October 2020 - Dunwoody Reporter

Page 1


OCTOBER 2020 • VOL. 11 — NO. 10

Dunwoody Reporter AROUND TOWN

Oglethorpe professor brings ghosts to life



Confusing code and unhappy neighbor means $1,500 fine for RV in driveway



Presidential campaigns appeal to suburban fears P16



A pastor’s quest for racial reconciliation P18

Resident Fred Wintrich poses for a photo with his RV at the storage facility where it is now parked.

On racial dialogue, Dunwoody takes different course from other cities BY ERIN SCHILLING


The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net


A mostly White audience attended the city’s first step in a racial dialogue on Oct. 1, four months after the mayor suggested it. Police Chief Billy Grogan gave a presentation of police procedures and policies and took questions, but the event was not advertised as a conversation on race, and it was up to residents to bring up any problems of structur-


al racism. Grogan said he saw no problems of structural racism in the Dunwoody Police Department, which city officials have echoed about the city as a whole — though they said they’re willing to listen to other viewpoints. Experts have suggested that Dunwoody’s 2008 incorporation, like that of other metro Atlanta suburbs, was rooted in racial segregation, which


See ON on page 20


When Fred Wintrich and his family moved into their home on Seaton Drive last year, they brought along their RV and parked it in the driveway for their monthly camping trips. But after a complaint from an unhappy neighbor and $1,500 in fines, Wintrich learned that was illegal under an obscure city code he considered unnecessary. Wintrich’s punishment could have been worse — city code violations can result in up to a $1,000 fine per citation or up to six months in jail. “A disabled veteran with not so much as a parking ticket in the state of Georgia for the last 15 years gets sent to jail?” Wintrich See CONFUSING on page 30



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2 | Community

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When this is done, it’s going to be a much more walkable, urban-style development, even though it is a grocery store with a lot of parking.

The Dunwoody Development Authority granted a tax break worth up to $2.9 million to a retail development that has drawn some criticism from residents after developers drained a stormwater management pond on the property popular with geese and other wildlife. The development authority approved the tax abatement, which runs for 10 years, for Branch Properties’ Perimeter Marketplace in the form of a bond resolution during its Sept. 17 meeting. That bond must be validated by the DeKalb County Superior Court before it becomes official, which will most likely take place in midOctober, city Economic Development Director Michael Starling said. Perimeter Marketplace is under conMICHAEL STARLING struction at the corner of Meadow Lane ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT and Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The 10-acre DIRECTOR property once had a stormwater management pond and restaurants and is planned to have a grocery store with restaurant and retail space. Starling said the development authority usually gives tax breaks to office and commercial developments that create more jobs, but the Perimeter Marketplace project also has public use benefits that led to the approval.

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“There was certainly a lot more debate, which is always good to see,” Starling said. “This is really a public policy decision they are making on behalf of the community.” The Center for Economic Research and Development at Georgia Tech conducted a fiscal impact analysis on the project, which Starling said is part of the development authority’s tax abatement process. Branch would spend about $4.5 million in public infrastructure as part of Perimeter Marketplace, including a road connection from Meadow Lane to Ashwood Parkway and construction of a portion of the long-planned Ashford-Dunwoody commuter trail, Starling said. The trail for cyclists and pedestrians is intended to connect Dunwoody MARTA riders to their jobs in Perimeter Center. It was approved as part of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts’ trail system master plan in 2014. “When this is done, it’s going to be a much more walkable, urban-style development, even though it is a grocery store with a lot of parking,” Starling said. “There’s going to be restaurants along the exterior side, so you’re not really going to see all that parking.” The project is expected to create 370 jobs with average annual wages of nearly $36,000, according to the report. The study also says the project would create 68 new households in DeKalb County, including 12 in the city. The tax break is based on the amount the property is worth, which is estimated to be $45 million, Starling said. Branch will start the first year with a higher tax break, which would decrease over the 10-year period. Some residents balked at the project after a stormwater management pond on the site was drained in August in favor of the planned parking lot. They said the pond was a natural oasis in the heart of an area without much green space left. Starling said the development authority discussed the pond as an asset to the area’s environment but ultimately looked at it as stormwater infrastructure. “They felt confident that what was being replaced was actually going to be a better alternative because they are putting the stormwater infrastructure underground now,” Starling said. Construction on the project started after the development authority approved an inducement resolution, which is the first step of the tax abatement process that states the authority is willing to work with the developer on an agreement. The bond resolution is the final step before it goes to the court.

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Celebrating Arts and Culture Month Take a tour of Dunwoody’s Painted Picnic Tables —a project of the City of Dunwoody’s Economic Development Department



The City of Dunwoody app

A one-page map lists the table locations and artists and is available via dunwoodyga.gov/picnictable Use it to check off each table as you tour. Come hungry and enjoy lunch or dinner along the way!

(available via App Store or Google Play store) has a new interactive list of

Dunwoody’s new picnic tables! Use it to find and tour the tables painted by groups and nonprofits all across the city! DUN


Oct. 9


We’re printing a limited number of t-shirts to celebrate Dunwoody’s Picnic Table Project. Get yours by snapping and posting a photo with one of the picnic tables. Details coming soon via dunwoodyga.gov/picnictable

4 | Community

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Planning Commission recommends approval of Roberts Drive project BY ERIN SCHILLING erinschilling@reporternewspapers.net

A proposed housing development across from the new Austin Elementary School now has a recommendation for approval from the city Planning Commission, though residents continue to have concerns about its density and location. Developer Peachland Housing Group requested rezoning 3.3 acres on Roberts Drive, which includes the historic Swancy Farmhouse, to allow more houses to accommodate the project. The developer intends it to be an “empty nester” community to help the city have better living options for senior residents, but there are no actual age restrictions for the homeowners and the Planning Commission recommends it should stay that way. “We obviously want more aging in place,” said Robert Wittenstein, a past Dunwoody Homeowners Association president, to the commission. “But across the street from an elementary school is the wrong place for this housing.” The development would transform the three parcels with three single-family homes, 5318, 5328 and 5308 Roberts Drive, into a 15-home community intended for — but not restricted to — senior residents. Some residents said the development will cause problems with stormwater management and take away a forested buffer zone that separates it from the surrounding neighborhoods. In a 6-1 vote during its Sept. 15 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the development with conditions. They include: the developer should run a stormwater drain under a street in the development and dedicate it to the city; the developer should provide landscaping along the north border of the property; all landscaping should be done before construction starts; and the project cannot be age-restricted. Robert Miller, a partner on the project who is also a board member of the city Development Authority, said the development will only move forward if the City Council approves the rezoning request and requests for three variances, which are not able to be done at the same time, per city code. According to the rezoning application, the developers are requesting an increase in the maximum building lot coverage from 40% to 85%; a decrease in the rear setback for

two interior houses from 30 feet to 20 feet; and a decrease in a side setback from 7.5 feet to 5 feet. Residents worried the increase in impervious surfaces on that property will cause stormwater runoff problems. Miller said the development is less dense than a previous proposal two years ago, which was also a pitch for a senior resident community. Miller said developers came to an agreement with the Fairfield Homeowners Association to relocate a stormwater drain inside the development under a street instead of on the property line to save trees. The Fairfield HOA stormwater drain will connect with the new development’s line and both go into an underground retention pond, Miller said. Miller said an 8-foot-tall fence along with evergreen trees will be planted as a screening area between the proposed neighborhood and the existing ones. He said developers are trying to preserve trees on the property line but won’t know how many can be saved until they can do a tree study. That fence and landscaping is intended to go up before construction on the development to mitigate noise and disturbance to neighbors, Miller said. “What we’re hoping to do is go over and above what the code requires because it’s good for all of us,” said Miller about the stormwater and landscaping plans. “It’s good for me and good for the neighbors.” Planning Commission members were also confused about the “empty nester” aim of the development, echoing some residents’ thoughts that the property is prime real estate for families with young children since it’s across from Austin Elementary School. Miller said the layout of the houses and the neighborhood would appeal more to an older crowd but do not actually restrict the age of the homeowners. The houses will be one-and-a-half stories and aim for “one-floor living,” meaning master bedrooms would be on the first floor. There will also be a homeowners association with no big yards, playgrounds or other kid-friendly neighborhood amenities. “Dunwoody has great housing,” Miller said. “We don’t need any more big, single-family homes. We need more diversity in our homes.” Commissioner Erika Harris, the sole vote against the development, said she had concerns about the variances and didn’t think the developers had worked out all the neighbors’ concerns.


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Art & Entertainment | 5


‘Everything Will Be OK’ mural to find new home at Brook Run Park BY ERIN SCHILLING

lation each year, according to the


press release.

The city’s iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural will soon find a new home at Brook Run Park. The mural by artist Jason Kofke has had a 10-year stint on the side of the Spruill Gallery smokehouse building at 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road but will now be replaced by rotating, outdoor art installations. Kofke said he is excited for that location to become a place for more dynamic art experiments. The mural will be in the park within the next few months, according to a Spruill Center for the Arts press release. It will be off the North Peachtree Road entrance near the playground area and face the lawn where the farmer’s market is held, said Alan Mothner, the arts center’s CEO. The Spruill Center for the Arts will have an annual, outdoor art competition that will display pieces from a different local, state or national artist each year on the smokehouse building. The pieces will be unveiled each October during Dunwoody’s Art and Culture month. “We want to give the next generation of artists a platform to share their work,” Kofke said in an email. Dunwoody resident Christopher Michaels won the inaugural award and will create a design that is set to be unveiled on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in that location, according to a press release. “My mural design is inspired by C

hope, determination and triumph over M

adversity, and I am thrilled to have an Y

opportunity to share that same positivCM

ity with the people of Dunwoody with MY

my art,” Michaels said in the press release.



