October 2020 - Sandy Springs Reporter

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OCTOBER 2020 • VOL. 14 — NO. 10

Sandy Springs Reporter AROUND TOWN

Oglethorpe professor brings ghosts to life



North End shopping center review favors mixed-use, single-family homes



Presidential campaigns appeal to suburban fears P16


A pastor’s quest for racial reconciliation P18

This concept for the North River shopping center, a slight favorite of North End Revitalization Committee members, is high-density, but keeps buildings to six stories or shorter. A hotel on Roswell Road was proposed for each concept. The concept encourages some redevelopment of the Winding River condo community to the east of the property.

Cultural Center plan changes location BY JOHN RUCH AND BOB PEPALIS

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

An $8.6 million Cultural Center proposed by the city in a bid to be home to a state Holocaust memorial has shifted to a new location at City Springs, lost two partner organizations intended to fund it, and may change its name. If its funding comes together, the center still would house an art gallery and the offices of the Georgia Commission on the Ho-


locaust and its exhibit “Anne Frank in the World,” which is currently on display in a Roswell Road shopping center. But the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sandy Springs, the city’s tourism bureau, have withdrawn from previous pledges to help fund the center and become tenants within it. And an See CULTURAL on page 20


BY BOB PEPALIS The North End Revitalization Committee and residents have wrapped up a review of four shopping centers targeted by the city for redevelopment. Mixed-use remakes were a general point of agreement, though consultants say there’s little demand for new stores, and many residents called for single-family homes rather than multifamily buildings. The affordability of housing in such redevelopments has been part of the conversation, too. “We support the city looking to redesign the underutilized shopping centers,” said Melanie Noble-Couchman, who with her husband, David, successfully persuaded the city to take up affordable housing issues. “And adding more housing is greatly See NORTH on page 30



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2 | Community

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City to serve as ‘living laboratory’ for Kennesaw State researchers BY BOB PEPALIS

Construction Loans Renovation Loans

The city will serve as a “living laboratory” for Kennesaw State University researchers in a partnership announced by Mayor Rusty Paul on Sept. 15.

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Mayor Rusty Paul said the city and KSU had been working on the collaboration for

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months, with the pandemic causing some delays.

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Paul said that the city is in Georgia State University territory for collaboration, but

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that university didn’t offer businesses classes in the community. KSU was approached and began teaching master of business administration courses and offered an MBA cerBROOK BENTON


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“I had a brilliant idea… Why don’t we invite them to use Sandy Springs as an urban laboratory?” he said. The collaboration would give the city free consulting work that would “help us stay

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on the cutting edge of technology,” Paul said. KSU and the city will decide what projects to undertake that align with classroom


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tificate program on the City Springs campus.

objectives and provide innovative solutions for Sandy Springs. The organizations are considering programs like Smart Street Design to select test sites for improving transit, passenger vehicles and active transportation. A Streamside Property Ownership Outreach program might help educate the community about stream buffers. Another project might create a business and marketing plan for CityBar at City Springs. Paul said he sat in a meeting with every department head in KSU to discuss the collaboration, and they were excited about the partnership. It’s not only a great boost for the city, he said, but 41,000 future researchers can come into the community. The City Council approved the memorandum of understanding with KSU to build on the existing collaboration at its Sept. 15 meeting. The final agreement will probably take another six to eight months, he said. “It’s an exciting opportunity to serve as a living laboratory aligning classroom re-

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search with real-world challenges, with both the student body and the Sandy Springs community benefitting from the process,” said Paul. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with the City of Sandy Springs and look forward to creating mutually beneficial opportunities for our students, faculty, and the

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members of the community,” said Kennesaw State’s Vice President for Research Phaedra Corso in a release. KSU’s Michael J. Coles College of Business currently offers an MBA program and an executive certificate in business strategy from classrooms located at City Springs.

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Community | 3


CAC and Sandy Springs Society fundraisers go virtual BY BOB PEPALIS Two of the city’s biggest charitable fundraisers will

Including: CBT, DBT, and Holistic Program Options

have virtual versions this year due to the pandemic: the Sandy Springs Society’s “Evening of Elegance” and

Intensive Out-Patient Program

the Community Assistance Center’s “Vintage Affair.”

Evening of Elegance The “Evening of Elegance” into a Nov. 5 virtual event to raise funds for local nonprofits. The Elegant Elf Marketplace fundraiser that usually follows has been canceled this year due to the pandemic. The Evening of Elegance honorary chairs are husband-and-wife team Vince Dooley, a former University of Georgia football coach, and motivational speaker Barbara Dooley; and Steve Penley, an artist whose work is part of the book “Dooley’s Playbook.”

