athletic field with artificial turf, among other projects that were part of the original master plan. The construction for all projects is expected to begin at the same time in September under one contract. Plans are to have the aquatic features finished by next May. Other projects could be finished at the same time or a few months later. Although the town hall was advertised to focus on water features, most of the people attending were concerned about what would be happening on the land, specifically traffic and where new crowds visiting Lynwood Park to use the new amenities would put their cars. “We’re going to drive traffic, we’re going to have parking problems, we’re going to have congestion,” said Harley Karseboom, a three-year resident of Lynwood Park. “We’re more than happy to have the park beautiful … but we’re just concerned with how we’re going to deal with the influx of cars,” he said. Lynwood Park, once an African American enclave with its own school, has narrow streets. Residents said roads are already gridlocked with traffic during sporting events at the park’s sports field. Cars often line both sides of residential streets, said others. “On a given day when you have your soccer, your softball games, baseball games [there’s traffic] … either cut down the schedule of what’s going on down here or we’re going to have a nightmare when this is all finished,” said Barbara Shaw, a longtime resident. One person suggested creating an overflow parking lot at Osborne Park, a wooded area across Devine Circle from Lynwood Park and accessible from the dead-end of Osborne Road. Another asked about a shuttle service from a nearby church’s parking lot. City Manager Christian Sigman said there might not be an increase in traffic after construction is completed. Any traffic or parking adjustments would have to be addressed after the projects are built out and evaluated, he said. Jones said after the meeting the city is “very sensitive” to the parking concerns of Lynwood Park residents. But because of the narrow roads of the historic neighborhood, parking is an ongoing problem, she said. BK
Perimeter Business | 5
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Winter 2020 | Piloting a business jet company P6
As city authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts BY DYANA BAGBY, HANNAH GRECO AND JOHN RUCH Property tax abatements granted by government authorities for luxurious developments are the center of a political firestorm in Atlanta, blasted by officials and scrutinized by community groups for diverting money from the public schools and shifting tax burdens to homeowners. Meanwhile, the development authorities of the smaller suburban cities of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are quietly granting millions of dollars in the same kinds of tax abatements for projects ranging from Roswell Road luxury apartments to State Farm’s massive new campus to an Atlanta Hawks basketball team practice facility. City officials say the tax breaks are worth it to compete with other cities, fund other local improvements, and boost the tax base in the long run, once the abatements expire. But the DeKalb and Fulton county school districts say the breaks contribute to losses of millions in revenue right now on projects that may have happened without a break, essentially giving away money in a time of tight budgets. They come on top of tax breaks offered by county development authorities, sometimes within city limits. “People may have a philosophical disagreement with providing tax abatements, but the long-term benefit in investments we get from these deals far outweighs the amount of the abatement,” said Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s economic development director. “We’re banking on these deals now to bring in higher property taxes in the future.” “This is an area of great concern for us,” said Marshall Orson, chair of the DeKalb County Board of Education. “We have no say in whether an abatement is granted or what proceeds are diverted or how they are used.” In 2019, the DeKalb County School District lost $3.9 million to tax abatements, according to interim Chief Financial Officer Robert Morales. He said that, as one example, around 43 teach-
ers could have been hired with that money. The district is in the midst of a budget crunch that recently led the administration to postpone construction of a new Cross Keys High School and an expansion of Dunwoody High. In fiscal year 2019, the Fulton County School System lost $6.2 million in “potential revenue” from various abatements and incentives, and $4.8 million in fiscal 2018, according to Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef. Dereef said there are certain types of tax breaks the school district can review. “Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether proposed developments require tax abatements to be economically viable, or whether they would continue without the incentives and thus, retain potential revenues,” he said. For local cities, the deals are sometimes a way to leverage other benefits. The city-created but self-funded development authorities collect a small percentage of their deals as fees that can be used to fund other “economic development” projects. And the deals can involve negotiated terms where the developer helps to build streets or create affordable housing. “These benefits are in addition to the jobs these companies bring to our city and the enhancement of the city’s tax base,” said Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun.
Development authorities are created by county or city governments, but operate independently. They receive no funds from their parent governments and don’t place any debt on them, either. Development authorities have a number of ways to offer tax breaks to developers. One is to issue bonds for construction funding on behalf of the developer, which cuts a federal tax on bond interest due to the authority’s tax-exempt status as a government body. The Sandy Springs Development Authority did that in 2014 for the Weber School, a private school. But the most common practice local-
This is an area of great concern for us. We have no say in whether an abatement is granted or what proceeds are diverted or how they are used. MARSHALL ORSON CHAIR OF THE DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION ly is a largely fictional real estate transaction that essentially gets around a state law that bars tax abatements without the property changing hands. In such deals, the authority technically becomes the owner of the property and issues bonds for the project that are purchased by the developer itself. The developer then pays the principal and interest on the bonds back to the authority as “rent” on a “lease” that typically lasts 10 years. During that period, the authority uses its taxexempt status to grant a partial property tax discount. After the “lease” expires, the technical ownership reverts to the developer and the normal property tax rates apply. All of that happens only on paper in what Kraun described as a “phantom lease.” The developer remains fully in control of the property and gets its tax break. The terms of the “lease” deal may also require other benefits or a payment in lieu of taxes, which is made to the authority itself.
In the deals, a certain percentage of property tax is abatement. The dollar values are estimated at the beginning because they will vary in reality with the market.
The Atlanta debate
In Atlanta, concerns about tax abatements and other incentive mechanisms have stirred for years. Critics like Fulton County Commissioner Lee Morris, a Buckhead resident, expressed concerns that abatements were being used routinely in hot markets like Buckhead and Midtown rather than on projects that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Another longstanding concern is that developers get two shots at abatement requests – one from the county development authority and one from Invest Atlanta, the city’s version. Concerns exploded into major controversy in the past two years, particularly with criticisms from Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who says abatements and other tax breaks are costing her district tens of millions of dollars a year. She briefly served on the board of the Development Authority of Fulton County, pushing for it to be more transparent. She has criticized tax abatements on Buckhead luxury projects as giveaways to developers and says that graduating public-school students is an economic development and equity issue. Late last year, the Fulton development authority rejected a $2.2 million tax abatement for a Buckhead tower, the first such rejection in recent memory. The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, a coalition of homeowners associations, formed a “task force” to study reform of abatements and other tax discounts. And county and state officials have discussed legislation to prevent county development authorities from granting abatements in cities that have their own authorities.
