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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 22

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Brookhaven Reporter

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► Voters Guide to ballot questions PAGE 4 ► Local candidates outline differences at Dunwoody forum PAGE 6

City faces landmark decision with parks bond vote

Drawn to the arts

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

JOHN AWTREY

Steve Shaw shows his artwork to Ashley and Nathan DeLange at the Brookhaven Art Festival on Oct. 21. In its 14th year, the festival drew hundreds of attendees to see and buy works by more than 140 artists along Apple Valley Road. The festival also featured live music and a car show.

FOOD & DRINK

Steaks and sides with Michel Arnette Page 18

The city’s $40M parks bond: Pro & Con

YES NO

Parks bond would fulfill city’s dream A no vote on parks bond is a yes for better vetting

See COMMENTARY, page 10

OUT & ABOUT Gear up for the holidays Page 16

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A landmark decision to determine the future of Brookhaven’s parks for the next 30 years happens Nov. 6 when voters cast their ballots on a proposed $40 million parks bond. Signs popping up in yards, a protest paper being thrown on lawns, an “education” booth at an arts festival and an anti-bond website — all those voices and more are joining the debate on the crucial vote. Joseph Knippenberg, a professor of politics at Oglethorpe University who is a longtime Brookhaven resident, says the bond vote shows the city’s “ambition” and a test for its leadership. “Brookhaven … wants to make a name for itself,” he said, and funding state-of-theart parks is one way to set the city apart from others in metro Atlanta. Knippenberg said a defeat of the referendum would not damage what attracts people to the city — primarily its location and See CITY on page 23

Vote delayed on zoning rewrite amid affordability questions BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The massive zoning code rewrite is on hold as the City Council seeks more information about addressing housing affordability and regulating short-term home rentals. The council at its Oct. 23 meeting voted to defer taking any possible action on the zoning rewrite until Nov. 27. A six-month moratorium on new develSee VOTE on page 13


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Community Briefs REDEV ELOPM EN T OF I VY PL ACE A PA R TM ENTS OK ’ ED

The City Council approved rezoning approximately 15 acres on Clairmont Road where the Ivy Place Apartments are located at its Oct. 23 meeting. The developer can now move forward to raze several buildings to be replaced with two new buildings and increase the number of units. The apartment complex, at 3028 Clairmont Road, is just north of the intersection of Clairmont Road and I-85. The site is across from the Century Center office complex. The apartments are also close to Buford Highway, the planned Peachtree Creek Greenway and adjacent to Montclair Elementary School. The city is requiring the developer to construct a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail with a 5-foot landscape strip along Clairmont Road to be consistent with the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Plan. The property is currently zoned RM100 but includes the condition the property be limited to eight units per acre. There are currently 17 buildings on site with 122 apartments. The complex was built in the 1970s. Planners and Engineers Collaborative based in Peachtree Corners asked and received the 8-unit per acre limitation be removed for a normal RM-100 zoning that allows 12 units per acre. The company is slated to tear down six of the 17 existing apartment buildings and replace them with two new split-level apartment buildings. Those buildings are planned at four stories, each containing 44 apartments, increasing the density to 11.99 units per acre. The six buildings being torn down have 30 units total. The redevelopment brings the total development to 180 apartments, up from the current 122.

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C VB HIR ES FIR ST EXEC UTIVE D IR ECTO R

The City Council approved the appointment of the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s first executive director at its Oct. 23 meeting. Renee Areng is stepping down as CEO of HMA Hospitality Consultants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to begin the job Nov. 1. The city began a national search for an executive director in May. “I am thrilled and honored to work with Brookhaven to create a truly unique destination,” said Areng in a press release. Brookhaven has 11 hotels and is located a short distance from Buckhead, downtown Atlanta and the Perimeter Center. The city’s location gives it a “unique opportunity” to maximize tourism dollars, according to Mayor John Ernst, and become “a regional prominence in the tourism industry.”

VOL UN TEER S NEED ED FO R N OV. 3 STR EAM CLEANU P

Volunteers are needed for the city’s 2018 Stream Cleanup Event on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the stream at Briarwood Road. The parking and staging area will be at the Osprey Corporation, 1835 Briarwood Road, near the entrance to the North Fork Peachtree Creek. Volunteers should wear sturdy, closedtoe shoes and long pants, and are asked to bring a rake or shovel if possible. The Brookhaven Public Works Department will provide bags, light gardening gloves, bottled water and anything else needed for the cleanup. Refreshments will be served. For more information, email stormwater@brookhavenga.gov.

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The Oct. 17 fire at the Esquire Apartments.

FIR E D ESTR O YS S IX APAR TM ENTS O N B U FO R D HIG HWAY

Six apartments were destroyed in a fire, displacing 30 to 35 residents, in an Oct. 17 fire at the Esquire Apartments on Buford Highway. Two DeKalb County firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported to a hospital while fighting the fire, which caused thick clouds of smoke to billow over Buford Highway just north of North Druid Hills Road. Two residents experienced smoke inhalation and were treated on the scene. DeKalb Fire Rescue crews were dispatched at 1:30 p.m. to apartments on the 3100 block of Buford Highway and were met with “heavy smoke and flames,” said Capt. Dion Bentley. More than 30 firefighters and more than a dozen fire trucks responded to the two-alarm fire, which was put out by about 5 p.m. Property management was finding places for the residents to stay and Red Cross volunteers were helping them find future housing. Two other apartments in the building were damaged but no one was living in them, Bentley said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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MARTA chief Jeffrey Parker discussed the electric scooter craze and possible mass transit on Ga. 400 and to SunTrust Park during an Oct. 17 appearance in Sandy Springs. Parker, MARTA’s general manager and CEO, was among the experts in a panel discussion of trails and transit at the annual dinner of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, a parks advocacy group. An audience member asked Parker about the craze for rentable electric scooters that can be picked up and left anywhere. Scooter companies controversially

We Love BuHi

have distributed the scooters without notice in Atlanta, and they have started appearing in Brookhaven. The scooters appear to be popular. Parker joked about the potential dangers of scooter-riding, another point of social controversy about them. “I’m completely uncoordinated and they scare the death out of me,” Parker said of scooters. More seriously, he said the transit agency aims to welcome a wide variety of transportation choices. Scooters are here,” he said. “…We, as a transit agency, have just got to embrace those technologies.” Parker commented briefly in an optimistic tone about the planning process for the state’s controversial idea of putting “bus rapid transit” on Ga. 400. In a Fulton County transit master planning effort last year, extending the Red Line train line was the locally preferred option for Ga. 400 corridor improvements, but political resistance in other north Fulton cities got that reduced to “bus rapid transit” or BRT. BRT means high-capacity buses typically using a dedicated lane or other traffic priority method, and officials say it’s unlikely that can happen – at least in a traditional way – on Ga. 400. The Georgia Department of Transportation currently proposes running buses on toll lanes that are proposed to be added to the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange over the next decade. Gov. Nathan Deal recently approved $100 million in bond funding for the BRT “infrastructure.” Sandy Springs officials have questioned whether BRT will work properly on the highway and whether the interchange expansion is eating up too much right of way for long-term transit solutions. The discussions remain private. In an interview after the Sandy Springs dinner, Parker spoke in an upbeat manner about MARTA’s discussions with GDOT about the Ga. 400 BRT. He said the talks are ongoing and that he participates in a meeting about them roughly once a month. BK


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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

SENATOR FRAN MILLAR’S Effectiveness is the

Difference!

Support for Senator Fran Millar’s bipartisan approach to solving the issues we face in our district and our State.

