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Inside

Buckhead Reporter

Shots fired

Brake job

No bike lanes for Peachtree Road COMMUNITY 14

Give us peace

www.ReporterNewspapers.net

DEC. 25, 2015 — JAN. 7, 2016 • VOL. 9 — NO. 22

Art organization brings hope MAKING A DIFFERENCE 18

PUBLIC SAFETY 22

While there was plenty of hustle and bustle in our daily lives over the past 12 months, area youngsters had no trouble taking the time to enjoy what our local communities have to offer. We’ve taken a look through the Reporter Newspapers archives and selected a few of our favorite cover photos from 2015, shown below, with more on pages 6-7.

YEAR IN REVIEW

Top left, Morgan O’Keefe, 11, left, and Kerston Moss, 8, feed ducks during a warm, spring day at Murphey Candler Park in Brookhaven on April 11. Bottom left, Alec Williams, 6, left, with his brother Cullen, 4, and their dog Cooper, cool off in Nancy Creek at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead on July 18. Center, Olivia Whitake, 10, takes delight in getting a close look at a “Julia Longwing” while attending the annual Butterfly Festival at the Dunwoody Nature Center on Aug. 15. Right, from left, Mel Mobley, Vann McNeill, center, and his children Seema, 1, and Ravi, 2, right, pour their neighborhood’s soil into a planter at the request of Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, at a ceremony to unveil “City Springs” on Sept. 20. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Sandy Springs Planning Commission rejects Galloway sports fields BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Galloway School’s sports field debate came to the Sandy Springs Planning Commission Dec. 17 and boiled down to the letter of the law versus the neighborhood’s quality of life. The neighborhood prevailed, as the commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the project. Commissioner Dave Nickels said the planning body is tasked to “uphold the mission of the city when it was founded, and that’s to uphold the quality of life and integrity of the neighborhoods…and this [plan] does not do that.” City planning staff had recommended denial as well. The Buckhead private school’s plan for an athletic facility at the southern dead-end of High Point Road next goes to Sandy Springs City Council for a final vote. “That’s the only controlling vote,” Galloway attorney Sharon Gay noted in a post-meeting interview,

indicating the school will wait and see how it fares there. Galloway says it has an urgent need for more athletic facilities that won’t fit on its Buckhead campus. Two students testified that they miss class time because of their long travels to “home” games on even more distant fields. The school has settled on the High Point Road site, which it is buying from former NFL football star Warrick Dunn. But the proposal requires a use permit and two variances: one for creating a new curb cut on a local street, and the other for violating a 50-foot residential buffer zone. The hotly controversial plan drew a standing-roomonly crowd of at least 130 people. Studies on two key issues—flooding and traffic—came into question in an unpredictable debate. The commission’s decision came down to zoning

versus the city’s Comprehensive Plan, a set of nonbinding guidelines. The zoning allows for athletic facilities there. But the Comprehensive Plan labels High Point a “protected neighborhood” to be preserved as a suburb, and suggests non-residential uses be allowed only if they are “serving the neighborhood.” In one surprise, Gay ended up facing off with attorney Pete Hendricks, who joined the High Point Civic Association and the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods in opposing the plan. Hendricks is often the one defending a controversial project against such groups—in fact, he did so for another project later in the same planning commission meeting. The property is along Nancy Creek, and possible stormwater impacts are a big concern for residents devastated in 2009’s historic flooding, who report water standing as deep as 30 inches regularly on the proposed fields’ site. Hendricks said he was convinced to join the opposition when he walked the property in his knee-high turkey-hunting boots and found water SEE GALLOWAY, PAGE 12


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

In 2015, days of rage roll through Buckhead BY JOE EARLE

joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

As 2015 rolled through Buckhead, just about everybody seemed riled up about something. Homeowners voiced new fears about crime. Golfers cried foul over plans to remake the venerable Bobby Jones Golf Course as part of a redo of Atlanta Memorial Park. And hundreds of residents flooded public meetings because they were ticked off about a proposal to put bike lanes along part of Peachtree Road. Still, there were happy times, too. The Buckhead Community Improvement District launched a new park and a new path and envisioned another new park in the sky. The Westminster Schools and Pace Academy won state championships in football. And neighborhoods in the Moores Mill Road area appear finally to be getting a new grocery store. So, calm down now, and a take a look back. Here’s a review of some of the top events of the last 12 months in Buckhead.

Following its “complete streets” policy (described as a plan to allow people who aren’t in cars to use public thoroughfares), state Department of Transportation officials proposed repainting the lanes on Peachtree Road through part of Buckhead to include bike lanes. The plan drew thousands of complaints from residents who packed public meetings and wrote letters to local publications saying there wasn’t enough room on Peachtree for the cars, much less more bikes. Bike proponents argued that adding the lanes could cut car traffic, rather than increase it, but opponents weren’t swayed. In the end, GDOT backed down. On Dec. 11, state officials officially dropped bike lanes from its plans. A proposal to create a center left-turn lane remains. “This is the public involvement process at work,” GDOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle said.

The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy launched plans to revitalize the historic Buckhead park by remaking the Bobby Jones Golf Course, expanding the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, and adding walking and cycling trails and other improvements. The |

City: No streetcar for Buckhead A proposal to someday expand Atlanta’s streetcar lines through Buckhead derailed after some residents publicly questioned how the trains would fit onto already crowded Peachtree Road. (See “Peachtree Road bike lanes,” above.) “The day may come when the public will support sharing precious Peachtree Road capacity with streetcars,” Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook said, “but today isn’t it.”

SPECIAL

Battle lines drawn over park, golf course renovation 2

Homeowners fret about crime Spurred by their belief that crooks were targeting Buckhead businesses and neighborhoods, residents cried out for better police protection. “We’re worried about the sanctity of our houses and the safety of our houses,” one resident said during a public meeting with the Atlanta Police Department brass in September. “Zone 2 [which includes Buckhead] needs more cops. There’s a well-known joke that if you see a cop in Chastain Park, you should stop and offer directions, because he’s lost.” Police responded that there were more officers on the streets of Atlanta than ever, and that APD offered “smarter” policing by watching bad guys through the thousands of surveillance cameras already installed throughout the city and the thousands more to come.

Peachtree Road bike lanes shut down

Golfers deemed plans to remake the Bobby Jones Golf Course, in the rendering above, to be out of bounds.

plans quickly found outraged critics. Golfers organized to fight the conservancy’s plan to turn the 18-hole course into a 9-hole one with a driving range. Some residents of the area around the 35-acre “passive” portion of the park west of Northside Drive said new trails would draw more traffic to the park and onto their streets, and increase the risk of flooding in the area. “I have had it with the conservancy,” one resident said before walking out of a public meeting on the trails. “I have worked for 45 years to protect this park as a haven for wildlife and now you are going to ruin it.” But not everyone found fault with the changes. “Anything that gets my kids out of the street, I’m very much in favor of,” another resident said.

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Loudermilk Park opens Buckhead got a new landmark in March. More than 100 people gathered to celebrate and formally open the renovated Charlie Loudermilk Park, a triangle at the meeting of Roswell and Peachtree roads that now features a clock tower and a fountain. The renovation of the park cost the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Loudermilk himself about $2.8 million. The park’s namesake gave it good reviews. “I love it,” Loudermilk said as he greeted well-wishers at the opening. “It turned out better than I thought it might.”

BH


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

Open New Year’s Eve!

Cities repair Lake Forrest dam

Ring in the New Year with a New ‘Do!

After years of prodding from the state’s Safe Dams Programs, the cities of Atlanta and Sandy Springs agreed to split the costs of repairing the “high-hazard” dam running beneath Lake Forrest Drive on the cities’ border. Sandy Springs took the lead on long-overdue maintenance of the dam and partly drained the lake—including capturing and relocating its fish—to begin a close review of the dam’s condition. The review will wrap up in 2016. The state rates the dam as “high hazard,” meaning that if it fails, the flood likely would kill people. It’s one of 11 high-hazard dams in Reporter Newspapers communities.

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After more than a decade, the demolition of an abandoned shopping center at the corner of Moores Mill and Bolton roads should happen early next year to make way for a $40 million mixed-use development, including a 45,000-square-foot Publix supermarket, retail shops and apartments. Local residents have been living in a “food desert,” with many having to drive miles into Cobb County to buy groceries. The wrangling over the project between the Atlanta City Council (especially Councilmember Felicia Moore, who has been championing redevelopment of the area for years) and the mayor’s office hinged on funding sources (a mix of local and federal dollars) to create an extension of Moores Mill to connect to Marietta Boulevard.

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PATH400 draws a crowd On one cold, cold January day, dozens of business and government leaders donned bright green scarves knitted just for the occasion and helped cut a bright green ribbon to officially open the first phase of PATH400. The first piece of the path stretches just about a half mile to connect Lenox and Old Ivy roads. When it’s done, PATH400 is supposed to run about 5.2 miles, cost $10 million to $12 million, and someday connect Buckhead to points north and south. The path will meet the BeltLine in Atlanta. And state transportation officials have drawn a path through the Ga. 400/I-285 as part of the massive rebuild of that interchange, so Buckhead’s paved trail could in the future connect hikers and bikers to similar trails through Sandy Springs and Dunwoody.