Development authorities in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have Continued on page 8
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Business Q&A Johnny Foster of OGARAJETS on piloting a business jet trader The private jet is an ultimate staQ: Who is the customer base for private tus symbol – and transportation planes? Mostly corporations? Individuals? convenience – for wealthy famiCan you name any prominent customers? lies and major corporation, and big Our client base spans more than 60 counbusiness at airfields like DeKalbtries and is blend of corporate and private Peachtree Airport. But where do enterprises as well as high-net-worth indithose planes come from? viduals. Of course we cannot name our cliJohnny Foster is president and ents, but the one thing they all have in comCEO of OGARAJETS, an internationmon is a desire to make more use of their al broker of private jet and turbotime. Private aviation gives them back that prop planes based in Sandy Springs. one commodity we all desire, more time -The company buys, sells and finds more time to spend with our families, more planes for clients. (For more infortime to lead our communities, more time mation, see ogarajets.com.) to grow our businesses, and of course more Johnny’s father, former Navy pitime to just relax in amazing places. Private lot John Foster III, co-founded the aviation remains the closest tool we have to company in 1980 in Marietta with a time machine. close friend Ed O’Gara as O’Gara Aviation Company. Johnny Foster (SPECIAL) Q: What are customers looking for in a priJohnny Foster, president and CEO of OGARAJETS. was named president in 2005, and vate plane that they can’t get by flying comin 2013, the company rebranded as mercial or charter? OGARAJETS, with the tag line, “Fostering confidence in business aircraft transactions” as a way to keep both family names in the company. Again, time. Private aviation is a powerful tool allowing our clients to travel one their The Reporter asked Foster about piloting the jet-trading business. own schedules and often direct to domestic cities or far away parts of the world that would otherwise we hard to access by the airlines and sometimes only by a combination
Perimeter Business | 7
of “planes, trains, and automobiles.” Private aviation also addresses security and privacy, critical to many corporations and UHNWI [ultra-high-net-worth individuals] alike. Imagine the value of departing Atlanta and flying direct to a meeting at facilities in, say Houma, Louisiana, and then to meet a client for lunch in Mena, Arkansas, and then an afternoon meeting at a facility in Knoxville, and still be home for their daughter’s dance recital and dinner with the family -- priceless. This is what private aviation looks like every day, all over the world -- something commercial travel simply cannot accommodate, except maybe over two to three days. Q: If we wanted to buy a new or used jet, what sort of budget should we have in mind? What is the financing like? That’s a hard question to answer, akin to asking what sort of budget should one have when buying a house. There are so many variables at play; however, in a broad scope, “business jets” can range from $500,000 to $75,000,000. Relative to other pieces of capital equipment, aviation residual values are fairly predictable and buyers are typically very strong credits, all affording strong finance opportunities. Q: Do buyers typically fly the plane themselves or do they have to find pilots? How does finding a pilot work? It depends. While we do serve some owner-pilots, most operations engage two or more pilots. Corporations and large private enterprises often run flight departments with a team of pilots, dispatchers, maintenance and management. Other clients opt for a management company to outsource the day-to-day operations of their aircraft. Q: How significant is DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to your business? Is any of your inventory kept there? PDK is generally considered the heartbeat of Atlanta with respect to general aviation and local as well as transient business aviation. That said, Atlanta businesses are blessed to be served by five significant airports in addition to Hartsfield. Over the last 40 years, OGARAJETS has developed a significant number of local client relationships, many have completed several transactions with our team as their needs developed over the years. We cherish our local clientele and their Southern values, where we often still do business on a handshake and appreciate agreeing to deal terms over a meal at Waffle House. As an inventorying dealer, we do purchase aircraft on speculation. Most of these purchases require investments in refurbishment of the exterior paint and interior cabin,
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As city authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts Continued from page 5 executed abatement deals sparingly in the years since the cities incorporated – all within the past 14 years. But the deals add up to millions of dollars in tax abatements on major and sometimes controversial projects. Brookhaven’s authority has granted an $11 million abatement on its single deal. Sandy Springs’ five “phantom lease” deals total millions in abatements. And Dunwoody’s half-dozen deals total about $46.3 million in abatements. In Brookhaven and Sandy Springs, the authorities have negotiated payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to pay for additional improvements as a kind of bonus. Brookhaven’s $11 abatement for the Hawks facility in Executive Park – touted by officials as making the area an “NBA city” – includes $302,900 annual PILOT over the 15-year “lease,” which started in 2018. The city and the authority are using the money to buy a former gas station on Buford Highway, which is intended to be an ambulance station and a future redevelopment site. The Sandy Springs Development Authority has granted abatements to projects that, in City Council meetings, were
praised as modernizations by some and criticized by others for boosting density and traffic. They include the massive Gateway mixed-use project on the Buckhead border, which replaced an apartment complex targeted by the city; the Modera apartments on Roswell Road; and the Aston apartments within the city’s own City Springs civic center. Kraun said that the deals for all of those projects involve PILOT agreements that return a significant portion of the tax savings to the city in the form of infrastructure improvements. For Gateway, about 72% of the savings, or $770,000, went to a Windsor Parkway/Roswell Road realignment at its driveway. Modera put 25% of its savings, about $675,000, to building an adjacent public street called Denmark Drive. And about 33% of Aston’s savings, or $770,000, is earmarked for “public infrastructure” in City Springs. “These benefits are in addition to the jobs these companies bring to our city and the enhancement of the City’s tax base,” Kraun said. Opinions still vary on whether such projects are worth the subsidies. Former City Councilmember Karen Meinzen McEnerny opposed the Gateway project at the time and still does. “I don’t think
it delivered what the community expected. Its design is not pedestrian-friendly with frontages being covered in advertising,” she said. “It’s a wonderful project and has been very successful for the city,” said Councilmember Tibby DeJulio. The Dunwoody Development Authority doesn’t use PILOT deals, but does include certain requirements, such as job numbers, that owners must meet to retain the tax break, according to Starling, the economic development director. The fee the authority collects on deals – one-eighth of 1% -- has left it with about $889,000 in the bank, which it is considering spending on promotion or infrastructure improvements in Dunwoody Village or Georgetown. The authority’s deals include a $33.8 million abatement, over 14 years, for the first two skyscrapers in State Farm’s massive new campus at Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway. A longtime argument for abatements is that everyone does them, a point Starling echoed in explaining how Dunwoody aims to remain competitive for office towers. “My belief is every Class A office building, certainly within DeKalb and Fulton, had a tax abatement structure
on them … I have not heard of a new office building that didn’t have abatements,” he said. Dunwoody’s first abatements, granted in 2012, were an estimated total of $8.2 million over 10 years for the renovation of office buildings at 64 and 66 Perimeter Center East. The idea was to help the landlord offer lower rents, Starling said. State Farm has since leased both entire buildings. However, Starling said, it is “hard to say if State Farm came because of the abatement.” The building was already leasing well at that time, around 2018. The Dunwoody authority is now negotiating two more major abatement deals: a possible $2.3 million break for the Perimeter Market project on Ashford-Dunwoody Road and a possible $19 million abatement for the gigantic, longstalled High Street project across Hammond from the State Farm campus. It remains to be seen how the public will respond to those mega-deals. “I certainly understand the critics and there should be conversations and debate on how we provide incentives to any private businesses,” said Starling. “Every project is different. Transparency is important.”
WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS SIMPLIFYING AND ORGANIZING IN THE NEW YEAR HOW DO YOU HELP PEOPLE FULFILL THOSE PREDICTABLE RESOLUTIONS ABOUT BETTER ORGANIZED FINANCES? “Predictable” is correct. In our 49-year history, we consistently hear this goal from clients. It is logical because complicated and disorganized financial planning leads to stress and procrastination over important decisions. The good news: just a few simple steps can result in significant improvement in your planning. For most people, it starts with preparing an up-to-date Balance Sheet that lists all of your financial accounts and assets, along with all debts owed. Update this yearly as a financial discipline. AN UPDATED BALANCE SHEET MAKES SENSE. WHERE’S THE SIMPLIFYING? Find opportunities to simplify to consolidate assets and liabilities into fewer accounts that are easier to track and manage. Over time, many families “proliferate” financial accounts which no longer make sense as a whole. Consolidating accounts makes it easier to properly manage personal finances, reducing costs and account fees. Do the same with credit cards and liability accounts. Imagine the feeling of efficiency as it becomes easier and quicker to manage accounts (auto-payments, paperless files). Also, don’t forget to protect these accounts from cyber-fraud. Use a Password Manager to organize and easily recall secure passwords. YOU HAVEN’T USED THE “B” WORD YET… WHAT ABOUT A BUDGET? Our Wealth Planning Committee, a multi-disciplinary group of professionals (CPAs, JDs, and other credentialed firm members), meets to brainstorm
(Left to Right: Sam Tortorici; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)
such topics and has developed a client-centered approach. Committee Chair, Phillip Hamman, CFP®, CFA, commented about budgets: “We should re-invent budgeting since ‘Budgeting in Reverse’ is sufficient for most – simply identify the required savings and accumulation targets, and make sure you hit those numbers.” WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP? Slaying the “Organization Dragon” is more than a weekend exercise. If you need help getting things in order, talk with your financial advisor since they may have expertise. We advise people to be careful in seeking help. Choose an advisor 100% committed to the Fiduciary business model, with a legal duty to put their clients’ best interests first. This is the model we follow at Linscomb & Williams. Contact us if you would like to sit down and create an organized financial plan at our office in Atlanta. 2727 Paces Ferry Road SE Building Two, Suite 1475 Atlanta, Georgia 30339 770 333 0113 www.linscomb-williams.com
Perimeter Business | 9
Ribbon-Cuttings The following businesses recently opened in Reporter Newspapers communities
Cutting the ribbon on the Endeavor Montessori school at 48 Perimeter Center East in Dunwoody in November are, from left, Ricardo Campo, CEO of Endeavor Schools; City Councilmember Jim Riticher; Mayor Lynn Deutsch; Patricia Gaya and son Max Vidal, who attends the school; Endeavor Chief Operating Officer Danielle Millman; and Sue Hansen, head of the Dunwoody school. Info: endeavormontessori.com.
285 Colonial Kitchen, restaurant, 5610 Roswell Road, Suite 110, Sandy Springs. Info: 285colonialkitchen.com. Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, 1402 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody. Info: bigfrog.com/Dunwoody. Boutique for Cosmetic Dentistry, 5975 Roswell Road, Suite D-229, Sandy Springs. Info: boutiqueforcosmeticdentistry.com. Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter hotel, renovation reopening, 4355 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: cpravinia.com. The Duke Pub, 4685 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: thedukepub.com.
Celebrating the opening of the City Barbecue restaurant at 6649 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs in November are, from left, Steve Hayes of City Barbecue; City Councilmembers John Paulson and Jody Reichel; Tom Mahaffey, president and CEO of the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; Mike Muldoon, president and chief operating officer of City Barbecue; Mayor Rusty Paul; Karen Trylovich of the chamber; and City Councilmember Chris Burnett. Info: citybbq.com.