SENATE DISTRICT 40 ELECTED OFFICIALS MAYORS Rebecca Williams J. Max Davis Eric Clarkston Donna Pittman

Brookhaven (former) Brookhaven (founding) Chamblee Doraville

Frank Auman Denis Shortal Mike Davis

Tucker (founding) Dunwoody Dunwoody (former)

Ken Wright Mike Mason Rusty Paul

Dunwoody (founding) Peachtree Corners (founding) Sandy Springs

CITY COUNCIL Linley Jones John Park Bates Mattison Joe Gebbia Pam Fleming Robert Patrick Shannon Hillard

Brookhaven Brookhaven Brookhaven Brookhaven Doraville Doraville Doraville

MD Naser Bill Rosenfeld Pam Tallmadge Jim Riticher Tom Lambert Terry Nall Doug Thompson

DEKALB COUNTY Mike Thurmond Liane Levetan Nancy Jester Stan Jester Jim Redovian Brad Bryant

CEO CEO (former) Commissioner School Board School Board (former) School Board (former)

Doraville Tucker Dunwoody Dunwoody Dunwoody Dunwoody Dunwoody (former)

Danny Ross Dunwoody (former) John Paulson Sandy Springs Phil Sadd Peachtree Corners Alex Wright Peachtree Corners Lorri Christopher Peachtree Corners Weare Gratwick Peachtree Corners Jeanne Aulbach Peachtree Corners

GWINNETT & FULTON COUNTY Charlotte Nash Gwinnett Chairman Lynette Howard Gwinnett Commissioner Mary Kay Murphy Gwinnett School Board Julia Bernath Fulton School Board

SENATOR FRAN MILLAR’S REAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Thurgood Marshall Award from NAACP for role in flag changes • Advocacy Award by All About Development Disabilities • Guardian of Small Business National Federation of Independent Business • Georgia Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year • Friend of Peachtree Corners • Capital Arts Commission member that erected MLK statue • Candidate Distinction Mom’s Demand Action Gun Sense (opposed campus carry) • Marriage and Family Therapist endorsement • Physical Therapy Association Legislator of the Year • Georgia Senior Living Association Legislator of the Year • Chair of Legislative Advisory Council for Southern Regional Education Board (elected by Democrats and Republicans from 16 states)

• Board Member Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education • Member Georgia Literacy Commission • Policy Fellow with Woodrow Wilson Foundation (education) • Member of Governor’s Education Reform Commission • Policymaker of the Year – Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education • Member Governor’s Child Welfare Commission • Chairman Lt. Governor’s Foster Care Reform • Chairman Senate Dyslexia Study Committee • Member Senate School Safety Study Committee • Georgia Apartment Association (GAA’s) Friend of Housing Award

VOTE NOVEMBER 6TH! www.SenatorFranMillar.com

BK


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VOTERS GUIDE Nov. 6 ballot questions

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Voters will face a bevy of ballot questions on Nov. 6, including constitutional amendments and statewide and local referendums. In various Reporter Newspapers communities, voters will see at least eight, and up to 12, questions on the ballot. The following is a guide to what they mean in plainer English.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS AMENDMENT 1: GEORGIA OUTDOOR STEWARDSHIP TRUST FUND drbrentmurphy.com | 404-480-4008 | 755 Mount Vernon Highway NE

Would direct up to 80 percent of sales tax revenue from sporting goods stores to a conservation-oriented trust fund. The Sandy Springs Conservancy is among the supporters.

AMENDMENT 2: STATE BUSINESS COURT

Would create a statewide specialty court, with judges appointed by the governor rather than elected, to handle business-oriented disputes.

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AMENDMENT 3: FOREST LAND TAXATION

Would alter an existing system of reduced taxation of large tracts of timberland that are under conservation agreements and a formula where the state reimburses local governments for some of the lost tax revenue. The amendment would raise some tax assessments under state collection authority, while reducing the required length of conservation agreements and creating a new, smaller class of tax-break-eligible timberland.

AMENDMENT 4: CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS

Also known as “Marsy’s Law,” this would give certain judicial system rights to people who report that they are crime victims, including the right to receive notice when their offender is released from prison, and invitations to participate in court hearings. Most of those rights already exist under state law, but would now be enshrined in the state Constitution. For pro-and-con commentary from advocates about this amendment, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

AMENDMENT 5: SCHOOL DISTRICT TAX REFERENDUMS

Would allow independent public school districts below the county level, but serving a majority of students, to call for a countywide, 1 percent sales tax referendum to fund building construction.


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STATEWIDE QUESTIONS QUESTION A: PROPERTY TAX INCREASE CAP

Would limit property tax assessment to a 2.6 percent annual value increase for homeowners in a city that is in more than one county, pays a public transportation sales tax, and has an independent school district. In practice, this new homestead exemption is intended for Atlanta homeowners. But it was made a statewide referendum because lead sponsor state Rep. Beth Beskin, a Buckhead Republican, was unable to get the largely Democratic Atlanta delegation’s support for a local question.

QUESTION B: TAX EXEMPTION ON CERTAIN HOMES FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES

Would allow nonprofit facilities that provide services to people with mental disabilities to have tax-exempt status when a for-profit business is among its owners due to financing and construction.

FULTON COUNTY QUESTIONS Voters in Fulton County, including Buckhead and Sandy Springs citizens, will have three countywide questions to decide.

FULTON INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT REPEAL

Would repeal a state Constitutional provision that keeps the area along Fulton Industrial Boulevard in south Fulton as the county’s last unincorporated area. The repeal would open the area to annexation by Atlanta, the City of South Fulton or both, as both have previously attempted to do, creating a dispute that is pending in the state Supreme Court.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR SENIORS

Would exempt homeowners over 65 years old from paying property taxes on the first $50,000 in assessed home value. That is a $20,000 increase for the Fulton County government portion of the tax bill.

FULTON SCHOOLS PROPERTY TAX CAP

Would cap the portion of property taxes that go to the Fulton County School System annually at 3 percent or the inflation rate, whichever is lesser.

CITY QUESTIONS LOCAL SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES QUESTIONS

Citizens in all four cities in Reporter Newspapers communities — Atlanta, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs — will vote on local questions that would authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants on Sundays starting at 11 a.m. rather than the current 12:30 p.m. The question would enact the so-called Brunch Bill legislation sponsored by state Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven/Sandy Springs).

ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS TAX EXEMPTION CHANGE

With so many things to do, we suggest getting an early start on your want-to-do list. There’s a lot to do at The Piedmont Retirement Community — clubs, events, socializing, and more. So, go ahead and make your want-to-do list. But please don’t include a bunch of chores. We’ll take care of most of those for you. We invite you to see all that The Piedmont has to offer (including assisted living services if needed) at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.

Holiday Shopping Bazaar

Saturday, November 10th • 12:00 noon Get your holiday shopping done early! Join us for a bazaar featuring local vendors selling unique gifts. We’ll also have cookies, hot chocolate and cider to get you into the holiday spirit. To RSVP, please call 404.381.1743.

Atlanta voters will decide a question that would alter the current homestead exemption of the first $30,000 in assessed value for the APS portion of the tax bill. Homeowners would pay taxes on the first $10,000 in assessed value, but the exemption also is increased to $50,000. The new exemption system would last three years and has support from APS, which says it would reduce tax revenues by roughly $25 million that could be made up elsewhere. The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Buckhead/Sandy Springs).

BROOKHAVEN PARKS BOND

Brookhaven voters will decide whether to authorize the city issuing a roughly $40 million bond to fund construction of improvements to several public parks. For pro-and-con commentaries from advocates on the issue, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

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Local GOP, Democrat candidates outline differences at Dunwoody forum

PHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel sat alone at a table set up for candidates at the Oct. 21 forum sponsored by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association because her challenger, Democrat Lucy McBath, declined to participate.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Candidates running for the state legislature staked out their party differences on such issues as education, Medicaid expansion and the state’s voting system during an Oct. 21 forum sponsored by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) and his Democrat challenger Sally Harrell, a former state House representative from Chamblee, appeared together at the forum in the hotly contested race for Senate District 40 that includes Dunwoody and portions of Brookhaven and Sandy Springs. Also participating in the forum were Republican Ken Wright and Democrat Mike Wilensky, both of Dunwoody, who are vying for the open seat left by state Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody). The race for House District 79 includes all of Dunwoody.

SD 40 and healthcare A key difference between Harrell and Millar is their stance on Medicaid expansion — she supports it, he does not. Georgia is one of 18 states that did not approve Medicaid expansion to low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Harrell said Medicaid expansion would provide healthcare to some 500,000 Georgians currently without any coverage. Medicaid expansion would also give rural hospitals the revenue they need to remain open, she said. “We pay federal taxes for Medicaid and we are not getting it back. Our money is going to other states,” she said. “It makes no sense.” Millar said the state would likely offer Medicaid waivers next year to stabilize premiums. He said he supported legislation to create a rural hospital tax credit that went into effect last year. The tax credit allows corporations and individuals to donate to qualifying rural hospitals to help them cover costs. Millar also noted that the Supreme Court recently ruled able-bodied people can be required to work or volunteer to receive Medicaid. “We can’t just have people be given something for nothing,” he said. “There’s a cost in everything.”

SD 40 and the voting process Millar said at the forum there is bipartisan support in the legislature for a voting system with a paper trail that includes a receipt given to voters, so they know their ballot was counted as they wanted. He noted a commission was formed this year to study paper ballots and next year there are plans to select a new voting system and have it in place by 2020. Harrell said she also supported a paper ballot system so voters can be assured they know how their votes are counted. She also said the state needs to address gerrymandering so people can feel as though their votes “make a difference.” “Voting integrity is the root of our democracy,” she said.

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), left, and Democrat Sally Harrell, served in the state House together from 1999 to 2005. Harrell is now opposing Millar in the state Senate District 40 race.