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Voters back bonds In March, city voters overwhelmingly approved a $250 million bond issue to repair bridges, update public buildings, pave streets and pay for other infrastructure fixes across the city. Turnout was low – only 20,762 voters, or about 7.5 percent of those registered, cast ballots – but on each of the two bonds on the ballot, more than 86 percent said “yes.” Voters approved $187 million for transportation projects and $64 million to upgrade municipal facilities. The bonds, which required no tax increase, were promoted as the first of several to be used to pay for nearly $1 billion in backlogged infrastructure repairs.

CID considers park in the sky After getting PATH400 off the ground figuratively, officials of the Buckhead CID turned their thoughts to a park that would be off the ground literally. The CID board hired consultants to look into building a 9-acre park above Ga. 400. CID officials said the elevated park, near Lenox and Peachtree roads, would bring new green space to a park-poor part of the community. The CID plans to seek detailed planning and conceptual designs for the park in January. Will it get off the ground? Stay tuned. Collin Kelley and John Ruch contributed to this report. BH

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 3


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

Perimeter Business Mercedes-Benz USA goes local

In a corporate headquarters coup for Sandy Springs, luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz USA announced in January that it would relocate there from New Jersey. The new headquarters off Abernathy Road is slated to open in 2018, and in the meantime, Mercedes is working out of a Dunwoody office. Mercedes made an Atlanta splash by buying naming rights to the new football and soccer stadium downtown. Locally, it became involved in controversy over a housing development that will accompany its Sandy Springs headquarters. And its pending attempt to rename part of Barfield Road as “Mercedes-Benz Drive” is opposed by a Barfield family descendent. But it also drew thanks for kicking off corporate donations by giving a van to the nonprofit, Community Assistance Center.

Builder picked for interchange

Fixing the I-285/ Ga. 400 interchange had been projected to cost more than $1 billion, making it the most expensive road project in Georgia history. But when bids finally were opened in December, North Perimeter Contractors won the job by offering to do it for a mere $460 million. When all costs were totaled, state Department of Transportation officials said the price of the project would be just $679 million, meaning it only ranks among the state’s more expensive road projects. The construction will cover 10 miles of highway as the project stretches from east of Ashford-Dunwoody Road to west of Roswell Road and from the Glenridge Connector to Spalding Drive. Contractors will add flyover bridges and connector/distributor lanes to the interchange. Once the work is done, likely to be some time in 2020, the average commuter will save eight hours a year in commuting time and employers will save $100 million in lost productivity, Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said.

High-speed Internet battle comes to town

Google announced in January it would bring a new high-speed Internet service to Sandy Springs, Atlanta and Brookhaven, along with a half-dozen other communities in metro Atlanta. Local political leaders jumped at the chance to get high-speed fiber lines.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our city, our citizens and business community,” said Brookhaven City Councilman Bates Mattison, who attended Google’s announcement along with then-Mayor J. Max Davis and other city officials. Dunwoody was left out of the Google program, but AT&T stepped in with its own plans to provide its own highspeed fiber network and to include Dunwoody along with Sandy Springs. AT&T’s Internet service found a fan in Dunwoody City Councilman John Heneghan. “[T]he productivity gained on large uploads should cut my processing time way back,” Heneghan wrote in his blog.“I hope it comes to your neighborhood soon.” In December, Brookhaven’s Google Fiber hit a snag when the Zoning Board of Appeals denied a necessary utility hut in Parkside Park, leaving Google to hunt alternative locations.

Restaurant Council grows in Sandy Springs

In its second year, the Sandy Springs Restaurant Council began expanding its mission beyond the typical “restaurant week” promotion to start marketing the city as a foodie mecca. An August football season kick-off cook-out was a hit, and the first of new quarterly dining events the council intends to hold. The Restaurant Council formed in 2013 as an initiative of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, and could become an influential model for neighboring cities, as there is talk of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs partnering on a restaurant week promotion and the newer city of Brookhaven starting its own. “People go down Ga. 400 to get to Buckhead and bypass Sandy Springs … when we have over 500 restaurants in Sandy Springs,” said Karen Trylovich, the council’s chair.

Apartment boom reshaping Perimeter cities

A continuing apartment-development boom began reshaping the new Perimeter cities and Buckhead, sparking debates about density, traffic and quality of life. Residents packed neighborhood gatherings and city zoning meetings in order to push back against apartment plans. The Roswell Road corridor in Sandy Springs alone had more than 2,400 new apartments approved or under construction. Millennials and baby boomers were driving the trend, real estate experts said. About 11,000 new multifamily units—including apartments and condos—have been built in the past seven quarters in metro Atlanta, according to Ron Cameron of Colliers International-Atlanta. --John Ruch and Joe Earle

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

Standout Students

Local students work to make the world a better place Editor’s note: In 2015, Reporter Newspapers identified 22 local high school students who make significant contributions to their communities. They won prizes for academics, excelled in athletics, and volunteered to do charity work close to home and in faraway places. Here are the “Standout Students” we met during the past year and, according to officials from their high schools, where they are now.

Abraham Araya set the cross-country record at Chamblee Charter High School and now attends Cornell University.

Aidan Brady, a senior at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, developed “Wordzie,” an iPhone app.

Ansley Guthrie, a student at the Whitefield Academy, helped a charity with imprisoned Ugandan children.

Andrew Agrippina started a pro-life club at Holy Spirit Preparatory School and attends Washington and Lee University.

Asia Durr, a basketball star at St. Pius X Catholic High School, plays for the University of Louisville.

Avi Botwinick, a senior at the Weber School, is part of the robotics team.

Eagle Scout and Lovett School senior Benjamin Yarmowich cleaned over 300 signs in his neighborhood.

Caroline Grant, from the The Lovett School, developed a reading curriculum for children.

Ean Huang, a graduate of Holy Spirit Preparatory School, helped provide earthquake relief in China.

Haley Vincent, a student at The Westminster Schools, volunteers with youthSpark.

Haley Barnes, a student at The Lovett School, has raised money for cancer research.

John Arnold, a junior at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, made lunches for disadvantaged children.

John Willingham, a senior at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, organized rocketry and Bible study clubs, and earned his pilot’s license.

Josh Doman, a senior at The Westminster Schools, was awarded silver in the United States Physics Olympiad.

Kenny Buckner, a graduate of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, was named Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate and attends Syracuse University.

Matt Tanenblatt, a graduate of Pace Academy, introduced “Scootle,” an app that addresses traffic congestion.

Max Harris, a senior at Weber School, formed the school’s Investment Club.

Pascal Acree, a senior at Riverwood International Charter School, presented at an international radon symposium.

Sarah Corning, a senior at The Lovett School, taught and volunteered in Guatemala.

Sydney Holmes, as a Dunwoody High School student, taught youngsters to stay safe.

William Denning, a senior at The Westminster Schools, won the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association Award.

Xanthos Likes, a graduate of Marist School, published a children’s book, “Corporate Fish.” He’s on a Mormon mission.

www.ReporterNewspapers.net |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 5


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

Phil picks his favorite photos of 2015 Phil Mosier teaches photography at Georgia Perimeter College and takes many of the photos that appear in the pages of Reporter Newspapers. We asked him to choose his favorites from the many he shot for the newspapers in 2015. His first choice was the photograph on the cover of this issue of a girl with a butterfly on her nose. Phil also listed the photo shown here, left, of Sophia Wetherbee holding a chicken during an event at the Atlanta History Center, among his favorites. “I try to capture moments that will make viewers respond to beauty, integrity and spirit that, in turn, illuminates peoples’ lives in our neighborhoods,” Mosier said.

PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Above and on the facing page are some of our other favorite photos from 2015. Sophia Wetherbee, 9, petted a Barred Rock Cochin Chicken during the annual Folklife Festival at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead on Sept. 26.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Ruthie Williams, 3, left, and her friend Anna Harding, 3, dance to the music of “The Return,” a Beatles tribute band performing at Heritage Green in Sandy Springs on Aug. 2. The show was part of the annual Concert by the Springs series.