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The event will feature a live and silent auction. Items in the auction include vaca-

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tion homes and experiences, artwork, golf package, jewelry and an original painting

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“Barbara and I are thrilled to support the Sandy Springs Society in their efforts to help the community during this difficult time,” said Vince Dooley in a press release The two men also will offer signed copies of “Dooley’s Playbook” and other UGAthemed items. For more information about those works see penleyartco.com.

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The Community Assistance Center, which helps people at risk of homelessness, is organizing an Oct. 24 virtual fundraiser that people can join in home gatherings. “Vintage Affair Island Getaways” will have participants order dinner from Post Exchange Catering and return to their own “islands” while they connect online to a live broadcast featuring music from Caribbean Steel. The event will include an auction and a raffle drawing. Dinner is $100 per person and raffle tickets are $50 each. For more information, see vintageaffair.org.

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City approves planning Abernathy/Roswell intersection fixes BY BOB PEPALIS A high number of crashes at the intersection of Abernathy and Roswell roads led the City Council Sept. 15 to approve spending another $161,100 to design short-term fixes and analyze potential long-term improvements. Kimley-Horn & Associates initially received a little bit less than $55,000 in October 2019 to study the intersection and three others to analyze crash data and develop fixes that might be eligible for safety program funding through the Georgia Department of Transportation, said Kristen Wescott, the city’s Transportation Services Unit manager. The study also includes other roadways tying into the main intersection, including Sunny Brook Lane and Cherry Tree Lane. The Abernathy/Roswell intersection recorded 134 accidents in 2017. Its ratio of 555 crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles made it the fourth highest intersection in the city for accidents. Kimley-Horn’s report revealed that most of the crashes are rear-end accidents, which indicates congestion, Wescott said. Short-term solutions included adding right-turn lane signalization for westbound Abernathy Road; pulling back the east leg median nose; and simplifying southbound signage. Other short-term fixes include a southbound left-turn barrier; installing on Roswell Road southbound a right-turn mountable curb and hatching stripes; and making the Abernathy Square shopping center’s southern driveway right-in, right-out only. Councilmember Jody Reichel said she goes by the intersection several times a day and it’s not unusual to see some sort of accident. “Can we start doing some of these intersection improvements now, or are we going to have to wait for this engineering study?” she asked. The designs would still need to go through GDOT for approval because Roswell Road is a state route. For long-range alternatives, consultants are looking at different types of intersection designs, Wescott said. Possibilities include a diverging diamond like the one at I-285 and Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody, and a “quadrant design” that would create a secondary intersection.


Short-term intersection improvements planned include right-turn signals westbound on Abernathy to Roswell Road, pulling a median “nose” back, and four other fixes.


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Community | 5


Billboards come down on triangle property after years of legal wrangling BY BOB PEPALIS After years of legal wrangling, two billboards on Roswell Road across from City Springs finally came down Sept. 24, clearing the way for a planned park. Mayor Rusty Paul piloted an earthmover that knocked down one of the billboards, according to the city’s Facebook page, which included a video. The other, larger billboard was knocked down around 5:15 p.m. by a demolition crew while some city employees watched from the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center across the street. “Good stuff!” exclaimed Ronda Smith,

Left, an earthmover braced to demolish one of the billboards on the triangle property Sept. 24.

president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, who was on the scene shortly after the second billboard came

land at the intersection of Mount Vernon

Above, the remains of one billboard, in the foreground, and the other in the middle ground, following their demolition. In the background is the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.

Highway and Roswell and Johnson Ferry


down. The billboards stood on the triangle of

roads. The city intends to redesign the intersection and turn part of the triangle into a park. In the meantime, the billboard dispute was partly responsible for stalling work for more than three years, leaving ads and broken concrete across from the city’s prized new civic center. Paul previously referred to it as “the wasteland.” In 2017, the city agreed to buy the Roswell Road/Johnson Ferry Road/Mount Vernon Highway triangle for $4.8 million from W.B. Holdings Triangle LLC. That company’s principal, Adam Orkin, extended the leases with Outfront Media for the billboards with a clause that said the lease would cease to exist, City Attorney Dan Lee told the council last year.