SD 40 and education Millar, chair of the Higher Education Committee and who served on Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission, boasted the legislature fully funded education this year. But he acknowledged the need to update the school funding formula. An updated formula, he said, would mostly help students with disabilities and include a factor for poverty. “How can you say you fully funded education when you don’t know how much it costs to educate a child?” Harrell shot back at Millar, referring to the state using the 1985 funding formula. “An entire generation of children have been shortchanged” due to $9.2 billion in education budget cuts over the past several years at the General Assembly, she said. She said many parents have told her they have pulled their children from public schools due to the budget cuts and were forced to find money to pay for private schools. “Public schools should be a viable option for everyone,” she said.

HANDEL MAKES HER CASE FOR CONGRESSIONAL RE-ELECTION U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, a Republican, appeared alone at the Oct. 21 Dunwoody Homeowners Association candidate forum. Her challenger, Democrat Lucy McBath, declined an invitation to participate, according to DHA President Adrienne Duncan. The 6th Congressional District includes portions of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven. Handel praised President Trump for his expected signature later this month on an opioids package passed with bipartisan support that includes $1 million to combat the opioids crisis in the 6th Congressional District. She said she supported “common sense gun legislation” that includes strengthened background checks and more mental health services. Handel was asked about the Central Americans making their way to the U.S. border in a migrant “caravan.” The caravan, she said, is “why we must fix our broken immigration system.” She addressed the country’s $779 billion deficit and said it includes some $100 billion in unplanned federal disaster relief. She said she supports a balanced budget amendment and a two-year budget cycle. McBath’s homestead exemption in Cobb County has been questioned by Handel. McBath moved to Tennessee where her husband lives in 2016 before moving back in 2017. Handel says her husband is claiming the exemptions in both states.


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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Wilensky said he supports updating the Quality Basic Education formula, which determines the amount of state funding going to public schools by establishing a cost per student. The formula hasn’t been updated since 1985. Updating the formula, he said, would ensure more money to Dunwoody schools to alleviate overcrowding and maybe even eliminate trailers that crowd campuses. Wright said he also supports updating the QBE. He said he was the “poster boy” for local control — he helped lead the effort to incorporate Dunwoody — and would propose legislation for an independent school district. An independent school district is a “big hill to climb,” but he said he was told that Dunwoody would never become its own city. Wright said he believed the DeKalb County School District spent too much money on bureaucracy at its administrative offices and more of that money should be spent in Dunwoody.

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Republican Ken Wright, left, and Democrat Mike Wilensky participated in the Oct. 21 Dunwoody Homeowners Association forum. Both are vying for state Rep. Tom Taylor’s seat.

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HD 79 and the DeKalb delegation Wright said as a Republican, he would play a key role in stopping the Democratled DeKalb County delegation at the Gold Dome from passing “punitive” legislation against Dunwoody, specifically House Bill 244. Sponsored by state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), the bill would require newer cities, such as Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Tucker, to continue paying for DeKalb pension liabilities through property taxes. After the cities were incorporated, property taxes that went to pay for county services went instead to their municipalities. “I will fight it tooth and nail,” Wright said, calling the bill “punitive against Dunwoody.” “I will stand up and pull these punitive bills [from the DeKalb delegation],” Wright added. “They want to come after us as homeowners.” Wilensky said the pension bill is “heavily argued” at the DeKalb delegation. “This is very important to figure out,” Wilensky said. “We do not need to pay any money not owed.”

HD 79 and Dunwoody independent school district While an independent school district for Dunwoody is ideal, Wilensky said legislators must make priorities, and finding support in the General Assembly for this is “very, very difficult.” Taylor introduced a resolution for a constitutional amendment for the past several years to allow Dunwoody to separate from DeKalb Schools, but it has stalled.

Election Day is Nov. 6 Election Day arrives Nov. 6, when local voters will help to decide the race for governor, Congressional seats, many local state legislative races, and a bevy of ballot questions. For more about local candidates and their policy positions, see our Voters Guides and continuing coverage at ReporterNewspapers.net. For information about your polling place and elected officials, see the Georgia Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” at mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

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Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company November 1, 2018 Take Me To The River November 3, 2018 The Assad Family November 4, 2018

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City Springs Theatre Company presents Elf the Musical December 7 – 16, 2018 The Sounds of Christmastime December 15, 2018 Jewels’ Handmade Holiday December 19, 2018

SANGAM - World Music With No Boundaries November 17, 2018

Boston Brass: Christmas Bells are Swingin’ December 22, 2018

Roswell Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker November 23 – December 2, 2018

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra New Years Celebration December 31, 2018


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New Chamblee Doraville Community Improvement District raises hopes, concerns BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A new Chamblee Doraville Community Improvement District aims to boost local projects, including Chamblee’s downtown master plan and a connection to Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Greenway trail. But there is concern about what it will mean for Buford Highway’s famously diverse businesses, many of whom do not qualify to directly join the group of self-taxing property owners. Dan Reuter, a consultant working to form the CID sometime next year, says that members believe the two cities already have a lot of good plans in place and some strong assets, like the businesses, communities, highways and MARTA. The goal is to provide at least $1 million a year to help leverage more funding for them. “The area has a lot of functional infrastructure,” Reuter said. “It’s just not

stitched together very well.” And Reuter said the CID’s initial members — mostly large-scale real estate and car dealership operators — are aware they’re in “really the most mixedcultural, diverse area in metro Atlanta” and aim to be “grassroots and inclusive… [and] not get anyone worried about the intentions of the CID.” Marian Liou, executive director of the Buford Highway advocacy group We Love BuHi, called the CID an “exciting development,” but spoke cautiously about it as well. “Any transformation in Buford Highway’s outward form — for example, from a dangerous transportation corridor to a tree-lined boulevard — will be hollow unless we are intentional about sustaining its heart and soul and ensuring that its immigrant community can remain, adapt and thrive in place,” Liou said in an email. “What is Buford Highway, after all, without its people?”

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What’s a CID?

A CID is a fundraising mechanism allowed under Georgia law where commercial property owners can voluntarily agree to pay additional income Dan Reuter, a consultant to the Marian Liou, executive taxes that are new Chamblee Doraville CID. director of We Love BuHi. spent on improvements within a defined district. The imin just Chamblee and Doraville. provements are usually geared toward “We haven’t really sought to go into beautification, transportation and pubBrookhaven yet. That could happen lic safety. CIDs also can conduct plandown the road,” he said. “…It’s just a lot ning studies. more to bite off.” Some well-known and influential The CID’s proposed district roughly CIDs in the area include Buckhead in Atruns in the area between Buford Highlanta, Cumberland in Cobb County, and way and Peachtree Boulevard. To the the Perimeter CIDs, which cover parts northeast, border landmarks include of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy I-285 and the White Windmill Bakery. Springs in Perimeter Center. In 2016, a To the southwest, border landmarks innew CID was established anchored on clude the Plaza Fiesta mall and the new Doraville’s Assembly site. Whole Foods supermarket. The Chamblee Doraville CID has a “In theory … any commercial propercouple of points of origin. A CID was ty within Chamblee or Doraville could among the recommendations of a recent eventually be part of the CID,” Reuter Atlanta Regional Commission Livable said. Centers Initiative study of the Buford The additional property tax for CID Highway corridor in those cities. members is proposed at somewhere in The CID is more directly an outgrowth the range of 3 to 5 mills. Reuter said that, of the Peachtree Gateway Partnership, depending on which millage is chosen, which secretly formed in 2015 among that is projected to raise over $1 million city leaders of Chamblee, Doraville, to $2 million a year. “We wanted to have Brookhaven and Dunwoody. It was ina minimum of $1 million a year,” he said. tended as a joint planning and economic development authority, roughly centered on the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee. At that time, Reuter was on the ARC staff and worked on the PGP C ID FO UNDING M EM B ER S group’s formation. Officials from the PGP member citJimmy Ellis, Ellis Automotive ies still meet regularly, Reuter said, but Larry Callahan, there has been little in the way of formal Pattillo Industrial Real Estate results besides early talk of coordinating Vince Riggio, Trinity Development city multiuse trail plans. The group appears to have been more influential for networking and spin-off conversation, notably including a group of top end Perimeter cities and other CIDs collaborating on studying transit possibilities along I-285. A CID along the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area was another early idea in the PGP. Reuter said a “Peachtree Gateway CID” was the initial idea, but that property owners have settled on starting

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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018

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A map of the Peachtree Creek Greenway’s proposed route, connecting Doraville and Mercer University to Buckhead via Chamblee and Brookhaven.

The next step is to put together a formal plan to present for approval to the DeKalb County tax commissioner’s office, Reuter said. He expects that to happen in the first quarter of next year.

Greenway connections

Besides some general concepts of supporting existing city efforts, the CID has some specific intended priorities. Working on a plan to connect the Chamblee Rail Trail to Brookhaven’s Peachtree

C ID P RI ORI TI ES

1. Study “low-cost projects” to improve appearance, mobility and accessibility. 2. Landscaping and access improvements at I-285 interchanges with Peachtree Boulevard and Buford Highway. 3. Develop proposal to connect Chamblee Rail Trail with Peachtree Creek Greenway. 4. Branding and promotion in Buford Highway area. 5. Review transportation system and development needs in specific sub-areas. 6. Support Chamblee’s study of self-driving shuttles and other alternative transportation connections to MARTA.

