05-26-17 Buckhead Reporter

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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 9




Perimeter Business

Buckhead Reporter

► New law is a boost to local beer, whiskey crafters PAGE 4 ► Cuban sandwich shop mixes tastiness with tenacity PAGE 5

NBA legends shoot hoops for kids

Little-known vet memorials | 8

City orders halt to Airbnb mansion rental BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net


Former Atlanta Hawks star Dikembe Mutombo leans in to sign a T-shirt for Helen Sands, 11, at Breakthrough Atlanta’s Third Annual Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday, May 20, at The Lovett School. The game was played by two teams from the Atlanta Chapter of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. At top right, Marcus Hunt Jr., 3, son of Marcus Hunt, warms up for the game. At right, Raekwon Curry goes in for two points. Housed on Lovett’s campus, Breakthrough Atlanta helps middle and high school students develop academic skills to enroll and succeed in college and life.

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The owner of a Peachtree-Dunwoody Road mansion offered for short-term rentals on Airbnb, which has drawn the ire of neighbors for reportedly hosting loud parties, has been issued a cease and desist letter from the city of Atlanta. The letter, sent to owner Paul McPherson on April 22, says the city has determined no family lives in the mansion at 4205 Peachtree-Dunwoody, and instead it is being used as a hotel, which is not allowed in residential zoned areas in Atlanta. However, McPherson maintains that renting the house on Airbnb is not in violation of the law. He said the complaints have come from a single person, though a local neighborhood association says there have been more, and that he is being singled out based on his race. “We operate completely within the law,” McPherson said. “I don’t know what prompted this letter. There have See CITY on page 12

BCID funds Ga. 400 interchange study BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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See Commentary, Page 14

The Buckhead Community Improvement District board approved several million dollars for various projects, including studies on new Ga. 400 interchanges and the Piedmont Road corridor, during the board’s May 24 meeting. The board committed several million dollars to match federal funding applications for projects and studies. The need for the studies came from the master plan, Buckhead REdeFINED, whose final version has See BCID on page 15

2 | Community

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The quick reconstruction of I-85 and the mild traffic congestion caused by SunTrust Park has surprised and pleased residents, and the two traffic factors could change the future of public transit in Atlanta, officials said at the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods May 11 meeting. SunTrust Park traffic and the speed of I-85 repairs were much better than anticipated by Tom Tidwell, the chairman of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods. A representative of the Garden Hills neighborhood said they appreciate GDOT’s fast work and prioritization of the project. “I think I can speak for my neighborhood in saying that I know it was expensive, but it was well worth the effort,” Jeff Clark said at the meeting held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church on Roswell Road. Crews worked continuously for six weeks rebuilding the bridge after a March 30 fire allegedly set by a homeless person led to its collapse, costing more than $16 million. The bridge reopened May 13, a full month ahead of the June 15 date estimated immediately after the overpass collapsed. Stacey Key, the GDOT board member representing Congressional District 5, which covers the area where I-85 collapsed, said public transit will become a key issue in upcoming Georgia legislative sessions and that the collapse has caused people to rethink Atlanta’s transportation needs. “If we don’t think we need transit now, I don’t know what it’s going to

take,” Key said. Tidwell said he believes public transit is the only answer in fixing traffic woes, specifically on I-285. “I don’t see how anybody could conceive a solution that talks about adding more cars,” Tidwell said. Gordon Certain, president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, asked why CobbLinc, Cobb County’s public transit system and the only system servicing SunTrust Park, hasn’t added bus routes through Buckhead. “The Cobb County transit system takes people from Cobb County to Downtown, and then they ride MARTA back up to Buckhead for their jobs. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Certain, who also serves as secretary for the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods. Ron Sifen, a community advocate who serves on several Cobb County boards, including the Transit System Advisory Board and the Braves Task Force, said the city of Atlanta and Cobb County would have to allow Cobb County to use city roads and stop at agreed upon places, a process that takes negotiation. But adding direct public transit from Cobb to Buckhead is on the county’s radar, Sifen said. Another resident asked, “When is Cobb going to join rail and stop clogging our streets with buses?” Sifen responded that, when it’s been proposed in the past, the county determined it would have no way to pay for the maintenance or construction of rail lines, which were estimated to cost $30 million to maintain each year while the county’s entire transit budget is $20 million. Cobb County’s lack of MARTA has

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been in the spotlight recently as Braves games began at the new SunTrust Park stadium, but traffic problems have been mild compared to the expectations of many people. “It’s remarkable that the traffic is so much better than, at least, I anticipated, in both respects,” Tidwell said of the I-85 collapse and Braves traffic. Sifen said SunTrust Park also surpassed his expectations, which were already high. “I’ve been predicting for two years traffic would not be as bad as people thought, but it’s even better than I thought it was going to be,” Sifen said. The pedestrian bridges are what he credits with making traffic better than he anticipated, along with multiple stadium access points and parking decks that are located around the stadium, rather than concentrated in one direction like at Turner Field.

The decision to move the game start time to 7:35 p.m. allows visitors to drive through 30 percent less rush hour traffic than if the game started 20 minutes earlier, Sifen said, referencing a traffic study. There are a few areas that are heavily congested, but, overall, traffic around the stadium is moving smoothly, Stifen said, a sentiment that is echoed in a letter from Jim Wilgus, director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation, who could not attend the meeting but sent thoughts on traffic to the council. “I would not say that there are problems [sic] spots, but there are locations that we monitor, generally localized around the ballpark itself,” Wilgus said in the letter, adding that the department is pleased with how traffic is flowing around the stadium.