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW

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

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Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor Joe Earle joeearle@reporternewspapers.net Associate Editor: John Ruch Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Staff Writer: Ellen Eldridge Copy Editor: Diane L. Wynocker Creative and Production Creative Director: Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer: Isadora Pennington Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Senior Account Executives Jeff Kremer Janet Porter Account Executives Susan Lesesne Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Phil Mosier, Clare Richie

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net. © 2015 With all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

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What’s next? Looking ahead to 2016 As 2015 slips past, it’s time to take a moment to look forward. What’s coming in 2016? We asked newsmakers from Reporter Newspapers communities what they thought would be the biggest issues or trends facing our local areas in the coming year. Here’s what they see heading our way in 2016. I think the most important issues that the General Assembly will address during the upcoming 2016 session include passing of education reforms, including changing the way state funds are distributed to local districts, and considering teacher merit pay. I think the General Assembly will significantly revise the $5-per-night hotel/ motel fee that was part of last session’s transportation funding bill. The General Assembly also will consider important Fulton County reforms. I will propose tax relief for Atlanta’s seniors. -- Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) 2016 will be another transformative year in Fulton County. I’m expecting a balanced budget which will hopefully result in a further decrease in our millage rate. The BOC is working on several significant initiatives in a number of areas including public health, safety and economic development. We are having great collaboration with the Fulton mayors around tackling our transportation challenges. Also, the potential sale of Turner Field and unveiling of dynamic opportunities for the redevelopment of the area will be something to watch. -- Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis The groundbreaking on Brookhaven’s park improvements will be the biggest event for Brookhaven, which I hope leads to more resident-led projects through 2016 and beyond. The new trend for our city government will be monthly town hall meetings. I’m very excited to work for – and with – every Brookhaven resident to make our city better. -- Brookhaven Mayor-elect John Ernst I foresee a trend toward more active recreation opportunities within the Dunwoody Park system and specifically more programming at Brook Run Park. The hospital in the back of the park was torn down in 2007, leaving a rocky, open field and the city has been slowly filling it in with clean fill dirt to level it out. The city just settled a $4 million lawsuit with DeKalb County where the Parks Master Plan update may direct money toward improving Brook Run’s playing fields. I hope to see permanently installed, flat

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

multi-use playable fields in the back of Brook Run Park, so that new recreation opportunities can be available to our community. -- Dunwoody City Councilman John Heneghan For a number of years, Buckhead’s leadership has recognized the growing need for replacements from the younger generation. Before our Buckhead Coalition was formed, the Buckhead Business Association started just such a group (called YoungBucks, by my son Steve). More recently, the coalition started an organization of new leaders nominated by neighborhood associations. Named the Diplomatic Leadership Corps, it consists of 25 men and women around the age of 25 (to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the coalition). Imagine our excitement when David Cummings developed Atlanta Tech Village as an incubator for young tech startups. Add to this the wisdom of 36 different developers announcing 44 apartment complexes with 13,974 units to meet the desire for mobility by the estimated population expansion, with 38 percent made up by millennials. Young leadership is what’s trending in Buckhead for 2016! -- Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition I believe the most significant local event in 2016 is: Will the GM project move forward or stall due to bureaucratic infighting and/or ignorance? Also, will DeKalb’s legislative delegation finally embrace the Republican initiative to eliminate the CEO position and go to a county manager system? In Fulton County, will the Fulton County Commission continue to make progress in relations with its cities? -- Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) I expect resolution on at least these two definitive key items for Dunwoody in 2016: 1. Begin Brook Run Park improvements using the $4 million settlement from DeKalb County due to the parks bond litigation. This should include turning the undeveloped back field into recreational fields, developing the Great Lawn, adding vehicle entry to the park from Barclay Drive and other amenities in the Parks Master Plan. The $4 million for these improvements is already in the bank. 2. Finalize a timeline, location and action plan for future Dunwoody City Hall arrangements, as the current lease expires in 2019. I have asked for discussion during our annual retreat in February around these two issues that I hope will result in a policy consensus: a different policy approach to our paving plan in order to accelerate paving of the city’s lowestranked roads; and how council will address an increasing tax digest in order to achieve residential property tax relief. -- Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall


COMMENTARY In the New Year, we will finalize our long-term plan. At the start, Sandy Springs adopted Fulton County’s existing development codes because: 1) we needed something immediately, 2) we understood the process, and 3) we could fix its obvious flaws over time. After a decade of patching, we realized the old land use plan and development regulations were mid-20th Century relics unsuited for early 21st Century demands. This forced council to implement three development moratoria because we lacked adequate controls to block certain types of unwanted development. In 2016, we will update our land use plan and development ordinances to ensure public engagement before developers can apply for a rezoning. The goal is to develop a plan that our residents believe ensures our long-term quality of life. -- Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul Notwithstanding the political claims that DeKalb is “back on track,” 2016 will be a year of decision. The Legislature will consider further reform of our Organizational Act (County Constitution) and voters will elect a new CEO, four Commissioners and a District Attorney. A newly created independent Internal Auditor will, for the first time, provide an informed and focused critique of county operations. While new cities and annexations may slow, the conflicts generated by intensive development along municipal boundaries will necessitate intergovernmental cooperation that has been lacking. All residents can and should be active in every election, because county decisions affect everyone. -- DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader The most significant local event will be formulating smart strategies and then making decisions to expand transportation alternatives and fund projects that alleviate traffic congestion. One example is whether Fulton Countians should consider a November referendum for an extra 1 percent sales tax to fund road, bridge and other transportation projects. Stakeholders will meet to adopt criteria, and local officials will then have to discuss priorities and forge an agreement. This will lead to much-needed debate and decision making. -- Rep. Joe Wilkinson, (R-Sandy Springs) Brookhaven will continue to blossom and bloom in 2016. The MARTA development at the BrookhavenOglethorpe station will move forward, a decision should be made about where to locate the Brookhaven library, and City Hall will likely determine its next home. All the parks master plans will start coming to fruition, along with the bike-pedestrian plan. The folks studying the Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor should be engaging the community to create a vision for one of our busiest roads. With a good team in place at City Hall, I feel confident that it will build on the foundation that has been laid and continue building a great city. -- Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams

In 2016, I look forward to more partnerships pushing major projects forward that enhance Perimeter, Georgia’s corporate center, and benefit our city and county partners and the region - projects like the I-285 at Ga. 400 Interchange project. I see more big wins, collaborations and successes for our Perimeter business community as long as we continue to work together for the good of the whole. As we identify the needs of our thriving corporate center, PCIDs will continue to be at the table with a hand up, not a hand out. -- Yvonne Williams President/CEO, Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

A look at the 2015 news in cyberspace... Online readers had their own preferences when it came to news in our communities. Here are some of the most-read stories on ReporterNewspapers.net for each Reporter Newspapers community. Brookhaven • Brookhaven introduces new tourism mascot ‘Brook’ • Historic Brookhaven residents wary of proposal for Hastings site • Peachtree apartment plan draws opposition despite negotiations Buckhead • Buckhead NPU approves 22-story condo tower • Lindbergh Kroger rezoning gets Atlanta City Council approval • PATH400 opens and Buckhead hits the trail • Atlanta Classical Academy: We’re counter-cultural • Two long-serving coaches reflect on football tradition Dunwoody • Dunwoody Tavern closes for filming, welcomes movie stars, seeking extras • New development rolls into Chamblee • Dunwoody voters choose new mayor • Cobb County man dies in one-car accident in Dunwoody • Police identify Dunwoody victim in I-285 fatality Sandy Springs • Glenridge Hall: A little known Sandy Springs historic gem • Ice rink opens in Sandy Springs • After 23 years, local icon Brickery grapples with change • Disney Springs? Planning chair wants a Sandy Springs monorail • Proposal for Galloway softball and tennis facility in Sandy Springs finds critics

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COMMENTARY

What the Dickens? Melissa Babcock, M.D.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Dickens was on to something. In his classic tale, “A Christmas Carol,” he writes about the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future visiting Ebenezer Scrooge, all in one night. Well, it seems to me that his story isn’t all that fanciful because those same three spirits haunt our house from December straight through till spring. The Ghost of Christmas Past lives in the ornament box. I pull out spray-painted pieces of cardboard that are covered with gold pasta and clumps of glitter, and the Spirit whisks me back in time to the years when my children proudly presented them to me. The Spirit enchants photo ornaments of pudgy little baby faces, causing me to recognize those faces hiding behind my sons’ facial hair when I squint just so. She transports me as I rifle through the trimmings -- suddenly I am with friends who moved across the country years ago; I am reliving birthdays and anniversaries and hearing choirs I once sung with. The Ghost of Christmas Present is persistent. He enters jovially on Christmas Eve, explodes on Christmas Day with gilded glory, and then on Dec. 26, quietly takes off his boots and settles himself in for the rest of the winter. We find him in the house and yard, and in the very air we breathe − in the half-packed boxes of decorations and bows that fill the den for weeks, in the scent of Frasier fir candles ever burning, in bowls of red and green M&Ms scattered about, in the needlepoint stocking found mid-February on a knob of the living room door. Christmas Present lingers by the potted poinsettias as they drop curled leaves onto my kitchen floor and near the gingerbread-man garden flag that flaps in the wind while daffodils push up the earth around it. He will remain until pastel jellybeans and porcelain bunnies appear in March or April -- my tradition being to pack away the final remnants of Christmas on Good Friday. Christmas Future lives in the pantry

Free will is key

and in the freezer. He is sometimes known as the Spirit of Christmas Cookies Yet to Come. He lives in the Crisco that I have in the cabinet above the refrigerator − purROBIN JEAN chased anew each Decem- MARIE CONTE ber for the past ROBIN’S NEST three years− that still may, one day, become biscotti. He is found in the containers of candied fruit that never made their way into batter, but that still hold the promise of Ina Garten’s fruitcake cookies. Christmas Future also haunts the Christmas mailing list in my Outlook contacts file, which continues to be updated with changed addresses and will be an incredible time-saver next year once we spend three days trying to remember how to get the contacts to print out on the address labels. And he haunts the closet where 70 percent-off items rest, awaiting the gift-exchanges of Christmases in future years. For three months, I live in a very crowded house. The Spirits jostle for position in my kitchen, den and basement, and then, being ethereal creatures, manage to occupy my head and my credit card bills, as well. I find myself, as Mr. Scrooge professed at the end of The Carol, to be living “in the Past, the Present and the Future.” Perhaps it is as the Spirits intended, but there is really nothing I can do about it. I mean, what the Dickens? Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at robinjm@earthlink.net.