EarthLink, internet provider, new headquarters, 980 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: earthlink.net. Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta, real estate brokerage, new office, 3221 Peachtree Road, Suite 105, Buckhead. Info: buckheadatlanta.evrealestate.com. etúHOME, kitchen accessories, Shops Around Lenox, 3400 Around Lenox Road, #205B, Buckhead. Info: etuhome.com. Max Stanco, leather accessories and footwear, Phipps Plaza mall, 3500 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: maxstanco.com. Navy Federal Credit Union, 5898 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: navyfederal.org. Scotch & Soda, men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, Lenox Square mall, 3393 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: scotch-soda.com. Strong Spine and Body, chiropractic, 6425 Powers Ferry Road, Suite 175, Sandy Springs. Info: strongspineandbody.com.
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Fo r ov er t wo d ecad es, the Perim eter Co mm unity Improvement Distric ts has invested in acc es s, mobility , and qu alit y o f life to c reate a s ignatu re d est inat ion for co rpo rate head qu art ers, hos pit ality, and ret ail.
To learn more about how we improve quality of life in Central Perimeter visit perimetercid.org
10 | Commentary
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Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An urgent pet post on a local social netThe photographer and author of the reworking site stood out from the constant cent post was Sandy Springs resident Lisa stream of other urgent pet postings. It was Zambacca, a founder and board member of a photo of a little brown terrier and her Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, which focuseight newborn puppies huddled in a cores on high-kill shelters throughout Georgia. Carol a marketing lives onAmong the Dunwoodyner at a high-kill shelter --Niemi soonis to be “red-consultant who Angels Us saves the most vulnerSandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire lined” if no one adopted them. able and least adoptable -- often the elderly others. Contact her at email@example.com. What caught my attention were her or injured. Lacking a shelter of its own, the soulful eyes. But with her puppies too group relies on its approved fosters who young to be separated, all nine of them take rescues into their own homes. Angels would have to be adopted together or face can’t remove a pet from a shelter without a certain death. ready foster. Since its founding in 2009, the group has saved more than 16,000 lives and keeps them in private homes until they are adopted. “For every foster who steps up, we save a life,” said Zambacca, who acknowledges that many high-kill shelters are overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded, but run by decent people who notify Angels when an animal’s time is up. With adoption unlikely for the little mom and her pups, Zambacca also posted the photo on the Angels Among Us website and Facebook page, hoping to find a foster. Several days later, she posted that an Angels foster had come forward to save them. Who would take a stray with eight un-housebroken puppies into their home? And how do you take a dog into your home, care SPECIAL for it, train it, love it, bond A terrier now known as Little Missy with her with it and then let it go? puppies at a shelter where they faced euthanasia before Angels Among Us took them in. I called Zambacca and
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The ‘Angels’ who save pets from high-kill shelters learned that quite a few other kind souls are willing to do it. I ended up connecting with several of them, including Karen Marques, the foster who had rescued the little brown dog and her pups. She too had noticed the soulful eyes. “Angels couldn’t take her till a foster stepped forward. That’s when I volunteered,” she said. “There was something about her eyes. They were very soulful and spoke to me.” No one knows how Little Missy, as she’s now called, ended up in a high-kill shelter. But SPECIAL she was probably someLittle Missy in her new home. one’s pet. “She’s very sweet and told me I’m the bridge from their past to smart,” said Marques. “She knows comtheir future.” mands, opens doors and gates and moves Jill Feibus is an Angels foster who prechairs.” fers puppies, especially since she and her Every foster I spoke with, including husband work from home and have the Marques, had other pets in the home. Most time and patience. She’s fostering one of had become fosters after adopting a resLittle Missy’s remaining puppies. cue of their own. All were committed to the Like Angevine, cause. All had stories she’s also had memothat could break the rable rescues, includhardest heart. ing a little chihuahua Retired teacher mix with severe anxSally Angevine says iety. her favorite rescue “She barked evwas Emersen, a “little ery time my husband poodle-y mix” who or boys entered the was deaf, old and room, but eventualpartially paralyzed. ly got used to us,” she She fostered him for said. After 14 months, nine months until his the right family came death from cancer. along. “He was such a “Now she’s weargood boy,” she said. ing sweaters and goAnother elderly ing on outings to SPECIAL dog she fostered was Home Depot,” she Lisa Zambacca, founder of Angels adopted by an elderly said. Among Us Pet Rescue. couple, who “traveled But fairytale endthe world” with him. ings don’t happen “He only lived anovernight. At press other year,” she said, “but I bet it was the time, five of Little Missy’s puppies have best year of his life.” been adopted. Three are still with fosters Angevine has fostered 62 rescues for awaiting their forever homes, as is Little Angels Among Us, mostly elderly or disMissy, who has been spayed and is also abled. All but two who passed away from awaiting surgery on a torn ligament, for illness were adopted -- including the one which Angels is covering the cost. she adopted. But saying goodbye is bitterFor information on Little Missy or her sweet. remaining puppies, please email info@an“They take a little piece of your heart gelsresue.org or go to angelsrescue.org/ with them,” she said, “but a wise person adopt.
Community | 11
We Love BuHi plans activities and events to bring communities together BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org
After nearly five months as the executive director of We Love BuHi, Lily Pabian said she has big dreams for the nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing communities together along the Brookhaven/Chamblee/Doraville corridor. Those dreams include one day having a place to house the Buford Highway Oral History Project, a collection of interviews and pictures of people who have lived and worked along the approximately 10-mile stretch of state road renowned for its immigrant and refugee residents, international restaurants and businesses. “We are a young nonprofit, we are grassroots, but the dreams I have include We Love BuHi making a mark as part of Atlanta history,” she said. “I hope one day to have brick and mortar store with art exhibits, and a place to share our ‘Heroes of the Highway’ stories.” Founded in 2015 as an Instagram account by Brookhaven resident Marian Liou, We Love BuHi is now a nonprofit that “seeks to create connection and belonging within Buford Highway’s multicultural community through place-based storytelling and design.” Liou stepped down as executive director last year. The cornerstone of that vision is the oral history project, a collaboration with Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives. Pabian said the goal is record more than 120 stories over the next few years of people who have lived and worked on Buford Highway for decades. Doing so is one way to preserve the history of an area rapidly changing due in part to redevelopment and gentrification. “We are looking at things like gentrification and its impact and we also have to understand the perspective of the underserved populations … who are not in power,” she said. “Yes, language is a barrier, but it goes deeper, and our goal is to find ways to build trust and make connections.” Pabian said she is already working closely with Center for Pan Asian Community Services, a 30-year-old nonprofit agency that provides services and resources ranging from housing to education to health care to immigrant and refugee communities in Georgia and especially those living on and near Buford Highway. We Love BuHi is also looking for ways to team up with Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, a nonprofit organization that works to empower Buford Highway apartment residents, she said. “We want to be a go-to resource for people so we can connect them to our sister agencies,” she said. Pabian said the organization continues to build closer relationships with the cities of Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville to ensure all perspectives are included in policy decisions that will affect the lives of Buford Highway’s residents and businesses. In Brookhaven, for example, nearly 28% of the city’s 54,000 population is of Hispanic origin, according to the city, and most live on Buford Highway. But there is no Hispanic or Latinx person on the City Council. “Some things are systemic … and a lot of times systems don’t think of the effect of it until they hear someone’s story,” Pabian said. “It’s about creating connections.” Pabian has been contacting the Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville public libraries to ask them if they would be willing to showcase stories from the Buford Highway Oral History Project throughout April as part of Celebrate Diversity Month. So far, she
We Love BuHi Executive Director Lily Pabian said she hopes the organization one day has its own building on Buford Highway to showcase the art and stories of the people who live and work along the international corridor.
has received positive feedback, she said. The Brookhaven arts advisory committee has also tapped We Love BuHi to assist in determining how art is going to be used to connect people and build a sense of belonging in the city, she said. On May 17, We Love BuHi is teaming up with the Atlanta Run Club for the second BuHi United 5K, an evening fun run that is not about competition but about community, Pabian said. The Atlanta Run Club is located on Peachtree Road in the Super H Mart shopping center in Doraville. Early discussions are underway to host two “multicultural experiences” in the fall, Pabian said. Plans are to have one center around the Asian Harvest Moon Festival on Oct. 1 and the other around the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, held Oct. 31-Nov. 2. No dates and sites have been confirmed, but preliminary plans include a bus tour of key places important to those honoring their culture during the two celebrations. And, yes, there will be food. “We hope to make these an encompassing experience to [educate] what these communities mean, what their past has meant for us and what that means for the future,” Pabian said.