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Creek Greenway is a big one. The Greenway is a concept for a 12-mile park and trail running along the creek and Buford Highway, eventually connecting Doraville and Mercer University to the Atlanta BeltLine and other trails in Buckhead. Brookhaven expects to break ground by year’s end on a “model mile” of the Greenway. Reuter said the Greenway is a “project that is inspiring a lot of people right now. ... If we were able to have the CID advance connections from Chamblee’s downtown and Doraville’s downtown

to the Peachtree Creek Greenway, you could ride a bike all the way from Chamblee to the BeltLine.” But the Greenway is also among the projects raising concerns about gentrification and displacement on Buford Highway. Liou, who served on the Buford Highway LCI that recommended the CID’s formation, said she has discussed the community’s preservation with organizers. “I’m optimistic after hearing from CID organizers that they fully recognize Buford Highway’s unique character and its small, immigrant-owned businesses as intrinsic and valuable to the CID’s identity and mission,” Liou said. “Undoubtedly the organizers will not avail themselves of Buford Highway’s longheld reputation as an ‘International District’ without fully informing, including and incentivizing the participation and leadership in the CID effort of the immigrants who make this place amazing.” For more information about the CID, see PeachtreeGatewayPartnership.com.


10 | Commentary

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Commentary / For and against the city’s $40M parks bond

Parks bond would fulfill city’s dream One of the main reasons we became a city was to improve our badly neglected parks. The city of Brookhaven is proposing a $40 million bond to help fulfill our dream of superior city parks. This Nov. 6, we have a choice: Do we want better parks or do we leave them as is? If we want to improve our parks, we need bond funding. Since it became a city, Brookhaven funded $10 million in park improvements using HOST sales tax dollars — but as of April 2018, state law requires that HOST can only be used for property tax relief. This change in law ended the main capital funding for our parks. The new penny sales tax, SPLOST, passed last year, is restricted to paving, public safety and some maintenance — not capital improvements — to our parks. Therefore, to achieve the parks we planned together over the last two years, we need bond funding. What we get for the $40 million bond are park improvements that hundreds of citizens helped design. We can transform our parks with new playgrounds, splash pads, trails, community centers, pools and other amenities that all ages can enjoy within the next five years. If we don’t pass the bond, we will wait 20 to

30 years to fund them. The citizen’s committee, “Yes for Brookhaven Parks,” is supporting the bond for these reasons:

rates possible.

■ Believable costs: Two outside firms have verified the estimated costs. Unlike earlier ballpark estimates, the probable costs listed are based on ■ Significant improvements actual land surveys and real to every park, while still redesigns. They also include a ducing your overall property 25 percent contingency and tax bill. The cost of the bond, Rebecca Chase Williams will not be finalized until afan average of $98 a year per co-chairs the Yes for ter competitive bidding. homeowner, will be more Brookhaven Parks citizen ■ Overwhelming support than offset by the removcommittee and is a for- for the bond by many comal of the DeKalb parks bond munity groups, such as the mer mayor of Brookhaven. and the recent homeowner Peachtree Creek Greenway tax credit, which combined Alliance, Murphey Candler provides for an average reduction of more Park Conservancy, Murphey Candler basethan $500 on property tax bills! ball and softball leagues, Brookhaven Foot■ Multiple safeguards are in place to enball Club, and the Brookhaven Bike Allisure our money is spent wisely. The auance. thoring legislation says bond money can We urge you to “Vote Yes for Brookhavonly be used for park master plans and en Parks Bond” for greater investment debt reduction. An independent program in our city, for better-equipped and safer manager is required to oversee the projparks, for increased home values, for lower ects, a community oversight board must be taxes, and to fulfill the promise made when appointed, and regular audits by an indewe became a city. pendent audit firm will be conducted. The For more information and to see a list of city’s policies require competitive bidding projects, go to YesBrookhavenParks.com. to ensure the best prices, and the city’s AAA For a sign or for questions, email yesforbond rating guarantees the lowest interest brookhavenparks@gmail.com.

A no vote on parks bond is a yes for better vetting I am a solid NO vote in the Nov. 6 referendum on the Brookhaven Parks Bond because I believe it’s the wrong amount at the wrong time. This bond amount, the expected interest, and its servicing fees will impact Brookhaven property owners for the next 30 years. Wrong amount. The overall projects are built on questionable estimates — this alone should require a more thorough process — and include components that are inflated, not vetted or not wanted. There are items that should be pulled and funded from different or more appropriate sources. Also, there’s a 25 percent contingency used as a buffer. I cannot make financial decisions this way at home or work, and I don’t like it when it’s attempted by our city leaders. Wrong time. The timing is off by a year. Pushing this park bond through this election cycle in this manner has created a crisis and a divisive atmosphere. Proponents say, “Vote YES for the bond or our park’s master plan does not get funded.” This allor-nothing approach is at best misleading, since there are many ways to accomplish this, and at worst dividing our young city along founding battle lines: One year ago, I was asked to represent the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy (MCPC) and participate with our city’s original, park advocates — Parks and Recreation Coalition (PARC) of Brookhaven on a funding task force created to find ways to initiate Brookhaven’s Parks Master Plan. We held meetings with city leaders as

they shared details on the I also have deep concerns background to this dilemma: about cost increases that were tax revenue, budgets, millquickly put together and that age rates, future estimates now include items that were and outside impact, how we not a part of the public vetgot here. I joined the team exting. Why would we allow pecting that all ideas were on such increases? the table. Proposed shelter costs Along the way, it went off went from $15,000 to $140,000 the rails. The subtle change and $25,000 to $280,000. began when the city’s focus Steve Peters is a mem- The price of planned bathshifted from finding workber of the Parks and Rec- rooms went from $120,000 able solutions from many reation Coalition task to $390,000. These increases available sources to a pure, force created by the city happened between 2016 and singular pursuit of justifying January 2018. to study parks funding a bond. Lynwood Park went from We have a faulty premise a proposed $450,000 pool renbased on the argument that Brookhaven ovation and a new $800,000 all-season covhas relied exclusively on HOST funds coler in the 2016 plan, then was downgraded lected through the county to support parks to a $500,000 splash pad in January 2018 capital improvements and that HOST has — but somehow has a $4.8 million lazy rivbeen replaced by SPLOST, a countywide er, splash pad and lap pool in the July 2018 tax that will not allow funding for parks. In bond referendum. Where did that come reality, Brookhaven did not rely on HOST, from? and SPLOST allows for maintenance of exMurphey Candler — my home park isting city assets, transportation, multiuse — has a proposed boardwalk feature that trails, inter-connectivity and safety — even jumped in price from $500,000 in 2016 to in parks. a $2.5 million estimate in January 2018. During the first six years of cityhood, Something’s out of whack. we received over $30 million of HOST revMy NO vote is to force a better Plan enues. We did not use the HOST funds to B, while I ensure my tax dollars are not substantially improve or maintain our wasted on over-inflated costs and 25 perparks. HOST was used on other city prioricent contingencies. Let’s create a better ties, and then leftover monies were allocatbond-vetting process, while we create othed to individual park projects. By the end er means to compare our “wants” with the of calendar year 2017, only 11 percent of correct sources of funding. HOST dollars were used on city parks. BK