Michaels will receive a $5,000 grant K

for the project and up to $1,000 for supplies, Mothner said. The winner will also become the Dunwoody Artist in Residence for a week, according to the press release. Through a partnership with the Residence Inn by Marriott, the arts center will provide the artist with a welcome package featuring free meals and drinks from local restaurants. People will be able to purchase a limited-edition print of the new art instalDUN

“I hope the new artwork becomes something the city really looks forward to each year,” Mothner told the Reporter. Kofke said he’s “humbled” that his mural has resonated so deeply with residents, and he hopes its new home will make it the motto of the city. Many residents already consider it the city’s unofficial slogan. When Kofke put up the mural, which has turned into an ongoing street art project that explores how people deal with catastrophic events, he said he only expected it to be up for a few months. “I am moved that this project evolved to hold meaning in the neighborhoods



Kofke said. “The most gracious thing I think I can do to honor this project is to let it change.” SpringsDerma-PressAd-OctoberIssue.pdf


The iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural is currently at the Spruill Gallery smokehouse building at 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. (Special) 9/28/20 10:27 AM


6 | Art & Entertainment

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Book Festival of the MJCCA goes virtual for 29th year BY ERIN SCHILLING erinschilling@reporternewspapers.net

The Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, known for bringing bestselling authors into Dunwoody, is going virtual for its 2020 program. Now in its 29th year, the lineup includes Steve Madden (Oct. 15), John Grisham (Nov. 11), Michael J. Fox (Nov. 19), Rachel Bloom (Nov. 21) and Melissa Clark (Nov. 22). Author discussions are set for Sept. 30 to Dec. 2 and will be hosted on Zoom. People can purchase a ticket for most events for $144, which does not include books or programs where books are required to see the livestream. Those events not included are Yotam Ottolenghi (Oct. 16), Harlan Coben (Oct. 25), Rachel Bloom (Nov. 21) and Ina Garten (Dec. 2). Tickets for those events can be purchased separately. Tickets are available at atlantajcc.org/bookfestival and range from free to $72. Some of the tickets come with the speakers’ books from A Cappella Books in Decatur. The free event is with local authors Harry Stern and Sandra Berman on Nov. 17. MJCCA is partnering with the National Jewish Community Centers Literary Consortium so other JCCs in the country can participate in the author events to help those centers that are impacted by revenue cuts due to the pandemic. “The obstacles that have been borne of this global pandemic have challenged us to identify new ways of doing business and have brought people together in ways none of us could have imagined six months ago,” MJCCA CEO Jared Powers said in a press release. Pam Morton, director of the book festival, said each JCC will have a tracking url so those centers will receive the ticket and book sale revenues that come from their community.

A place to belong


Schedule of events: ■ Oct. 13

Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos

■ Oct. 15

Steve Madden

■ Oct. 16

Yotam Ottolenghi

■ Oct. 19

Jonathan Safran Foer

■ Oct. 22

Judy Gold

■ Oct. 25

Harlan Coben ►

■ Oct. 27

Nancy Grace

■ Oct. 29

Mike Leven

■ Nov. 8

Natan Sharansky, Gil Troy and Joan Lunden

■ Nov. 9

Esther Safran Foer

■ Nov. 10

Rachel Beanland, Kristin Harmel, Dale Berra

■ Nov. 11

John Grisham, Cameron Douglas

■ Nov. 12

Jim McCloskey and Philip Lerman

■ Nov. 14

Lawrence Wright

■ Nov. 15

Raffi Berg

■ Nov. 16

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Voters Guide to Nov. 3 ballot questions BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Voters will face several ballot questions on Nov. 3, including constitutional amendments and statewide and local referendums. Their wording can be confusing. The following is a guide to what they mean in plainer English.

State Constitutional Amendments

Amendment 1: Dedicating fees and taxes to intended purpose This amendment aims to halt the state’s frequent practice of taking fees or taxes that are imposed for specialty funds and instead spending them elsewhere. The example that drove this proposal was fees charged to purchasers of tires and to governments for solid-waste disposal. Those fees were intended to pay for cleanup of dumps and landfills, but frequently are diverted to other spending. A “yes” vote would require such money to go to its intended purpose in most cases and barring an emergency. Amendment 2: Ability to sue government This amendment would allow people to sue state or local governments over the legality of their laws. It is a reaction to a controversial 2017 Supreme Court of

Georgia decision that “sovereign immunity” bars such lawsuits without the state’s consent; that case addressed a lawsuit filed by doctors against an abortion law. A “yes” vote would waive sovereign immunity in cases alleging a government official acted “outside the scope of lawful authority” or in violation of state laws or the Georgia or U.S. constitutions. A court could make a ruling, but damages or fees could only be charged in such a case with the General Assembly’s approval.

State Referendum

Tax exemption for real estate owned by charities A “yes” on this question would create a property tax exemption for vacant lots owned by registered nonprofit organizations “whose mission is solely to build and finance affordable homes at 0% interest loans,” said Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville), lead sponsor of the legislation that is putting this question to the voters. It is specifically intended to help Habitat for Humanity, which had many vacant lots donated to it in the last recession. “This will help further the mission of organizations like Habitat for Humanity and others by allowing them to direct the dollars saved from ad valorem tax to constructing affordable housing,” says Gambill. Once the housing is built and given to

a homeowner, the property would go back on the tax rolls.

DeKalb County referendum

Board of Ethics reform A “yes” vote on this question would reform the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, which has been inactive since the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2018 ruled that its current board member appointment method is unconstitutional. The question is confusing because it talks about revising the board without explaining how. The current board was appointed by various officials and agencies, including such private groups as universities and the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. The majority involvement of private organizations is what the Supreme Court ruled unlawful. If successful, the question on the ballot would dissolve the board as of Dec. 31 and appoint a new one, with three members chosen by the county delegation in the state House of Representatives, three by the county delegation in the state Senate, and one by the county tax commission. Two alternates would be appointed by the clerk of the county Superior Court. The Board of Ethics is intended to independently review claims of improper conduct by public officials. This is the third reform to appear as a ballot question in five years amid concerns the board was not independent. In 2015, voters ap-

proved the current board that turned out to be unlawful. Last year, voters rejected another reform proposal amid concerns it again gave the county CEO and Board of Commissioners too much influence. The DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council, a group that advocates for the Board of Ethics reform, opposed last year’s ballot question but is supporting the one on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Brookhaven special referendum

Removal of mayoral term limit Only voters in the city of Brookhaven will see this question, which would remove the current term limit for the mayor. Under the existing city charter, mayors are limited to two consecutive four-year terms. If that limit is removed, the change would apply to incumbent John Ernst, who this year began his second term in office and would be free to run again. The city government drew controversy with an attempt last year to remove the term limit solely by state legislation. Some state legislators balked and required that the issue go before voters. The question does not affect other restrictions on who is eligible to run for mayor, including residency and voter registration requirements.

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? THE LAST 12 MONTHS HAVE BEEN FULL OF TURMOIL IN THE ECONOMY AND MARKETS. IS TODAY UNUSUAL COMPARED TO OTHER MARKETS L&W HAS OBSERVED IN OUR NEARLY 50 YEARS? In our nearly 50-year history, we’ve seen a lot of markets that created financial uncertainty, which makes planning difficult. The “flavor” of each dish offered up by the markets is always distinct, but the basic ingredients are the same. The key to a successful outcome in personal financial health is not unlike following a healthy diet – get sound ongoing advice from someone who has your best interest at heart. WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “…YOUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART”? Linscomb & Williams had a new client who was unexpectedly early-retired from a downsizing. We explained it this way: ask someone, “What should I eat?” You likely won’t get the same recommendation from your neighborhood butcher as from a Registered Dietician. Your butcher might recommend the pork spareribs that just arrived, knowing you’ll find that recommendation appealing. The dietician, on the other hand, insists on a balanced program that will achieve your ultimate health goal, though it includes items you might not like. SO, HELP US WITH THE CONNECTION TO FINANCIAL ADVICE DURING MARKET TURMOIL? Much of what passes for financial “advice” today is equivalent to the butcher selling you the pork spareribs. The pork spareribs are what he has on hand to

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Pandemic safety rules apply to trick-or-treating, cities say BY BOB PEPALIS As Halloween approaches, local cities say they will not impose any special pandemic rules on trick-or-treating beyond those already applying to public activity. But the city governments are adjusting or canceling their own events.

Brookhaven Brookhaven has no additional restrictions or changes to Halloween this year, said city spokesperson Burke Brennan. Residents should follow state and city health rules. “Maintain six feet distance, wear a mask, etc. -- but that is not just Halloween, it is every day until Nov. 30, when the current ordinance expires,” Brennan said. As organized gatherings of 30 or more people are prohibited, no citysponsored Halloween events are scheduled, he said.

Dunwoody “Historically, Dunwoody has not regulated Halloween, and we’re not going to start this year,” Mayor Lynn Deutsch said. “I’m confident that families can find a way to trick-or-treat safely.” People have a choice about participation, she said. Leaving your lights off is a signal you don’t want Halloween visitors. “Every bit of COVID-19 related research shows that large gatherings are a bad idea, so I’m discouraging Halloween parties,” Deutsch said. The city’s traditional Halloween Spooktacular Drive-thru at Brook Run Park on Oct. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. will be modified to include COVID-19 safety precautions, city spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said. Residents and other visitors can drive through a haunted display of spooky decorations, timed special effects and music. Decorated Dunwoody Police vehicles will promote the department’s annual “See & Be Seen on Halloween” campaign. Officers will give out clip-on flashers to make sure children are visible if they go trick-or-treating in the dark. Cars will enter Brook Run Park from Peeler Road and follow directional signage to the drive-thru. The event route wraps around the Veterans Memorial and ends near the driveway at 4770 North Peachtree Road.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said during an Oct. 6 City Council meeting that the city will leave trick-or-treating up to individual homeowners associations and

leave it in the hands of parents. Recognizing the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul said “We are not going to either outlaw or endorse Halloween.” However, the Sandy Springs Farmers Market at City Springs on Oct. 31 will have a Halloween theme and trickor-treating. Guidelines for social distancing and public health will be observed, including a mask requirement on city property, as children get to trick-or-treat in age groups. No purchase is necessary for children to receive treats. The schedule is: 9:30-10:30 a.m., ages up to 2; 11-11:30 a.m., ages 3-5; noon12:30 p.m., ages 5-7. Parents with children in multiple age groups should pick one time within their eligible grouping for the entire family. The Farmers Market will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Photo backdrops in the form of Halloween-themed vignettes will decorate the City Green. A city-themed template will be available for free for families looking to carve pumpkins at home.