informed and revisionist history perspectives to themselves. The flag artwork disTo the editor: played in the OK Café is one of the things Two articles/comments [in the Dec. I have come to like most about the OK 11-Dec. 24 Reporter Newspapers] caught Cafe, primarily because so many people my attention and inspired me to comwant to “force” the owners to remove it. ment. Actually, they caused me to shake We frequent the OK Café because of the my head in frustration. food and service. We have come to appreFirst, the caption under the photo on ciate the associated denotations and conp. 10: “Sandy Springs resinotations referenced by the dents ... are forced to walk in framed book cover of “To the road ...” Correction: No LE T T E R T O Kill a Mockingbird,” the one “forced” Messrs. Hor- T HE E DIT OR note from Ms. Lee, the conton and Tigner to walk in the tinuation of Southern hosE-mail letters to road. There are literally miles pitality, the friendliness and of places where these two in- editor@reporternewspapers.net fellowship of long-time dividuals and any other hucustomers and the folk art mans or animals may walk. It which includes the flag that is a factual is a free choice. part of the community’s heritage. Second, in the review billed as “DinMore specifically to Ms. Volpert and ing Out” by Megan Volpert, Ms. Volpert those who share her views: No one is forcserves the reader well by commenting on ing you to eat at OK Café. If you find it the restaurant OK Café, its food, its sernot to your liking, well “bless your heart” vice. Ms. Volpert may - and I request that and don’t feel that you must come again. she and others do - keep their political, illWilliam Joseph


FAITH

Hitting the high notes

SPECIAL PHOTOS

Choirs from The Epstein and Mount Vernon Presbyterian schools joined in a celebration of holiday music and an exploration of diversity through song. Front row, from left, Isabella Akhlaghi, Kennedi Espy, Jai Deans, Annabel France, Liam O’Toole and Aidan Ray. Back, from left, Leighton Batcheller, Isabella Moffett and Emma Dickie.

Foster Berlin takes a long look at the menorah.

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Front row, Thomas Fennelly, left, watches Samantha Londe, right, light the candles as Isabella Moffett, back left, and Will Jackson look on. www.ReporterNewspapers.net |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 11


COMMUNITY

Pill Hill apartments approved with affordable units BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A controversial Pill Hill apartment housing component and the first unified project was not only approved by Sanplanning effort among Pill Hill’s three dy Springs City Council Dec. 15, it also hospitals. was reborn as a pioneering local experiSandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said ment in creating affordable “workforce” the hospitals are following through on housing. their promise to work together with city North American Properties, developer staff on a coordinated plan for Pill Hill in of the 305-unit project on Johnson Ferry Sandy Springs’ new Comprehensive Plan. Road in the medical center area, agreed “They are working together,” said to price 10 percent of the units as affordPaul, who convened hospital leaders in able to households earning 80 to 120 perhis office in October. “I can report poscent of Fulton County’s area median initive movement.” come for 10 years. Pill Hill’s rush-hour traffic is the heart North American’s Richard Munger of the controversy. Many residents say a said he agreed beforehand to the work305-unit apartment building will make it force-housing deal in routine private worse. But Munger argues that the projmeetings with city staff to review the ect will reduce traffic by housing Pill Hill plans. An affordable component was employees and because of its proximiraised “by the staff on a number of differty to MARTA’s Medical Center station. ent occasions…We The council found told them, ‘Let’s Munger more conkeep it on the tavincing. ble,’” Munger said Trisha Thompin an interview, son, president of adding that a final the influential San“It just has to be a solution deal came in recent dy Springs Council that works for both sides weeks. of Neighborhoods, and is not so onerous it He told the spoke in support. doesn’t work financially.” council that the afShe noted the offordable compoten overlooked nent would not imfact that the closest – RICHARD MUNGER pact the financial neighbors, in the feasibility of the Johnson Ferry Park $55 million projtownhomes across ect. “It’s not going the street, also were to have any effect in support. whatsoever, defi“They liked the nitely not a negative effect,” he told the use,” Thompson reported. “They liked council. the reduction in traffic.” Housing affordability for the mid“I think it will actually help traffic in dle class is a growing political concern the area,” said Councilman John Paulson, in increasingly expensive Sandy Springs, adding that the possibility of housing where the council also is considering a people close to work “is powerful to me.” housing stipend for police officers and Munger estimated that 75 to 85 percent firefighters. of the tenants will be Pill Hill employees, “I think this [affordable component] based on his company’s experience with a will absolutely become more prevasimilar project in Nashville. lent” in future residential developments, Councilman Gabriel Sterling said that Munger said in an interview. “It just has “we are wildly under-housed in this area,” to be a solution that works for both sides and noted that the property as zoned and is not so onerous it doesn’t work ficould have a much more traffic-creating nancially.” medical office building instead. The apartment project, planned for a Alton Conway, a leader of Brookhavsite currently owned by Emory Saint Joen’s opposition, maintained concerns seph’s Hospital, has been controversial about the building’s density and height, since debuting this summer, receiving which would be up to 70 feet, requiring a repeated deferrals from the council and zoning variance. the city’s Planning Commission. The site He also threw a new curveball, claimis close to the Brookhaven border, and ing that part of the property may actumany residents of both cities have voiced ally be within the city of Brookhaven. opposition. Brookhaven Mayor RebecBut Michelle Alexander, Sandy Springs’ ca Chase Williams personally attended director of Community Development, early Sandy Springs meetings to protest shot that down, saying North American’s the project, claiming a lack of notice that certified survey and the city’s own data Munger has denied. shows the property is entirely within SanAbout 70 residents attended the Dec. dy Springs. 15 council meeting and, judging from Another item delayed a previous sarcastic laughs and grumblings, most council decision on the plan: the Perimwere still opposed to the project. But eter Center Improvement Districts’ conthe council noted its successes in using cept of a new roadway extending Perimthe controversy to leverage at least two eter Center Parkway from the “flyover extraordinary benefits -- the workforce bridge” across I-285. At the Dec. 15

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

A 305-unit project on Johnson Ferry Road in Sandy Springs will move ahead.

council meeting, Sterling said his understanding is that the apartments would not get in the way of that still entirely conceptual roadway. Meanwhile, the council wrung a couple of other concessions out of North American. In one nod to traffic woes, the developer will pay $40,000 to upgrade the traffic light at Johnson Ferry and Old Johnson Ferry to the highest available technology. And 70 percent of the units will be one-bedrooms, which the council

SPECIAL

considered more attractive to workforcetype tenants. Besides the controversial residential element—which comes with a pool and fitness and business centers—the project will include some medical offices and a restaurant. Another feature is a sizable public “pocket park” preserved at the Johnson Ferry/Old Johnson Ferry corner. Munger said he expects a construction start late next summer, with the work taking 20 to 24 months.

Galloway athletic fields rejected by Sandy Springs Planning Commision CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

too deep to wade through. But Gay said that a Galloway-commissioned water study shows the plan won’t increase flooding. “I think the thing everybody struggles with is the idea of flooding,” Gay said, adding that “this matters to Galloway” for obvious reasons. She acknowledged that it’s “counterintuitive to say that making changes to the property, putting in this project, will not increase flooding.” But that’s what an engineering firm reported at a previous public meeting. However, city engineer Gilbert Quinones said it’s too early in the process for the study to hold much water because the plan could still change significantly if it moves from concept to construction blueprints. And he questioned the proposed inclusion of one runoff-filtering system, known as “bio-retention,” saying, “I don’t believe they can do bio-retention here.” Game-related traffic is another concern of the neighbors. Galloway says most teams would come by bus, and commissioned a traffic study that found a significant amount of vehicle traffic already. But residents claimed the study was done on a day when a

NBC crew happened to be filming a TV show in a local house. That unusual activity, Hendricks said, makes for study results that “at best are terribly skewed…[The report is] simply flawed. It is not, in fact, correct.” But Gay said the study was actually conducted on a different day from the filming and from a house party that neighbors also blamed for a traffic blip. “We will run that to ground” and find out if traffic really was unusual on the study day, she said. Gay, peppering her comments with references to the state constitution and “settled law,” argued that objective zoning trumps suggestive Comp Plan guidelines, and said that opening the fields to community use in off-hours serves the neighborhood. But most commissioners were unconvinced. Nickels said that a use primarily for “a school in a different city 2-pointsomething miles away” is not serving the neighborhood. Commissioner Susan Maziar, a High Point resident, had a similar opinion. “I do not think the Galloway application or project would serve me or my neighborhood,” she said, “and I think that is the definition for the use permit.”