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sued an order in the city’s favor. But OutCY

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for an emergency order in Fulton County Superior Court on Jan. 17 to remove the K

billboards to make way for a temporary fire station driveway. Outfront Media lost its appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said. Initially the billboard company filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia, but later withdrew that appeal. Commercial buildings and an auto shop that stood on the triangle were demolished in 2017. SS




10:27 AM

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Four years after a fire led to its closing, a gun range reopened on Aug. 31 with a new owner and a full remodel of the interior. The Sandy Springs Gun Range opened at 8040 Roswell Road under the ownership of Eric Adcock, a part-time employee of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and owner of several other gun ranges and gun stores. He had kept his eye on the property while it was under contract for a storage facility. When that deal fell through after the city rejected rezoning to allow it, Adcock said the timing was right to reopen a gun range with a complete gun store. Adcock said he’s been in law enforcement for about 15 years and got into the gun range business 10 years ago. His passion for training led him to the industry. The Athens Gun Club is one of his other gun ranges. Since the fire that closed the gun range the property remained vacant. “It sustained pretty significant fire damage through one of the air cleaning and air handler units,” Adcock said. That unit had to be replaced. Smoke damage throughout the building required a complete remodel of the interior. The city was great to work with, Adcock said, citing everyone from the planning and zoning staff to Police Chief Ken DeSimone, who called him personally. The gun range has developed a steady, sustainable customer base, Adcock said. “I think people come into the gun range just as they always have because it’s a good, safe family outing,” he said. The gun range requires hearing and eye protection in its 16 pistol- and rifle-rated lanes. The gun range serves as a full training institution also, from beginning shooter advancing all the way to tactical rifle class. More information can be found at sandyspringsgunrange.com, or call 770-680-2075. The store is open seven days a week. Adcock said the range generally follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for pandemic safety precautions, but does not mandate mask-wearing. Gun lanes are divided, separating customers and isolating them. Adcock said the range has a HEPA air filtration system to keep the air clean. Memberships are available but not required. A members’ only lounge is available that includes lockers.

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Community | 7


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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sell; he thinks they will work OK for you and that you’ll be happy. He’s not that concerned that it is the best option for your long-term health. Most financial advisors still operate outside a 100% pure fiduciary standard, and thus not always under a legal obligation to put your best interest above their own. PRESUMABLY, L&W FOLLOWS A DIFFERENT APPROACH? At Linscomb & Williams, we are like that Registered Dietician. Following the fiduciary standard, we are obligated to put your interest ahead of our own. This is always important, but most especially, in times of market turmoil -times when it makes sense to get a second opinion from an experienced firm with no products to sell. We have an experienced, credentialled team ready to deliver that second opinion right here, right now.

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Community | 9


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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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10 | Perimeter Business

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Perimeter hotel market rebound could take more than a year


The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North hotel, left, in the Concourse Center as seen in 2017.

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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


Water main move adds costs to intersection project BY BOB PEPALIS The City Council on Sept. 14 voted to add another $94,142 to an improvement project for the intersection of Spalding Drive and Dalrymple and Trowbridge roads to move a section of water main that was so shallow that simply grading the roadway uncovered the pipe. Construction began in June on the $2.27 million project and is expected to be completed in April 2021. The traffic efficiency project includes an upgraded traffic signal and turn lanes, which effectively widens the road near the intersection. The 12-inch water main, which is owned and operated by the city of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, should have been buried three to four feet deep, Sandy Springs officials said. The pipe is under the shoulder of the road, but with the widening, it would be under the road. Public Works Director Marty Martin said the pipe was too shallow to be capped. Instead,


315 linear feet of water main will be relocated into the new shoulder of Spalding Drive, at the correct depth. The project’s money comes from a transportation special local option sales tax. Councilmember John Paulson asked Mayor Rusty Paul to call the city of Atlanta for reimbursement. “I understand totally your logic and we will approach them and see if we can get a little help with the cost,” Paul said. Councilmember Andy Bauman said this is just one more item to put on the list for why the city needs control over the water system in the city. Sandy Springs has taken the City of Atlanta to court over access to documents regarding water bills, rates and services. The issues were designated for arbitration that had been rescheduled to no sooner than September, Sandy Springs City Attorney Dan Lee said.

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.

ID survivor), I care a lot about healthcare and insurance legislation as well as helping our veteran and military community. I am willing to continue to serve this upcoming term because I have been successful in getting legislation passed for the benefit of my district, using a lifetime of leadership experience.

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


Christine Triebsch ChristineForGa.com


Democratic incumbent Jen Jordan faces a challenge from Republican Harrison Lance.

Jen Jordan jen4ga.com

vance in capabilities and goals for our cities and state. I want to support law enforcement so they can keep our families safe. We must also eradicate human trafficking, as it is a terrible crime that is plaguing our state. Lastly, we need to continue to promote an environment where Georgia can be the number one place in this nation to do business. These are bipartisan goals that should rise above party politics and political posturing.


Republican incumbent Kay Kirkpatrick faces a challenge from Democrat Christine Triebsch.

Kay Kirkpatrick What is motivating you to run for this office? The biggest motivating factor for me is my children and their future. Every child in this state deserves a first-class education that will provide the skills to compete in an ever-changing global economy. We must invest in smaller class sizes, in our teachers, and in job training programs in high schools. Every child in this state deserves to breathe clean air and drink clean water. That is why we must stop harmful chemicals from being released into our air and water. Every child deserves to feel safe, which is why common-sense gun reforms, like universal background checks, are needed.