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12 | Community
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Nightclub appeals city’s ruling to not renew alcohol license BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
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A nightclub with a history of legal battles with the city is now fighting its decision to not renew its alcohol license. Medusa Restaurant & Lounge, located at 3375 Buford Highway in Northeast Plaza, is asking a DeKalb County Superior Court judge to overturn the city’s 2020 alcohol license decision. The move is the latest development FILE Medusa Restaurant & Lounge in Northeast Plaza is again in the city’s years-long fighting the city’s attempt to take away its alcohol license. crackdown on nightlife, especially along Buford Highway, where police say the bars and nightclubs create high crime rates. Medusa is a popular nightlife spot for hip hop artists and athletes. Losing its alcohol license would essentially put it out of business. During the appeals process, the venue can legally sell alcohol. The city informed Medusa in November it was not going to renew the alcohol license due to a “pattern of misconduct.” The pattern, according to the city, included not paying alcohol excise taxes on time and not cooperating with police investigations of violent incidents that occurred in the parking lot outside the club in 2018 and 2019. The city also informed XS Restaurant & Lounge, another Northeast Plaza business, that its alcohol license was not renewed. The owners have not appealed the decision, according to a city spokesperson. A call to the club’s listed phone number was answered by an automated recording saying nobody was available. Medusa appealed the city’s decision to not renew its alcohol license in December to the city’s alcohol hearing officer, William Linkous, who upheld the decision. Linkous is a former Gwinnett County judge and was appointed to the post by the mayor and City Council. Cary Wiggins, an attorney for Medusa, alleges in court documents that Linkous made the wrong decision and asked a judge to reverse the hearing officer’s ruling. Wiggins said the city based its decision to not renew by “’piling on’ dated and unrelated ‘violations’ of the code.” Wiggins also alleges the city violated the constitutional rights of Medusa employees to not hand over surveillance video police requested while investigating the separate 2018 and 2019 incidents, one involving a shooting and the other a fight. “The city’s actions have imposed an unconstitutional condition on Medusa insofar as the restaurant is being punished for asserting its Fourth Amendment rights,” according to the documents. The grounds to not renew the alcohol license are “vague” and allow the city to “deny an alcohol license renewal based on subjective criteria, which effectively vests the city with unbridled discretion to deny a license,” the documents say. Brookhaven and Medusa have a history going back to 2017, when the city tried to revoke the business’s alcohol license after a shooting in the parking lot. In arguments before the city’s now-defunct alcohol board, the city also alleged Medusa served as a meeting place for a renowned member of the Bloods street gang. The 2017 alcohol board overturned the city’s decision, saying there was no credible evidence any Medusa employees acted illegally. The City Council approved a rewrite of the alcohol code in 2017 that created a new category of nightlife called “entertainment venue.” A club with a dance floor, stage or DJ booth was considered an entertainment venue and subject to a new $100,000 fee to obtain an alcohol license. The new code also prohibited entertainment venues from selling booze on Sundays and rolled back alcohol hours from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. Medusa and two other Northeast Plaza businesses sued the city over the fee and hours, alleging discrimination against black-owned clubs. A judge agreed the alcohol code could be interpreted as discriminatory, so the City Council voted to eliminate the fee and the lawsuit was eventually dropped. In 2018, the city audited all the businesses where alcohol is sold on premises and found 13 to have unpaid back taxes, including Medusa. The city briefly suspended Medusa’s alcohol license before reaching a settlement agreement. BK
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Please bring the following to see if you qualify for an exemption: Your valid driver’s license Your State & Federal income tax forms.
14 | Commentary
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Commentary: When should local governments provide tax breaks? Elected officials and Goals that tax breaks board members are belatpotentially serve include: edly re-thinking Atlanta’s growing the tax base, atgo-along approach to tax tracting jobs, housing afbreaks after public outcry fordability and sustainover recent mega-deals. ability. Breaks reduce Giving Arthur Blank resources for schools and $900 million of our hotelpublic services or increase motel taxes to replace his residents’ taxes, so should stadium, according to my be treated like real money analysis of the city’s 2019 ($27 million in 2018, and financial report, was ridicrising). ulous -- which is why forProjects should only mer Mayor Kasim Reed inget breaks if they would sisted it ‘only’ cost $200 not happen without one. Julian Bene is a former Developers and employmillion. Giving real-estate bil- member of the board of di- ers pitch breaks smoothly rectors of Invest Atlan- -- it’s free money for them. lionaires $1.9 billion in tax ta, the economic develop- So responsible boards have exemptions for a private ment authority of the city to assess what the compadevelopment in the downof Atlanta. A retired man- ny would do without an intown area known as “The agement consultant, he centive. Gulch” was crazier – and has a degree in economsome of us challenged the Recent luxury apartics and politics from Ox- ment and trophy office deal’s legal flaws, still in ford and an MBA from towers in Midtown Atlancourt. Harvard. He comments on ta? They were coming reSo, when should Invest local incentive topics on gardless of the millions in Atlanta or the Development Twitter at @julian_bene Authority of Fulton Countax breaks they received, ty give tax breaks? Based to meet hot demand. Emon eight years on Invest ployers seeking tech talent Atlanta’s board, discussing this with and access to a hyper-convenient airgood people, I recommend the followport are also coming regardless, though ing principles. some prizes warrant modest incentives
Your Views on Tax Abatements
as insurance – think NCR’s 5,000 jobs. For deals that likely won’t happen without incentives, what price is worth paying? Property tax breaks are 25% for 10 years. It’s better to grow the tax base by 75% than by zero on developments that have location choices, like UPS’s Fulton Industrial hub. For jobs wins: How much per job, and what quality of jobs? Sadly, few employers attracted to the city offer mid-skill jobs for non-degreed folks, our highest need. We’d be better off funding skills training than over-paying Norfolk Southern to relocate HQ jobs here. Georgia’s film tax credit has us paying some $50,000 each year for every job. We should instead pay that to teachers to educate our kids. For apartment projects that offer discounted units in exchange for a break: Is the subsidy reasonable? Recent deals costing $10,000-$20,000 per unit per year were developer welfare. Better to give breaks or grants to preserve older multi-family properties. Apartments at MARTA stations might merit breaks for sustainability, if they walk the talk and forego parking. Tell your elected officials you expect them and the boards they control to agree incentives only in return for good value for residents. Your voice helps! How often should the government offer tax abatements -- a break on property taxes -- to large real estate projects as an incentive?
Local governments’ use of property tax abatements to spur development of large real estate projects found little support from 51 readers who responded to an informal Reporter online survey. About half the 51 respondents to the survey opposed the use of such abatements, agreeing that the private market should decide the viability of projects. Another quarter said abatements should be used rarely, only when a project wouldn’t happen otherwise. Ten respondents agreed that tax abatements should be used frequently or always to boost long-term tax revenue or stay competitive with other areas. The survey was posted on the Reporter’s social media and distributed through our weekly email newsletter of top stories in our communities.
Frequently. Redevelopment creates new tax revenue. Always. They are a tactic for staying competitive. No opinion/ Not enough information.
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Rarely. Only when the project would not happen otherwise Never. Let the private market decide. BK
Commentary | 15
In Instagram era, food dresses up for ‘flamour shots’
HIGH MUSEUM OF ART ATLANTA | HIGH.ORG
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, someone took a potato and turned it
into soup. We’ve been repurposing food ever since. But somewhere along the line, probably around the time we emerged from caves, there was a subtle shift in focus from repurposing food to gussying it up. We get a serious kick out of playing with our food. Like a teenager in the ’90s
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playing dress-up with feather boas and blue eyeshadow in preparation for a Glamour Shot, we play dress-up with raspberry drizzle and chopped nuts. We figure out how much we can do to a latte, then we snap a photo of it and post it. Food has become the Glamor Shots subject of our society. We’re Flamour Shotting. Consider the Oreo. The perfectly good Oreo, since 1912, has been a cookie considered by the average person to be in its final form. Yet it, too, can get the foodie version of a sequined top and red lipstick, or, shall we say, the Flamour Shot
Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.
treatment. Simply skewer the cookie on a stick with two other Oreos, then dip that skewered trio in chocolate. Next, mix an entire cake’s worth of Funfetti cake mix,
FEB 9 • MAR 8
dip your chocolate-covered Oreo skewer in it, and deep fry it. You’re not done yet -- keep gilding that lily! Drizzle the whole thing with icing, then for one final touch, add some confetti sprinkles. I must admit, they made me look. So did the chef who
turned a piece of toast into a five-layered entree…and then lit it on fire.