Commentary | 11

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Around Town

Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

The season for haunted lawns returns The dragon is back. It spreads its bright yellow wings in Blair and Alex Garrett’s front yard in Brookhaven. It’s been there since October flew in. Blair wanted to put the inflatable dragon out in her yard in September, but her husband said no. That was just too early, he said, to decorate for Halloween. Don’t tell that to Anthony Cabrera. He spends the whole year planning his Halloween decorations and starts building stuff about Labor Day. “Over the course of the year, I experiment with stuff like, ‘What would make a good-looking wall in an asylum?’ he said. “The more time I have, the crazier it gets.” Once the big day itself arrives, Cabrera, a corporate lawyer, expects hundreds to tramp through his home — so many, in fact, that he’s turned his annual display into a fundraiser to buy toys for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Last year, 900 people stopped by to see his Halloween decorations. The time has come again to dress up our houses for the holidays. Forget autumn leaves. Around here, the real sign of fall is the coming of the jack-o’-lanterns. October is the month when faded bedsheets turn JOE EARLE Blair and Alex Garrett pose with the into ghosts and hang in trees, subdragon in their Brookhaven yard. urban yards sprout gravestones and oversized spider webs, and green isn’t the color of the lawn, but of a witch’s warty skin as she pulls Reese’s Pieces from her cauldron. In Sandy Springs, some of those witches gather at the Hammond Hills home of Sallie Duncan. She started her Halloween tradition shortly after she moved into the neighborhood more than 20 years ago. Now, Duncan attracts packs of trick-or-treaters every year. “It sort of developed and grew over the years,” she said. Does she plan to decorate again this year? “Do you think I have a choice?” she said. “If I didn’t do it, I think I’d get egged.” Duncan says she waits until the last minute to set up her decorations. Through the years, she has pulled together a corps of friends who dress up as witches and help out by working the door and escorting trick-or-treaters through what Duncan described as “less a haunted house than a haunted dining room.” “I think the adults like it as much as the kids,” she said. Cabrera’s not satisfied with a single room of scary stuff. He uses the entire first floor of his Cobb County home and his garage for his homemade Halloween haunts, which he calls The House of Unhappy Pumpkins. Each year’s display has a theme: a haunted hotel, a swamp. This year it’s “Lily’s Sanatorium,” named for his 17-year-old daughter, he said. “My wife says this is pretty crazy,” he said. But it can draw a crowd. Last year, visitors to the Cabrera family home at 1260 Grand View Drive contributed thousands of dollars for Christmas toys for young patients at CHOA, he said. To raise the money during “a dark holiday like Halloween, it makes us feel good,” he said. In Brookhaven, the Garretts just enjoy watching neighborhood kids gather to watch the dragon. The Garretts live at the corner of Mathews Street and Thornwell Drive in a neighborhood with a lot of kids. They’ve decorated their yard with lights and a giant spider web and spider and a few gravestones, but it’s the dragon that pulls the crowds. “It’s kind of cool to have a 15-foot dragon in your yard,” Alex Garrett said. The Garretts started decorating for Halloween shortly after they moved into their neighborhood about five years ago. “It keeps growing and growing,” Blair Garrett said. They don’t have kids themselves (“That’s the biggest question we get: ‘Your kids must love it?’” Alex Garrett said. “Nope. No kids.”), so they say the monsters referred to by the sign next to their front door announcing “the home of the Wicked Witch and her little monsters” refers to their two dogs, Lucy and Charlie. And, yes, the dogs dress up for Halloween. Blair Garrett caught the holiday decorating bug when she was growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her mother loved to decorate for the holidays and her uncle strung colored lights on his fishing boat for holiday parades. “My family was really big into Halloween,” she said. “My mother was a schoolteacher. They’re really big into decorations.” The Garretts work in finance. She analyzes businesses and he’s a financial advisor, so decorating the house gives them a break. “I look at spreadsheets all day, so I enjoy doing something creative,” Blair Garrett said. It’s not just Halloween. October just kicks off the house decorating season. Thanksgiving follows and then there are decoration-friendly holidays lined up into next year and orange and black will give way to red and green. “I go pretty much nuts during Christmas,” Blair Garrett admitted. BK

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12 | Community

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City awards $7.99M contract to start Greenway construction BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reprternewspapers.net

Brookhaven’s trek to build its portion of the Peachtree Creek Greenway is one step closer. The City Council awarded a $7.99 million contract to Lewallen Construction Co. at its Oct. 23 meeting to build the first phase of the project between North Druid Hills and Briarwood roads. No firm date for a groundbreaking of the first section of the Greenway was given, but city officials said they hope to see it happen before the end of the year. The first phase is required by contract to be completed in 270 days after actual construction begins. Mayor John Ernst praised the council and city staff for reaching the point of awarding a contract. He said he and the rest of the council campaigned on or supported the Greenway when seeking office. He also said the city’s work to secure a hotel-motel tax hike last year through the General Assembly to pay for the Greenway was a creative funding mechanism not done anywhere else in the state. “I think this will be revolutionary for transit in Brookhaven and the region … and will be a model for other cities,” Ernst said. Money to pay for the construction contract is coming from a recently approved $12.4 million revenue bond. The bond is being paid off using the additional hotelmotel tax revenue created by the tax increase approved last year. The revenue bond gives the city an immediate cash flow and the flexibility to build out the entire Greenway rapidly rather than using limited capital project funding each year and constructing only small pieces at a time, city officials said. The Greenway is a 12-mile multiuse trail that is planned to connect Brookhaven to Chamblee, Doraville and to Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb. The trail will be 14-feet wide and constructed from concrete. The Greenway is also expected to connect to PATH400 in Buckhead and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine.

The first section, between North Druid Hills and Briarwood roads, is the central link of Brookhaven’s approximate 3-mile portion of the entire Greenway. The other segments would extend south to a planned section of PATH400 in Buckhead and north to Corporate Square. The first section of the Greenway is now just a gravel road used by DeKalb County trucks and crews to check on a sanitary sewer pipe that runs under the property. The area is filled with trees and large patches of bamboo. At different portions along the gravel road, the back of Northeast Plaza and Jackson Square Condominiums can be seen. The multiuse path is in part designed to help employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offices in Corporate Square or Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta get out of cars and get off heavily congested roads and onto bicycles as part of their commute, Betsy Eggers, chair of the Peachtree Creek Greenway advocacy group, has explained. The Greenway is expected to also boost economic development along Buford Highway, Ernst said. “First and foremost, this is providing transit,” he said. City Manager Christian Sigman said state legislators agreed with the city the Greenway would become a regional and tourist attraction, making it eligible for the hotel-motel tax funds. Councilmember Joe Gebbia said awarding the contract was a “historic” moment for the city. The Greenway will become the first green space in District 4 in south Brookhaven, he noted. Marietta-based Lewallen Construction has constructed other trail projects, including the Silver Comet Trail in Paulding and Polk counties, the Arabia Mountain Trail and PATH400 in Buckhead. The PATH Foundation will oversee construction of the first phase. The city hired the PATH Foundation last year to engineer the first section of the Greenway.

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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Vote delayed on zoning rewrite amid affordability questions Continued from page 1 opment along Buford Highway to allow for the completion of the zoning rewrite expires Dec. 31; the council expects to vote to approve the new zoning ordinance by then. All council members said Oct. 23 they have more questions about how the city can address affordable housing in the city. The draft zoning ordinance rewrite includes a 10 percent workforce housing mandate for new multi-unit residential developments — known commonly as inclusionary zoning — in a proposed Buford Highway Overlay District. The Planning Commission is also recommending the city apply the same type of workforce housing mandate citywide, to likely include multi-unit and high-density development along Peachtree Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road. How to potentially regulate shortterm rentals in the age of Airbnb is also a top concern City Council members expressed. The current draft of the zoning rewrite bans short-term rentals in single-family residential neighborhoods and allows them through a special land use permit process in multifamily residential properties. Affordable housing was raised as an issue in the city two years ago by a group of pastors and faith leaders concerned about the many people living on and near Buford Highway being forced out of their homes as developers razed their apartment complexes to build luxury townhomes and mixed-use developments. The council responded by approving the formation of an Affordable Housing Task Force, which recommended, among other things, providing developers incentives to include workforce housing in their projects. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says no more than 30 percent of a person’s income should go toward paying for housing. Brookhaven is defining workforce housing as 80 percent of the metro Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area income based on HUD numbers. That currently translates to $42,000 for one person or $60,000 for a four-person household. Affordable housing activists say the city should use U.S. Census tract figures to define area median income for those currently living on Buford Highway. That AMI, they say, is closer to $24,000 BK

per household. Opposition to Brookhaven mandating a 10 percent workforce housing mandate is being voiced by developers. Penelope Moceri, director of government affairs for the Atlanta Apartment Association, who spoke during public comment at the Oct. 23 meeting, said requiring that a certain number of units in a new apartment development be constructed as workforce housing would unfairly impact the residents who can afford higher rents. “Those living in unsubsidized units will pay for those who are subsidized,” she said. “The challenge is ... who bears the cost.” Councilmember Linley Jones took issue with the argument a workforce housing mandate would inflate the costs of the residential units. The affordable units would be built smaller, with fewer amenities, so the cost of constructing the units would not be the same as building the market rate units, she said. New mixed-use developments in the city would be ideal locations for affordable housing, she said, and provide opportunities for people to live close to where they work, keeping people out of cars. “And that would have a wonderful impact on traffic,” she said. Councilmember Bates Mattison said incentives and tax abatements were probably a better way to address affordable housing than to implement a workforce housing mandate. That ensures any economic burden is not only assumed by the developer and is shared with the residents of the community. “The fundamental question we all have to consider ... is this issue important enough for the city to put skin in the game,” Mattison said. “I want to find concrete ways to do through this through incentives, not a mandate,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for Brookhaven to be on the leading edge with market-based solutions.” The current draft of the zoning rewrite includes density incentives. When it comes to short-term rentals, Jones said she personally supports prohibiting them all together. She said the definition of “short-term” remains murky and it is unclear when a series of home rentals could be considered a business. Certain exceptions could be made for special kinds of events, like the Super Bowl, she said.