BH


COMMUNITY

Pace and Westminster win state football championships

Two Buckhead high schools – Pace Academy and the Westminster Schools – took home state football championship trophies after winning games in the Georgia Dome. The Westminster Wildcats beat Blessed Trinity 38-31 in overtime for the AAA championship on Dec. 11. It was the school’s first football championship in 37 years and only the third in school history, the school said on its website. The Pace Knights took home the AA championship trophy after beating Fitzgerald High 42-21 on Dec. 12. It was the first championship for Pace since the start of its varsity football program in 2008, the school said.

Mercedes CEO leaves for job with Falcons and stadium

Steve Cannon

JOHN RUCH

Mercedes-Benz USA president and CEO Steve Cannon, who oversaw the automaker’s move to Sandy Springs, is leaving to head the company that owns the Atlanta Falcons and the new downtown football stadium, among other assets. Cannon, who lives in Buckhead, will start as CEO of AMB Group on Feb. 1, essentially replacing well-known Atlanta corporate leader Arthur M. Blank as the company day-to-day operator, according to a press release. Earlier this year, MBUSA bought the naming rights to the stadium Cannon will now oversee, a move he and

Thank you Atlanta

LEFT, SPECIAL; RIGHT, CLYDE CLICK

Left, Pace Knights players hoist the AA championship trophy in the Georgia Dome after beating Fitzgerald High 42-21 on Dec. 12.

B RIEFS

Above, Westminster Head Coach Gerry Romberg, second from right, celebrates his team’s win in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 11.

Blank announced in a press conference. “This is a truly special opportunity for me to move from an iconic brand that I love to a role working with an iconic leader and the diversified Blank Family of Businesses,” Cannon said in an AMB press release. “I made an immediate connection with Arthur because we have very similar value systems and a shared vision for what the customer experience can and should be. I look forward to working closely with the leaders within AMB Group and across the individual businesses to drive growth and deliver even greater value to the fans, customers, partners and communities that we serve.” Replacing Cannon at MBUSA is Dietmar Exler, who current serves as vice president of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA. Exler, a Brookhaven resident, will take over MBUSA on Jan. 1 and Cannon will act as a consultant through Jan. 31, according to a press release. “Dietmar’s appointment is central to reinforcing our strategy and our standards around the world, and will continue to strengthen the ties and collaboration within our marketing and sales network,” said Ola Kaellenius, a member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales, in an MBUSA press release.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 13


COMMUNITY

Process praised for killing Peachtree Road bike lanes BY JOHN RUCH AND ELLEN ELDRIDGE

SPECIAL

State transportation officials have abandoned the idea of adding bike lanes to a portion of Peachtree Road south of Peachtree Battle Avenue after a massive public outcry. To see a larger version, go to ReporterNewspapers.net.

Faced with thousands of comments, many negative, state transportation officials have officially abandoned plans to add bike lanes to a portion of Peachtree Road through Buckhead. The Atlanta City Council and the state Department of Transportation praised the massive public input that caused GDOT to kill the bike lane plan. In the Dec. 11 decision, GDOT said the hundreds of residents who attended meetings and gave thousands of comments were a “shining example” of public process, but also urged bike advocates to continue their work. The plan was heavily opposed by local residents, but became a hot spot of bicycle activism citywide. GDOT said it received more than 2,000 comments about the project, with over 70 percent opposing the bike lanes. Among the opponents was the Buckhead Coalition, a group of business leaders. “I believe GDOT has worked so hard and so earnestly to make everyone happy—naively. It’s probably the last time they will actually have a public hearing,” said Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook at a Dec. 15 meeting of the Buckhead Communi-

community and recognize that every community has a say in what their ty Improvement District. transportation facility looks like. This City Council on Dec. 16 approved project is a shining example of the a resolution, introduced by Shook process at work.” and Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, “Although bike lanes will not be expressing appreciation to GDOT for part of this project,” Pirkle went on to “the depth of the engineering analysis say in the press release, “we encourage provided and gratour local partners itude for its attento explore opportiveness to public tunities that reinput.” flect the recomThe Peachtree “The goal has always been mendation in the Road project still Connect Atlanta to seek the best project will go forward with Plan and the Cylane changes on the for the community and the cle Atlanta Plan road between Deerof providing bike users of the corridor.” ing and Pharr roads, facilities in the a project slated to area.” start in about a year. The current – MEG PIRKLE But GDOT gave up plan includes a GDOT CHIEF ENGINEER its effort to follow its dedicated left“Complete Streets” turn lane at each policy, which inintersection. volves designing From Deering to roads to accommodate various modes around Peachtree Battle Avenue, the of travel, including walking and bicyplan calls for three lanes northbound, cling. two lanes southbound, and a center “The goal has always been to seek turn lane. The section to Pharr calls the best project for the community for three lanes southbound, two lanes and the users of the corridor,” GDOT northbound, and a center turn lane. Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle said in a The corridor carries 37,000 to press release. “While we believe in the 43,000 vehicles a day and has been merits of the project as proposed, we the scene of more than 800 accidents must also consider the needs of the in the past five years, GDOT said.

GDOT chief: I-285/Ga. 400 project will save time, lives BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Time—and lives—will be saved by the an interchange that currently carries about upcoming reconstruction of the I-285/ 400,000 vehicles per day. Ga. 400 interchange, state transportation “I submit to you the Perimeter area is Commissioner Russell McMurry said at a the economic heart of our entire state” Dec. 11 luncheon celebrating GDOT’s seand needs cleared-out “arteries,” said Wenlection of construction team North Perimdell Willard, the city attorney for Sandy eter Contractors. Springs and one of its local state represen“We always get focused on what the tatives. design is and what the project will look An unusual, pedestrian-friendly adlike…but sometimes we lose sight of what dition to the project is an extension of the project does,” McMurry said at the the PATH400 multi-use trail crossing Perimeter Business Alliance luncheon at through the interchange by a yet-to-be-deDunwoody’s La Meridien Atlanta Perimsigned route, thanks to the PATH Founeter Hotel. This project will annually save dation and the Perimeter Center Improvecommuters eight hours and employers ment Districts. McMurry said there are $100 million in lost productivity, and will “not many places in the nation where you reduce accidents in the crash-prone corrican say you are doing a freeway project dor, he said. with a multi-use path going right through Slated for a possible groundbreaking it.” next year and completion in 2020, the rePCIDs, a group of self-taxing businessbuild will add exit/entrance lanes and flyes and organizations, is a major contribover ramps, much like the I-285/I-85 inutor to the project both in planning and terchange nicknamed Spaghetti Junction. in cash to the tune of $10 million. “That’s Also like Spaghetti Junction, the new putting your money where your mouth 285/400 interchange won’t be clog-free. is,” McMurry said, praising PCIDs as a Those eight saved hours a year amounts to “shining example” for other business disless than two minutes shaved off the avtricts nationwide to follow. erage trip, and McMurry acknowledged, Yvonne Williams, president and CEO “There still will be congestion on I-285.” of PCIDs, praised the I-285/Ga. 400 projStill, he said it should handle projected deect as part of “a system of transportation velopment growth for “20-plus years” in that has never been seen before in a corpo| 14 DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

rate area.” The group works on a wide variety of transportation improvements in Perimeter Center, from sidewalks to shuttle services to MARTA connections. North Perimeter Contractors has a big local connection, too. The team’s lead contractor is Ferrovial Agroman US Corp., which has a regional headquarters office in the Dunwoody part of Perimeter Center. “Our leadership for the entire eastern U.S. drives through the project [area] every day,” said Ferrovial Agroman’s Jeffrey Wagner. Having a lead contractor who shares the pain of local commuters may count as a plus. But Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and Dunwoody City Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch were among those who expressed concerns in an interview about traffic detours and delays during construction. “We’re doomed” with cut-through traffic during construction, Deutsch said. However, both officials agreed that, as Williams put it, “The long-term fix is worth it.” McMurry said that construction impacts on traffic will be unavoidable. But, he added, part of the contractor selection included coming up with a plan to handle it—or at least warn travelers about how bad it will be. “We will have the most intensive public communications plan ever,”

McMurry said. “We’re very excited about really elevated communication…on a level that’s never been seen in Georgia.” North Perimeter Contractors was awarded the project with a $460 million bid. That’s probably closer to $680 million with right-of-way acquisitions, McMurry said, but still far below the $1.1 billion GDOT once estimated as the project’s cost. It remains unclear exactly how North Perimeter came in with such a lower-than-estimated cost, though McMurry said proposing somewhat smaller bridges was one factor. “Don’t worry about that price being so cheap it won’t get done,” McMurry said, adding that GDOT is protected by contractual guarantees. The project is being funded under a plan that has the contractor self-funding during the project and the state then reimbursing it over a three-year period several years later, allowing the cost to be spread out. While the I-285/Ga. 400 project was proposed in 2012 and is still at least five years from completion, that’s a fast process by state highway standards. Bob Voyles, chair of the Perimeter Business Alliance board, was among many officials and business leaders expressing excitement at the luncheon about both GDOT and MARTA becoming faster-moving transportation agencies.