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BY BOB PEPALIS The hotel industry won’t get back to its 2019 occupancy and revenue numbers until the late 2022 or even 2023, a Sandy Springs hotel director told the city’s Hospitality and Tourism Board during its Sept. 24 meeting. As hotel revenues go down, so too does the revenue for Visit Sandy Springs, which gets its funding from hotel and motel taxes. Executive Director Jennifer Cruce told her governing board, the Hospitality and Tourism Board of Directors, that her staff continues to revise its revenue estimates. All marketing and social media has been brought in-house. She earmarked $200,000 that could be cut from the budget. And she was scheduled to discuss budget adjustments with Mayor Rusty Paul, chair of the board. In 2019, Visit Sandy Springs had revenue of $1.8 million. Initially for 2020, it budgeted for $1.7 million in revenues, but ultimately collected $1.2 million. The city receives a share of the tax revenue also. For fiscal year 2021, which started in July and runs through June 2021, Cruce said the agency budgeted $820,000 early in the pandemic based on forecasted occupancy rate and room rates. But she doesn’t anticipate receiving that much revenue, as those projections were from when public health officials said the pandemic would drop off with a possible spike in November. The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North adjusted its budget to 40% to 45% of 2019’s numbers, said John Visconti, director of marketing for the hotel and a board member. Businesses he has contacted want to get back to traveling, he said, but no travel is planned until next year. “I’m concerned but I’m optimistic about the second half of next year,” Visconti said. A lot of groups still plan travel in the second half of next year, he said. He expects corporate travel to resume by then. As dismal as it sounds, Visconti said Sandy Springs is in a good situation with hotels running at 40% to 45%occupancy. “I will tell you we have hotels in our company that are running 10% occupancy,” he said. Hotels in the city and across the country have adjusted rates. But that affects funding and revenue streams, he said. The Westin has booked some small weddings with 80 to 100 people instead of the 300-person weddings it had pre-pandemic. The Perimeter area may lose some hotels, but most of those lost in metro Atlanta will be downtown. Those hotels rely on the convention business. “The convention business takes a lot longer to come back because you have thousands of people in one place,” Visconti said. With the Perimeter area depending on corporate customers in much smaller groups, it’s recovery can be quicker. But traveling will be different, he said. Corporations will try to cut trips down to one or two nights at most. If a traveler has a lunch appointment, they’ll be expected to head back home that same afternoon. “I truly believe we will get back to the corporate market, the group market, the social market,” Visconti said. “People want to socialize, people want to connect. People want to share ideas.”



Community | 11

City Council supports Womack/Chamblee-Dunwoody intersection design BY ERIN SCHILLING erinschilling@reporternewspapers.net

that it’s too early in the project for a cost estimate for construction, but it may be about a $2 million project. At the earliest, construction would start in late 2021, according to the memo. The city completed a public input process for the design during the month of July. Out of the more than 160 comments received, Smith said, over 120 supported the project. Smith said the biggest challenges for construction will be widening Womack for the left-turn lane, relocating utilities and adding a retaining wall on that road near the Dunwoody branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. The retaining wall would be far enough back from the road to give the city the option to add a right turn lane on Womack in the future, Smith said. Councilmember Tom Lambert requested that pedestrian access from Womack into the library property be added to the retaining wall, which Smith said will be considered as the design plans

The city is moving forward with design plans aimed to help traffic congestion at the intersection of Chamblee-Dunwoody and Womack roads after the City Council expressed support at its Aug. 24 meeting. The city plans to add a left-turn lane on Womack for turning onto Chamblee-Dunwoody and to extend an existing left-turn lane on Chamblee-Dunwoody to Ashford Center Parkway. Currently, there is only one lane on Womack for going straight, right and left, which causes traffic congestion, city officials said. The existing left-turn lane on Chamblee-Dunwoody also tends to overflow during rush hours. The plan would improve sight distance for turning right from Womack to Chamblee-Dunwoody by reSPECIAL grading the slope and reconfiguring a retaining wall at A concept drawing showing the proposed changes to the Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Womack Road and the southeast area of the intersection. Currently, right Ashford Center Parkway intersection. (Special) turns are not allowed at red lights because of the limited view for drivers. are finalized. A pedestrian crossing with signals would be added at the south side of the intersecCouncilmember Stacey Harris suggested the wall could be a good location for pubtion, and a 4-foot-wide sidewalk on Chamblee-Dunwoody would be widened by 1 foot, lic art projects. according to the concept plans. The project also includes improving stormwater drainCouncilmember Joe Seconder and Mayor Lynn Deutsch suggested the sidewalk age. could be widened to 6 feet, but Smith said that may be too costly with relocating more The city contracted with engineering firm AECOM to create the concept plan for the utilities. intersection. Seconder also asked about potentially adding a green arrow signal to the left turn The design and construction plans are slated to be finalized by the end of the year, on Womack, but Smith said previous traffic studies have shown that would make the and utility relocation would start in 2021, according to a memo about the project to the “overall intersection work less efficiently.” council. Public Works Director Michael Smith told the council during the Aug. 24 meeting

Senator Sally Harrell First Term Results: Fighting for Public Schools

In the Senate Sally fought against cuts to public schools. She sponsored the Permanent Classroom Act, to get kids out of trailers and into classrooms. She’s worked to increase recess breaks and reduce excessive graded homework for Georgia’s youngest kids. She’s brought attention to the need to slash university fees that increase the cost of college degrees.

Expanding Access to Healthcare

Sally is pushing for full Medicaid expansion so every working Georgian can be covered, and in her first term helped pass Medicaid expansion for new mothers. She’s the sponsor of a bill to create a PeachCare Public Option, allowing anyone, no matter their income level, to purchase a plan similar to Georgia’s popular PeachCare for Kids program.

Cleaner Air and Public Transit

Sally is working to pass an amendment to our state Constitution to allow gas taxes to pay for public transit expansion. This means cleaner air and more options for Georgia commuters.

Senator Sally Harrell: Fighting for Georgia’s Next Decade Don’t Wait! Make your plan to vote early starting October 12th. DUN


12 | Community

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to key local races on the Nov. 3 ballot U.S. CONGRESS

Many races will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, including the U.S. presidency. The following are Voters Guides to candidates in some key local races. For full answers from the candidates and more election coverage, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

remains the best place to raise a family, own a business, and live a great life.

In the 6th Congressional District, former office-holder Karen Handel is challenging incumbent Lucy McBath. Neither candidate provided Voters Guide answers.

Mike Wilensky WilenskyForGA.com


Democratic incumbent Sally Harrell faces a challenge from Republican Garry Guan.

Garry Guan


individuals, families and communities meet their highest potential. All our citizens deserve affordable healthcare; universal, quality public education; efficient transportation options; and clean air and water. I have enjoyed listening to and working for the people of Senate District 40, shaping an agenda that works to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and throughout Georgia.


Democratic incumbent Mike Wilensky is facing a challenge from Republican Andrea Johnson. What is motivating you to run for this office? Giving back to the country and the great state that provided me with liberty and opportunity to strive as an American by Choice, and seeing the threat of communist/socialist to this country. As someone born and grown up under Mao’s China, I could not stand by without doing my part to preserve the core values of America. I also hope to help heal the divide of the people in the current poisonous political environment with love, compassion and understanding, and with my innate moderation of the Asian culture and heritage.

Andrea Johnson


voterobertpatrick.com What is motivating you to run for this office? As a father to two young daughters, I recognize the need to build a brighter future. I believe we must do more to protect our children and our most vulnerable along with creating opportunities for our community. Also, we must make sure our children are safe at school and have the proper environment and support for them to thrive.

DEKALB COUNTY COMMISSION Republican incumbent Nancy Jester faces a challenge from Democrat Robert Patrick.

Nancy Jester nancyjester.com


What is motivating you to run for this office? More than ever, people are realizing that who they elect to office, at all levels of government, can have major impacts on their personal lives. I have always believed that good government can help

Robert Patrick


Sally Harrell What is motivating you to run for this office? I live in Dunwoody, The city was formed 12 years ago to remove itself from the unbridled DeKalb County tax practices and to maintain a strong family-friendly environment. I aim to make sure Dunwoody

What is motivating you to run for this office? I am running to continue the work I have accomplished reforming the fiscal management of DeKalb, improving procurement procedures, and strengthening ethics in government. I bring unique, financial expertise to the board, having worked as an actuarial consultant. My professional experience has enabled me to guide the board to improve financial reporting and accountability. Most importantly, I appreciate the opportunity to serve all the families, residents and neighbors throughout the district and the county. DeKalb is our home and where my husband and I have chosen to raise our three children. It is an honor to serve this amazing community.

What is motivating you to run for this office? First, I am concerned about the future of DeKalb County. According to the ARC growth projections, DeKalb falls behind Gwinnett and Cobb counties in population growth. That means DeKalb falls to fourth place for jobs for our residents, housing options and property values, and in opportunities for our residents and overall desirability of our community. The second factor is our aging infrastructure, which is holding back private investments that should be made in our communities. It’s difficult to encourage new residents, businesses and development to call DeKalb home when we have infrastructure that doesn’t meet the needs of our time.


Democratic incumbent Melody Maddox faces a challenge from Republican Har-



Community | 13


old Dennis. Maddox did not provide Voters Guide answers.

Harold Dennis


What specific policy would you create or continue to lower utility rates for residential customers? I would require utility companies to bear the financial responsibility of cleaning up environmental problems that they have created rather than allowing those costs to be passed along to the ratepayer. I would require companies to bear the financial responsibility of dealing with the mismanagement of large-scale projects rather than allowing the ratepayer to be penalized. In times of crisis, such as a pandemic, in which devastating impacts are broadly experienced, I would require companies to absorb their share of those impacts rather than requiring ratepayers, who have also been disadvantaged, to have to make up the difference.

Senior Life Senior g fe Lifetime of LearninLi


The Public Service Commission is a state body that regulates utilities. Its members represent regional districts, but are elected by all voters statewide. This year, south Georgia’s District 1 and north Georgia’s District 4 are on the ballot. In District 1, incumbent Jason Shaw faces challengers Robert Bryant and Elizabeth Melton. In District 2, incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr. faces challengers Daniel Blackman and Nathan Wilson. Melton was the only candidate in either race who provided Voters Guide answers.