Community | 13

Always Be Notified! City of Brookhaven alerts and notifications help inform you on weather, traffic, and other emergencies in your community. When you opt-in for alerts, you will have the option to choose the kind of notifications you prefer to receive.

Text BrookhavenAlert to 226787 to opt in.

Or sign up at www.BrookhavenGA.gov/ BrookhavenAlert

Brookhaven Alert


14 | Public Safety

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Officers honored at first Brookhaven Police ball The inaugural Brookhaven Police Department Ball and Awards Ceremony was held Oct. 13, honoring officers and raising funds for the local police foundation. Maria Jones was named Brookhaven’s first-ever “Officer of the Year.” Distinguished Service Meritorious Awards went to Officers Carlos Nino and Moises Vargas. Meritorious Awards were given to Officers Jacob Kissel and Mathew Murry. Chief Gary Yandura led the event, along with J.D. Clockadale, head of the Brookhav-

Police Chief Gary Yandura welcomes the crowd.

en Police Foundation. Mayor John Ernst and City Councilmembers Joe Gebbia, Linley Jones and John Park were among those in attendance. The event was held at the DoubleTree hotel on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Perimeter Center. Anyone interested in donating to the foundation, which supports police programs and officers’ families, can contact Clockadale at jdclockadale@gmail.com.

PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Maria Jones, center, accepts the department’s first-ever “Officer of the Year” award from Deputy Chief Juan Grullon, left, and Chief Gary Yandura.

Officer Carlos Nino installs the Georgia state flag.

The Color Guard included, from left, Officers Cory Van Alen, Raul Perez, Carlos Nino, David Snively, Kevin Martinez and Maria Jones.

Officer Carlos Nino, center, receives the Distinguished Service Meritorious Award from Deputy Chief Juan Grullon, left, and Chief Gary Yandura. BK


Public Safety | 15

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Council OK’s new ambulance station The city finalized the purchase for $1.7 million of a closed QuikTrip on Buford Highway and will soon lease the space to DeKalb County as an ambulance posting. Three ambulances are expected to be stationed at the site. The move is part of an effort by the county to have quicker ambulance response times in northern DeKalb. The ambulances could be dispatched throughout the county, however. The City Council approved a 2018 budget amendment from the general fund balance for the purchase of the property at the Oct. 23 meeting. The resolution authorizing the budget amendment also authorizes the city to spend $180,000 to renovate the former convenience store as needed for EMS personnel to work there.

DeKalb County Fire Rescue provides EMS services to the city. The city and county are expected to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to allow three ambulances to be stationed at the site. As part of the IGA, the county would reimburse the city the renovation costs by leasing the building from the city. The city of Dunwoody is seeking to create its own EMS zone separate from DeKalb County due to slow response times. The Brookhaven City Council is expected to have a meeting with DeKalb Fire, the current ambulance provider American Medical Response, and Dunwoody officials to seek more information on response times. – Dyana Bagby

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16 | Out & About

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BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS MARIST SCHOOL’S HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY NOVEMBER 1, 2018 Direct from our sister cities in Israel’s Western Galilee, experience Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, one of the leading dance companies in the world. Let your ticket be your passport to this internationally acclaimed performance!

TICKETS ON SALE AT CITYSPRINGS.COM/EVENTS

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HIGH MUSEUM OF ART ATLANTA | HIGH.ORG

Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Produced by the work of more than 400 volunteers and with more than 240 artisans and crafters from around the Southeast, this event supports Marist School programs. Visit Holiday Tradition’s Cooked Goose Café for homemade corn chowder. Event admission: $5. No strollers. Marist School, 3790 AshfordDunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. Free shuttle service at Perimeter Summit, 2002 Summit Boulevard, Brookhaven. Info: marist.com/holidaytraditions.

THE ELEGANT ELF MARKETPLACE

Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (“Evening of Elegance,” Thursday, Nov. 8, 6:30-10 p.m.) This eighth annual event presented by the Sandy Springs Society features more than 90 vendors’ handcrafted artistic and gourmet creations and author book

DUNWOODY

SANDY SPRINGS

signings. Proceeds support the society’s grant program for community nonprofits. $5. An “Evening of Elegance” on Nov. 8 includes dinner, auctions and music. $115. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Registration and other info: sandyspringssociety.org/the-elegant-elf.

DUNWOODY UMC HOLIDAY FESTIVAL

Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This 27th annual Dunwoody United Methodist Church indoor event features more than 100 juried artisans. All proceeds benefit Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Shop for holiday gifts, buy Casseroles-to-Go and find garage saletype treasures. Silent auction bidding is already underway online at DUMCfest18. givesmart.com. Pancake Breakfast from 7:30-10 a.m., children’s activities, photos with Santa, BBQ and Chick-fil-A lunch. Free; fee for select children’s activities. Parking on site and at 100 Ashford Center North with a shuttle running from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: facebook.com/DUMCholidayfestival.

PERFORMANCES “AN EAST/WEST METAMORPHOSIS”

Sunday, Nov. 11, 4-5 p.m. The Virginia-Highland Chamber Music Society, featuring soprano Brianna Gilliam, pianist Randy Elkins, and Karen Zgonc on flute, performs at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. $5; free for OUMA members. 4484 Peachtree Road NE, Brookhaven. Info: connect.oglethorpe.edu/event/2794427.

NOV 11 • DEC 9 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

FUNDRAISING CONCERT FOR FAMILY PROMISE

Sunday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb partners with local congregations and others to provide emergency shelter and self-sufficiency solutions for homeless families with children. All proceeds from the fundraising concert, co-hosted by St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church and Peachtree Road Lutheran Church, benefit Family Promise. $20 donation suggested. St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 1978 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770609-5407 or FamilyPromiseNFD.org.


Art & Entertainment | 17

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

COMMUNITY EVENTS

$5 for members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Reservations suggested: 404-814-4150 or online at AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Lectures.

MAH JONGG MADNESS TOURNAMENT

PARTIES WITH A PURPOSE

Sunday, Nov. 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom hosts a Mah Jongg tournament with co-sponsor ORT Atlanta. Limited seating. $36 includes catered lunch and prizes. 5303 Winters Chapel Road, Dunwoody. Register: tinyurl.com/atlmajmad.

NIGHT FOR SIGHT GALA FUNDRAISER

Saturday, Nov. 3, 7-10 p.m. A second annual evening of fundraising for Prevent Blindness Georgia includes a silent auction, music, cocktails and dinner. Last year’s event helped PBG screen 11,150 children for sight-stealing eye conditions and provide 22 vision clinics to adults in need. InterContinental Hotel Buckhead, 3315 Peachtree Road N.E., Buckhead. Ticket info: georgia.preventblindness.org/night-sightgala.

GET ACTIVE

GOOD MEWS GALA

FALL COLORS CANOE TRIPS

Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11, 3 p.m. Paddle quietly along the Chattahoochee River and take in the vibrant colors of the trees on these final opportunities to paddle with the Chattahoochee Nature Center until next spring. Ages 6+. $35; $30 CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Advance registration required: 770-992-2055 x237 or scheduling@chattnaturecenter.org. Register online: tinyurl.com/jvvooed.

Saturday, Nov. 10, 7-10:30 p.m. Good Mews, a no-kill, cage-free cat shelter, hosts its annual fall gala and auction at the Hyatt Regency at Villa Christina. This year’s theme, “30s For Our 30th,” commemorates the shelter’s 30th year of operation. 1930s era attire is encouraged. Live jazz, dinner and a presentation by Sterling “TrapKing” Davis of TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions. 4000 Summit Boulevard, Brookhaven. Ticket info: goodmews.org.

WARRIOR 5K AND FUN RUN

Saturday, Nov. 3, 7:30 a.m. This Peachtree Road Race qualifying event benefits programs at St. Martin’s Episcopal School including rebuilding efforts for the Early Childhood Building which was severely damaged by arson in July 2017. Post-race celebration with music, food, and an award ceremony. $20 and up. 3110-A Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Register: Search for “Warrior 5K” on RaceRoster.com.

SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT

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SUNDAY COMMUNITY CYCLE

Sunday, Nov. 4, 3-4 p.m. Join Bike-Walk Dunwoody on the first Sunday of each month for a community bicycle ride. The event starts at 2:45 p.m. at Village Burger on Dunwoody Village Parkway with a short pre-ride safety talk. Riders depart at 3 p.m. for a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. All ages and abilities welcome. Helmets required. Free. Hang out after the ride for $1 custards, $1 off beers, and post-ride socializing at Village Burger, 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.

LEARN SOMETHING CREATE YOUR OWN NATURAL DECOR

Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to noon. Chattahoochee Nature Center Horticulturist Julie Hollingsworth-Hogg helps you discover native plants you can grow in your yard for beautiful autumn plant displays. Ages 16+. $25; $20 CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Advance registration required: 770-992-2055 x237 or scheduling@chattnaturecenter.org. Register online: ecommerce.chattnaturecenter.org.