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Thanks to the ongoing dedication of our students and families committed to public education, along with our top notch administration, faculty, volunteers & program offerings, we have great news to share about our seniors this year. • • • •

$22,524,246 in Scholarships Awarded 6 Georgia Scholars & 1 Posse Foundation Scholar 69 Zell Miller Eligible & 140 HOPE Eligible Seniors (52% of seniors) Admitted to 36 of the Top 50 U.S. Colleges & Universities, including Princeton University, the #1 ranked National University by U.S. News & World Report • Appointments at United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, and United States Military Academy (West Point) our 7th, 8th and 9th appointments in the past 4 years

• 24 Admitted to Georgia Tech & 72 Admitted to University of Georgia • NCAA Athletic Commits include: Baseball, Cross Country, Football, Lacrosse, Rowing, Soccer, Swimming & Volleyball • 86% of the 390 graduating seniors applied to college • 53% of NAHS Seniors took AP or IB course load & 47 Dual Enrollment Students

Stats as of 5/19/2017 (final stats will be available from NAHS in August)

North Atlanta High School offers well-rounded academic programs as well as a variety of extra-curricular activities, fine & performing arts, competitive athletic programs and study abroad programs. NAHS is an International Baccalaureate School which has the oldest International Diploma Programme (IBDP) in the Southeast. Students participate in community service hours throughout their high school years so that they can further engage in the wider world that awaits them at graduation.


Thank you to the residents of our community whose tax dollars support the students at NAHS and our APS North Atlanta Cluster.

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Perimeter Business A monthly section focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

New law is a boost to local beer and whiskey crafters BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

An expanding Buckhead distillery and a new Sandy Springs brewery opening later this year are looking forward to growth brought on by a new Georgia law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on May 2. The new law allows breweries to sell beer or spirits directly to visitors instead of making them purchase a tour and giving them the drinks for free. Visitors can now also buy a case of 24 12-ounce bottles or cans or three 750-milliliter bottles of spirits to take with them. Buckhead-based American Spirit Whiskey announced May 10 it will open a second location in a development on the corner of Lee and White Streets in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood, joining two brewers, Monday Night Brewing and Wild Heaven.

Pontoon Brewing will open its first location in Sandy Springs at 8601 Dunwoody Place on Sept. 1, which is also the date the new law will take effect. Pontoon has been making beer in partnership with breweries in other states for two years, but this will be their first brewery. The recently passed law is already spurring discussion about future expansions among the owners, Sean O’Keefe, one of the four owners, said. They are also making adjustments to their site plans, enlarging their taproom to make more room for seating in response to the new law. When they began brewing two years ago, O’Keefe said they never imagined Georgia would pass this law, and they were advised by others in the industry to focus on tours. With the new law in place, they’re anticipating growing more quickly, O’Keefe

said, adding jobs and paying more taxes to Sandy Springs, a location they chose because they had a good relationship with the city. Before the law was passed, the owners worked with the city to write Sandy Spring’s ordinance so it could be passed as soon as Deal signed the state legislation. SPECIAL ASW Distillery, which From left, Pontoon Brewing co-owners Marcus is located in Armour Powers and Sean O’Keefe pose with Chris Irby and Yards near Sweetwater Wesley Budd, agents who helped them find the Brewing Company, anSandy Springs location for their first brewery. nounced its expansion for six month to two years, Jim Chasteen, days after Deal signed the legislation. one of the founders, said, and they anticiThe distillery was running out of room to store whiskey barrels, as they have to age Continued on page 6

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Debbie Benedit has been operating Havana for 41 years and says those who eat in her restaurant are not customers but are friends.

Cuban sandwich shop mixes tastiness with tenacity BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

When the I-85 bridge collapsed, Debbie Benedit feared her renowned Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Highway would suffer. Many of her customers came from Midtown and Buckhead for Cuban sandwiches or picadillo and cheese empanadas and she worried they wouldn’t want to brave a traffic nightmare for a meal. “But actually our business increased,” she said, while seated in the rustic building which is readily seen from the busy road, thanks to its bright yellow paint with palm trees. “Everyone on this end [of Buford Highway] was staying over here,” she said. Now that the bridge has reopened, her Midtown, Cheshire Bridge Road, Lenox Road and Virginia-Highland cus-

tomers are returning as well. “My sales are exceeding expectations,” she said. The road to her success was also filled with major obstacles, however. Debbie owns the sandwich shop at 2905 Buford Highway with her son, Eddie Benedit Jr. The building is the site of the original Havana restaurant opened in 1976 by Guido Benedit, her late father-in-law. Using Guido’s recipes from his homeland, the restaurant quickly became a destination for those searching for authentic Cuban cuisine. The entire Benedit family worked at the restaurant before some went their separate ways. In 1996, Guido retired and left the business to Debbie and her late husband, Eddie Sr. He died in 2001, but Debbie kept the restaurant open. Also Continued on page 7

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New law is a boost to local beer and whiskey crafters Continued from page 4 pate more sales and visitors after the law takes effect. ASW plans to use its new location, which will open in nine months to a year, for storage and a tasting room, but it depends on what permits they are able to get from the city, Chasteen said. The company chose the West End to fulfill its need for more storage space because the owners were convinced by longtime friends at Wild Heaven and Monday Night Brewing to join them in the Lee + White development. “The craft brewing and distilling industries have become really close with each other in the past couple of years, especially with all the progress that’s been made,” Chasteen said. “We’ve become really good friends with a lot of the breweries in town.” The tour system was especially difficult for ASW because many guests are from different states due to a wedding venue located adjacent to them, and Chasteen expects tourists would be more likely to come in to buy a bottle than they would to purchase a tour.

Often people who come in to buy a bottle are turned off or confused when they hear they have to buy a tour, he said. “They’ve never heard of this Georgia legislation. All they hear is ‘I can’t buy a bottle’,” Chasteen said. Tourists also often wanted to buy gifts for others, but they could only buy one bottle, and since they are from a different state, it’s likely ASW would never see that guest again, Chasteen said. “It’s worth it if you drive here from South Carolina now,” he said. “Before, it was difficult to fully take advantage of tourism business.” Chasteen said he and others at ASW, along with other breweries, distributors and retailers, have been working for three years on getting legislation through the Georgia General Assembly, and, in the past 18 months, the different parties have worked together to find common ground. “This has been an intense 18 months of back and forth and compromise between all the parties,” he said. “It certainly took a lot of time, but I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to work with all parties in a good faith way.”