BH


COMMUNITY

Monorail study for Brookhaven/ Chamblee gets green light BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A monorail system connecting MARTA, office parks and DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is getting a $10,000 preliminary study from the city of Brookhaven. “I have a vision. I see it as a potential Disneyland type of monorail,” said City Councilman Joe Gebbia, who announced Dec. 15 he is paying for the study from his discretionary fund. “If we do it right, I think this would be an example of what cities and unincorporated areas could be doing to expand MARTA.” Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams is not a fan of the idea, asking, “Is a monorail old-style, 1950s Disney technology?” She noted that at Disney World, monorails connect the hotels, but trams move people from the parking lots to the park. “I would look at trolleys…Let’s do express bus lanes first,” Williams said, questioning the possible expense of a monorail. Kim Pedersen, president of a California-based advocacy group called Monorail Society, said that Brookhaven should think beyond the Disney image. A smallscale monorail could be feasible in the area, he said. “The Disney monorails are quite capable and do carry hundreds of thousands of passengers each day,” Pedersen said. “However, I hope that the studies and promoters will also take a serious look at all the non-recreation monorails that operate on a daily basis around the world.” A possible Sandy Springs monorail has been in the news since that city’s Planning Commission chairman floated the idea last month. But Gebbia said he independently thought of a local monorail earlier this year and has talked informally with various officials about it. “Monorails seem to be resonating,” Gebbia said. “I was very pleasantly surprised to see that article come out from Sandy Springs…If Sandy Springs does it, that’s great.” Gebbia said he thought about monorails while driving on I-85 through Brookhaven, pondering traffic snarls, MARTA’s expansion struggles and forth-

coming redevelopment around I-85 and North Druid Hills Road. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be really neat to see a monorail [running along Buford Highway], saying “Brookhaven?” on the side,’” Gebbia recalled. He envisioned the monorail that his family rode when they visited Disney World. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that monorail handled a lot of people.’” “We’ve got to find a way to take tires off the street” while attracting top-quality economic development, he said. Gebbia envisions a circulator monorail connecting the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, Buford Highway, PDK Airport, and the Century Center, Executive Park and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta office centers. That would require partnership with MARTA and the city of Chamblee. Gebbia would like MARTA to own and operate the monorail and tie it into its Breeze card fare system. Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson declined to comment, saying he hadn’t heard the monorail idea before. MARTA and PDK did not have immediate comment. Gebbia believes monorails could help MARTA expand on east-west corridors because, unlike heavy rail, they don’t require buying expensive rights of way and could run on city- or county-granted easements. He also believes such a “unique” project could better attract federal transportation matching funds. But cost is where “the rubber hits the road,” he noted. The preliminary city study essentially will determine whether a deeper, fuller study is worth doing. “I don’t know how valid the idea is. But I think it’s worth spending $10,000 to find out,” he said. The study technically is “open to anything and everything” for transit solutions connecting the various areas of Brookhaven and Chamblee, but the monorail vision is the driver. The consulting firm Gresham, Smith and Partners has already agreed to conduct the study, Gebbia said. That firm previously created Brookhaven’s transportation plan and is now doing its Ashford-Dunwoody Road improvement plan. Gebbia said the study will coordinate with MARTA, the state Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The timeSPECIAL estimated frame for a reBrookhaven City Councilman Joe Gebbia is port is four to six contributing $10,000 from his discretionary months. fund to pay for a monorail study.

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out& about

BROOKHAVEN • BUCKHEAD • DUNWOODY • SANDY SPRINGS

FOR KIDS & FAMILIES

‘Home Alone’ with the ASO Saturday, Jan. 2 and Sunday, Jan. 3 –

“Home Alone,” a classic holiday film, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra team up for a special performance. Families are invited to watch the movie as it plays on the big screen with a live score. Suitable for all ages. Go to atlantasymphony.org for more information, showtimes and to purchase tickets. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, 30309.

Books and Babies Monday, Jan. 4, 10:30 - 11 a.m. – Calling all babies! Books & Babies is a storytime for kids up to one year old. Engage and help your little ones to learn with the use of nursery rhymes, songs, stories and fingerplay that target the developmental needs of infants and early

crawlers. Open to the first 25 participants. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. Go to dekalblibrary.org or call 770-512-4640 for additional details.

Viking Society Monday, Jan. 4, 1 - 4 p.m. – Delve into the

history of Viking society in this Atlanta History Center program for homeschoolers. Learn about their conquests, exploration, travels, trades, myths, technology and more. Admission: $8.50 for nonmembers; $6.50 for children of members; free for adult members. Discounted rates available for groups with 10 or more children. Call 404-814-4018 or email: homeschool@atlantahistorycenter.com to find out more. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 30305. Visit atlantahistorycenter.com with questions.

Toddler Time Tuesday, Jan. 5, 11 - 11:30 a.m. – Bring

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your little one to this fun storytime. The event features stories, fingerplay, rhymes and songs targeted toward the developmental needs of toddlers. Suitable for kids up to 2 years old. Free and open to the first 20 participants. Park behind the library and enter at the lower level. Brookhaven Library, 1242 N. Druid Hills Rd., Brookhaven 30319. Need more information? Go to dekalblibrary.org.

Digital Builders Tuesday, Jan. 5, 6 - 7 p.m. – Love Minecraft? Got a budding desire to become a builder? This is the event for you. Participants partake in individual and team challenges to build worlds while learning technical problem-solving skills and utilizing their creativity. Suitable for youngsters in grades 3 through 6. Register and learn more online at atlantajcc.org. Marcus Jewish Community Center-Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody 30338. Contact Sandra Bass via email at sandra.bass@atlantajcc.org with questions.

Ecosystem Stories Wednesday, Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m. – It’s sto-

rytime at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. This family friendly event features stories to be read and crafts to be made. Kids learn about the ecosystem and the Chattahoochee Watershed while sharing with their families. Free with general admission and CNC membership. Suitable for all ages. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075. To learn more, go to chattnaturecenter.org.

Core Learning Math Games! Friday, Jan. 8, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. – Play

games and learn math the fun way at the Sandy Springs Branch Library. Recommended for elementary and preschool age kids. Registration required and starts Jan. 3. Space is limited. Free. Register by stopping by the library, calling 404303-6130, or emailing leah.germon@fultoncountyga.gov. Workshop repeats monthly on Fridays, February 5, March 4 and April 1. 395 Mount Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs, 30328. For more information, go online to afpls.org.

Kids in the Kitchen Saturday, Jan. 9, 3 - 4 p.m. – Start the new

year off right with a workshop for all ages on healthy eating. This hands-on experience focuses on preparing balanced and nourishing meals for children and their families. Recommended for all ages. Free. Sandy Springs Branch Li-

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

brary, 395 Mount Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs, 30328. Questions? Call 404-303-6130, email leah.germon@fultoncountyga.gov, or go online to afpls.org.

Night Hike Saturday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. – Bundle up and

head on over to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a guided night hike to welcome the new year. Explore the trails and look for nocturnal animals as they roam during the night. Participants end the evening with a winter campfire. Advance tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for CNC members; $10 for general admission and $8 for CNC members when purchased at the door. Register by January 7. Visit chattnaturecenter.org or call 770-992-2055 for further details. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075.

Three Kings Day Monday, Jan. 10, 1 - 5 p.m. – Kick off

the new year with Three Kings Day, a Latin tradition celebrated with storytelling, music, live performances and activities. Enjoy a special visit and photo opportunity with the three kings. Note: this is a free admission day at the Atlanta History Center, and guests are invited to check out the holiday festival and also visit the traveling exhibitions, historic houses, and the property’s gardens and trails. Food and drink available for purchase. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta 30305. Go to atlantahistorycenter.com for more information.

4-H Community Club Meeting Monday, Jan. 10, 2 - 3:15 p.m. – The Buckhead 4-H Community Club returns to the Atlanta History Center for their monthly programming. Each meeting focuses on leadership and community service, and contains a hands-on educational component, targeted to youngsters in fourth through sixth grades. To learn more, call 404-762-4085 or email awadley@uga.edu. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 30305. Go to atlantahistorycenter.com for more details.

‘Inside Out’ Tuesday, Jan. 12, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. – The

Brookhaven Library hosts a family movie night and screens the film “Inside Out.” Movie is rated PG. Free and open to the first 20 participants. Snacks served. Need additional information? Go to dekalblibrary.org. 1242 N. Druid Hills Rd., Brookhaven 30319.


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Noon Year’s Eve Thursday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. – Ring in

the New Year a full 12 hours early at this family friendly celebration taking place at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Guests will enjoy music and games. Make your very own “mocktail,” and check out a unique dinosaur photo op. A balloon drop with over 2,000 balloons will take place at noon, cascading down over the large dino displays in the great hall. Free with general admission or membership. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta 30307. For more information, call 404-929-6300 or go online to fernbankmuseum.org.

Peach Drop Thursday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. – Celebrate

the season with Atlanta’s classic New Year’s Eve experience. The event kicks off with children’s activities during the day, with the main acts taking the stage at 7 p.m. The Peach Drop will

count down with a giant 800-pound peach that descends at midnight, followed by fireworks, all taking place at Underground Atlanta. Free, and suitable for all ages. Go online to peachdrop. com with questions. 50 Central Ave. SW, Atlanta, 30303.