DUNWOODY FINE ART ASSOCIATION PROGRAM

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 9:30 a.m. Diana Toma, an artist and instructor who uses a free-flowing approach in her acrylic and watercolor paintings, is featured speaker for the association’s November meeting. The monthly meeting begins with refreshments and social time followed by the program at 9:45 a.m. Free. Open to all interested artists. Spruill Arts Center, Room 4, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyfineart.org.

AUTHOR TALK: WINSTON GROOM

Thursday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m. Bestselling author Winston Groom appears at the Atlanta History Center to discuss his book “The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won WWII.” Groom is the author of 18 previous books, including “Forrest Gump,” “The Generals,” and “The Aviators.” $10,

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18 | Food & Drink

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Steaks and sides with restaurateur Michel Arnette BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Restaurateur Michel Arnette made a name for himself with his restaurants in Brookhaven — Haven, Valenzo and Vero — all located on bustling Dresden Drive and part of the Word of Mouth Restaurants group. He chose Brookhaven again to open his newest restaurant, Arnette’s Chop Shop, last year in the renovated Bagcraft Papercon building on Apple Valley Road in a complex named Apple Valley Brookhaven. Chef Stephen Herman, Arnette’s business partner, moved from Haven to Arnette’s Chop Shop, but is also the culinary executive director for all Word of Mouth restaurants. Arnette already has a fifth restaurant in the works, on Peachtree Road at the edge of Chamblee and Brookhaven. The concept is named The Royal, he said, and is a “blend of upscale diner meets roadhouse grill.” The site is an old gas station and the interior and exterior design “will be influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s

creative style,” he said. A longtime Brookhaven resident, he now lives in Sandy Springs.

Q: Why did you decide

Q: What do you like about Brookhaven? A: I’ve always loved its diversity of neigh-

A: I felt we had done

borhoods. You have Historic Brookhaven that borders with Lynwood Park and reaches to Brittany. Then, there is gentrified Brookhaven, which comprises Ashford Park, Brookhaven Fields, Brookhaven Heights and Drew Valley, which blends into Buford Highway.

Q: What prompted you

to open your restaurants on Dresden Drive?

A: My family lived in Ashford Park and I would drive Dresden Drive every day headed to Buckhead for work. Something kept telling me that this is where it begins. I had dreams of a warm and cozy little neighborhood restaurant where I could feed the soul of the community. I met the developer, Dan Woodley, and the rest is just a wonderful journey where we are still making our history.

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to open Arnette’s Chop Shop on Apple Valley?

our work to bring attention to Dresden Drive. [Apple Valley Brookhaven] thrives as a wonderful mixed-use vibrant community center in the heart of our neighborhood. It was time to branch out. ApANGIE WEBB CREATIVE A variety of steaks highlight the menu at Arnette’s Chop Shop in ple Valley feels like that edgy enclave in Brookhaven, from dry aged strip steaks to Wagyu flat iron steaks. Brookhaven ripe for new development. It has that Inman Park and West Midtown vibe. How do you like your steak cooked? What sides and wine do you prefer with a steak dinner? What do you like and appreciate about Chef Herman? I am a fan of wet aging and love a prime

Q:

Q:

A: Stephen has been with me since the be-

ginning. He is first a wonderful friend and a great partner. I trust him implicitly and he is skilled and gifted with creative culinary talents that I do not possess. I learned early in my career to surround myself with humble and trustworthy people and provide an environment for them to thrive.

Q:

Do you think the restaurant scene is picking up outside the Atlanta intown area?

A:

The restaurant scene certainly has grown outside of the Perimeter. I believe it is due to urban sprawl and the planned home communities that have developed in the last 20 years. People also don’t want to deal with the traffic after a commute to and from work.

Q:

What do you think of Brookhaven’s place in the metro Atlanta food scene?

A: My thought is Brookhaven

1Q.com/reporter or text REPORTER to 86312

has been a suburb of Atlanta. You could say the same of Buckhead some 25 to 30 years ago. It takes time and the efforts of many people for a neighborhood, and now a city, to become a dining destination. I like the word “destination” in dining destination. It’s derived from the word destiny. Most restaurateurs want a location that already has a built-in market; it is just safer. It is something special when you believe you have the ability to create the destination. I sure hope we are doing our part!

A:

rib eye steak served up just past medium rare. Add just about any kind of potato and anything green and I’m happy. As for beverage, I am a fan of a good pinot noir, burgundy or Brunello di Montalcino.

Q: Are you personally a good cook? A: Let’s get real here, I am educated in the

business of fine cuisine, but you do not want me cooking! I leave that to the talents of my chefs and my wife, who is an excellent cook.


Art & Entertainment | 19

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Book Festival of the MJCCA set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 18 The 27th annual Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 18 with some of the nation’s bestselling authors. This year’s event features more than 45 authors, including Oscarwinning actor Tom Hanks (Oct. 30), former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Nov. 3), and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Nov. 4). Most events will be held at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Some other authors scheduled to appear during the festival proper include Anna Quindlen, Stuart Eizenstat, director Kenny Leon, Jon Meacham, Liane Moriarty and NPR’s Peter Sagal. “Included in our exciting lineup are some of Atlanta’s best local authors presenting their work,” said Book Festival Co-Chair Susie Hyman in a press release. “Additionally, I am thrilled that we will bring back our ‘In Con-

versation’ interviews between authors and local journalists; as well as various events with book clubs from throughout the city.” Individual tickets and series passes are available. Some events are free. For the complete lineup and tickets, call 678-812-4005 or see atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.

WEEK 2018


20 | Education

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Aditya Barot, sitting in the center wearing gray and surrounded by friends, displays an app he built over the summer.

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Aditya Barot, a sophomore at Dunwoody High School, used his passion for computer science to teach himself how to build a phone app, using most of his summer to build a game and publish it. Aditya has been invested in coding and app design from a very early age. He and his friends would often discuss their interest in the field and their plans to one day develop apps of their own, he said. He finished his first app earlier this year. Called Pixel.Jump, the app is a game where you must maneuver triangles at an accelerating speed. Although science, technology, engineering and math programs, often called STEM, are rapidly growing at both public and private schools, Dunwoody High does not yet offer many classes that teach the skills Aditya wanted to learn, so he set out on his own. “I would sign up for classes such as intro to digital technology or computer science, which I am taking this year, but I found that I didn’t learn much about programming other than the absolute basics,” Aditya said. Aditya, however, did not allow that to stop him. He began teaching himself to code and design as a freshman, often using sources such as YouTube tutorials and educational websites like Code Academy when he got stuck or needed help. Those tools paired with his extensive background in robotics helped him successfully learn the skill by himself. Developing Pixel.Jump took Aditya almost all summer. He started in late May, with sleepless nights and long days. “When I really got into it, I would spend hours working each day,” he said. Although the actual designing and building of Pixel.Jump wasn’t completely smooth sailing, the real challenge was getting it published. His major setback was not being able to publish the app as a minor, but his parents helped him work a way around the strict guidelines and he was able to publish it on the iPhone app store. “I’m glad I worked hard on it because, in the end, it paid off,” he said.

Standout Student

What’s next?

Aditya hopes to attend Georgia Institute of Technology after graduating high school. He also plans to have his own app development or design company. “It’d be really cool to have a company of my own, where I’m in charge,” he said. This article was written and reported by Halimah Budeir, a junior at Fulton Science Academy and a Dunwoody resident. Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.


Classifieds | 21

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Reporter Classifieds

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22 | Community

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Lynwood Park residents seek sidewalk relief BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A group of residents living in Lynwood Park is asking the City Council to find ways to fund safe sidewalks in the historic neighborhood. The narrow roads and broken sidewalks are unsafe for pedestrians, such as moms with strollers, who want to walk in the neighborhood, according to a newly formed civic group. Mayor John Ernst, who lives in Lynwood Park, and Councilmember Linley Jones recently hiked the stretch of Osborne Road from Windsor Parkway to Lynwood Park with a group of moms and their children, many in strollers. They walked over crumbling sidewalks and past mailboxes jutting into a pedestrians’ paths. They watched as other parents pushed strollers in the street. The historic neighborhood, once an African American enclave, is now filled with newer, large houses and characterized by gentrification. The narrow roads that created an intimate environment are now heavily traveled by motorists. With the possibility of a massive park redevelopment should a $40 million parks bond referendum pass, residents say they need relief to get around their neighborhood safely as more people visit the neigh-

DYANA BAGBY

Mayor John Ernst and Councilmember Linley Jones, center, recently walked along Osborne Road in Lynwood Park with residents who say they need safer sidewalks.