PCIDs name new executive director BY JOHN RUCH

start work in June, her appointment still needs to be formally approved by the group’s boards of directors. The Perimeter Cen“We have been very ter Community Imfavorably impressed provement Districts with the depth, expehave named a new rience and caliber of staff leader, eight the talent pool intermonths after longtime ested in leading our president and CEO two CIDs,” said a joint Yvonne Williams’ surstatement from PCIDs prise resignation. board chairs Diane Ann Hanlon, execuCalloway and John tive director of the AlHeagy. “We believe it pharetta-based North takes a rather broad Fulton Community set of skills to succeed Improvement District, in this business, and has been chosen to we are thrilled to have take the PCIDs’ reins. SPECIAL Ms. Hanlon joining us Ann Hanlon Hanlon also serves after such an impreson the board of two sive run at the North Fulton CID.” organizations important to Perimeter The PCIDs are two separate but jointCenter: the Georgia Regional Transporly operated self-taxing business districts tation Authority, which runs the GRTA in Perimeter Center, with one CID in the Xpress commuter buses; and the CounDeKalb County portion of the area and cil for Quality Growth, a Sandy Springsone in the Fulton County portion. based advocacy group for real estate deThe PCIDs’ work includes planning and velopers, where she is the treasurer. funding major roadway and streetscape Hanlon, a Dunwoody resident, would projects. It provided some of the political have the “executive director” title at the leverage for Gov. Nathan Deal to fast-track PCIDs. While the PCIDs have announced the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstrucHanlon’s hiring and said she likely will tion project that is just getting started. The North Fulton CID is a similar organization operating in the cities of Alpharetta, Milton and Roswell. Hanlon has worked at the North Fulton CID since 2005 and served as its chief operating officer. She previously worked at the PCIDs from 2003 to 2005 as a project manager. Hanlon has worked at the Atlanta Regional Commission as a senior program analyst; on the staff of former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland; and at the Georgia Department of Labor. She also serves on the North Fulton Poverty Task Force and chaired the DeKalb County Charter Commission in 2016. She has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in public administration from Georgia State University. She is a native of Waycross, Ga. Williams resigned from leading the PCIDs in September 2016 after 17 years at the helm, citing a desire to spend more Visit us today to learn how you may qualify for up to time with her family. Hanlon was hired via an executive search firm, the PCIDs said. johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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Havana on Buford Highway is easy to see with its bright yellow paint and palm trees.

Cuban sandwich shop mixes tastiness with tenacity Continued from page 5 in 2001, her husband’s brother, Guido Jr., sued her after learning he wasn’t listed as a manager in the business. Tensions flared. In 2008, the building at 2905 Buford Highway was damaged by fire. In 2009, Eddie Sr.’s other brother, Willie, wanted to open a new Havana restaurant, built on the reputation of the old. Debbie operated a restaurant for a short time in Canton, where she lives, but closed it in 2009. She missed the allure of Buford Highway and planned to reopen Havana that same year in a new location on Clairmont Road, just a stone’s throw from the original. But confusion arose over which Havana restaurant was the real one and Willie and Debbie ended up in a legal battle over who was the true owner of the restaurant’s name. Eventually she won the right to the Havana Restaurant name and for the past eight years has operated her business, welcoming hungry customers on Clairmont Road from throughout metro Atlanta. But court battles with family took

a toll and the pain remains. Debbie acknowledged she hasn’t seen Willie or Guido for years. “The family was torn apart by different ideas,” she said. “I wish them the best. I did the time, put in the blood, sweat and tears. ... It didn’t have to be that way.” She took her energy and focused it on food. The Havana at the Clairmont location used the same Benedit family recipes and became as popular as the original. Then, in 2015, Debbie was driving on Buford Highway when she saw a familiar sight. The dilapidated building where Havana first opened its doors in 1976 was available. She jumped at the chance to open a second Havana at what some may consider a historical location. “This building is the same as it was 50 years ago. We just put a new coat of paint on it and cleaned it up some,” she said. In April, she and her son decided to close the Clairmont location. “I’ve been doing this 41 years and I’m slowing it down,” she said. “Eddie will continue on. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I’m just glad to be back here. ... This truly was a family business, and it still is.”

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The Marist School’s memorial to alumni killed or lost during military service.

Little-known memorials honor fallen service members BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net



While Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, it’s officially a time to remember military service members who died in the line of duty. Little-known memorials scattered around Perimeter Center and Buckhead put those memories close at hand. The Veterans Memorial in Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park is perhaps the most popular local place for reflection. But many small memorials stand in office parks, landscaping and malls around the area. Many were placed over the past 20 years by the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association and honor service members killed in that war. “To those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected never know,” reads a motto on many of the group’s granite memorial markers. The group no longer erects the memorials, shifting its focus to scholarships for veterans, said president Dan Holtz. Some of the memorials are easy to find, like the flag-ringed marker between the King and Queen skyscrapers at the Concourse Center on Sandy Springs’ Concourse Parkway. That memorial hon-

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ors Army Pfc. Joel C. Roper, a “citizen soldier” and Bronze Star recipient killed in action in Vietnam in 1969. The city of Sandy Springs holds its annual Veterans Day ceremony there. Some are nearly hidden, like the memorial to Army 1st Lt. William Ellis Gay Jr., who was killed in Cambodia in 1970. That marker is tucked amid shrubbery behind benches in the entryway of the Shepherd Center on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. Gay was a graduate of Brookhaven’s Marist School, whose Ashford-Dunwoody Road campus has two memorials. One honors the 44 Marist alumni from World War I onward who have been killed in action, declared missing in action or taken as prisoners of war. Another Marist campus memorial tells the remarkable story of one of those alumni, Air Force Maj. John L. Carroll, who was shot down over Laos while flying a small airplane as part of the Ravens, a CIA-led operation that helped to direct a secret bombing campaign. Carroll crashed on the Plain of Jars, an ancient site where the landscape is covered in large, mysterious stone containers. “Faced with a choice between the despair of surrender and the prospect of survival, despite being confronted with

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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Community | 9

www.ReporterNewspapers.net overwhelming force, Maj. Carroll elected to fight,” the memorial reads. “Armed only with small arms and grenades, Maj. Carroll held off two enemy companies in an attempt to allow aircraft to effect his rescue. Despite serious wounds, he

fought with tenacity and bravery until he was killed.” He was declared missing in action until 2007, when his body was finally recovered and returned to the U.S.