Harrison Lance LanceForGA.com

What is motivating you to run for this office? I was born and raised in my district and have seen everything change as we ad-

SenatorKayKirkpatrick.com What is motivating you to run for this office? Service to my community is my motivation. I have lived in the district since 1986 and want to protect our quality of life. This includes excellent education, economic opportunity and keeping taxes as low as possible. As a physician (and COV-

nist/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. What is motivating you to run for this office? The voice of a common-sense, compassionate, moderate Democrat has not been heard in state Senate District 32 (SSD32) for a very long time, as it has been represented by a Republican senator for over 20 years. It is time for new leadership in SSD32 and the state. I believe that all races should be contested. The voters will decide the type of government they want when they elect the candidate that most closely represents their preferences and values on important issues such as healthcare in the middle of pandemic, public education, gerrymandering, common-sense gun legislation, etc.

Sally Harrell sallyharrell.org


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

Garry Guan

GuanForSenate.org 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 commu-

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 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



Community | 13


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.


Republican incumbent John Albers faces a challenge from Democrat Sarah Beeson.

John Albers


What is motivating you to run for this office? As a mother running a small family business in Roswell, I noticed a void that needed to be filled in representing folks like us here in north Fulton. All the more frustrating is how our current elected leaders block constituents on social media or refuse to hold public forums while legislating on our behalf -- it flies in the face of our American values. I decided to step up and run to be the 56th District’s next state senator because I believe north Fulton deserves fair, transparent, accessible leadership at the Georgia Capitol.


Democratic incumbent Josh McLaurin faces a challenge from Republican Alex Kaufman.

criminal justice system. That work is far from done. And in some cases, the legislature unfortunately has moved backwards: rather than protect schools working hard to adapt to the pandemic, the majority party passed a budget that cut $950 million from public schools. We also remember that in 2019, the majority party passed an unconstitutional abortion ban threatening women’s health and personal autonomy. I will continue to oppose these backwards and divisive policies.

cused on public safety, safely reopening the economy and schools, and responsible and effective healthcare. These are my priorities and if elected I will deliver. I am prepared to be held accountable for these promises.

Alex Kaufman


What is motivating you to run for this office? As the current senator, I have sponsored and passed hundreds of important pieces of legislation and have been recognized as a leader by numerous organizations. I have served in the Senate for the past nine years, rising into the leadership as the chief deputy whip. As the chairman of Public Safety, subcommittee chairman of Appropriations, vice chairman of Finance and member of the Rules, Regulated Industries and Veterans committees, I am best positioned to help and support north Fulton. I work closely with city and county elected officials and assure we are making a meaningful impact for families.

Sarah Beeson votebeeson.com

What is motivating you to run for this office? I am running for this seat because I love this community and I believe that the residents of House District 51 deserve better. The incumbent has proven to be wholly ineffective and has failed to represent the values of the people of this district. The residents of this district are fo-

Josh McLaurin joshforgeorgia.com

What is motivating you to run for this office? I ran for office in 2018 to keep Georgia focused on issues working families care about, like affordable healthcare, access to education, and reforming a broken

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14 | Community DISTRICT 52

Republican incumbent Deborah Silcox faces a challenge from Democrat Shea Roberts.

Shea Roberts

sheaforgeorgia.com What is motivating you to run for this office?

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

What is motivating you to run for this office? I am proud to be a strong, independent voice for House District 52, which I have represented since 2016. My focus has been and will continue to be the issues that matter most to our community. My experience in the legislature and my commitment to the health, safety and economic security of this district have motivated me to seek re-election in 2020.


Republican incumbent Bob Ellis faces a challenge from Democrat Justin Holsomback.

Bob Ellis




Democratic incumbent Matthew Wilson faces a challenge from Republican Alan Cole. Cole did not provide Voters Guide answers.

Matthew Wilson


In 2018, I ran to represent our district because I felt our leaders no longer reflected our community’s shared values. Since then, the need for change has only become more urgent. As we see our way out of this global health crisis, we need legislators who will fight for accessible, affordable healthcare, support our small businesses, and fully fund our schools; representatives who will prioritize fair elections over politics; leaders who will forge an inclusive Georgia to protect our children’s futures. In 2018, we came close to winning this critical seat. This year, we’re finishing what we started.

Deborah Silcox


What is motivating you to run for this office?