borhood to use the park’s amenities. “If we can improve sidewalks, that would help with the narrow streets,” said Sara Shinnick, an eight-year resident of the neighborhood who helped create the new Lynwood Park Civic Association. “People are always just flying through here.” There are 450 homes in Lynwood Park. A community center for the park was once a school for the black residents liv-

ing there before desegregation forced them into Cross Keys High School. Multiuse fields are popular destination spots for the neighborhood and visitors. Jones said one of the challenges the city faces is the very narrow right of way it owns in the neighborhood. She said yards likely would be taken to retrofit the current 50-year-old sidewalks into wider versions that meet federal Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

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“Ideally, we have an ADA-compliant sidewalk on Osborne Road that is usable by all,” she said. Jones has asked staff to complete a citywide sidewalk survey to determine the conditions of current sidewalks. The proposed 2019 budget only has $300,000 set aside for sidewalks, she said. Jones said installing more sidewalks is a priority of the council as it moves toward creating walkable communities. Last year, approximately two miles of sidewalks were installed. In Lynwood Park, a quick, cheap way to help with safety is for the city to paint a crosswalk near the park. That can slow down drivers and provides safety for walkers going to and from the park, Jones said. The city is conducting a survey of what would need to be done to install ADA-compliant sidewalks on Osborne Road and surveying the right of way to define parcel-by-parcel what would need to be done and how homes would be affected, Jones said. The survey should not only put a price tag on what it would cost to put in new sidewalks in Lynwood Park but also give insight into community impact, she said. Shinnick said she moved to Lynwood Park because of its charm. She just recently learned of its historical significance, however. The Lynwood Park Civic Association includes members from the “old neighborhood” she said, including former students at the school before it was desegregated and who don’t live there anymore. “We want to bring the old neighborhood and the new neighborhood together with this Lynwood Park Civic Association,” she said. The new group may hold a “Heritage Day” next year, she added. Jones said people move to Lynwood Park to be part of a charming neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t work to improve the conditions if they can. “There’s nothing charming or historic about crumbling infrastructure,” she said. BK


Community | 23

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

City faces landmark decision with parks bond vote Continued from page 1 amenities — but it would send a “big vote of no-confidence in city leadership.” “It would certainly be a blow to the civic leadership and government and there would need to be serious repair work,” he said. “And it would make the city think twice about taking on any big initiatives in the future.” If approved, the parks bond would fund several parks master plan projects: Ashford Park, $1.94 million; Blackburn Park, $1.3 million; Briarwood Park, $7 million; Brookhaven Park, $6 million; Lynwood Park, $11 million; Murphey Candler Park, $8.98 million.; and systemwide funding for security, maintenance and invasive plant removal, among other things, $3.47 million. As Election Day nears, the players in the campaign are rushing to get their message out. They include a well-funded pro-parks bond group headed up by a former mayor and former interim city manager; opposition bubbling up from a handful of parks advocates; and a city-led parks “education” blitz. (Cities are prohibited from attempting to influence an election and cannot directly advocate for ballot questions.) Four of the five members of the Parks and Recreation Coalition of Brookhaven who served on an ad hoc “funding task force” that helped create the proposed $40 million parks bond are now opposing it. They decided to reverse their previous neutral stance in response to the Yes for Brookhaven Parks group headed up by former mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and former interim city manager J.D. Clockadale. “PARC of Brookhaven has determined that it is imperative to change our position from neutral information source to advocate for a ‘no’ vote on the upcoming potential bond,” PARC Chair Sue Binkert said in an Oct. 16 statement. Williams said she was “surprised and saddened” to hear some PARC of Brookhaven members are now publicly opposing the parks bond. “But I respect their opinion. They have been in the trenches a long time,” she said. The four members are Binkert, Terrell Carstens, Greg Trinkle and Steve Peters. The fifth member of the funding task force declined to take a public stance, Peters said. Carstens represents Clack’s Corner and Briarwood Park. Trinkle is president of the Briarwood Park Conservancy. Peters is volunteer coordinator of the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy. Peters explained the public PARC opposition was coming from just the four from the task force and no vote was taken of the wider coalition. He added his own conservancy, the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy, is supporting the parks bond. Two recent editions of the free community paper “a: Times News” label the parks bond the “Brookhaven Bamboozle” and warns that passage of the bond means to “give into the control of our Brookhaven government.” A writer of one story in the paper atBK

tacks the city’s decision to include a “lazy river” at Lynwood Park — described as a “magical mote [sic].” YES FOR BROOKHAVEN PARKS Included in the proyesbrookhavenparks.com posed $11 million for LynVOTE NO ON PARK BOND wood Park is a $3.25 milvotenoparkbond.com lion lap pool and “lazy river.” A lazy river is a CITY OF BROOKHAVEN shallow pool that flows PARKS BOND WEBSITE like a river in a loop. The brookhavenga.gov/parks-bond-ref PARC members oppose the addition of the “lazy river” because it was not part of the parks master plan approved two years ago. A city spokesperson said when consulDYANA BAGBY tant GreenbergFarrow began designing Parks and Recreation Director Brian Borden, right, discusses the parks Lynwood Park following the public masbond with a resident at the recent Brookhaven Arts Festival. ter plan process, they realized not all the city’s entire parks master plans is $80 milAnd in 2021 when a DeKalb County approved amenities, like the basketball lion. The funding task force supported a parks bond expires and rolls off property and tennis courts, could be added while parks bond — but in the smaller amount taxes for Brookhaven homeowners, city ofalso preserving historic and heritage strucof $26.5 million — to complete the masficials are estimating an overall savings of tures. The lazy river was added as a “comter plans for Ashford, Briarwood and about $514 for homeowners with $466,000 promise to remain in the spirit of the masBrookhaven parks and part of Murphey homes. ter plan,” the spokesperson said. Candler Park. Supporters also argue the city’s recent The city is not allowed to advocate for But city officials boosted the final protriple-A credit rating from Standard & the parks bond, but it can educate. That inposal to $40 million. That includes an adPoor’s and Moody’s indicates that the city cludes Parks and Recreation Director Brian ditional $11 million for Lynwood Park, $2.5 is in strong financial shape and is fiscally Borden working the city’s booth at the remillion to hire a professional project manresponsible enough to be able to pay off the cent Brookhaven Arts Festival, answering agement firm and $1 million to dredge bonds. questions of passersby and handing out Murphey Candler Park lake. “The city has done this in a fiscally repackets of information. Peters said the funding task force sponsible way,” Williams said. The booth was packed with illustrated agreed to support a $26.5 million bond refBrookhaven expects to receive $47 posters of new playgrounds, open fields, erendum because the tax increase was esmillion in SPLOST revenue over the next new pavilions and more that would be paid sentially a “one-for-one” replacement of six years, but the money supporting the for by the parks bond — if it is approved — the DeKalb parks bond, which rolls off SPLOST limits spending the sales tax revBorden explained to visitors. property tax bills in 2021. enue to only transportation, public safety The city is not shying away from saying General obligation bonds are backed by and a small amount for maintenance of exthere will be no money for parks unless the the credit and taxing power of the city to isting capital projects. parks bond is approved. City officials say pay off the bonds and opponents fear the Councilmember Bates Mattison, who the elimination this year of the homestead city could someday find itself in trouble cast the lone “no” vote to putting the bond option sales after DeKalb voters approved and not be able to pay its bonds. on the ballot, earlier this year voiced his the special local option sales tax erased “They [the city] need to remove the obdismay that the SPLOST funding could not their only source for parks capital projects. ligation off the homeowners,” Peters said. go to parks. City leaders are hoping in six No money for parks is currently budgeted Supporters say homeowners’ overyears when the SPLOST may be renewed in the city’s proposed $47.5 million budget all tax bills won’t go up due to other taxathat it will include funding for parks. for next year. tion changes this year. The city millage inState Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), “These are sort of diverging concerns,” crease would be offset by this year’s new author of the SPLOST legislation, said in Steve Chapman, the assistant city managequalized homestead option sales tax. The an interview he purposely restricted capier and chief financial officer, said in FebruEHOST freezes property values and dedital projects from the legislation because he ary when public talks began about a parks cates 100 percent of its revenue to reduce did not want DeKalb County to build a govbond. “Do [residents] want parks or do they property taxes for qualified homeowners, ernment complex on Memorial Drive. want low taxes? By financing the parks, the according to DeKalb officials. people who are getting the benefit of the parks will be those paying for it.”

SPLOST, HOST funding

The backdrop to the debate is major changes to the way capital projects in city parks are currently funded. A sales tax known as HOST that was the city’s main park funding source was eliminated this year after DeKalb voters last year approved the SPLOST. And a DeKalb County bond that funded the parks prior to the city’s 2012 incorporation is expiring in two years. The parks bond would raise the city’s 2.74 millage rate by half a mill, or an average of $98.34 a year to the homeowner with a home assessed at about $466,000, according to city officials. The millage rate is used to determine local taxes and is the amount taxpayers pay per $1,000 of assessed value. The total estimated cost to complete the

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