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So did the fellow who, while uncomfortably focused on the camera, grabbed pieces of raw meat dangling from hooks around his head and fried them a on a grill the size of a driveway, stuffed them in the world’s largest hotdog bun, and then added a garbage can’s worth of condiments. Let’s face it, we do a lot in the name of presentation. Presentation has been important since there were kings and queens and four and 20 blackbirds baked into a pie. Then Wilton went and invented about 156 piping tips so that there was really no excuse any more for the common baker to not cover a cake with Russian tulips.
Do you take daily medication for
However, I am not compelled. My idea of presentation is taking the food out of its wrapper. If company is coming, I’ll put it on the good platter. I cannot relate to someone who does not merely think, “Today I’ll make choc-
If you treat your Parkinson's Disease daily
olate cupcakes,” but who thinks instead, “Today I’ll make chocolate cupcakes and
with a carbidopa-levodopa medication
turn them into lava-oozing volcanoes.” Nor can I relate to the mindset of some-
but experience OFF periods, local
one who looks at an orange and instead of seeing a bright delicious fruit, sees a vessel for a mini-cake. I will, however, watch the whole process on Instagram, where it’s set on fast speed using pre-measured ingredients and a peppy soundtrack.
doctors need your help with the RISE PD research study testing an investigational extended-release formulation.
I will click on that video of someone building a Ferris wheel out of chocolate and sit with it while he fashions little macaroon-filled baskets and garnishes them with sugared snowflakes. I’ll watch the account where I can’t tell if they’re throwing a bowl on a pottery
medication Rytary and must be
wheel or frosting a cake. I’ll watch someone frying eggs in happy-face pastry ring.
experiencing OFF periods most
I’ll watch the forkful of cheesy corn pudding coming at me in slow motion. And I
mornings and for at least 2 and a half
will be mesmerized.
total hours during the day.
I will watch a pair of disembodied hands add yet another layer, another topping, another garnish, wondering all the while if it’s done, yet. And instead of sending us home with a poufy-haired photo to hang on the wall, the Glamour Teams post fabulously dressed-up food on Social Media for all the world to see. Everything looks better in Flamour Shots…even the potato.
Learn more about this research study.
16 | Commentary
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Joe Earle is editorat-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@ reporternewspapers.net
From her early days as a lawyer, Elizabeth Green Lindsey wanted to be in a courtroom. There might be more money to be made working for big law firms negotiating big deals for big corporations or handling big property transactions, but she wanted to be involved directly in the smaller kinds of cases that could change people’s lives for the better. JOE EARLE “I did not want to be Elizabeth Lindsey in her Buckhead office. in a cubicle somewhere doing research and drafting documents all day,” she said during an interview in a conference room in the 50-year-old Buckhead law firm where she’s now a shareholder. “I wanted to be in the courtroom working with people.” She considered criminal defense law, but settled on family law, the kind of legal practice centered on the divorce courts and the kind some other lawyers say they avoid if they can. She wanted to be where the action was, and she didn’t want to have to wait years for her chance to get involved. After graduating law school in her home state of North Carolina in 1985, she found a job with a “very small law firm” there. “Two days after I was sworn in [as a lawyer],” she said, “I was in a courtroom.” She moved to Atlanta a few years later when she married another lawyer, Ed Lindsey, who represented Buckhead in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2004 to 2014. They met during a ski trip to Wyoming, she said. There was a time, she admits, when a career built on divorces and custody cases seemed a little less posh, perhaps, than following some other legal paths. “Back in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, it was kind of a red-headed stepchild of the law,” she said, “because nobody wanted to do it.” Yet times do change. The standing of lawyers practicing family law has risen over the past generation, and Lindsey has played her part in that rise. She’s been active in both national and state organizations working to improve the practice of family law. Later this year, the 59-year-old Buckhead lawyer takes over as president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization that promotes professionalism in the practice of family law and that’s, coincidentally, about a year younger than she is. She’s now serving as president-elect of the organization, which claims more than 1,650 fellows in the 50 states. She received that academy’s Fellow of the Year Award last year. She also is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and has chaired the family law section of the Georgia Bar. The academy organizes training sessions for lawyers involved with domestic relations cases and works to promote professionalism among specialists in that area of legal practice. “The Academy Fellows are highly skilled negotiators and litigators who represent individuals in all facets of family law,” the organization says on its website. Practicing family law requires a lawyer to be mentally nimble, Lindsey said. “You have to have a lot of knowledge about a lot of things,” she said. “It’s intellectually stimulating, and, on the personal side, you’re dealing with people in crisis.” One reason divorce courts can seem unlike other courts is because they can involve the dissolution of families. Stress and anger run high. “It’s different because it’s so emotional and so personal,” she said. As with other types of legal disputes, the great majority of divorce cases settle out of court. Lindsey thinks that’s appropriate. “Good lawyers will help clients reach a reasonable solution,” she said. But many divorces still end up going to trial before a judge or a jury. “I find that juries are very fair-minded,” she said. “I think they take these cases very seriously. I think they do a good job.” And getting the change to try cases was a big part of what drew her to family law in the first place. “It was about doing something where I thought I could make a difference,” she said.
Public Safety | 17
More police officers to be hired for new LaVista Park area BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN
ries are going to be, so revenue-wise, it’s an easy decision for us to do,” said Steven Chapman, Brookhaven’s assistant manager and
Four police officers are being added to the recently an-
chief financial officer.
nexed LaVista Park neighborhood after Brookhaven’s city
“We just outlined this in our budget amendments so now that
council voted on Jan. 28 to assign funds for the move.
we have new authorized positions our HR department has begun
The city’s police department conducted an analysis of the
the process of hiring,” he said. “It isn’t creating any new catego-
area and determined they need four more officers to be able
ries; we’re just adding more police officers. We want to be able to
to cover the 330 acres that encompass LaVista Park, which is
serve our new residents.”
south of the I-85 highway.
LaVista Park was annexed into Brookhaven on Dec. 10 and has
The salary of a police officer in Brookhaven ranges from
roughly 2,000 inhabitants. On Jan. 14, the city created a special
$48,500 to $71,792, depending on experience, according to
tax district for LaVista Park that charges those who live there the
city spokesperson Burke Brennan. “The nice thing is I did a projection of what the tax revenues are going to be and sure enough it covers what the sala-
same millage they had been paying DeKalb County prior to anSPECIAL
Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura.
nexation. The aim is to cover infrastructure costs.
18 | Community
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Brookhaven passes nondiscrimination law protecting LGBTQ people BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will no longer
Jan 24-Feb 16
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be allowed in Brookhaven. That was the conclusion reached by the City Council Jan. 14 as it voted unanimously to pass an ordinance, sponsored by Councilmembers Linley Jones and Madeleine Simmons, that bans local businesses from discrimination against minority groups, including LGBTQ people. “This is our opportunity to step up and join the other cities in setting an example that discrimination is not tolerated in Brookhaven,” Simmons said before the vote was taken. “Not only is it good for business but it’s really good for our residential community to show residents and folks coming to visit that Brookhaven has a welcoming atmosphere.” Brookhaven became the seventh municipality in Georgia to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ people, meaning they cannot be denied a job, a home, or service in a public place. The city follows in the footsteps of Atlanta, Decatur, Doraville, Clarkston, Chamblee and Dunwoody. The ordinance allows a person alleging discrimination to file a complaint with the city manager. The city manager would then inform the city attorney who would investigate the allegation and work with both parties to reach a resolution to the complaint. If the parties fail to reach a resolution with the city attorney, the case would go to city-appointed hearing officer, who would make a final determination. The losing party would be able to appeal to DeKalb County Superior Court. If found guilty of discrimination, a person or business could face a $1,000 fine for the first violation and $2,000 for subsequent violations. A business with more
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Community | 19
three violations could lose their right to operate in Brookhaven, according to the or-
the podium and expressed surprise at the lack of resistance to what he called an “en-
forcement free-for-all,” adding, “It’s not appropriate for Brookhaven to jump ahead
The ordinance also provides for voluntary mediation. That would allow the per-
of federal and state efforts to try to deal with this. You should have more public dis-
son alleging discrimination and the alleged violator to enter private mediation talks
cussion of these kinds of issues. This seems to be getting pushed through extreme-
with a mediator not associated with the city.
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ
Cathy Woolard, a former Atlanta City Council president who now is a lobbyist for
rights, issued a statement saying, in part: “Local victories like these make a world of
the LGBTQ rights group Georgia Equality, disputed one of Southern’s points, saying
difference to LGBTQ Georgians, and they also build a case for more robust state and
20 states in the country already have some kind of civil rights laws on sexual orien-
national laws. When our lawmakers see dozens of cities acting proactively to stop
tation and gender identity. Georgia Equality was involved in writing the Brookhav-
discrimination, they pay attention.”