DISTRICT 1 Elizabeth Melton melton4georgia.com


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Making a Difference


Backpack Buddies put care in packages

Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific page 10 strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, 175 students taking The men are among most of whom (PALS). for senior adults, Learning & Services continuing education the start. year of providing been members from PALS is in its 25th need for of Dunwoody, have takes care of the and his wife, Dot, and this kind of are 60-plus. Yates to help other people, “People our age want made lifelong friends.” 4 Yates said. “We have Continued on page fellowship,” Dot

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Why should voters choose you instead of the incumbent? My entire professional career has been devoted to helping people. I have worked in various positions that required me to be extra vigilant for my family as well as others. I have previously been a police officer, sheriff lieutenant, airline pilot and aircraft dispatcher. I understand the importance of professionalism, communication and leadership.


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41 AWARDS FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown have won 41 awards in the Georgia Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition over the past three years. In 2019, the Reporter’s honors included eight first place awards in its category. The annual competition is judged by newspaper professionals from around the country and represent the highest journalism standards. Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

The #1 preferred source for local news and information!* MAY 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 5


Sandy Springs Reporter


Section Two


Brookhaven Buckhead

Perimeter Busines

►Perimeter Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention





Spring 2019 |

Where brick-and-mortar

The PCIDs 20 years of shaping marks Perimeter Center COMMUNITY retail still works

P. 36



After 20 years of a population increasingly boom, jammed highways scraper-sprouting and skymega-developments, it may sound quaint that people about Perimeter worried Mall traffic way 1999. back in But the Perimeter Community provement Districts, Imof business propertythe self-taxing groups out of those concerns,owners that formed are among the sons the local boom has happened reawhy the traffic and isn’t even worse. to Perimeter If you go Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond the ramps on Ga. Drive 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond change at I-285 inter– and you’ll see smaller touches they’re responsible for, scaping and rush-hour like landtraffic cops. “They had a reputation for, one, cleaning things up, providing number those cosmetic amenities we’ve some of all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as resident and now a longtime Dunwoody serves as their director. “At the executive time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group was willing to pay for those amenities.” Back in 1999, the day cover Perimeter three cities that toCenter – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs not yet exist. – did As the its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead to it has refocused sion on transportation, its misleaving previous proposals such as park-building ies. Transportation to the these days means citerything from evhelping to build trail networks multiuse to shaping the toll lanes and future of transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of the PCIDs currently basics the provides or coordinates, like sidewalks and crosswalks, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing and the rimeter Connects commuter advice Pevice. serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector is Center’s future, with

Who’s running for mayor? So far, just one P12

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Mount Paran and Powers Ferry Joe Card, the owner of this carriage house at the a plan to build a roundabout. roads intersection is calling for the city to stop

Mother’s Words of Wisdom P19

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City Springs theater group prepares for another season of packed houses



The Sandy Springs Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIPs 30327, 30328, 30342 and 30350 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

As the City Springs Theatre Company prepares the final shows of its inaugural season, it’s also prepping for what it expects to be another season of packed shows as it tries to keep up with the enthusiasm and de-

mand from the community. The theater company survived major

leadership changes at City Springs and has succeeded in implementing one of the complex’s key initiatives – educational programming. “I’ve been involved in nonprofit theatre for 33 years now. I have never, ever in my career seen anything like the level of support and desire for musical theater,” Brandt See CITY on page 12

country store. “We’d like Sandy Springs to make a priority of residential neighborhoods and not Aar- out our podcasts Check make it a bypass for commuters,” said at ReporterNewspapers.net on Gill, a homeowner at the intersection. The start of the project is quickly approaching, with utility relocation expectconstruction ed to begin in the fall andThe DunwoodybyReporter is spring 2020. The city is currently working mail delivered to on securing right of way for the round-

homes on selected

about. carrier routes in The $2.5 million project is expect-ZIP 30338 ed to cost $1.2 million for construction, For information: $800,000 for right of way and $300,000 delivery@reporternewspapers.net for design. The city did not respond to a request for comment, but has said the roundabout would improve safety by reducing side-impact crashes and installing pedestrian improvements. It’s also expectthe to according ed to reduce congestion, city.

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Layla Smith, left, and Corrine Ovellette, eighth-graders at Peachtree Charter School, ride the swings during Middle the 20th edition of the Lemonade Days festival, which ran April 24-28 at Brook Run Park. The festival this year raised money for the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and the Donaldson-Bannist er Farm.

DeKalb CEO touts Dunwoody unity in ‘State of County’ address



DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond touted unity as the force behind local resurgence, and cited his “odd couple” partnership with Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal as key bridge-building, in a special “State of the County” address to


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Spring 2019 | Where

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The PCIDs marks 20 years of shaping Perimeter Center

still works

MAY 2019

P. 36



Main photo, the diverging SPECIAL at Ashford-Dunwoody diamond interchange Road and I-285 as it looked shortly after opening in 2012. Inset, the Hammond FILE Drive Ga. 400 shortly after interchange with it opened in 2011.

An increasingly residential sector is part of Perimeter Center’s future, with


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business leaders April 25.

Adding to the symbolism, the event – hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the policy and lobby group the Council for Quality Growth – was not only held in Dunwoody, but in very same Crowne Plaza Ravinia hotel ballroom where the city’s own annual “state See DEKALB on page 10

Dunwoody’s old Austin Elementary School, which was expected to close once a new, 900-seat version debuts P16 open temporarily next year, may remain as DeKalb Schools searches for ways to alleviate overcrowding. Doing so would mean extending a lease agreement between the city and the school district, but officials are being tight-lipped about their discussions. COMMENTARY The city currently owns the old school at 5345 Roberts Drive, originally built in 1975, as part of a 2016 land swap deal with DeKalb Schools. The agreement included the city trading the former Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields for the school property and DeKalb Schools paying the city $3.6 million. DeKalb Schools P18 is building the new school on Roberts Drive on the site of the former baseball fields and adjacent to the NEST ROBIN’S Dunwoody Nature Center, less than a halfmile from the current AES. The city has not finalized what it wants to do with the old school property once it is vacated, but talks have generally focused on creating a park space. The new Austin Elementary School is being built using 2011 special local option salesP19 tax funding. As part of the 2016 agreement, the city agreed to lease the old school to DeKalb

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Holy Spirit pla spurs talk of n agreement, lawsuits P10

Section Two

MAY Sandy









er Business: PCIDs turn s 20 ►Q+A with loca behind Atla l couple nta’s big anime convent ion











Celeb ratul rate Mem ation s to orial Day feed your family all the and Springs/B & friends 2019 grad

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P. 36


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20 years increasingly of scraper-sprou jammed a population highways boom, it may ting and skysound mega-develop about Perimeterquaint that ments, 1999. Mall trafficpeople worried But the way back provement Perimeter in Community of business Districts, property the self-taxing Imout of those concerns, owners that groups sons the why the local boom are among formed the traffic has to Perimeter isn’t even happened reaand get there worse. Center If you today, via one PCIDs of the you may go pushed ramps big projects well – like woody on Ga. 400 the Hammond the or the Drive change Road diverging Ashford-Dun touches at I-285 – diamond and you’ll interscaping they’re responsible see smaller and rush-hour for, like “They had a traffic landone, cleaning reputation cops. those for, number cosmeticthings up, providing used amenities to,” some we’ve the CIDs said Ann all becomeof Hanlon, resident form as a longtimewho watched director. and now serves Dunwoody as their lutionary,“At the time, that was executive that to pay for those a private group pretty revoamenities.” Back was willing day coverin 1999, the Perimeter three cities en, Dunwoody that toCenter not yet and – Brookhavits next exist. As the Sandy Springs – did sion on 20 years, it PCIDs looks has proposalstransportatio refocusedahead to n, leaving its missuch as ies. Transportatio park-building previous erything from n these days to the cittrail networks helping to build means evtoll lanes to multiuse and transitshaping That’s the future in PCIDs addition to on Ga. 400 and I-285.of currently some like sidewalks provides of the basics shuttles, the or coordinates, and crosswalks, rimeter traffic signal Connects timing commuter vice. commuter and the An increasingly advice Peserpart of Perimeter residential Center’s sector is CONTINU future, with ED

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4920 Roswell uckheadThree GREAT while 404-255-63Road you celebra Emory locations 68 ! Area 1815 Briarcliff te! 404-474-94 Road Chamblee 44 5071 Peachtree/Brookhav Industrial en 770-451-11 Blvd. 12


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Is this the killed Buckgun that namesake head’s deer?


Take steps to protect urban wildlife Mother’s Words of Wisdom

• VOL. 13 —

Buckhead Reporter

After 20 years of a population boom, increasingly jammed highways and skyscraper-sprouting mega-developments, it may sound quaint that people worried about Perimeter Mall traffic way back in 1999. But the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, the self-taxing groups of business property owners that formed out of those concerns, are among the reasons the local boom has happened and why the traffic isn’t even worse. If you go to Perimeter Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects the PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond Drive ramps on Ga. 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond interchange at I-285 – and you’ll touches they’re responsible see smaller for, like landscaping and rush-hour traffic cops. “They had a reputation for, number one, cleaning things up, providing some of those cosmetic amenities we’ve all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as a longtime Dunwoody resident and now serves as their executive director. “At the time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group to pay for those amenities.” was willing Back in 1999, the three cities that today cover Perimeter Center – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs – did not yet exist. As the PCIDs looks ahead to its next 20 years, it has refocused its mission on transportation, leaving proposals such as park-building previous to the cities. Transportation these days means everything from helping to build multiuse trail networks to shaping the future of toll lanes and transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of PCIDs currently provides the basics the or like sidewalks and crosswalks,coordinates, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing rimeter Connects commuter and the Peadvice service.

to remake Emory unveils $1B plan innovation district’ Executive Park as ‘health

The Brookhaven Reporter to is mail delivered homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net


Take steps to protect urban wildlife




Dunwoody Brookhaven

Perimeter Business



ROBIN’S NEST Residents near the intersection of Mount Paran and Powers Ferry roads have rallied against a roundabout expected to be built early next year. They argue the roundabout will mostly help commuters while negatively affecting their properties, including requiring demolition of a P19 once used as a nearly century-old building

4920 Roswell Road 404-255-6368

Sandy Springs

Section Two




CongraCelebrate Memor tulatio ial Day ns to Let us feed and your family all the 2019 gradua Sandy Springs/Buckh Three & friends while

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Old Austin Elementary School may remain open to relieve overcr park owding New public