S O M E O THER LO C A L M EM O R I A L S HO NO R THES E S ERV IC E M EM B ER S : Lance Cpl. Russell M. Dobyns Jr., Marine Corps Chastain Park 140 West Wieuca Road, Buckhead CWO George T. Condrey III, Army Lenox Towers 3400 Peachtree Rd N.E., Buckhead

Left: Flags mark the memorial to U.S. Army Pfc. Joel C. Roper at the Concourse Center. Right: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Russell M. Dobyns Jr. is remembered on a memorial in Buckhead’s Chastain Park.

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Plans for a new city tree ordinance are in the works in order to address problems with the current ordinance and make it easier to understand, Department of City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said. “We absolutely have to determine how to protect old-growth forest and tree canopy,” Keane said. Tree advocates say the current law’s problems were highlighted in a recent decision to allow trees to be cut down in Peachtree Hills Park. Keane’s department has put together a team of consultants and is working on funding for a 12-month study on what the new ordinance should encompass. The team includes stakeholders from all points of view, including developers and advocates for tree protection. Work was done in 2014 to revise the tree ordinance, but it was scrapped after concerns that there was not enough public input and that the development community was not involved enough, Keane said. “It is hard to make change if it’s done


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without conversation,” he said. “It must be done with a public process that includes those who want the most conservation to developers on the other end of the spectrum.” David Zaparanick, the Arborist Division’s arboricultural manager, reiterated that statement, saying the new ordinance must be vetted by the public. Zaparanick said the ordinance definitely needs to be simplified so it is interpreted clearly by everyone, and Keane said that will be one of the requirements for the new ordinance. Besides issues about allowing enough discussion, Keane also believes the 2014 effort didn’t get to the core of issue of when and how to allow the removal of trees. The current ordinance basically allows people to pay a fee if they want to remove a tree, Keane said. “It creates a system where people, instead of designing around trees, write a check,” Keane said. The commissioner wants the next ordinance to emphasize and provide guidelines on designing around trees instead of removing them. The recompense fee paid by people cutting down trees goes to the Tree Trust Fund, which, among other purposes, funds the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission, a citizen board appointed by the mayor and City Council that hears appeals on administrative officials’ decisions related to trees. That commission upheld an appeal May 17 that the decision to allow a storm water drainpipe to be run through Peachtree Hills Park must be revisited. Atlanta City Council previously voted May 1 to pass an ordinance that will allow a developer, Ashton Woods, to run the pipe through the park and into Peachtree Creek, cutting down trees in the process. The proposal to cut down trees in a public park brought opposition from residents, including Laura Dobson, who made the appeal to the commission. Dobson’s appeal addressed three problems she had with the council decision: allowing the removal of street trees, the removal of boundary trees (on the border between the park and the construction site), and allowing the drainpipe to be installed in the park. The only part of her appeal upheld concerned the drainpipe, and the commission requested that the park arborist review the plan and make a recommendation on whether the pipe needs to run through Peachtree Hills Avenue or the park. When the ordinance was proposed, one of the main objections to the plan from residents who opposed it was that


MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Community | 11


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Some trees in Peachtree Hill Park are already marked for removal for the drainpipe project.

the developers didn’t do a study to determine how long it would take to run the pipe under the street, or if it was even possible. The developer’s attorney, Carl Westmoreland, said the city did look at that alternative, but it would close Peachtree Hills Avenue, an idea that was shot down so quickly no formal study was done, he said. “In the context of [the recent shutdown of] I-85, it didn’t seem to be a popular option,” he said. Dobson believes the commission upheld her appeal because they were trying to give power back to the arborist

and make a statement that the arborist needs to be included in decisions. “I think this was the tree commission trying to stand up for the tree canopy,” Dobson said. “I think they feel the arborist is not allowed to do that because their hands are tied.” The city did not respond to requests for comment on why the appeal was upheld. Westmoreland said the commission upheld the appeal on a decision that has already been decided by City Council. “They effectively approved the appeal on an issue that’s not in front of them,” Westmoreland said.

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12 | Community


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City orders halt to Airbnb mansion rental

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Three listings for the same 4205 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road property were posted on the rental site before two were removed on May 12.

Continued from page 1

The city did not provide comment on why this property was shut down, or whether the city will begin pursuing other Airbnb rentals. During the annual meeting of the North Buckhead Civic Association in March, president Gordon Certain said, District 7 Councilman Howard Shook fielded questions about the Airbnb property for 10 minutes. In an email, Shook said he supports the action taken. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on an open case, but I salute the city whenever it takes ac-

been no complaints, except from one person.” The letter orders McPherson to stop the use of the property within 10 days of the date of the letter and says failure to do so will result in a citation to appear in Atlanta Municipal Court. The house was still listed on the Airbnb site as of May 23. At first, it was listed under three different names, but two of those listings disappeared after Reporter Newspapers asked McPherson about them.

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Community | 13


tion against absentee property owners who illegally profit from the misery of neighbors,” Shook said. Complaints have come from four or five residents, said Certain. They began about a year ago with reports of loud parties, including a May 2016 concert that drew headlines after social media posts advertised the cover charges to get into the concert and a picture of one guest flashing a pistol, he said. “I was pleasantly surprised the city finally did something about it,” Certain said. “[Short-term rentals are] still a problem throughout Buckhead.” “There was one incident that was out of my control,” McPherson said of the 2016 party, adding that is the only incident that warranted a complaint. The property’s listing says the host bans parties at the house and warns guests that neighbors are concerned about noise. “There are families living in the neighborhood. We hope you understand that noise is a concern for them, especially after 11 p.m.,” the listing says. McPherson believes the complaints are coming from a sole neighbor, and said he is being targeted because of his race. The neighbor making the complaints was previously helpful and amiable toward him, McPherson said, but he believes that changed when she saw him in person and realized he is black. “My house is not the problem. My ethnicity is a problem,” he said. Until recently, there were three listings for McPherson’s property, showing identical photos, under different names. One was under the name “Lati”; another was under the name “Jon”; and a third was under the name “Luxury Homes.” McPherson said he didn’t have information about multiple listings of his property. However, minutes after Reporter Newspapers asked McPherson about the additional listings and the cease and desist letter, two properties were removed, leaving only “Jon’s” listing. An Airbnb spokesperson said companies are allowed to host properties on the service, and identification is not required. Airbnb said it has software to detect dangerous hosts, and will request government ID if needed. “We have a real-time risk detection system that uses machine learning and predictive analytics, instantly evaluating hundreds of risk signals to flag and then stop bad actors and scams before anything happens,” the spokesperson said. “If a host chooses to use a host management service, they will be held to the same standards and policies as other Airbnb community members.” The spokesperson did not respond to a question about posting the same property in different, simultaneous listings. According to the property’s Airbnb listing, home dates in May, June and July are unavailable.