During the public discussion portion of the council meeting, Jon Greaves, a lo-
Also in attendance at the meeting was state Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhav-
cal resident and supporter of the measure, said a lack of understanding of what it
en), who is gay and lives in Brookhaven. In a tweet after the vote, he said he was
means to be transgender is often the source of discrimination because “this strug-
“very proud of my city leaders” and “thankful for their leadership as we continue to
gle for transgender rights is relatively new within the broader civil rights effort.”
advocate for statewide protections as well.”
Jennifer Arellano, a hairstylist, said in public comments that she recently expe-
Resident Joyce Lanterman told the council, “I think it’s important to support the
rienced discrimination at a local bank. “The staff were very rude and used an ugly
rights of marginalized groups. I don’t understand why anyone would feel different-
expression,” she said. “It was scary. They cancelled my bank account because I’m a
ly.” Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., she said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends
transgender woman – because of transphobia.”
towards justice, and I believe that, but it doesn’t bend itself. We have to get out and
The ordinance has its share of detractors. Resident Michael Southern approached
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20 | Public Safety
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Crime Reports / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated Jan. 12 through Jan. 26. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.
Jan. 13, in the evening, a theft was reported.
2900 block of Clairmont Road — On
1400 block of North Cliff Valley Way
2900 block of Clairmont Road — On
T H E F T A N D B U R G L A RY
Jan. 13, at night, items from a car were reported stolen.
— On Jan. 15, in the afternoon, a noforced entry burglary at a residence was reported.
Jan. 18, at night, items from a car were reported stolen.
1800 block of Briarwood Road — On
3100 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 13, at night, a woman was arrested and charged with theft by taking and receiving stolen property.
Jan. 16, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with theft by taking.
3300 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 16, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with entering an auto and forgery in the fourth degree.
1000 block of Barone Avenue — On
Jan. 14, in the morning, items from a car were reported stolen. 1200 block of Keys Lake Drive — On
100 block of Briarwood Park — On
1700 block of Dunwoody Place — On
Jan. 14, in the afternoon, a no-forced entry burglary at a residence was reported.
Jan. 16, at night, a street robbery with a gun was reported.
Jan. 20, in the afternoon, items from a car were reported stolen.
100 block of Executive Park Drive —
3900 block of Peachtree Road — On
block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 14, in the afternoon, items from a car were reported stolen.
On Jan. 17, in the evening, parts from a vehicle were reported stolen.
Jan. 21, at noon, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting.
100 block of Executive Park Drive —
100 block of Town Boulevard — On
1700 block of Briarwood Road — On
On Jan. 18, in the afternoon, items from a car were reported stolen.
Jan. 21, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported.
3300 block of Buford Highway — On
100 block of Executive Park Drive —
Jan. 18, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with theft by shoplifting.
On Jan. 21, in the afternoon, items from a car were reported missing.
2900 block of Clairmont Road — On
Jan. 12, after midnight, a theft from a building was reported. 4400 block of Peachtree Road — On
Jan. 12, in the evening, items from a car were reported stolen. 4400 block of Peachtree Road — On
Jan. 12, in the evening, items from a car were reported stolen. 1800 block of Northeast Expressway
— On Jan. 13, at noon, items from a car were reported stolen. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 13, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported. 3500 block of Mill Creek Road — On
Jan. 13, in the afternoon, a theft from the mail was reported. 3200 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 14, in the evening, a theft by taking auto incident was reported. 2400 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 14, at night, a shoplifting incident
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4400 block of Memorial Drive — On
1300 block of North Cliff Valley Way
— On Jan. 19, in the afternoon, a theft by conversion incident was reported. 2800 block of Clairmont Road — On
Jan. 19, in the evening, a theft was reported. Jan. 20, in the afternoon, a theft by conversion incident was reported.
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Public Safety | 21
2800 block of Ashford Road — On
Jan. 24, in the evening, a theft by taking auto incident was reported. Assault 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 12, in the early morning, a battery incident was reported. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 12, at night, a battery incident was reported. 3100 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 13, in the evening, a simple battery incident was reported. 2800 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 14, in the evening, a simple battery incident was reported. 2400 block of East Club Drive — On
Jan. 16, in the morning, a man was ar-
rested and charged with aggravated assault. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 16, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with sexual battery. 2500 block of Oglethorpe Circle —
On Jan. 16, in the evening, an aggravated assault was reported. 3100 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 16, at night, a man was arrested and charged with family violence and resisting arrest. 3000 block of Clairmont Road — On
Jan. 17, in the evening, an aggravated assault was reported. 3600 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 17, at night, a battery incident was reported.
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1300 block of North Cliff Valley Way
— On Jan. 19, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with simple battery. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 19, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with simple battery. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 22, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with family violence. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 22, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with battery. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 23, at midnight, a man was arrested and charged with battery. 3000 block of Clairmont Road — On
and charged with family violence.
ARRESTS 3700 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 12, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. 1800 block of Cliff Valley Way — On
Jan. 12, in the early morning, an underage man was arrested and charged with driving with a BAC of .02 or higher. 4200 block of Peachtree Road — On
Jan. 12, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On
Jan. 12, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving without a license.
Jan. 24, at midnight, a man was arrested
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22 | Community
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DeKalb pushes back against another Brookhaven annexation Continued from page 1 than 300 luxury apartments, a 7-story hotel and other office and retail buildings at the busy corner of North Druid Hills and Briarcliff roads. The owners of several other commercial parcels totaling some 20 acres near the intersection are joining the annexation request. The possibility of losing more land and tax revenue to Brookhaven is frustrating county officials. “We are concerned … based on a variety of issues,” DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader said. “This is an area where we could lose our tax base.” The City Council is scheduled to vote Feb. 25 on the annexation request and on the mixed-use development. But on Jan. 10, the county filed a list of objections to the annexation and asked the Department of Community Affairs, a state agency which provides local government assistance, to appoint an arbitration panel. The panel would work with both governments to try to find common ground before any legal action may take place. If the city approves the annexation and mixed-use development as is, the county’s already burdened infrastructure, including roads, water and sanitary sewer, would be adversely impacted, according to county officials. “The proposed annexation and affiliated changes in zoning, land use and resulting density impact will, by definition, increase the stresses on DeKalb’s existing infrastructure, which is designed to serve existing density projects,” DeKalb County Attorney Viviane Ernstes said in a letter to Mayor John Ernst and the City Council. When there is an annexation dispute, the DCA appoints a 5-person arbitration panel. The volunteer panel is made up of county and elected officials from different jurisdictions and an academic. The panel does not authorize or deny an annexation, but may decide to attach zoning, land use and density conditions. DCA spokesperson David Lassiter said Jan. 28 the DCA is currently recruiting volunteers for the panel in a process that takes 15 days. Once a panel is seated, all parties come to the table to discuss their disputes to try to come up with a solution agreeable to the city and county. This could include shrinking the annexed area or reducing the density of the mixed-use development. The arbitration panel must then issue its decision within 60 days of being appointed. If the city or county disagrees with the arbitration panel’s decision, they can take their case to DeKalb County Superior Court. City spokesperson Burke Brennan said the county’s objections “do not appear to have any basis in facts or law.” “There seems to be a continuing misperception that Brookhaven sought this annexation or precipitated it. This is not true,” Brennan said. “These landowners have sought to be part of the city of Brookhaven, and the city of Brookhaven is obligated by
state law to accept such applications for review.” He added the county did not oppose the city’s December annexation of LaVista Park, a mostly residential area south of Executive Park. Councilmember Joe Gebbia, whose district includes CHOA and Emory, said recently he is constantly fielding calls from property owners interested in being annexed into Brookhaven. The controversial Vista Grove cityhood initiative is expected to be debated again in the General Assembly this year. The new city’s map would include properties at North Druid Hills and Briarcliff roads seeking to come into Brookhaven. “The mode is [property owners] would rather deal with Brookhaven, a known entity,” Gebbia said. A key concern for the county is that if the annexation and mixed-use development are approved by the city, the significantly higher density would strain even further the county’s already burdened water and sanitary sewer systems. The development is also incompatible with the county’s comprehensive plan for the area intended to “provide convenient local retail shopping and service areas for residents,” Ernstes said in the letter. In December, Brookhaven annexed the historic LaVista Park community located south of Executive Park after residents secured enough signatures to bypass a referendum. The annexation included mostly residential property and raised the city’s population by about 2,000. The city’s estimated population before adding LaVista Park was about 54,000. Residents said they sought annexation into Brookhaven to ensure they have a voice in Emory’s redevelopment of Executive Park. Also in December, Related Group, the developer behind two of Atlanta’s tallest apartment towers, submitted plans to the city to build more than 380 apartments in 6-story buildings, a 7-story hotel, a 7-story parking deck and a 4-story office and retail building at 2601 North Druid Hills Road. The project would replace the aging Briarcliff Station. But the developer can only build a highdensity project under Brookhaven’s zoning regulations. DeKalb County’s zoning does not allow the type of development Related Group wants to build, according to its application with Brookhaven. Related Group also intends to ask the city for tax incentives, which DeKalb County opposes. Surrounding property owners collectively agreed to join Related Group’s annexation request. They include the Target shopping center at 2400 North Druid Hills Road, the QuikTrip at 2375 North Druid Hills Road, the Chick-fil-A at 2334 North Druid Hills Road, a LensCrafters at 2368 North Druid Hills Road, and the Boston Market at 2535 Briarcliff Road. The property at 2601 North Druid Hills Road currently includes one-story buildings and about 35,000 square feet, according to the county. Related Group’s plans for the site includes adding more than
800,000 square feet in buildings that average six stories. The project would create a “drastic increase” and “create a substantial adverse impact” on county water and sewer services, according to Ernstes. “The applicants here have neither discussed their proposed development with the county nor filed the required sewer capacity requests, estimating the development’s impact on the county’s existing water and sanitary sewer infrastructure,” she said in the letter. “As such, the county has no way to estimate the impact the drastic increase in proposed density might have on such water and sanitary sewer infrastructure,” Ernstes said. The impact would “likely increase exponentially as the remaining … parcels are redeveloped,” she said. City leaders have said they envisioned the expansions of CHOA and Emory to spark redevelopment throughout the area. Related Group intends to target its new luxury apartments to employees of CHOA and Emory moving to the area, according to Woody Galloway, attorney for the developer. Rader said among the biggest issues
about the annexation request is the county’s responsibility to protect the interests of those living in the unincorporated area who may be impacted by new development. “By annexing into Brookhaven, they have constrained the vested stakeholders … on the other side of the line,” Rader said. “Now they have no representation on the decisions on what happens there.” Traffic was a major concern by many residents living in unincorporated DeKalb County during a Jan. 2 community meeting to learn more about Related Group’s plans. Ernstes cited that as well, saying as development occurs in the annexed area, “the bulk of traffic and road impact would fall on unincorporated DeKalb’s roads and residents, rather than the city’s roads and residents.” DeKalb County also questions the legality of the city’s “special tax districts” for newly annexed areas. The districts allow the city to charge property owners in annexed areas the higher property tax rates they were paying in DeKalb County. The money is then put into a fund to be used to repair roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure and, according to the city, to not drain money from the existing tax base.