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MAY 2019 • VOL. 11 —

SPECIAL diamond looked shortly Road and interchange I-285 as after opening it Inset, the in 2012. Hammond Ga. 400 Drive interchange FILE shortly after with it opened in 2011.

ersMill sidewalks HomeownTilly criticize spark right-of-way dispute ut roundabo threatening 1927 Take steps to protect buildingurban wildlife




| Where brick-and-mo

After 20 increasingly years of a population jammed boom, scraper-sprouting highways and skyit may sound mega-developments quaint that about Perimeter people worried, Mall traffic 1999. way back in But the provement Perimeter Community Districts, Imof business the self-taxing groups out of those property owners that formed concerns, sons the local boom are among the why the has happened reatraffic and to Perimeter isn’t even worse. If you Center today, get there you may go via well PCIDs pushed one of the big projects – like the ramps on Hammond the Ga. 400 Drive woody or the Ashford-DunRoad diverging change diamond at I-285 – and you’ll intertouches they’re responsible see smaller scaping and rush-hour for, like “They had traffic cops. landone, cleaning a reputation for, those cosmeticthings up, providing number some of amenities used to,” we’ve all said Ann become the CIDs Hanlon, who watched form as a longtime resident and now Dunwoody serves as director. their “At lutionary, the time, that was executive that a private pretty revoto pay for group was those amenities.” willing Back in day cover 1999, the three cities that Perimeter en, Dunwoody toCenter – Brookhavnot yet exist. and Sandy Springs As the – did its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead it has sion on transportation, refocused its to misproposals leaving such as park-building previous ies. Transportation erything these days to the citfrom trail networks helping to buildmeans evmultiuse to shaping toll lanes the and transit That’s in on Ga. 400 future of addition and I-285. PCIDs currently to some of the like sidewalks provides or basics the and crosswalks,coordinates, shuttles, traffic signal commuter rimeter timing and Connects the Pecommuter vice. advice serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector Center’s is future, with CONTINUED

Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunwoody


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Spring 2019



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shows future of Executive Park it owns plan for the 60 acres and Musculoskeletal Emory University’s master colored in blue, including a new hospital and industrial. office medical and office buildings to rezone the property from retail to Center. Emory is seeking

300-plus properties could be affected ect by I-285 toll lanes proj AND JOHN RUCH BY DYANA BAGBY toll lanes on the The state’s plan to build impact a minimum of top end of I-285 could the corridor, rang300 properties all along easements to full ing from construction to city of Brookhavland takings, according en officials. City CouncilmemMayor John Ernst and about 50 people informed ber Linley Jones community meeting at attending an April 18

number they learned City Hall that was the with a Georgia Deafter a private meeting on project manpartment of Transportati did not know how ager. They also said they would be afmany Brookhaven properties

fected. affected on the The 300-plus properties located between Hentop end of I-285 are area in the east derson Road in the Tucker See 300 on page 23




Take steps to pro tec urban wildlife t

P18 revealed its $1 Emory University has Park, a “livebillion plan for Executive ROBIN’S that district” NEST work-play health innovation a hotel, multifamily includes a hospital, and office space. The housing and medical 15 years to build, but 60-acre plan will take center could start work on an orthopedic this year, Emory says. Park, a neighborLavista of Residents Park, are seekhood adjacent to Executive P19 Brookhaven, posing to be annexed into year, in part because sibly as soon as this a say in the developthey want to have

Mother’s Words of Wisdom

ment. a say because this Check out our “It’s critical we have at ReporterNew podcasts d,” said Mispapers.net comes into our neighborhoo shortly before Emchael Lappin, speaking 22 See EMORY on page The Buck

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The PCID of shapings marks 20 year s Perimeter Center

Left, John Beach, presid which repute ent dly killed the of the Buckhead Herita holds what is said to be neighborhood’s names ge Society, holds the “Buckh the same firearm ake deer in an undate in 1838. Right, Jamesead Gun,” d photo. (John Whitle Ruch/Specia y l)

After 45 ye launches a ars, a nonprofit citizen inpureview of NPU t system






The Neigh borhood Plann tem that ing Unit sysreviews plann ing, zonin other big g and issues ment is gettin for Atlanta city govern g a review downtown of its own. nonprofit A called the Civic Innov Center ation has begun a quiet, for but

potentially influential, series of meetin and survey s that aims to have reform gs ommendatio recns for the 45-year-old on the table system by March 2020. “There are things about tem] that [the NPU are amazi ng, and things syswe need to that have a lot more conve about,” said rsation CCI Execu tive Direct or Rohit See AFTER on page 14


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MAY 2019

Section Two




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The woode with age. The n stock is beige and battere metal plate decorated above the trigger d with a pair is of birds. The long, heavy barrel is and octago nal. It’s an old sure. It might muzzleloading firearm even be the , deer that gave one that killed for Buckhead the 1838. its curious name in John Beach, Heritage Society president of the Buckh ead , is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by trackin g John Beach, see the tales surrou Around Town, nding another little-known page 20. piece of area history – an quietly surviv 1842 ed destruction log cabin that to a Buckh by being ead back yard. moved Beach gave In the meant the Report ime, er an exclus ive close-


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Community | 15


City to demolish former Austin Elementary School BY ERIN SCHILLING

be part of the demolition, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker. Funding for the demolition would come from leftover funds from other projects, mostly from the Georgetown-Perimeter Connector Trail, a 12-footwide multiuse path and pedestrian bridge intended to connect the east and west sides of the city. That project had extra funding because of a $200,000 doSPECIAL nation from The former Austin Elementary School is located at 5435 Roberts Drive. Perimeter Community Improvement Districts. building. calculations, whereas demolishing it The elementary school site has two Council members said they tried to would cost $18,000. playgrounds which would be renovatsave some aspects of the site, but because “It’s beyond hope,” Councilmember ed for public use, according to the city it was in such disrepair, any renovations Pam Tallmadge said. “I really tried — we memo. An outdoor classroom and garwould have been too costly. Councilmemall tried — to save a part of it, the gym, den on the site will also stay there along ber Jim Riticher said he remembered getthe cafeteria, the basement, but it’s not with an asphalt parking lot, Walker said. ting emails from parents complaining feasible.” Walker said the site will have open, about the state of the building when it Walker said the city had spoken with grassy sports fields until the city creates was still in use. a few nonprofits about using the site, a master plan for the site with public inThe city considered keeping the gym such as the Spruill Center for the Arts, put and council approval. building to repurpose it, but city staff but no one had the interest or the funds Critics of the plan to demolish those found the renovations too costly. To rento do the renovations. buildings said the area could have been ovate and operate the gym for a year a good asset for other uses, such as more would cost $197,500, according to city space for the neighboring Dunwoody Nature Center or other nonprofits. Councilmember Joe Seconder voted against the demolition. He said he thought the city should have done a public input meeting in case another organization might have wanted to use the


City Council approved the demolition of the former Austin Elementary School in a 6-1 vote during its Sept. 14 meeting. The demolition will cost $279,000, according to a bid from Complete Demolition Services. The DeKalb County School District considered keeping the old elementary school, located at 5435 Roberts Drive, to help with possible elementary school overcrowding, but dropped the issue in May 2019. The new Austin Elementary is located a half-mile away at 5321 Roberts Drive and opened in January. Mayor Lynn Deutsch said the district rejected the building because of the costly repairs. “It is not a building that had been wellmaintained or well cared for,” Deutsch said. “It needed to come down.” The main school building, gym and former trailer pad would all be demolished under that contract, according to a city memo. Rodent removal will also

When this is done, it’s going to be a much more walkable, urban-style development, even though it is a grocery store with a lot of parking. MICHAEL STARLING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

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COMMENTARY Presidential campaigns reach out to local suburbs with common theme of fear Presidential election contests are increasingly decided in the suburbs of major American cities. Whether discussing Bucks County, Pennsylvania; the “I-4 corridor” in Florida; Macomb County, Michigan; or Racine County, Wisconsin, suburbs are the site of the most pitched campaign battles for swing voters. So far, the 2020 race is no different. However, to the extent the electoral map has expanded — into places like Gwinnett County, Cobb County or north Fulton County — in the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, it is because of their competing appeals to these suburban swing voters. Suburbs are increasingly competitive because they are increasingly diverse. Whereas suburbs were once largely the domain of middle- and upper-middle-class Whites who voted in large majorities for Republicans, suburbs are becoming more socioeconomically and racially diverse. There are more working-class voters, who tend to vote for Democrats, and college-educated voters are moving slightly in the direction of Democrats as well. Additionally, the nature of candidate-centered campaigns and the decrease in party identification among suburban voters makes for the perfect concoction of swing and persuadable voters. In the 2020 race, the campaign appeals to suburban voters represent divergent views on who these potential voters are and what they want out of federal policy. It is often the case that Republican and Democratic campaigns use different appeals to attract would-be swing voters, but their differences are often marginal and often quite subtle. In the case of the Trump and Biden campaign efforts to appeal to suburban voters, this could not be further from the truth. The differing messages emerging from the Trump and Biden campaigns stem from a difference in conceptualizing what suburbs are and who lives there. The Trump campaign, as evidenced by the president’s tweets and statements at his rallies, sees the suburbs as havens for people who are fearful of crime and population density associated with major cities. The president’s statements about “suburban housewives” who want to be sheltered from “invaders” evince an image of the American suburb that may have been accurate a few decades ago but does not reflect most suburban residents today. However, beyond the surface level,

the president’s tweets and statements do strike at an important aspect of suburban living: housing and zoning regulations. As suburbs become denser, there is more significant attention on and response to changes to the regulatory environment. The Trump campaign’s calculation seems to be that these appeals will generate activity among those who would be most attuned to those changes, and these are the types of voters who they think are most likely to turn out to vote. Contrary to the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign focuses its message to suburban voters primarily on healthcare rather than on suburban living as such. Recent polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The New

ing communities. Conversely, the Biden campaign thinks suburban swing voters are going to be fearful about losing the guarantees for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act as well as the fear of the unknown regarding the ongoing pandemic. The question, again, turns on which of these campaigns is more accurately reflecting the mood and concerns of modern American suburban voters. We will not be able to answer that question until after November 3, 2020. Nonetheless, as the fall presidential campaign season heats up metro Atlanta’s airwaves, it is easy to see why. Metro Atlanta, like the long-watched suburban areas in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and fellow Sunbelt

J. Benjamin Taylor is an assistant professor of political science at the School of Government & International Affairs at Kennesaw State University, where he researches American political behavior.