What is motivating you to run for this office? Our work remains unfinished. While I am proud of the successes we’ve had in passing tax relief for Fulton and DeKalb homeowners and reestablishing the DeKalb Board of Ethics, our state has unfortunately continued its backslide under our current leadership. I am asking House District 80 to send me back to the Capitol so I can continue to fight for access to quality, affordable healthcare when so many folks have lost their jobs due to a mismanaged pandemic, and to repeal the unconstitutional, anti-choice forced pregnancy law the legislature passed last year despite my and many others’ strong opposition.


really help workers and families in Fulton. It can help drive innovation in the public transportation space, which in turn would bring jobs and opportunity to our citizens. It can directly impact pressing public health issues like HIV/AIDS and opiate addiction through the county’s Public Health Centers. The commission oversees our elections in Fulton, a system in desperate need of an overhaul. As my fiancée and I start our family in Fulton County, I want to help strengthen our community.

The key motivations for me running for office are serving the citizens of District 2 and Fulton and ensuring that Fulton government is effective in meeting citizen needs. I have lived in this community for over 25 years and have a vested stake in ensuring that the citizens of District 2 have strong representation and voice in county government. My professional background allows me the opportunity to apply my experience to ensure that Fulton government continues to be sound financially and operationally and strengthen its services to citizens.

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

Justin Holsomback JustinHolsomback.com

What is motivating you to run for this office? I am running for the Fulton County Commission because it is a position that can

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. SS

BY BOB PEPALIS The Fulton County Schools (FCS) system was on track in late September to enter phase IV of its reopening plan on Oct. 5, which brings students to schools for two days of in-person instruction, though parents can keep their children in universal remote learning for all five school days. “The current positivity rate for Fulton County affirms the reopening plan is on the right timeline,” said Cliff Jones, Fulton County Schools chief academic officer. The current timetable has students returning for face-to-face instruction five days per week on Oct. 14, nine days after the district entered Phase IV. Face masks must be worn by all students, teachers, staff and visitors to any FCS facility. The school system’s coronavirus report for Sept. 7-20 shows two students or staff members reported positive test results, resulting in five people being quarantined. One positive test was reported at Ison Springs Elementary and North Springs High. Districtwide, 42 positive test results were reported with 99 students and staff directed to self-quarantine. The students will attend classes on the following schedule: ■ Groups 1 & 3 – Monday and Thursday face to face (other days Remote) ■ Groups 2 & 4 – Tuesday and Friday face to face (other days Remote) Jones said more than 70,000 students log in daily. Platforms used for instruction, communications and grading are performing well, he said. Not all students are logging in as expected, Jones said. School personnel are contacting approximately 10 percent of students districtwide who have failed to log in as scheduled. Work assigned to students is being completed. Parents seem to monitor their children more closely. “We have seen a rise in parents logging into our Infinite Campus platform from this time last year,” Jones said. Parents can designate whether they want their children to attend face-to-face or to remain in Universal Remote Learning by filling out a form on the FCS website at.fultonschools. org/F2FElection.



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Atlant firstit trans lba’s DeKa moves UrbanerFood planFore mast st would need isahea bothd,publ ic parkt boos tax sales & community farm


PBS to air local singer’s documentary

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month to consider sioners is expected next plan designed to countywide transit master bus service and deimprove current rail and COMMENTAR new transit over the Y termine where to build next 30 years. commisAs part of that consideration,if they beto decide sioners will also have to vote for enough motivated are lieve voters pay for the proposed a sales tax increase to P10 include light rail, bus improvements, which rapid transit in rapid transit and arterial The proposed north and south DeKalb. full-penny DeKalb Atlanta Regional DeKalb County, the County transit worked with lomaster plan Commission and MARTA gathered public input scenario would cal municipalities and proposed transit masinclude four light over the past year on a goals: address the rapid transit routes; ter plan with three broad routes foster economfour bus rapid transit county’s mobility challenges, quality of life. end of I-285; P44 including along the top ic development and improve recently toured transit routes. These and eight arterial rapid Consultants with VHB presenta180 project miles. ’S NEST madeROBIN cover June would in and expansions DeKalb cities The dirt path conceptual transit on Buford tions on proposed and that is the Highway in Brookhaven and Dunsubject of front of the master plans to the a dispute about DYANA BAGBY Orchard at Both presentations a new sidewa Brookh woody City Councils. lk and landsca aven a 1 cent sales tax pe strip. spotlighted two scenarios: raise $3.65 billion over increase that would projects, and a half30 years and fund 16 raise $1.85 billion penny increase that would P11 15 projects. over 30 years and fund tax requires a vote. Increasing the sales tax is 8 percent. Springs, a member DeKalb’s current sales Kevin Abel of Sandy decimajor a is which n Board Going to a referendum BY DYANA BAGBY of the State Transportatio project manager, Department of Transsion, Grady Smith, VHB Check out our oversees the Georgia AND EVELYN ANDREWS council at its June 10 took those officials to told the Brookhaven at ReporterNews podcasts portation, however, Dunwoody and hearing DeKalb leadthe toll lanes projpapers.net Elected officials in meeting. He said he is task and said he supports out against the time to consider the and Ga. 400 because ership is wanting more Doraville are speaking ects planned on I-285 input from the cittoll lanes and have BY DYAN bus rapid transit to proposals and is seeking planned I-285 “top end” A BAGBY they promise to bring The Brook the estimated $5 dyanabagby@r signed a petition opposing See DEKALB on page 30haven Reporter the area. eporternewspape to begin construcen has some 31 rs.net billion project expected isMAY mail deliver residents See DUNWOODY on page 2019 ed • VOL. 13 —Emory NO. 5Univer living in by neighb tion in 2023. nearhomes on selecteto orhood sity’s propos through traffic s worried about a $1 billion cutcarrier routes d “health innova al to build and more in such roads over the next congestion tion distric on ZIP 30319 as Sherid t” 15 years on an, Briarcl approximatel North Druid 60 acres of iff and Executive Hills. For information: Park in Brookh y Emory officia delivery@rep avorternewspape ls say they ing to allevia rs.net are workte those ► concerns by con8 See TRAFFIC See our ad on page on .com page lauderhills 22 et