Resolution Run Friday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – What’s on your

resolution list this year? Start with the Resolution Run, a 1-mile race for ages 7 and up, 4mile race for ages 9 and up, and a 50-meter kids dash for ages 6 and up. Number and T-shirt pickup takes place Jan. 1 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Headphones, pets, baby joggers/strollers, roller/inline skates and bicycles are not permitted. $40 for the 4-mile race; $20 for the 1-mile; $15 for the dash. Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station, 4047 Peachtree Rd., NE, Brookhaven, 30319. Register and learn more online at atlantatrackclub.org/2016-resolution-run.

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Winner of ‘Positive Aging Award’ says it helps to stay young BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

elleneldridge@reporternewspapers.net

In 1995, Linden Longino was “on loan” to the Carter Center during his final years as a banker with SunTrust. He worked with former President Jimmy Carter and his associates on an inner-city poverty program called The Atlanta Project. “I worked in south Atlanta in the Carver Homes area, the very poor neighborhood, and I tried to bring some much needed banking services into that area,” Longino said. But he also saw kids “trying to grow up under awful conditions, facing gangs and drugs.” He wanted to help them “do something constructive,” so he started a program for Atlanta kids and kids from other countries to show their artwork at the 1996 Olympics. “It happened and it was successful, and one thing led to another, and I was contacted by people with the United Nations in New York, asking if I could do a worldwide children’s exhibit for a meeting they were having in New York on civil rights,” Longino said. More than 20 years later, the International Paint Pals program is still going, and Longino recently received recognition from an association of 150 nonprofits dedicated to seniors. The organization, LeadingAge Georgia, recognized Longino for his longtime community service and “positive aging” lifestyle. Longino said his motto is “To stay young, help the young.” The Paint Pals organization first exhibited at the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta and has mounted exhibitions around the world ever since, including at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia last year. “Art is a universal language for kids, and anyone really, to express themselves,” the Buckhead resident said. “International Paint Pals gives children a worldwide forum to express their views on global issues and share their similarities and differences through visual creativity.” In total, more than 200,000 young artists from around the world have participated in International Paint Pals events

get get

since 1995, most recently in Barcelona. The organization unveiled a 3,000-piece collection, called “My Dream of Peace,” which included work from 91 countries, to express hopes for peace at the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. International Paint Pals and Friendship Force International, an Atlantabased nonprofit, selected two art pieces from each country represented. They were exhibited at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit held in Barcelona in midNovember. “Peace of Art” events took place in schools and communities across Atlanta and the world. These events included one for the children and grandchildren of residents and staff at Lenbrook, the 500-plus resident senior community where Longino lives. “I have donated many artworks from several exhibitions to Lenbrook,” Longino said. “They have been nicely framed for brightening the walls in the Healthcare Center rooms, much to the delight of the residents there.” Jacque Thornton, senior vice president of LeadingAge Georgia, said the award given to Longino was created to reframe the image of aging. “The Positive Aging Awards program rightfully recognizes elders who are still generously giving of their time and talents to the community and changing the lives of others for the better,” she said. “These honorees show us how we can all continue to learn, grow and contribute at any age in life.” Earning the award made Longino feel “positively old,” he joked. “When we lose our sense of humor about the inevitable, then we truly are old.” As happy as Longino was with the recognition, he said what matters most is the people he helps. “I was delighted to have the [LeadingAge Georgia] recognition, but I was more delighted when a Nobel Peace Prize winner came up and gave me a hug,” Longino said.

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The teacher wrote to acknowledge that Longino understands “we all want peace, the children suffer the most and the exhibit gives some of them a little hope that their cries for peace will be heard somewhere.” “It’s messages like that that keep me going,” he said.

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A thank-you note from a teacher in Kabul, Afghanistan, also hit home, he said. “She’s in great risk because girls in Afghanistan are sometimes shot on their way to school and teachers run that risk all the time,” Longino said. “A woman teaching girls in Afghanistan is a very brave individual and takes great risks.”

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SPECIAL PHOTOS

Top, Linden Longino, right, was honored by LeadingAge Georgia as an example of “positive aging” and for his longtime leadership of International Paint Pals. Joining him, at left, Chris Keysor, president and CEO of Lenbrook, a resident senior community in Buckhead, and Jackie Durant, also of Lenbrook.

Middle, some of International Paint Pals’ art was chosen from around the world for display at the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Bottom, a teacher in Afghanistan sent Longino a note thanking him for the program.


MAKING A DIFFERENCE

New Ronald McDonald House gets rave reviews BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The new Ronald McDonald House wowed officials and some families it will serve at a Dec. 17 ribbon cutting. “I was overwhelmed when I walked in,” said Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, about the luxurious, hotel-style building at 5420 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs. Of the roughly 350 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide, said Hyland, who has served on the international charity’s board, “I’m willing to bet this is the best.” The 31-bedroom facility, which opened for business Dec. 21, houses families of ailing children when they are treated in local hospitals, especially CHOA’s Scottish Rite. Beth Howell, president and CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, said they call it “the house that love built.” An unusual feature of Pill Hill’s house that attracted attention is a three-story “treehouse” in the lobby. It’s an elevator shaft decorated to appear tree-like, with two treehouse-style play rooms built into it. More than a hundred people attended the ribbon cutting, including many local McDonald’s restaurant operators, who were among those contributing more than $18 million to build the facility. The houses are run separately from the restaurant chain, but get major financial support from it. An actor portraying restaurant mascot Ronald McDonald, who declined to give his real name, joined the ribbon cutting. “We go all over the world,” the Ronald McDonald actor said. “This [house] really stands up as one of the top ones.” Most importantly, the facility impressed the families who will use it, including the Winstons of Valdosta, Ga. Son Erick Jr. needed a kidney transplant in 2009, just shy of his sixth birthday, and father

Erick Sr. was his organ donor. Erick Jr. continues to need treatment at Scottish Rite. Instead of a four-hour drive from southern Georgia, the Winstons can stay blocks away and take a 24-hour shuttle to the hospital. The Winstons have stayed in other Ronald McDonald Houses, inED WOLKIS PHOTOGRAPHY cluding one in Atlanta, The new Ronald McDonald House located but they expressed astonat 5420 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. ishment at the Pill Hill facility’s amenities. leston site, was rebuilt with 50 bedrooms “I’m speechless. The kids love the treein 2008. house,” said mother Shaneka Winston. Efforts to expand the Pill Hill house “It’s like a mini resort,” added Erick Sr. began more than a decade ago. Fulton “They treat everybody like that’s their County approved the project in 2005, whole house. It’s fun,” said Erick Jr. prior to the existence of the city of Sandy The Winstons’ stay in other Ronald Springs. But a lawsuit from neighbors deMcDonald Houses have ranged from days layed it. The groundbreaking finally came to months. “It’s a home away from home,” last year. said Shaneka. “There’s a fee if you can pay. A spokeswoman said that the new They don’t press you to pay.” house’s capacity should prevent wait lists “Just money-wise…can you imagine for families in need. staying at a hotel three months?” said ErFor information on eligibility to stay at ick Sr. the house, call 404-315-1133 or see armFor the Winstons, the biggest luxury is hc.org. staying close to Scottish Rite and Dr. Edwin Smith, who has long treated Erick Jr. “The level of care, it’s unreal,” said Erick Sr. about Scottish Rite. “We need more facilities like this,” said Shaneka. But the Pill Hill house had a long road to expanding. ARMHC opened an Atlanta house in 1979, followed by the Peachtree-Dunwoody location—originally an 11-bedroom house—in 1994. Both saw heavy demand and wait lists, leading to the conSuccess in our struction of new facilities in recent years. The Atlanta house, near CHOA’s Eg-

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Back row, from left, Javier Goizueta, with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, Beth Howell, president and CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, “Ronald McDonald,” Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Thomas Kirbo, ARMHC’s board chairman, join children at the ribbon cutting for the new facility on Dec. 17.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 19


COMMUNITY

PEDS celebrating 20 years of pedestrian progress Left, PEDS considers policy changes and increased funding for sidewalk repairs in the city of Atlanta essential, like these along Howell Mill Road. Right, PEDS promotes crossing treatments that increase safety for everyone who walks. SPECIAL PHOTOS

BY CLARE S. RICHIE Next time you safely walk in a crosswalk, think of the advocacy group Pedestrians Educating Drivers (PEDS). In January, PEDS and its partners will celebrate 20 years of progress making the Atlanta metro area safer and more accessible for people who walk. PEDS, led by founding president and CEO Sally Flocks, has promoted safety improvements that helped change driving behavior. “Crosswalks changed from two parallel lines to a more visible ladder design,” Flocks said, noting that in-street signs, median islands and high-tech beacons are other tools PEDS promoted to help people cross busy streets.