York Times/Siena College suggest that the Biden campaign may be on the right track. Suburbs and their residents are not monolithic, but KFF polling focusing on Sunbelt suburbs suggests healthcare access and costs are a top concern, while the New York Times/Siena College poll from Midwestern states shows housing and zoning are not top-of-mind for voters. Though Biden and Trump split voters’ sentiments on the economy — another top concern among suburbanites — Biden is viewed more capable on dealing with healthcare and handling the coronavirus pandemic. Though these conceptions of suburban voters and the issue they care about — zoning and lifestyle versus healthcare — diverge, the underlying theme among both campaigns is fear. The Trump campaign thinks suburban voters are fearful about the influx of new people and changes to their outly-


state North Carolina, has an increasingly diverse population. Coupled with the movement of college-educated voters drifting more towards the Democratic Party generally, we see the amalgam of people in the Atlanta suburbs are exactly those swing, persuadable voters campaigns so desire to target. The trick for both campaigns is to find those voters, mobilize them with their message of fear about what the other candidate will do, and make sure more of their preferred voters cast ballots than voters motivated by the other campaign. While these objects may seem straightforward, it takes a lot of effort and message repetition for a campaign to mobilize their voters. So, if you are tired of seeing campaign commercials on television and hearing them on the radio, settle in, because they are not going anywhere.

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Commentary | 17


Answers to life’s (food) questions I’ve been married for 25 years and I’ve raised four kids, but I still call my mother with food questions. On this particular evening, however, I started out very confident in my culinary abilities. The sky was storm-cloud gray outside and the wind was blowing the patio furniture from one side of the deck to the other, but the ominous weather didn’t deter me. I had a bag of frozen seafood, and I was going to whip up a week-night defying dinner of linguine with sautéed scallops. I had stocked up frozen seafood for my daughter’s return from college. She had a

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recently announced she was a pescatarian, and the rest of the family were the beneficiaries of her lifestyle choices. My hungry 14-year-old twins were already in their Boy Scout uniforms, prepared to go to their meeting that night, and in my own predictably last-minute fashion, I was starting dinner exactly 25 minutes before it was time to leave. I followed the package directions to quick-thaw the scallops, as butter melted and water boiled. Pasta went in, scallops began to sizzle, lightning flashed, thunder cracked, and then it

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happened — the power went out. “Oh, NO!” I cried. I really did not know what to do. The scallops were only partially cooked, and I didn’t want to waste them. They were the expensive bag — wild, not farmed.

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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.

“We have a Coleman stove,” my eager little Star Scouts

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I started going through the dark refrigerator, pulling out bread and jelly. “Boys, I guess you’re just going to have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches tonight.” “We have a Coleman stove.” They had found their spelunker headlamps and were back at the barstools with the lights secured around their foreheads. I continued my cell phone food-crisis conference. “OK, but here’s the thing, Mom. I don’t know when the power will go back on or when I’ll be able to finish cooking them —“ I had found the lighter and was walking around the house, lighting Mediterranean-fig-scented candles. Meanwhile, my boys were on their own cellphone, informing the Scoutmaster about the power outage and discussing how that might

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affect their meeting. Still a bit dubious about the cooling power of my refrigerator and the staying power of the uncooked scallops, I addressed my Scouts, “Boys, I’m really sorry. This was going to be such a great dinner. But we’ll eat it tomorrow — I hope.” I had found a package of lunch meat that didn’t smell too strong and set that on the breakfast bar, alongside the strawberry jam. “Mom! We’ve got a Coleman Stove!”




Before I knew it, they were climbing back up the basement stairs, one carrying a lantern, one carrying the stove, and both wearing their spelunker type headlights. One took off his headband flashlight and put in on my head, the other set up the stove and lit both burners, and 10 minutes later, they were eating linguine with sautéed scallops. We looked like coal miners hovering over French cuisine. I drove my twins to the Scout meeting (which had not been cancelled), and on the way back I noticed that the lights were on in the house two doors down from my home. The blackout began at exactly the house before mine.

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I entered my own dark house, opened my kitchen windows to air out the smells of burnt butter and seafood, removed my headlight, relit the candles, and settled down with a glass of wine. Some things are better by candlelight, anyway.

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18 | Commentary

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 worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

In Luke 9, when Samarian villagIn ninth grade, it was his turn. With ers refuse to lodge Jesus and his disci50 cents from his mother, he made his ples and James and John want to pray for first solo shopping trip to the local conheavenly retribution, Jesus rebukes them venience store. for their anger. The passage ends simply: “I guess it took me a little too long “And they went to another village.” to choose between the chili cheese corn This passage defines the ismission chips and he said. “I got to the regCarol Niemi a marketingof consultant who lives on a thepie,” DunwoodySandy Springs line and of writes about people whose lives inspire being so happy with the Rev. William Givens, lead pastor ister and remember others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. the Buckhead Baptist Church, said to be my chips, the first time buying them on the only Black pastor leading a historicalmy own.” ly white Buckhead church. His joy was short-lived. Givens can’t confirm the claim, but he “The cashier asked me, ‘What else?’ I lives to confirm the passage from Luke. said I didn’t have anything else. The man He spent his early years in South behind her told me to empty my pockets Georgia, in a church-going family with a or he would call the cops,” he said. “We mother who taught love and acceptance didn’t have much but our name and our and a stepfather who was a preacher. word, so I emptied my pockets.” “We went to Black churches. White It was 20 years before he ate those people went to White churches,” he said. chips again and five before he told his For him, that was just how it was unmother. til sixth grade, when his two best friends, Flash forward a few years. With no Forrest, who was White, and Bubba, who intention of entering the ministry, he was Black, encountered racism head on. joined the National Guard and entered “They went to Forrest’s church togethcollege, where as “one of 11 Black kids on er, and the church asked Bubba to leave,” campus,” he frequently experienced subhe said. tle and overt racism. One day everything

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The Black pastor of historically White church leads with reconciliation changed for him. “At a church service where a pastor was praying for me, I saw a dove descend from the ceiling onto his hand,” he said. “I felt peace hit my body, forgave everyone for everything, and haven’t felt any animosity since.” In 2008, as the religious life beckoned, he and his wife Gloria, who is white, decided he should accept a scholarship for a master of divinity degree from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. In 2010, he became an intern at Buckhead Baptist Church, then a predominantly White church. All was good until 2011, when he became associate pastor. Church members during that time remember turmoil. “Some wouldn’t attend if they knew he was preaching,” said Diane Irby, a member since 2008, “but when he preached, he always gave a great message.” In 2014, the congregation voted him lead pastor. “That’s when people walked out,” said Irby. “Now he’s drawing a lot of young families, and we’re very mixed.” A member of one of those families is Kamesha Gray “I’m in awe of his strength,” she said. “A congregation walked out on him because of what he looked like. But he kept preaching love, and Gloria stood by his side every single Sunday.” On Aug. 30, everything Givens stands for came to fruition during a Service of Reconciliation. To start, Thomas Hammond, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, read an official apology by the Southern Baptist Convention dating from 1995 for its historical oppression of African Americans. According to a longtime White member of the church, Givens’ response was what everyone was hoping for. “I’ve heard of other reconciliation services that devolved into corporate guilt trips. This one was Biblically based,” said

Rev. William Givens.


J.C. Davis. “We resolved as a church to repent of the sins of our forefathers and work hand in hand with the mission of the Lord.” Like Jesus in Samaria, Givens called for moving forward to “the next village” and recounted the ways he has seen racism evolving, with examples from his own life, on which he expanded during a phone call with me. “A couple of years ago, I was deciding on whether or not to purchase a convenience store. That’s a long way from the ninth-grader with the 50 cents,” he said. “I genuinely believe good is happening now. We need to notice those things and be a part of that change.” Givens believes the answer is love, not hate, and there’s only one way to get there. “We covenant not to look back, but to move forward,” he said. Services at self-described “most loving church on the planet” are Sundays at 11 a.m. at 4100 Roswell Road and livestreamed on the website at buckheadbaptist.org.



Around Town Here’s a question for the Halloween season: How do you properly act like a ghost? Apparently, you just keep it real. Matt Huff figured that out a few years ago. He teaches theater at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, where he’s an associate professor, so for most of the time, he works with students to stage and study plays. But in recent Octobers, he’s filled another role: he directs ghosts. Actually, actors portraying ghosts. He works with the volunteers who portray the ghosts on the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Tours at Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery. His role is to help bring those ghosts, well, to life. Like many freelance jobs, this one started with an email. Huff said that seven or eight years ago, when the cemetery’s annual Halloween tour was growing rapidly in popularity, he was among a group of local theater people who were invited to direct the actors who appear during the tour in order to sharpen up the show. “I was the only one who said ‘yes,’” Huff said during an interview via Zoom. “I’m really glad I did.” During past tours, guides have led small groups through the cemetery, where they encounter actors portraying people buried nearby. This year’s tour is expected to be different because of the pandemic. The guides and ghosts will remain, but the tour is moving online, and the in-person tour may be cancelled, although that decision had not been announced by mid-September. The online tour will be opened to the public on Oct. 29. It will cost $15. For details see oaklandcemetery.com or facebook. com/OCATL. “I’m actually really excited about it,” Huff said. “This is a cool thing.” The annual tour is the biggest single fundraiser for the Historic Oakland Foundation, the nonprofit that takes care of the cemetery. But Mary Margaret Fernandez, special events & volunteer manager for the foundation, argues the October event offers something more than a fun way to support the cemetery financially. The tour provides, she said, an unusual way of looking at Atlanta history. The ghosts include both famous and relatively anonymous Atlantans, and the actors and their speeches “show what lies between those two dates you find on their headstones,” she said. One tour, for instance, featured a notorious 19th century madam. Another introduced a bi-racial couple who were married at a time their relationship was itself illegal, Huff said. “It’s amazing to see how the telling of these stories has breathed new life into the history of the city.” Fernandez said. “We’re preventing certain areas of Atlanta’s history from being forgotten.” DUN

Commentary | 19


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

Which ghosts will appear on the tour, Fernandez said during a phone interview, is a carefully guarded secret. “It’s different every year,” Huff said. “They change it up. There are a million stories at that cemetery, so they’re never going to run out. I’m always amazed at the stories they find.” Huff’s job, Fernandez said, is to coach the actors to make their performances “feel genuine. … It makes the performances feel like they’re being told to you by someone you know rather than someone very polished. He makes it very personal.” So, just what do you tell an aspiring ghost about how to address a tour group? Talk like you mean what you say. “You’re not speaking about the cemetery in the third person,” Huff said. “You have to speak the lines as if you’ve lived it.” Huff said one of the first things he suggested was that the foundation hire a professional playwright to script the tour so that the stories were presented consistently. Now the foundation uses two writers, who work with material from a variety of sources, including the families of the departed, to construct the stories the ghosts

He teaches Oakland Cemetery’s ghosts to come alive

Matt Huff.

tell, Fernandez said. “I’ve always looked for a creative challenge,” Huff said. “When I go there [to the cemetery] and I follow a group for a performance, when I see the whole thing in context, it really is a magical experience. … It is like his-


tory is coming to life right before you.” But, despite the fact these are ghosts and it’s the Halloween season, not necessarily a scary experience, he said. “It’s enlightening,” he said, “not frightening.”