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Community | 15















An art fan maps street murals in and beyondAtlanta






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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 to pay for group was revothose 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 future and transit That’s in of on Ga. 400 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

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building The Georgia Department of Transportation is considering flyover toll lanes atop the Northridge Road overpass.



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Affordable housing advocates who co-chaired the city’s North End Revitalization Task Force launched an initiative opposing the task force’s final report with a community meeting on Feb. 28. At that meeting, several north end residents said they feared the recommendations would lead to displacement of See TWO on page 14

scenes. For information: books for a long “I know it’s been on the delivery@reporterne wspapers.net time, but we need to mitigate it as much as we can,” said Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), who says she’s trying to arrange a large-scale meeting of state engineers, local officials and possibly the general public. “This is very upsetting.” The toll lanes, called “express lanes” or “managed lanes,” are proposed by the Geor-



The Neighborhood Planning Unit system that reviews planning, zoning and other big issues for Atlanta city government is getting a review of its own. A downtown nonprofit called the Center for Civic Innovation has begun a quiet, but

potentially influential, series of meetings and surveys that aims to have reform recommendations for the 45-year-old system on the table by March 2020. “There are things about [the NPU system] that are amazing, and things that we need to have a lot more conversation about,” said CCI Executive Director Rohit See AFTER on page 14



The wooden stock is beige and battered with age. The metal plate above the trigger is decorated with a pair of birds. The barrel is long, heavy and octagonal. It’s an old muzzleloading firearm, for sure. It might even be the one that killed the deer that gave Buckhead its curious name in 1838. John Beach, president of the Buckhead Heritage Society, is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by tracking John Beach, see the tales surrounding Around Town, page 20. another little-known piece of area history – an 1842 log cabin that quietly survived destruction by being moved to a Buckhead back yard. In the meantime, Beach gave the Reporter an exclusive closeSee IS on page 22

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Left, John Beach, president of the Buckhead which reputedly killed the neighborhood’s Heritage Society, holds the “Buckhead Gun,” namesake deer in 1838. Right, holds what is said to be the same firearm in an undated photo. (John James Whitley Ruch/Special)

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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.

represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. SS


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.

Robin’s Nest

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.”


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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Cultural Center plan changes location Continued from page 1

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auto shop the city bought last year for $1.8 million as the center’s site now will see some yet-to-be-determined other function, in the meantime being used by the city’s vehicle fleet team and a police bicycle patrol office. The center now is planned for a grassy corner of the City Springs campus at the intersection of Roswell Road and Mount Vernon Highway, which officials previously said was left open for possible commercial development. The new site was chosen for better school bus access and proximity to the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The facility might be called something else as its focus might be more about history and education, she said. Those changes -- all decided behind the scenes -- were announced in part at a Sept. 15 City Council meeting, where a resolution was adopted that outlined the plan. The resolution, which came after a two-hour private discussion in executive session, was needed for use by the commission to apply for a grant for some of its share of the funding, according to city officials. The commission did not respond to comment requests. City Councilmember Andy Bauman is a member of the commission. The change is the latest twist in a twoyear-long saga of shifting plans as the city pursues a Holocaust memorial authorized in 2018 by the General Assembly. Complicating the situation is the uncertain status of the nearby Heritage Sandy Springs site, which the city abruptly took over this year when its namesake nonprofit went dormant amid the pandemic and other organization stresses. Holocaust education has long been important in local culture. The city is home to one of metro Atlanta’s largest Jewish communities. Founding Mayor Eva Galambos -whose husband John was a Holocaust survivor -- fought to get the Anne Frank exhibit in the city. The exhibit and the commission are housed at the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road The commission is charged with creating the new Holocaust memorial with fundraising help from a friends group. The initial idea of legislators was a memorial at the state Capitol in Atlanta. But from the start, there was talk of Sandy Springs either competing for the location or for a secondary memorial or display. It remains unclear exactly what would be proposed for the Cultural Center, but Kraun used the term “memorial.” “The commission is considering a number of possible designs for a Holocaust memorial on the new site,” she said. “Decisions will be made based on space, building design, budget and availability of design components.” Kraun previously said the city had been considering a Cultural Center since 2016. That was the year rumblings began about a possible standalone building to house the Anne Frank exhibit and Visit Sandy Springs, which at the time was housed in a connected office. The Holocaust memorial legislation was sponsored by two legisla-