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14 | Commentary

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Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

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Commentary/ Georgia Public Broadcasting deserves its federal funding Editor’s note: On May 23, President Trump released a fiscal year 2018 federal budget proposal that would slash Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding from $455 million to $30 million as a first step in eliminating it. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are proposed for similar cuts. CPB is a major funding source for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Reporter Newspapers asked GPB’s board chairperson, Jan Paul, to explain the impacts. There are a dizzying Bobby Jones” showcase just number of options at my some of the beauty, history fingertips when I hold the and people of our state. TV remote. Some channels Additionally, the AtI know instantly, based on lanta Press Club, Geormy viewing patterns, howgia Associated Press and ever my go-to favorite is the Radio Television Digione of our state’s greatest tal News Association have resources — Georgia Pubawarded GPB Radio for lic Broadcasting. its outstanding news covFor 14 years, I’ve served erage. GPB’s high-quality on its Board of Directors and journalists discuss importhis past year was named its tant local, state and nationchairperson. I’ve watched al issues on programs such GPB Television become the as “Political Rewind,” “On Jan Paul is chairperson country’s third-largest PBS Second Thought” and “Two of the Board of Direcstation based on population Way Street.” tors of the Georgia Pubreach, serving Georgia with While its broadcast oflic Telecommunications nine television stations, 18 ferings are first-rate, I’m Commission (Georgia radio stations and an innoparticularly proud of GPB’s Public Broadcasting) vative education and digital remarkable educational and has served on the division. initiatives, which separate board since 2003. She When many people it from other media outlets is also executive directhink of public media, they and create an invaluable tor of Leadership Sanfocus on “Downton Abasset for our state. dy Springs and the cobey” (I’m still a huge DowLast year, its education founder of iSquared ager Countess fan) or “All division delivered profesCommunications. Things Considered.” Of sional development to over course, GPB continues to 2,500 Georgia educators be PBS’s children’s learning-centered at no cost. GPB provides teachers with outlet for programming such as “Wordfree access to over 125,000 original conGirl.” But GPB is so much more — its tent, digital learning resources through Education and Digital Media Division partnerships with Discovery Education delivers cutting-edge digital education and PBS Learning Media. Each month, and provides much-needed teacher the education team distributes the “Edsupport throughout the state. ucation Matters” newsletter to over Each year, GPB garners dozens 45,000 educators and a blog that averof nominations and awards from the ages 8,000 views per month. Southeast Chapter of the National Further, GPB took the creative leap Academy of Television Arts and Sciencto create the first truly digital textbook es — the Emmys. In 2012 and 2015, it in Georgia, the “Georgia Studies Digital won the Overall Excellence Award. Textbook” for eighth-grade history stuWhat does GPB do to receive such dents, which has now been accessed by recognitions? It delivers more than over 3,400 educators. GPB received a 35,000 hours of non-commercial, qualgrant to create the textbook, which inity PBS and locally produced programcludes 30 virtual field trips that bring ming to 98 percent of Georgia and locations to life; interviews; 360-degree portions of Florida, Alabama, Tennesphotography; and interactive elements see, North Carolina and South Caroli— all accessible at no cost on all-digina. GPB’s original series “Georgia Outtal platforms. The digital platform not doors” and documentaries such as only benefits students and teachers; “Georgia Greats: The Long Shadow of it saves taxpayers dollars on the pub-

Jan Paul

lished textbooks. It doesn’t stop there. The GPB education team created “Chemistry Matters,” a downloadable, fully comprehensive video course for high school chemistry, emphasizing the STEM curriculum. Currently, GPB is filming a complete, interactive physics series, designed by educators and filmed in classrooms across the state. These STEM resources are valuable learning tools for all Georgia’s high school students and absolutely crucial to school systems that lack advanced science teachers. Enhancing its academic endeavors, GPB is the destination for everything high school football. Last year, GPB Sports’ two days of live coverage of the 2016 GHSA Football Championships helped rank it as the highest-rated PBS station in the nation on Dec. 9 and 10. GPB’s live stream captured Georgia high school football fans around the globe, including Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Israel, Russia, Bahrain, Japan and the United Kingdom, literally bringing Georgia high school football to the world. Parents and students followed game scores all season with the GPB Sports football app that, to date, has over 62,000 downloads. Besides providing media content access anywhere, anytime for mobile phones, tablets and televisions, GPB tackles important issues challenging our communities. From documentaries on diversity and inclusion to community partnerships on autism awareness, GPB is an educational lifeline to millions of Georgia students, teachers and residents. GPB is a fundamental and successful example of public-private partnership. Support from individuals and the community, paired with federal and state funds, power all our tremendous accomplishments. With federal funding in question, now is the time for all who benefit from this valuable Georgia resource to voice our support. For more information, visit gpb.org/cpb-funding.