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20 | Community

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On racial dialogue, Dunwoody takes different course from other cities Continued from page 1

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founding council members deny, and the city has faced lawsuits about possible police racial profiling and violating federal fair housing laws. Neighboring cities have admitted to having problems with racism — now and during incorporation — and taken steps to address it. Brookhaven created a Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission to suggest possible policy changes. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said “race was a factor” in the city’s creation and has already completed a series of Civic Dinners community meetings in which residents said they still see gentrification and social segregation as issues. “Racial [issues] had nothing to do with anything when it comes to [incorporation],” said City Councilmember John Heneghan, who also served on the founding council, in an interview. “It was about efficiency of taxes and that we could do the services better. End of story.” City officials do not think the government is representative of the diversity in the city but say it’s up to people of color to apply to city positions for them to get involved. Mayor Lynn Deutsch said she’s been having conversations with community members and business owners to encourage more diversity. Deutsch attended two Black Lives Matter events earlier in the year, both hosted by activist Lydia Singleton-Wells. At those events, Deutsch said structural racism in healthcare is responsible for COVID-19 disparities among races, and she said she would work on representation in the government and a citywide conversation on race. Singleton-Wells, who attended the Oct. 1 meeting, said in an interview she didn’t expect the racial dialogue to be more explicit and noted there were only two people of color in the audience. “We need more creative ideas on how to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the Black and Brown community,” said Singleton-Wells, who has suggested she could be a community liaison for the city. “We need more creative ideas on how to get more Black residents involved in things like this.”

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Advertisements for the Oct. 1 “Mayor Meetup” event at Brook Run Park with Grogan do not describe the meeting as a conversation on race. Deutsch said the city plans to do a series of “deep dives” into city departments and introduced Grogan’s presentation as a response to the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneanopolis police officer. Residents brought up concerns about structural racism in their questions. In response, Grogan said he sees police unions and a lack of body cameras as two problems in other departments that promote structural racism. DPD does not have a union and does have body cameras. Grogan said he’s “researching the issues” of structural racism and did not mention the possibility of any problems in DPD. The department has implicit bias and police legitimacy training for officers, Grogan said. Three years ago, the city paid $187,000 in settlements after former DPD officer Dale

Laskowski was sued four times for alleged unconstitutional searches at traffic stops. The officer resigned in good standing before he faced what Grogan said were possible sanctions. The three of the men who sued were Black, and at least one said he felt racially profiled by the officer. No internal investigation was documented in regard to the first three lawsuits or the possibility of racial profiling. “That is case in point of what we’re looking at that is taking place throughout law enforcement in America,” said Norcross resident Jermaine Muhammad in June, who used to own a barber shop in Dunwoody and filed the first lawsuit. “It’s this allegiance to this White power class of protecting only a particular group of the public.” Grogan found Laskowski to be in violation of four department policies after a fourth lawsuit, but Laskowski was never sanctioned because he resigned before those actions could be decided upon, Grogan told the Reporter in June. Grogan declined to comment further.

City inclusivity

Deutsch said she does not know about any specific problems of structural racism in the city but that “there is always room for improvement.” “Improving starts with an awareness and acknowledgement, for me, that there are things that I have not done as well as I should,” Deutsch said in an interview. “Acknowledging that and working to improve it is the way I personally move forward.” Deutsch pointed to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance with a hate crime provision, passed in June 2019, as a policy that has already been enacted to promote inclusivity. Deutsch said she’s having conversations to try to get more people of color into government boards and commissions, which she said was a problem in the government representation at a June event. Since then, she appointed an all-White charter commission and three other people to various boards, at least one of whom was a person of color, according to city spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher. Singleton-Wells said the city government doesn’t seem to make representation or inclusivity a priority and wasn’t surprised to see race wasn’t mentioned in advertisements for the Oct. 1 event. “Even if you look at Dunwoody’s social media, it’s so whitewashed you would think that nobody of color even lives in Dunwoody,” Singleton-Wells said. “With these meetups, don’t you want a person of color to be in a position of authority, so the people of Dunwoody who aren’t White have someone to relate to?” Councilmember Heneghan said it is up to people of color to apply to serve on city boards and commissions. Applications for those positions are widely advertised in the city’s weekly newsletters and on social media, Heneghan said. “I guess I can’t spoon-feed everybody every piece of information because Lord knows we really do try to get the right information out to the right people,” said Heneghan about trying other outreach methods. DUN

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OCTOBER 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Fall Color

Mountain foliage will be ablaze with reds, oranges and yellows in late October BY COLLIN KELLEY If you’re looking for a socially-distanced weekend outing this fall, a drive through the North Georgia mountains or North Carolina to see the leaves changing color couldn’t be more perfect. According to the Fall Foliage Prediction Map at smokymountains.com, Oct. 12-19 will be optimum for peak color in North Carolina, while Oct. 19-26 will offer the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows in North Georgia. At this writing, Georgia State Parks were still limiting access if parks become too overcrowded to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. Some activities in the parks have also been limited or cancelled, so check with the individual park before you go at gastateparks.org. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, these are the parks to check out the best leaf color along with some recommended activities. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge – Dawsonville Just an hour north of Atlanta you’ll find the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. A short, flat path leads to a boardwalk offering the most spectacular views. There’s also an easy-to-reach overlook at the top. For a tougher challenge, start from the bottom of the falls and hike up the steep staircase.

F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain Many people are surprised to find hardwood forests and rolling mountains south of Atlanta. The 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop is a favorite section of the longer Pine Mountain Trail. For a touch of history, drive to Dowdell’s Knob to see a lifesize bronze sculpture of President F.D. Roosevelt and views of the forested valley. Ga. Hwy. 190 is a pretty driving route. Fort Mountain State Park – Chatsworth This park is best known for a mysterious rock wall along the mountain top, plus a variety of trails. For the easiest walk, take the 1.2-mile loop around the Continued on Page 22

A new life awaits in Asheville

Black Rock Mountain State Park – Clayton At an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is Georgia’s highest state park. (Brasstown Bald is the state’s highest peak.) Roadside overlooks and the summit Visitor Center offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail is a good choice for a short, moderate hike. For an all-day challenge, take the 7.2-mile James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail. Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn One of Georgia’s most beautiful parks offers easy-to-reach rim overlooks and challenging trails. A favorite hike takes you down a staircase to the bottom of the canyon, where you’ll find two waterfalls. (Remember, you have to hike back up, but it’s worth it.) The 5-mile West Rim Loop is moderately difficult and offers great views of the canyon.


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park’s green lake. For a challenging, allday hike, choose the 8-mile Gahuti Trail. Mountain bikers have more than 14 miles to explore. Hwy. 52 has beautiful mountain scenery and overlooks worth stopping to see. Moccasin Creek State Park – Lake Burton Georgia’s smallest state park sits on the shore of a gorgeous deep-green lake. Guests can choose from the 2-mile Hemlock Falls Trail or 1-mile Non-Game Trail with a wildlife observation tower. Hwy. 197 is a particularly pretty road, passing Mark of the Potter and other popular attractions. Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen Protecting more than 6,000 acres around Dukes Creek, this is the perfect spot for fly fishing while enjoying fall color. Day visitors can picnic near the creek, and overnight guests can hike a private trail to Dukes Creek Falls. A 1.6-mile loop climbs to Laurel Ridge and provides a view of Mt. Yonah once most leaves are off the trees. Smithgall Woods has some of the park system’s most sought-after cabins and is near wineries and Helen’s Oktoberfest. Tallulah Gorge State Park – Near Clayton Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular canyons in the Southeast, and you can choose from easy or difficult trails. Hike along the rim to several overlooks with waterfall views, but hikes to the bottom of the gorge and climbing permits were still not being offered at press time. Unicoi State Park & Lodge – Helen Ziplines take you high above the forest canopy for a unique view of leaves. If you’re up for a steep hike, take the 4.8mile Smith Creek Trail up to Anna Ruby Falls. Unicoi offers a lodge and restau-

rant. Vogel State Park – Blairsville The 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail makes a nice day trip for experienced hikers, offering a birds-eye view of the park’s lake. For an easier walk, follow the Lake Loop to a small waterfall below the dam. The twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road, offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall scenery. NORTH CAROLINA Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival At press time, the annual Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival at Village Green in downtown Cashiers was still on for Oct. 9-11. Artisans, food, entertainment and more are staples of the event, which will be happening just as the leaves are at their peak in western North Carolina. Visit Cahsiers411.com for more information. HIGHLANDS While most of the events planned for the fall (including the annual Highlands Food and Wine Festival) have been cancelled, Highlands still offers great shopping, dining, and the chance to explore the scenic surroundings. According to the experts, the second week of October will be peak color for the leaves. Visit highlandschamber.org for more information. ASHEVILLE There’s always something to do in Asheville, and while the pandemic has cancelled many annual events in and around the city, you can still enjoy dining, shops, visit the Biltmore Estate, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, or have a drink at one of the breweries or distilleries. The leaves will be at their peak in Asheville during the fourth week of October. Visit romanticasheville.com for more.