tors who represent part of Sandy Springs: Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick and Rep. Deborah Silcox, the latter of whom said she hoped the city would house the memorial. In 2018, shortly after the General Assembly authorized the memorial, the city made the surprise announcement of the Cultural Center concept, including the specific involvement of Visit Sandy Springs and the Chamber and with a design created by an architect. Mayor Rusty Paul claimed the concept essentially had been approved by the public as a concept in the 2012 City Center Master Plan that resulted in City Springs, but nothing so specific was in that plan. A community meeting held after the Cultural Center concept and design were announced resulted in no significant changes to the city’s plan. Another surprise was the tentatively proposed location: the Buckhead Motor Works auto shop at 145 Hilderbrand Drive and an adjacent city-owned building used by Heritage Sandy Springs, a history and culture nonprofit that ran a neighboring museum. The city-owned building was pegged for Heritage’s own expansion in a 2016 master plan, but the entire Cultural Center concept was added to a revised master plan sometime in 2018 or 2019. Heritage did not respond to questions at time; earlier this year, its board chairman praised the concept, but just weeks later, the organization shut down operations as the city took over. The City Council went on to approve the Cultural Center concept and the purchase of the auto shop. But those decisions came with rare dissension. City Councilmember Tibby DeJulio at the time questioned the expense of the auto shop purchase and said that all of the Cultural Center’s proposed uses except for Visit Sandy Springs were not the job of government and taxpayers to support. During the vote for the latest plan, however, he called the resolution “very appropriate.” Tom Mahaffey, the Chamber’s president and CEO, earlier this year expressed excitement about his organization joining the Cultural Center. But now the Chamber will stay in the “King” skyscraper in Perimeter Center’s Concourse Center. Mahaffey now says he was “always a little apprehensive” about the move and that “it probably makes more sense to stay where we are” in the business district rather than deal with downtown Sandy Springs traffic. He said the city did not ask the Chamber to change its plan. Visit Sandy Springs is out as well, with Executive Director Jennifer Cruce explaining only that “a lot has happened” since the original announcement. The Anne Frank exhibit remains the important part, she said. Kraun said that Visit Sandy Springs eventually could end up at the general Heritage site, whose main office is on Blue Stone Road. Heritage was considered as a third option for the Cultural Center itself, she said. And the auto shop site may yet become part of the Heritage property after all, as Kraun said Paul noted that it was long conceived for such an expansion. SS

Special Section | 21

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 Continued from page 22

Cloudland Canyon State Park

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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. SS

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Fort Mountain State Park

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walk, take the 1.2-mile loop around the 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 restaurant.

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.


Special Section | 23

OCTOBER 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


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404.480.HOME | ANSLEYMOUNTAINS.COM | 116 WEST MAIN ST. UNIT 1C, BLUE RIDGE, GA 30513 Equal Housing Opportunity | Christopher Burell, Principal Broker and Chief Motivation Officer | All information believed accurate but not guaranteed. If your home is currently listed, this is not a solicitation.

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Amenities & Features


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OCTOBER 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net



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.

Special Section | 27

OCTOBER 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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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OCTOBER 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Special Section | 29

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North End shopping center review favors mixed-use, single-family homes Continued from page 1 needed.. we hope that some of it will be affordable for young families and first time homebuyers with incomes from $45,000 to $65,000.” The couple and three affordable housing development organizations in 2017 privately presented the mayor and City Council members with a redevelopment concept for some of the north end’s older apartment complexes, Over a period of four weeks starting Aug. 13 and ending Sept. 14, the committee heard plans that included mixed-use residential and a limited amount of commercial space in the form of retail and office space. Residents were given a week for each shopping center to complete an online survey about the concepts presented. North River (8765-8897 Roswell Road), River Springs ((8610 Roswell Road, former Loehman’s), Northridge (8331-8371 Roswell Road) and North Springs (7300 Roswell Road, former Big Lots) shopping centers were identified by the city as in need of revitalization. A market study by the city’s consultant, TSW, showed that the city has an annual demand for 311 to 484 owner-occupied housing units and 360 to 560 renter-occu-