Special tax district in effect for new annexations BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN The City Council has unanimously approved creating a special tax district for the newly annexed area of LaVista Park, implementing for the first time the ordinance city officials say is needed to preserve its tax base as more property owners seek to become part of the city. The move, approved Jan. 14, allows the city to charge residents of LaVista Park, who were annexed into the city in December, the same millage rate they had been paying to DeKalb County. The money will go to address infrastructure issues such as stormwater, roads, parks and other repairs. In November, the City Council approved the ordinance to create special tax districts for newly annexed areas. Steven Chapman, Brookhaven’s assistant manager and chief financial officer, said in an interview that the city will address an applicant’s infrastructure requirements as part of any annexation, and that the “governing mechanism allows us to be able to collect millage to accomplish that task.” Brookhaven’s total annual millage rate is 40.114, while the rate for unincorporated DeKalb County is 43.890, according to numbers released by the city. “We know that by annexing an unincorporated portion of the county into incorporated Brookhaven, there is a millage savings related to that,” Chapman said. “We would dedicate the marginal difference to infrastructure in that area to bring them up to the level in the overall city of Brookhaven.” By adding LaVista Park to Brookhaven, the city gained about 2,000 residents; 600 single-family houses; a pair of multi-family developments; four office parcels; five industrial lots; and eight commercial properties within a total of 330 acres. The neighborhood is located south of I-85 and includes the Executive Park office complex. The LaVista Park Civic Association contended in its request for incorporation that residents would have more of a voice in the continuing developments of Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, among others. “We’ve been talking about it and we finally did it,” said Chapman, adding that Brookhaven’s newest residents have been mostly supportive of the idea. “What’s nice now is that the savings they were getting, as opposed to paying it to DeKalb County and then having it go into the big county pool, we will be specifically dedicating it to their infrastructure.” The new legislation is being sent to the county’s tax commissioner “and then we will set the millage for that area in the May-June time frame,” Chapman said.
Art & Entertainment | 23
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
DENNIS STROUGHMATT & CREOLE STOMP
Through Sunday, Feb. 16 The Stage Door Players perform the Tennessee Williams classic about a young man, Tom, living with his controlling mother and introverted sister Laura, who lives in her own world of make-believe. Tickets: $34 ($31 seniors, $24 students). Stage Door Playhouse, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: stagedoorplayers.net.
Saturday, Feb. 8, 8-10 p.m. Valentine’s-themed concert of Cajun/ Creole fais-do-do and dance with Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp, sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. No partner required, all ages welcome. With Cajun/Creole food for sale. Tickets: $20, $14 active military service members, $5 students. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: 877-338-2420 or email@example.com.
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Sunday, Feb. 23, 4-5:15 p.m. Chamber musicians perform a work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, partly written while he was in a German concentration camp. Admission $10. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, 4464 Peachtree Road, Atlanta.
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Friday, Feb. 7-Sunday, Feb. 23 Tim Firth’s comedy based on the true story of 11 women who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. Tickets: $18-$23. Act3 Productions, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: act3productions.org or 770-241-1905
Monday, Feb. 10-Thursday, Feb. 27 The 20th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival explores Jewish culture and history, life in Israel, and the work of Jewish artists in this two-week celebration of the Jewish experience featuring more than
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24 | Art & Entertainment
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 23 50 films and documentaries taking place at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs, Regal Perimeter Pointe, UA Tara Cinemas, The Plaza and Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema. Tickets: $16 adults/ $14 seniors/students/children. Info: ajff.org
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Sunday, Feb. 23, 1-3 p.m. The Classics Film Club watches and discusses the 1945 thriller starring Joan Crawford. Admission $5 for non-members, free for members. MJCCA-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/ama
BOOKS & AUTHORS ►THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HUGH MAGNUM
Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. In the later part of the 19th century, Hugh Mangum was an itinerant portraitist working in North Carolina and Virginia during the rise of Jim Crow. His clientele was both racially and economically diverse. His forgotten glass plate negatives were discovered in the 1970s in a barn slated for demolition. Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris discuss their book “Where We Find Ourselves,” about the discovery of photos by Mangum. Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com
AMERICAN CULINARY HISTORY
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m, Culinary historian and author Adrian Miller discusses his books “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time” and “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas.” Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com
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Kerr, a Mississippi native and Atlanta resident who has traveled the world photographing people and places. Admission $5. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. Lowry Hall, 3rd Floor, 4484 Peachtree Rd NE, Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.
SIGHTS & INSIGHTS
Through Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. The Fulton County Arts & Culture and Dunwoody Fine Art Association present a Southeastern regional art show juried by Susannah Darrow at the Abernathy Arts Center. Free to view; artwork available for purchase. Abernathy Arts Center, 254 Johnson Ferry Road NW, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-613-6172.
Through Saturday, March 14 Sculpture by Eileen Braun. Spruill Center for the Arts, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org
DRAWING WINTER TREASURES: LEAF LACE AND LICHEN
Sunday, Feb. 9, 1-4 p.m. A natural science illustration class with a walk in the field and tea in the studio while practicing the elements of drawing. Fee $50. Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.
VALENTINE’S DAY CARDMAKING
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1-3 p.m. Create special cards for the loved ones in your life during this card workshop. All supplies will be provided. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Register through events.dekalblibrary.org.
Friday, Feb. 14, 2-3 p.m. Learn to weave a heart-shaped basket that can hold a special note, gift or candies for your valentine. No experience is necessary; all supplies will be provided. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Register through events.dekalblibrary.org.
WINTER HIKE AND PINECONE CRITTER CRAFT
Friday Feb. 14, 9-10:30 a.m. Enjoy a naturalist-guided winter nature walk down to Falling Branch Creek, then warm up in the cozy Lost Corner Preserve cottage with a “pinecone critter” craft. Free. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Info: registration.sandyspringsga.gov.