© 2017 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. BH

MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Community | 15


BCID funds Ga. 400 interchange study Continued from page 1 not been released to the public yet. The plan should be released within the next few weeks, said Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, which is spearheading the master plan. The BCID committed to $80,000 to fund studies on new Ga. 400 interchanges at East Paces Ferry and Lenox Road. David Allman, the board chairman, asked what brought about the need for this study, and Starling explained it was an idea conceived during master plan discussions. A desire to reclaim Lenox Road as a local street and improve walkability was expressed during master plan meetings, Starling said. The board didn’t specify what will be studied, but previous ideas have included rebuilding the existing Lenox Road interchange as a “diverging diamond.” Another $80,000 was committed to fund studies on adding lanes and improving pedestrian safety in the Piedmont Road corridor, which also came from the master plan. The previous study on this corridor is outdated and another needs to be done, Jim Durrett, executive director of the BCID, said. The BCID approved $3.5 million in funds for the fourth phase of improvements on Peachtree Road, which may be matched with $10.4 million of federal funds. The Peachtree Road project aims to improve pedestrian safety and traffic congestion by adding left turn lanes, bike lanes, traffic signaling and streetscaping. The board committed $2.5 million to the Lenox Road Complete Streets project, which may be matched by $2.15 million in federal funds. The BCID will pay for design, engineering, utilities and 20 percent of construction costs, which is about half the cost of the project, Durrett said. Federal

funds are planned to pick up the other 80 percent of construction, he said. The project includes pedestrian, bicycle and roadway improvements along Lenox Road. Three board members’ four-year terms had expired and were up for election. Thad Ellis, who represents Cousins Properties, and Matt Rendle, who represents Selig Enterprises, were unanimously re-elected. John Lundeen, a longtime board member and vice chairman, resigned his post. Jim Bacchetta was unanimously elected to the position. Bacchetta is the Atlanta vice president for Highwoods Properties, which owns the Alliance Centers and Monarch Tower, among others. Bacchetta has been working in Buckhead for five years and said he is looking forward to advancing the BCID’s agenda and addressing Buckhead’s problems, especially traffic. He will be an active board member and will try to improve the Buckhead experience, he said. Lundeen, who resigned after 18 years of service on the board, represented Coro Realty and was one of two board members who have been on the board since the BCID was created. The other original member is Chairman David Allman, who represents Regent Partners. “I’d like to say what a delight it’s been to work with you. You’ve been a loyal member,” Lynn Rainey, the board’s attorney, said to Lundeen. Lundeen said he has enjoyed his time on the board, but that sometimes changes are needed. “I haven’t always agreed with everything we did, but I have tried to support the objectives,” he said. All representatives of properties that pay taxes into the BCID are eligible to vote on board members.


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16 | Out & About

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A community ride for all ages and abilities kicks off at Dunwoody’s Village Burger on first Sundays monthly through November. Helmets are required and bikes with gears are recommended to handle hills on a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. Riders age 10 and younger must be with an adult. Rides cancelled in inclement weather. 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.

Monday, May 29, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.









Saturdays, June 3, June 17, July 1 and July 15, 7 p.m.

The funk band Dyn-o-mite is up next in this concert series presented by the city


Fridays, June 2, June 16 and June 30, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 3, noon to 3 p.m.

“Kalimba Man” Kevin Spears presents a free concert and workshop on making a kalimba, an African musical instrument, at North Springs United Methodist Church. The concert and Afro-Caribbean food are scheduled from noon to 1 p.m., followed by the workshop. Kalimba-making kits will be available for a $40 donation, with all proceeds going to the music program at North Springs UMC. Open to all ages. 7770 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Register: www.makingafricaninstruments.org.

The city of Brookhaven celebrates the opening of pool season with a pool party at Murphey Candler Park featuring a giant slide, music and food. 1551 W. Nancy Creek Drive, Brookhaven. Regular pool fees apply. Info: brookhavenga.gov.

Sunday, June 4, 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.

of Dunwoody. Picnicking begins at 6 p.m. Craft beers available for purchase. Free to nature center members. Non-members: $5 adults, $3 students, free to children 3 and younger. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS Sunday, June 11, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Heritage Sandy Springs’ summer outdoor concert series continues with the party hits band GLOW. Gates open at 5 p.m. Picnics welcome. Food, beer and wine available. Free. Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org or 404-851-9111, ext. 1.

Celebrate Shabbat at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s pool and splash park. Open swim and activities begin at 5 p.m. followed by Shabbat songs and blessings at 6 p.m. Free and open to the community. Bring your own food and purchase drinks at the snack bar. MJCCA-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: 678-812-4161 or rabbi. glusman@atlantajcc.org.

COMMUNITY YOGA IN THE PARK Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The Dunwoody Nature Center offers a Sweet Flow yoga class, which incorporates standing poses, seated poses, twists and back bends for all levels. Free. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free dance lesson at 7 p.m.

Zydeco dance with Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters in an event sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. Tickets: $18; $5 students; $14 active military. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun/Creole food for sale. Dorothy Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Out & About | 17



Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m.; parade begins at 9 p.m.

March to the Chattahoochee River with colorful lanterns or watch others march in Sandy Springs’ second annual “Take it to the River” Lantern Parade. To be part of the parade, arrive at the Steel Canyon Golf Club before 9 p.m. The parade route follows Morgan Falls Road to Morgan Falls Overlook Park, where paddlers will take to the river with floating lanterns. Live performances. Snacks for sale. Parade start: 460 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs. Lantern-making workshops, parking and other info: visitsandysprings.org/lanternparade.


Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, noon to 5 p.m.

Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: 770-992-2055, ext. 236 or chattnaturecenter.org.


Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. to noon.

Heritage Sandy Springs presents a free family gardening series in partnership with the North Fulton Master Gardeners and with UGA Extension in Fulton County. On June 10, participants will plant spring vegetables in unusual containers such as ice cream cones, which can be planted in the ground. Best suited for ages 6 to 10, with accompanying adult. Free. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.


Journalist Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor and host of “The Situation Room” and “Wolf,” will speak on news from Washington and around the world in Ahavath Achim Synagogue’s Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Annual Lecture. Free. 600 Peachtree Battle Ave. N.W., Buckhead. Info: aasynagogue.org or 404-355-5222.

Live butterfly releases and encounters, a butterfly costume parade, plant sale, entertainment and food trucks are in store at the 18th annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Admission: $12; $8 CNC members; free for SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT children 2 and younger. 9135 calendar@ReporterNewspapers.net


JUNE 13-18

FoxTheatre.org/MammaMia 855-285-8499

fran eizenstat & Eizenstat family annual lecture feat�ring Wolf Blitzer

JUNE 11 | 7:00 pm Ahavath achim synagogue 600 Peachtree Battle Ave NW Atlanta, GA 30327 Ahavath Achim’s Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Annual Lecture Presents: Wolf Blitzer, award-winning American journalist, CNN’s lead political anchor, and the anchor of The Situation Room and Wolf, where he focuses on the most important news from Washington and around the world. We invite you to join us for this FREE and exciting event. Questions? Contact acohen@aasynagogue.org or 404.603.5754.