pied housing units. The concepts with the highest density would create more than 2,200 additional residential units, mostly in multi-unit buildings. However, committee members generally rejected the 10-story buildings necessary for those plans, instead favoring a limit of five- or six-story buildings. In previous meetings held in person in March and virtually in June, participants helped the city identify goals for the redevelopment, which included: ■ Mix of housing options that are attainable at many price points. ■ Desire for parks, plazas, green space, and connected parks and trails. ■ Desire for mixed-use with residential and retail. ■ New buildings should not be taller than 5-6 stories. Consultants and the city recognized revitalizing the shopping centers requires changing North Roswell Road to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly, with a landscaped median, crosswalks and bike lanes. Tamara Carrera, a member of the committee and CEO of Community Assistance Center, agreed that making Roswell Road a more pedestrian-friendly space and more attractive is a prerequisite to any redevel-

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opment concept. She wants to see a median where people can stand instead of being caught in the “suicide lane” trying to cross. Bike lanes also are needed. “We are talking about creating a walking path to the river, but if you have problems walking and biking you aren’t going to make it to the river,” Carrera said. She acknowledged it would be less attractive for commuters using Roswell Road to avoid using GA 400. Ronda Smith, another committee member and president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, suggested continued monitoring of the public meeting process and the public presentation developed from the meetings and surveys to be made for City Council later this year. “As a sitting member of this active committee I am bound by the directive set forth at the outset of this study to forward all media inquiries to the City’s Communications or Economic Development Department,” she replied when asked questions about the concepts and the city’s process.

Retail demand and housing

The demand for retail is low and changing faster due to the pandemic, according to the market report prepared by TSW. “We need the spaces that bring experiences rather than the commercial space,” Carrera said. “But with that we need affordable housing and we need housing, period.” Millenials and other people in the market aren’t necessarily looking at big houses, she said. They are more into minimalist living space. They prioritize being close enough to everything. Their number one priority in housing is affordability and second is a home more easily managed that a huge mansion. “Both of those I think can be accommodated in those designs,” Carrera said. She is concerned that the city builds enough incentives for developers to be able to provide a sliding scale of housing. Just using market rates will price many people out of the market. Couchman wants the city to be proactive in limiting negative consequences of development, an approach she said is good for business and the community. “We hope the city has learned from our past experience, where in the southern portion of the city at Gateway development led to displacement of many families impacting our schools and traffic,” she said. Located at Roswell Road and Windsor Parkway, Gateway is a mixed-use center that about five years ago replaced an apartment complex. Local opinion varies as to whether it was a success for the community. Carrera said that around the country, most successful redevelopments are where housing has income and age diversity. Though she has questions about the

proposal to bring the Winding River condominium development into the North River shopping center concepts, she also sees it as an opportunity. “This could be an opportunity for them to really improve their property by making some kind of deal with the development of this shopping center,” Carrera said. “It all depends on what the appetite for the community is for change,” she said. “If we don’t make the changes, you won’t be able to make it affordable for the development for mixed housing.” But in her mind, mixed housing doesn’t mean mixed-use with residential, commercial and office. She means mixing in terms of income. Density is needed for a development to be successful enough for a developer’s investment. At the same time, she said any redevelopment has to make the center appealing for residents and people visiting. That will require zoning changes. Survey favors single-family homes While the goal set for the concepts in advance was more mixed-use housing, many of the people who completed the online survey didn’t agree with the concepts. The North River concepts focused on redeveloping the entire site ranged from 401 to 737 residential units, with multiunit buildings taking up the majority of the residential development, from 299 units to 688 units. Townhome and livework units make up the remainder of the residential space, with no single-family detached homes proposed in any of the concepts. To fit 737 residential units on the property, two nine-story buildings were envisioned. However, residents making comments on the North River redevelopment plans in the city’s online survey showed they want to see single-family homes instead of apartments, condos or even townhomes built on the sites. Comments were displayed anonymously on the city’s survey pages for the four shopping center redevelopment proposals. “More apartments, there are more than enough in Sandy Springs let alone on the North End. For those of us who are homeowners, we are very concerned with our property value as well as the extremely low ratings of the public schools. Adding more apartments will only decrease our property values and not help to improve our schools,” a respondent said. Another person who completed the online survey for the North River concepts was not sure who advocated for the number of mixed-use residential units across the four shopping centers. “Wanting to underscore that one of the goals is to offer a range of different housing options, there is a huge imbalance. An overabundance of mixed-use units and townhomes and not enough emphasis on single-family homes,” that person commented. SS


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