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Amenities & Features


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Special Section | 25



Amenities & Features Amenities & Features Amenities & Features

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Bringing Families Together

GlenCove community takes multigenerational approach to homes, amenities

BY COLLIN KELLEY The centerpiece of the GlenCove development near Cashiers, NC is 12-hole par-three golf course designed by Beau Welling, but the links are just a taster of what this new community has to offer for the entire family. The 160-acre development from Old Edwards Hospitality Group is embracing a “multigenerational” approach to its amenities and residences. Comprised of 33 cottages and 17 estate lots, GlenCove truly does have something for all ages to enjoy. According to operations director Jerry West, 21 of the cottages and four of the fiveacre estate lots were already sold by late September. Prices range from $1.3 to $2.3 for the cottages, which come in three different styles, and the estate lots are selling for between $500,000 and $900,000. “Our first residents moved into their homes in September and we’re expecting six more to move in by the end of the year,” West said. Once families settle in, they will find that there are activities for three generations to enjoy – at the same time or separately. Strengthening familial bonds and bringing families together is a prime directive of GlenCove. West said the golf course, called The Saddle, was designed by Welling with all ages and skill levels in mind. “We wanted to make the course fun and inclusive, so everyone can enjoy it.” Another big feature of GlenCove is an internal hiking trail system that runs for six miles – from flat areas around the lake to “severely strenuous” in the mountains on the property. Those who enjoy gardening and farming, will be drawn to the three-acre organic farm, which will have a CSA program available for growers to sell their produce. Kids will have plenty to keep them entertained year-round, including an event lawn for games of kickball, soccer, croquet or foursquare. The Entertainment Barn has a bowling alley, pool tables, ping-pong tables, video arcade, carnival games, a large dining room and kitchen, and the golf lounge and shop. Back outside there are two pickleball courts, hard surface courts for basketball, bocce ball area, a playground, four lane lap pool, and a splash pad. Those enjoying the outdoor amenities can enjoy food from onsite food trucks and dine under a pavilion adjacent to the pool area. Copper Lake is stocked with fish, plus there’s a beach area and a boat house where paddle boats are available. West said a wellness and fitness center is under construction and will include state-ofthe-art equipment, yoga and meditation areas, and more. For more information, visit glencovelifestyle.com.

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RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY New amenities under construction $11+ million - combined value of homes completed $8+ million - combined value of new homes, currently under construction $15+ million - value of new homes scheduled to break ground H O M E S I T E S R E - S A L E


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A Weekend in Asheville

The funky, walkable, artsy city is an easy drive from Atlanta BY SALLY BETHEA Asheville is the sort of place that you never tire of visiting—at least I never do. No matter your age, interests or style, there is always something cool and new to do in this funky, walkable, artsy, good-eating, brewery-rich, city—just a 3.5-hour drive north of Atlanta. The cool mountain air is an added bonus. On a recent visit, we appreciated the COVID-19 protocols, including the statewide requirement that masks be worn at all inside public places and outdoors where social distancing isn’t possible; the restrictions minimally affected our favorite activities. The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, located in The Grove Arcade, is always one of our first destinations—after checking in to a B&B or Airbnb within walking distance of downtown. Used books (in excellent condition, including first editions), fine wine or beer, and bistro-style bites are available in the comfortable space. On the dogfriendly patio, you can order larger meals. Information: batteryparkbookexchange.com. Second only to Portland, Maine—on the breweries-per-capita list—Asheville is considered one of the fifteen best beer cities in the world. The city’s walkability makes brewery touring easier and safer. Our favorite is The Green Man Brewery, located in the South Slope District near interesting art galleries and restaurants; it’s one of several dozen breweries with socially-distanced, outdoor seating. An IPA-lover, my draft pick is always the Wayfarer. Information: greenmanbrewery.com. If the weather is nice, head to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular unit of the national park system; the BRP’s visitor center is just a 12-minute drive from downtown Asheville (Milepost 384). From there, it’s a half an hour drive to a 360-degree mountain view at Craggy Pinnacle (Milepost 364). The 1.4-mile, round-trip hike to the top of the 5,892’ peak can

be crowded, so try to go early. Additional hiking opportunities are available on nearby Craggy Gardens Trail with its mile-high bald and panoramic views. Sections of the Parkway typically close in the winter. Information: nps.gov/blri/indx.htm. ►Locally known as Foodtopia, Asheville has more than 100 full-service restaurants in a five-square-mile area. Jettie Rae’s Oyster House, a sustainable seafood restaurant with tented, outdoor seating, is just a five-minute walk from the North Asheville B&B where we stayed and we’ll definitely be back. My Jumbo Lump Crab Louie Salad was delicious and my companion thoroughly enjoyed his Oyster Po Boy. Information: jettieraes.com. On our way out of town, we visited the 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum on the Blue Ridge Parkway to walk the forested hiking (and biking) trails along Bent Creek, a tributary to the French Broad River, and tour the cultivated gardens and extraordinary bonsai exhibit. An unexpected surprise was the Nature Connects®: Art with Lego Bricks traveling exhibit, featuring larger-thanlife-size sculptures, which runs through Nov. 1. Information: ncarboretum.org.

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Confusing code and unhappy neighbor means $1,500 fine for RV in driveway Continued from page 1 said. “For an RV in my driveway?” The city has never allowed RVs in driveways. It was a rule carried over from DeKalb County prior to the 2008 incorporation, said City Councilmember John Heneghan, who didn’t have another explanation for

why it was an ordinance. But that rule was unclear to residents because of a jargonheavy ordinance about setbacks, or the distance from property lines, that lacked a definition for the unusual term “street yard.” “The city ordinance said you can’t park in the street yard,” Wintrich said. “It didn’t

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say anything about the driveway. So in my non-legally-trained brain, having your RV in your driveway wasn’t against the ordinances.” Wintrich checked to make sure the neighborhood didn’t have a homeowners association when he moved in because he didn’t want to have a rule against parking his RV in his driveway. The neighbor who filed the complaint asked not to be identified in this story. She said RVs and other similar vehicles like boats or trailers are “unsightly” and “lower the property value.” “I pay for the house and the taxes,” she said. “You go through other neighborhoods that have similar homes, and they don’t have trash on their curbs or RVs at all, and they got an HOA. But why do we need one? You just call code enforcement.” During an Aug. 24 meeting, the City Council passed an amendment to the ordinance to define “street yard” as the setback adjacent or parallel to a street that extends from the property line to the house. That definition clarifies that FRED WINTRICH driveways are considered a part of a house’s street yard, and a diagram was also added with the hopes that would be more clear. The amendment also clarifies that driveways are permitted in, and part of, the setbacks for street, side and rear yards. In a chart that outlines the permitted and prohibited features of street, side and rear yard setbacks, the city clarified that “recreational vehicles, trailers, travel trailers, campers, pickup coaches, motorized homes, boat trailers, boats, and similar vehicles and equipment” are only permitted in “rear setbacks,” meaning a backyard that does not abut a public street. The complaint against Wintrich was the only code enforcement complaint regarding RVs parking in the driveways since July 1, according to an open records request. In the Aug. 24 meeting, city staff member Richard Hathcock said residents were completing “honey-do lists” because of the pandemic, which is why the staff clarified the ordinance. Wintrich said he did not know about the clarification. But, he said, he still sees houses with those types of code enforcement violations in his neighborhood every day. “Your city relies on its neighbors to tattle on each other to enforce the code,” Wintrich said. “It makes it inherently biased to whatever doesn’t please the eye of your neighbor.”

City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said the city has two code enforcement officers who mostly work from resident complaints. The neighbor who complained about Wintrich’s RV doesn’t see that ad hoc enforcement as a problem. She said it’s up to residents to make the complaints if there’s something against the city code in their neighborhood and wishes people would call code enforcement more. “I’m older — retired — so I’m OK with being a grumpy old woman,” she said. “That suits me fine. I didn’t mind being a grumpy middle-aged or young woman. It’s my neighborhood.” A Code Enforcement officer inspected the house in midJune. Wintrich got a warning and three citations over a monthand-a-half period, according to the city case documents. Wintrich said the RV was in his driveway for nine months before he received any code enforcement citations. Wintrich said he had planned to challenge the violation in the city Municipal Court but decided against it as he racked up more fines. The complaining neighbor said those fines could be used to fund a “Tidy Dunwoody” campaign from the city. “If Code Enforcement went around and gave people warnings first and then fines second, we would have enough money in the till citywide to do all sorts of beautification projects,” she said. Wintrich now parks his RV in an Extra Space Storage facility in Alpharetta, for which he has to pay $125 monthly. He said that makes preparing for camping trips with his family more inconvenient because he has to go get the RV to prepare for the trip about a night in advance. During an Aug. 10 meeting, Councilmember Heneghan asked the staff for a public relations campaign to tell homeowners about the clarification for those residents who may not have realized driveways were included in the street yard setbacks. “I just know there’s a number of residents who have these RVs and thought they were legal,” Heneghan said in the meeting. Heneghan said the council gets residents contacting them about both sides of the issue — those who want to keep their RVs in the driveway and neighbors who call out the code violation. The city made a Facebook post about the amendment on Sept. 3. Wintrich paid his fines in court on Aug. 19, before the council passed the clarification.

A disabled veteran with not so much as a parking ticket in the state of Georgia for the last 15 years gets sent to jail? For an RV in my driveway?



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Northside/Johnson Ferry Imaging

Northside/Peachtree Dunwoody Imaging




1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Women’s Center Atlanta, GA 30342 404-845-5700

5505 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 120 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-256-1979

Northside Hospital/Atlanta Imaging

Northside/Lake Hearn Imaging

Northside/West Paces Imaging




1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE Atlanta, GA 30342 404-851-8820

1100 Lake Hearn Drive, Suite 150 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-255-5512

Northside/Doctors’ Centre Imaging

Northside/Medical Tower Imaging



980 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 300 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-851-6363

5670 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Atlanta, GA 30342 404-531-4633

Northside/Interchange Imaging

Northside/Meridian Mark Imaging



5780 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-459-1600


993-F Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 110 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-252-3995

5445 Meridian Mark Road, Suite 450 Atlanta, GA 30342 404-459-1875

3200 Downwood Circle, Suite 140 Atlanta, GA 30327 404-352-0444

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