Art & Entertainment | 25
Jewish Film Festival marks 20 years with big slate of screenings BY JUDITH SCHONBAK
early days as one of the original members of the board of the Atlanta Jewish Film Society. He painted a vivid picture of what it takes to Celebrating its 20th anniversary year, the Atlanta Jewish Film make the event happen every year. Festival brings an extraordinary lineup of diverse films to venues “Committed, passionate people” is his first stroke on the canvas. across Atlanta and to its anchor venue, the Sandy Springs Perform“The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has a small but mighty staff of 11 ing Arts Center. people year-round. Most of the others are volunteers – more than What began two decades ago with a handful of films and a mod400. est number of a little more than 1,900 filmgoers is expected to welWhat makes a Jewish film? It’s a frequently asked question by aucome more than 40,000 attendees for this year’s run, Feb. 10 through diences and the public in general. On Feb. 23, for the first time on 27. the festival roster, there is an evening conversation between audiThe anniversary program counts a total of 64 films: 48 features ence members and a five-person panel on just that topic at the Sanand 16 shorts. Among them are award-winning films and awarddy Springs Performing Arts Center. The panel includes local and nanominees, three world premieres, five North American premieres, tional film experts, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Rabbi Brad two US premieres and a number of Atlanta premieres, from 17 counLevenberg of Temple Sinai. tries around the globe. For many, it’s a film lovers’ wonderland. It is The AJFF description is “a cinematic exploration of Jewish experithe largest Jewish Film Festival in Atlanta and one of the largest in ence — Jewish culture and history, life in Israel, and the work of Jewthe world. ish artists — entertaining and engaging diverse audiences with film The screenings are held at seven metro Atlanta venues. There are through a Jewish lens.” two venues in Sandy Springs: Regal Perimeter Pointe, which is host“Essentially it encompasses obvious Jewish topics, such as life in ing 38 screenings, and Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center’s Byers ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL/VAUGHN GITIsrael, the Holocaust, Jewish creative people, foreign films with JewTENS Theatre, which is hosting 19 screenings, including two screenings of ish characters and more. We try to be relatively broad,” said LevenMax Leventhal, president of the the closing night film on Feb. 27, “Saul & Ruby, To Life” and an eveAtlanta Jewish Film Festival. thal. The question is an important part in the orientation of the Film ning reception celebration. Evaluation Committee of more than 200 members. The word is out that Saul Drier and Ruby Sosnovicz, two Holocaust survivors and “Importantly, the committee is a widely diverse group that looks like metro Atlanta,” musicians, in their nineties, who are the subjects of that closing night film, will be said Leventhal. “There are many loyalists and newcomers, too,” he added. there. It’s an uplifting story of the duo seeking to bring peace and hope through mu“For the 2020 festival, we started with 700 films to consider. Think of it as a big funsic in the U.S. and their home country of Poland, even as anti-Semitism is on the rise. nel,” said Leventhal. “The committee’s job is to get it down to a workable number. Mounting the film festival is a major undertaking that involves hundreds of people This year, there were 21,561 evaluations, to be exact, according to the AJFF. The evaland a complex set of considerations, from the films themselves, venues, guest speakuations go on through October, then the screening and streaming process begins. ers, finances and more. Streamings are private for committee members via their computers, TVs and phones. Film festival president Max Leventhal has been involved with the event since its For detailed information on show schedules and tickets, go to ajff.org.
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I-285 toll lanes would take buildings, backyards; residents and officials express concern Continued from page 1
marked for displacement are three to four buildings in the Dunwoody Village apartment complex, and two buildings in the Sierra Place apartments in Sandy Springs. Part of the backyards of numerous homeowners living along I-285 could be eaten up for the toll lanes GDOT also released a 10-minute video showing a concept of what the toll lanes would look like, with sweeping views of the largely elevated lanes. “We’re trying to understand the impact that its going to have on us from our second story because we’re up on a hill and it’s very likely that when we look out the window we are going to see car lights” from vehicles driving on the elevated toll lanes, said Mari Geier, who lives off Brawley Circle in Brookhaven at a Jan. 21 open house. “What are we going to do?” she said. “We were told months ago [at a town hall hosted by Mayor John Ernst and
mitigate, find out about walls, and set expectations. We’re not stopping this project.” “We’re not stopping this project,” she said. At a Jan. 23 open house in Sandy Springs, residents Karen and Ron Lanning said they are concern with noise and property value impacts from the lanes running behind their house off Riverside Drive near Mount Vernon Highway, where they have lived for 23 years. “Our property values have been ruined forever,” Karen Lanning said. “We’re stuck. We can’t sell our house and it’s been going on for so long that it impacts our decision of what we’re going to do down the road.” “We’re not really losing land, but we’re losing air space,” Ron Lanning said. “Were accommodating all these peo-
live in the area,” Karen Lanning added. State Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), who has regularly expressed concerns with the plan, attended the open house. “Seeing those visuals is nice, but it will be different than the conceptual design,” Silcox said later. “I still have my suspicions, but I hope we get as many public comment cards as we can to push back against the project to get as many sound barriers and as much green space replaced as possible. Mitigation is kind of the key here.” Sandy Springs City Council members expressed their concern with the plan displacing residents at their Jan. 24 retreat, where GDOT officials gave updates on highway projects. Councilmember Chris Burnett asked about meetings with residents who are marked for displacement, but GDOT project manager Tim Matthews said that is only done for a “concentrated
er said in an email he understands the purpose of the toll lanes, but added “the impact to all who live in close proximity to the construction is substantial. “We (Sandy Springs) ultimately have little say over the final design, [but] we will continue to do all we can to advocate for mitigating impacts, especially noise pollution and road closures and detours during the work,” Bauman said. “Further, I am particularly concerned about impacts to our schools that are located directly adjacent to the construction.” The section of I-285 in Doraville has a number of commercial buildings targeted for demolition, ranging from a daycare to a printing company. Mayor Joseph Geierman, who once signed a petition against the toll lanes, said the plan is not as bad he feared and likely will be “refined” with community input.
Councilmember Linley Jones] to not have any hope. All we’re trying to do is
ple who come through our area, but there’s no consideration of people who
area” of displacements. Councilmember Andy Bauman lat-
“I was glad to see that fewer properties than I had expected are sched-
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We’re trying to understand the impact that its going to have on us from our second story because we’re up on a hill and it’s very likely that when we look out the window we are going to see car lights. MARI GEIER BROOKHAVEN RESIDENT uled to be condemned,” Geierman said in an email. “My focus continues to be how we can work with GDOT to mitigate any other ways Doraville residents will be impacted (specifically related to noise) as well as making sure that these plans take our future mobility plans for increasing walkability and bikeability in the city into account.” In October, GDOT said it is delaying the construction timeline for the controversial toll lanes by years, with the earliest start date sometime in 2023, to get more competitive bids from contractors. Some free lanes are set to be built sooner. A series of open houses is being held this month to give the public a look at where the lanes would be built and get questions answered. Public comment on the project is being accepted through Feb. 25. Matthews said the department was able to remove more than 100 of the original 300 parcels expected to be affected by the toll lanes. He also said GDOT continues to work with the “top end” mayors whose cities are along the route of the new toll lanes who want to include bus rapid transit within the project. In Sandy Springs, properties facing significant displacement include a building at 374 Mount Vernon Highway; two properties on Lake Forrest Drive at I-285; and two buildings in the Sierra Place apartments on Northwood Drive, according to the new maps. Three to four buildings in the DunBK
Community | 31
woody Village apartment complex off North Peachtree Road are marked for demolition, as well as all or some of Chateau Club Townhomes along I-285 in Dunwoody. Also possibly displaced, depending on alternative plans, are a gas station, the Wild Ginger Thai restaurant, a laundromat, and the Tip Top Kosher Market on Savoy Drive in Chamblee on the Dunwoody border. A portion of a GDOT map showing in red the properties in the Georgetown community in Dunwoody likely to be impacted by the I-285 toll lanes. Click to enlarge. GDOT has two alternatives for a stretch of I-285 along the Georgetown community in Dunwoody. One alternative takes out the swimming pool of the 50-year-old Georgetown Recreation Club, the other alternative does not. The toll lanes projects are separate from the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project that is currently under construction. That project, known as “Transform 285/400,” began in 2017 and is expected to wrap up in late 2020. However, the toll lanes would run through the interchange area and connect with it. While the overall toll lanes projects are delayed, GDOT said it will build certain parts of their proposed systems sooner to get ahead of the game and offer some traffic improvements. Those projects include: I-285 westbound collector-distributor lanes: The dedicated lanes for interchange-users would run from Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to AshfordDunwoody Road in Dunwoody. They would be extensions of similar lanes being built now for the Transform 285/400 project. Construction would start in 2022 and open to traffic in 2024. I-285/Peachtree Industrial Boulevard interchange: Improvements to the interchange near eastern Dunwoody include adding collector-distributor lanes. Construction would start in late 2021 and finish in late 2023 or early 2024. I-285 westbound extra lane: The new lane would come from widening I-285 in Sandy Springs between Roswell Road and Riverside Drive. It is intended to serve drivers going between interchanges so they don’t have to weave through traffic, but anyone will be able to use it. The project also includes replacing the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over I-285. Construction would start in mid-2022 and finish in late 2024. — -John Ruch contributed
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