18 | Education

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2017 Valedictorians & Salutatorians H

igh school graduation season has returned this month. Proud parents, brothers and sisters and other family members are packing auditoriums and stadiums across Reporter Newspapers communities to clap and cheer as local schools confer hard-earned diplomas and special honors on hundreds of new graduates.


Niall Gamble Salutatorian

Helen Audrey Williams Valedictorian

During many graduation ceremonies, a few students are singled out to be honored for achieving the highest academic standing among their classmates. They are the valedictorians and salutatorians for their schools. Here is a gallery of photographs of the valedictorians and salutatorians for the Class of 2017 at high schools in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. The schools or students provided their names and photographs. Hannah Branch Salutatorian CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL


Margaret Anne Meagher Valedictorian

Shunyang “Parker” Liu Salutatorian


Yusuf Azizi Valedictorian

Manav Mathews Valedictorian

Michelle Tran Valedictorian


Emani Brinson Salutatorian

Laura Spratling Valedictorian

Sean Hackett Valedictorian

Michael Brockton Abbott Salutatorian


Matthew Desoutter Salutatorian


Zain Bashey Valedictorian

Krishna Chai Pucha Salutatorian

James Packman Valedictorian

Josh Eiland Salutatorian


Clarisa Colton Salutatorian

Natalie Casal Valedictorian

John Arnold Salutatorian

Education | 19

MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Christina Shin Valedictorian


Jack Dinges Salutatorian

Steven Butz Valedictorian


Sterling Spiegl Valedictorian


Stockton De Laria Salutatorian

Anna Rappaport Valedictorian


Katie Horn Valedictorian

AJ Whitney Salutatorian

Jacob Cohen Salutatorian


Linsey Cohen Salutatorian

Emily Pearson Valedictorian

Jacob Ressler-Craig Salutatorian

Mia Whitney Salutatorian PACE ACADEMY

Christopher Howard Valedictorian

Will Movsovitz Salutatorian


Rivka “Becky” Arbiv Valedictorian

Rebecca Simonoff Salutatorian







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20 | Community

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We call her Speedracer!

Local commuters say I-85 collapse led them to ride MARTA BY EVELYN ANDREWS

ter station and rides MARTA to Dunwoody. “I didn’t have a lot of motivation to use MARTA before the collapse,” Miller said. “I The March 30 overpass collapse that didn’t have the spark I needed to change closed a portion of I-85 for six weeks my way of thinking.” sent many commuters flocking to pubTony Wilkey, who commutes from Atlic transit. Local MARTA stations reportlanta’s Grant Park to Sandy Springs’ Meded big ridership boosts, and some local ical Center MARTA station, said he will commuters say they will keep using pubstick with MARTA and his bike as long as lic transit now that the highway has rethe weather and his schedule allows. opened. Others will go back to the roads. “I’m saving a significant amount of The Atlanta Regionmoney and time on al Commission, a planmy commute to Sanning agency that studies dy Springs, and I’m transportation, reportgetting in shape,” ed the average weekday Wilkey said. “The ridership for MARTA I’m saving a significant bridge collapse ended stations from March 31 amount of money and up being great for me, to April 29 was, in most time on my commute to just not on the days I cases, much higher than Sandy Springs, and I’m tried to drive in it.” average ridership the But MARTA is not week before the bridge getting in shape. The the solution for evcollapse. The report was bridge collapse ended ery rider. Samuel made on the ARC’s re- up being great for me, Withers, who comgional data blog at 33n. mutes from Buckjust not on the days I atlantaregional.com. head to Dunwoody, All local MARTA sta- tried to drive in it. said it took longer tions showed ridership to ride MARTA from TONY WILKEY increases, the report says. COMMUTER FROM GRANT PARK the Lindbergh Center The Brookhaven/ than it does to drive. Oglethorpe Station saw the greatest inWithers said he returned to driving when crease at 66 percent. Dunwoody Station I-85 reopened. was up by 26 percent. In Sandy Springs, “If there was a station closer to my Sandy Springs Station, Medical Center and house and I didn’t have to drive to the staNorth Springs were up by 43 percent, 30 tion, I would consider it,” Withers said. percent and 18 percent. In Buckhead, BuckJessica Carter, who took MARTA before head Station, Lenox and Lindbergh Center I-85 collapse, is looking forward to her comhad increases of 30, 24 and 6 percent. mute returning to normal. New riders are Some commuters, who were intergood for the service, but they also became viewed after responding to Twitter and Redagitated with delays and made her comdit posts, said the collapse helped them learn mute stressful, said Carter, who commutes that using MARTA to commute to work is from Cascade Heights to Sandy Springs. easier for them, but some said they returned “Before the collapse, it was a quiet ride to driving on I-85 once the bridge reopened. with familiar faces,” she said. “I saw at least Mark Miller commutes from Midtown four altercations between newcomers since to Dunwoody and said he had never considthe collapse over silly things like bumping ered using MARTA to get to work before the into each other, or complaining too loud bridge collapse, but found it to be less stressabout reasons they were late. I am looking ful than driving for nearly the same cost and forward to keeping the appreciative people travel time. Miller now bikes to the Arts Centhat enjoy the stress-free commute.” evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Classifieds | 21


Reporter Classifieds HELP WANTED Retail Sales Associate – Seeking Enthusiastic Retail Sales Associate for Lenox Square Cart, Stainless Steel Jewelry. Part-Time Position 20-26 hrs. per week. Pays $8.00 hr. plus commission. Send resume to clgomez@ onuvogue.com. Business Development / Membership Sales – The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber is expanding its Business Development Group and is seeking an individual interested in

being part of our growth. This individual will be somewhat knowledgeable of the Sandy Springs and Perimeter Business Market and likes meeting new people. You will call on new and existing companies in the area to explain the benefits of their company partnering with the Chamber. Good presentation and communication skills are essential. This is a base salary/commission position. Interested individuals should send their resumes to tom@sandysprings.org.

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110 SERVICES AVAILABLE


Matthew’s Handy Services – Small jobs and chores are my specialties. Shelves, organizers, carpentry, drywall, painting, and plumbing. Member of BBB – 404-547-2079 Email: mwarren8328@gmail.com.

Arlington Memorial Park (Sandy Springs) - Beautiful, Pine crest section, Plots 11B, spaces 3 & 4. Arlington staff will be happy to show plots. Call 913-714-2499.

Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property. Call Charles, 404-229-0490.

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22 | Public Safety

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Police Blotter / Buckhead

Comprehensive Women’s Health

The following information, involves events that took place in Buckhead between May 1 and May 13 and was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.

AG G R AVAT E D A S S AU LT 100 block of Irby Ave-

Lynley S. Durrett, M.D. Obiamaka Mora, M.D. State of the art Pelvic & Bladder Surgeries Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy daVinci Robotic Surgery Bio Identical Hormone Therapy Services offered:

nue — May 1

Right for you?

3200 block of Lenox Road — May 10 2300 block of Parkland Drive — May

10 2300 block of Park-

land Drive — May 12

block of Huff Road — May 7

1300 block of Northside Drive — May 13



2500 block of Pied-

mont Road — May 10 2900 block of Devonshire

Place — May 11

1900 block of Piedmont Circle — May


B U R G L A RY 1900 block of La Dawn Lane — May 1 300 block of Pine Tree Drive — May 2

700 block of Morosgo Drive — May 3


2500 block of Piedmont Road — May 7

2300 block of Parkland Drive — May 13

Fulton May 6

2300 block of Parkland Drive — May 3

Jessica Guilfoil Killeen, WHNP-BC

200 block of Pharr Road — May 7

2900 block of N.

500 block of Main Street — May 11

» Incontinence Testing & Treatment » Abnormal Bleeding Treatment » Annual Exams & Contraception » Nutrient Deficiency Screening & Counseling » Saliva Testing & Pellet Hormone Therapy » Plus Aesthetic Services

300 block of Cochran Drive – May 5

1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — May

R O B B E RY 2200 block of Lenox Road — May 2 2400 block of Morosgo Way — May 13 1100 block of Huff Road — May 13

LARCENY Between May 1 and May 6, there were

42 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 24 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting. Between May 7 and May 13, there were 47 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 30 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.



There were 14 reported incidents of

600 block of Allen Court — May 4

auto theft between May 1 and May 6 and seven between May 7 and May 13.

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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017

Community | 23


Mansion construction halted amid trees dispute order was placed by an arborist inspector at the request of David Zaparanick, the city arborist, “in order to re-review the arborist plans at City Hall.” Councilmember Mary Norwood submitted a request to the arborist to inspect tree removal on March 14, but the arborist ruled the developers were in compliance with the tree ordinance at that time. Norwood’s office did not return an interview request in time for this article.

Brody Dernehl, a partner at the Dernehl Company, which is building the house, said he doesn’t know why the stop-work order was issued because the company received permits, paid recompense fees and had the city post signs. He said they are working with the city to determine why they are accused of violating the tree ordinance. “We are doing everything legally,” Dernehl said.


A mansion being built on Woodhaven Road in Tuxedo Park was issued a stop work order from the city on May 16 for violating the tree ordinance.

The construction of a Tuxedo Park mansion at 3540 Woodhaven Road has drawn opposition from neighbors for its planned size, removal of trees and the height of a retaining wall. The city arborist stopped construction at the site on May 16. Several complaints, requests for further inspection and open records requests have been made by residents in reference to the property. Joe Bateman, a neighbor, filed an open records request with the city for the site’s building plans and was surprised at the size of the house and retaining wall. “I will acknowledge that this makes me a hypocrite,” Joe Bateman said. “I built a big house with a retaining wall, but this is beyond what anyone could imagine.” The owner, Christian Fletcher, declined to comment. Fletcher bought the property and tore down an old house that sat on the site, which wasn’t a problem to the neighbors, Bateman said. Problems started a week later, when most of the trees were removed from the 4.5-acre tract. “We wondered why they would need to mow down 4 acres for a house, and when I saw the size of the house, I realized why,” Bateman said. Records show the developers destroyed 203 trees, replaced 68 and paid $96,360 in fees. Mercy Sandber-Wright, a board member and former president of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association, acknowledged houses in Tuxedo Park are large, but said this house will be so BH

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much larger than others it will look out of place. The removal of trees caused rainwater to flood the rear neighbor’s yard after a storm, Bateman said. The owner “has little to no regard for anyone around him,” Bateman said. Bateman said he doesn’t have any information on why the stop-work order was issued, but he appreciates that someone at the city is looking into the situation. “All I know is that it was the arborist and I wish I could shake his hand,” Bateman said. Wright said she never saw signs posted, which would be in violation of the tree ordinance. A sign must be posted for 10 days notifying a plan has been submitted to destroy trees. Once the permit is given preliminary approval, a second sign must be posted for five days so residents are aware of the plan and can submit an appeal if they think the plan would be in violation of the ordinance. The developer has said signs were posted and proper permits were approved by the city. “The clear-cutting came as a total shock,” Wright said. The development is a part of ongoing tree loss in her neighborhood, Wright said, and it will change the whole neighborhood. “Our area is known for its tree canopy, and little by little it is diminishing,” Wright said. The arborist issued a stop work order, but the reason is not clear and the city has not answered questions about the property. The notice requires developers to stop all construction, tree removal and stump grinding. A city document says the stop work



Free Admission Saturday, June 17th 11:00am–4:00pm Sunday, June 18th 12:00–4:00pm This two-day family program focuses on the appreciation and commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Explore themes of freedom and family through activities and immersive museum theatre performances.

24 |

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Bring the family and don’t miss the 2nd Annual Lantern Parade on

June 10, 2017!

Everyone is invited to make a lantern and parade to the river! Bring your family, friends, and neighbors for a magical stroll to Morgan Falls Overlook Park.

No Lantern? Take A Workshop!

Workshop Schedule Saturday, June 3rd

Globe Lanterns – 10:00am & Lantern Hats – 2:30pm

Sunday, June 4th

Fish Lanterns - 2:30pm

Tuesday, June 6th

Illuminated Parasols – 6:30pm

Learn more at www.visitsandysprings.org/lanternparade/ BH

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