In 1995, the Georgia legislature changed the crosswalk law, requiring drivers to “stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians in crosswalks, not to just yield to them. Flocks started PEDS a year later. Flocks grew up in California during the 1960s, where drivers stopped for pedestrians and police enforced pedestrian laws. After moving to Atlanta in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and had to stop driving. She experienced how dangerous it was to walk to work – broken sidewalks, insufficient crosswalks, poor street design and drivers indifferent

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF REZONING Petition Number:

RZ15-0084

Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs

Property Location:

124 & 126 Johnson Ferry Road

Present Zoning:

O-I (Office Institutional; RZ08-011) & R-4 (Single Family Dwelling)

Request:

To rezone the property subsequently to a land exchange between 124 Johnson Ferry Road and former Masonic Lodge property to O-I.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission January 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council February 16, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Location:

Sandy Springs City Hall, Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

to walkers. After successful brain surgery in 1995, Flocks was eager to start a new chapter in her life. She started PEDS as a full-time volunteer. In 1999, PEDS led crosswalk demonstrations at 13th and Peachtree streets, where 50 years earlier a speeding car had struck and killed “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. Drivers honked and yelled, and Flocks was nearly hit as she tried to walk in the crosswalk. In 2001, thanks to PEDS’ efforts, North Highland Avenue and Peachtree at Woodruff Park received the first in-street crosswalk signs. As more were added, driver behavior changed. “Good engineering breeds good driving,” Flocks explained. “Police felt better about enforcement and the public learned that pedestrians do have the right of way.” PEDS’ initial focus was to educate drivers, but the advocacy group later realized that road design was more critical. For example, one-way multilane streets like Courtland Street in Downtown facilitate speeding. In contrast, adding center turn lanes like on Ponce de Leon Avenue reduces the number of crashes. Thanks to PEDS, transportation agencies are installing pedestrian refuge islands, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons and other safe crossing tools. PEDS also learned that Atlanta’s most vulnerable pedestrians were transit commuters. The Atlanta Regional Commis-

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF VARIANCE PETITION Petition Number:

V15-0045

Petitioner:

Thomas & Emily Followill

Property Location:

380 Montevallo Drive

Request:

One (1) primary variance from Section 6.4.3.C of the City of Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance to encroach six (6) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback to allow for an existing carport and to encroach one and half (1.5) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback to allow for an existing home and a proposed second floor addition.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals January 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Location:

Sandy Springs City Hall, Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

20

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

sion found that more than 20 percent of pedestrian crashes occur within 100 feet of a transit station or bus stop, half within 300 feet. PEDS’ Safe Routes to Transit Initiative pushed for making safe crossings at transit stops a local, regional and state priority. State and local agencies responded. Georgia DOT added Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons on Buford Highway. Midtown Alliance partnered with the city of Atlanta to install Rapid Flash Beacons on 10th Street at the Midtown MARTA station. More pedestrian advocacy is still needed, especially for city of Atlanta sidewalk repairs, Flocks said. Sidewalk funding and policies are both broken, she said. City officials cut the proposed $40 million for sidewalk repairs and $35 million for curb ramps on the infrastructure bond project list to $5 million. The city also maintains the option to bill property owners for sidewalk repairs, something Flocks said the city is unlikely to enforce. To PEDS, sidewalks are shared resources that increase walkability and connectivity, and improve public transit accessibility. So, sidewalk repairs should be funded by all taxpayers – like in Charleston, Charlotte and D.C. “Every sector – and every one of us – has a role to play in increasing walking and making our communities walkable,” Flocks said. A PEDS 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held Jan. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at The Wrecking Bar, 292 Moreland Ave. For more about PEDS, visit PEDS.org.

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF VARIANCE PETITION Petition Number:

V15-0046

Petitioner:

Kacy & Ross Homans

Property Location:

220 Abington Drive

Request:

One (1) primary variance from Section 4.3.4.B.2 of the City of Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance to encroach three and a half (3.5) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback for play equipment.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals January 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Location:

Sandy Springs City Hall, Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600


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CEMETERY PLOTS Arlington Memorial Park – Two (535-A 1 & 2) spaces in the Calvary section of the cemetery. Plots available for viewing by visiting the cemetery office. Closing will be held at Arlington Cemetery offices. Asking $9500.00 for both spaces. Call 404-2167175.

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SERVICES AVAILABLE Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576.

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Reporter Classifieds can work for you! (404) 917-2200 x110 www.reporternewspapers.net www.ReporterNewspapers.net |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 21


PUBLIC SAFETY

Police make numerous trips to Peachtree Road apartments BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

elleneldridge@reporternewspapers.net

In the days after a resident of The Darlington apartments on Peachtree Road was shot in the finger through her closed apartment door, another resident said crime has been an ongoing problem at the Buckhead building. “Every time I leave or come to my apartment, I feel unsafe,” Darlington resident Je Wesley Day said. Resident Natasha Smith lost part of her middle finger when she was struck inside her apartment by a bullet that passed through the door or wall at about 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 14, police said. Donald Davis, 23, who lives in the apartment next to Smith, and resident Monzell Johnson, 23, who lives in the apartment across the hall from Smith, were detained by police after the Dec. 14 shooting and their apartments were searched, according to a police report. Atlanta police say they recorded 438 calls for police to come to the building at 2025 Peachtree Road between June 1 and Dec. 17. Sgt. Warren Pickard said 14 of the calls in the six-month period were for reports of shots fired. Pickard said he could not easily break down the reasons for all the calls, but “either way,

that’s a lot of calls for one particular address.” Representatives of The Darlington did not return calls seeking comment for this article. Perdita Harris, the security guard who was on duty Dec. 14 at the apartment building, saw Davis and a woman walk through the lobby arguing, according to the police report. They got into the elevator and, a few minutes later, Harris heard gunshots and called 911, the report says. Another resident who lives in the building told a friend that gunfire was exchanged between two apartments on the seventh floor. When police arrived, they found spent rifle shell casings on the floor in the hall on the seventh floor, the police report says. Smith told police that she, her boyfriend and her son were in the main room of the apartment when she heard gun shots. She was struck was hit by a bullet that came through either the wall or the door. The bullet hit her in the middle finger of her right hand, the report says. When the shooting stopped, she, her boyfriend and her son walked across the street to Piedmont Hospital for

ELLEN ELDRIDGE

Atlanta police say they recorded 438 calls to The Darlington apartments at 2025 Peachtree Road between June 1 and Dec. 17.

treatment, the report says. Day moved from Texas to The Darlington in June to attend a doctoral program at Argosy University. He says he wants out of his year-long apartment lease because of crime at the apartment building. Day said he learned his apartment unit previously belonged to a drug dealer and said he has received threats, been followed, and had people trying

to peer into his apartment through the peephole and between seems in his door. “The Darlington’s response is they are not responsible for my safety and they won’t move me to a new apartment unless I pay a fee,” Day said. “They admit my house is a former dope house/sex house, which is why I have all the traffic coming to my apartment.”

Buckhead Police Blotter AG G R AVATED AS S A U LT

From police reports dated Nov. 29 to Dec. 12

 1900

block of Peachtree Road—A woman was parking her vehicle in a hospital parking deck when a man exited a newer model, white, four-door vehicle with a heavy-set female driver. The man pointed a silver pistol at the victim’s head and demanded she roll the window down. She could not get the window down and was able to drive away. The suspects fled the scene and the victim was not injured.

The following information was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its records and is presumed to be accurate.

ROBBERY  2300

block of Cheshire Bridge Road— A man approached a woman and asked for directions to I-75. When she cracked her passenger window, the man pointed a gray pistol through the window. The driver got out of the driver’s side of the vehicle and walked through the gas station door. The woman dropped her Nokia cellphone and the man with a gun picked it up and ran.

 2400

block of Coronet Way—A man with a silver handgun approached a woman from behind and said, “Give it up.” As she turned, the man was standing with the gun pointed at her face and again said, “Give it up!” Several suspects in a blue or green sedan approached and the backseat passenger said, “Hurry up and come on.” The woman refused to give up her belongings and the man ran to the waiting vehicle.

 2000

22

block of Peachtree Road—Two |

men arranged via a Craigslist ad to meet at an apartment complex for sex. The man who showed up had a black pistol in his hand and said, “I’m sorry to do this to you” as he proceeded to tie the resident’s hands with TV cables, walked him to the closet and placed a jacket over his head. Then he rummaged through the residence. A cellphone, pills, ID and $100 were taken. The suspect was last seen getting on a MARTA bus.  3200

block of Lenox Road—A woman was struck in the face as she was walking on Lenox Road toward the MARTA station, which caused her to drop her phone. A man picked up her phone and ran toward the mall.

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

 2400

block of Camelia Lane—A woman witnessed someone enter the exit side of a gate and go into a parking lot. When she attempted to confront the suspect and take pictures, she reversed her vehicle and struck the person.

 2100 block of Lenox Road—A man ap-

proached a second man as he was walking along a path through the woods. The first man pulled a gun and threatened to kill the second. The first man then returned to his vehicle, which he drove toward the second man, striking him and causing injuries to his right ankle and calf.

R ES I D EN TI AL BUR GL A RY  3600

block of Cloudland Drive—A

side kitchen door was smashed in and the interior of the house was ransacked. Two diamond rings, a diamond bracelet and two gold necklaces were stolen.  2900

block of Ridgewood Circle— Police officers responded to an audible alarm at a house. They found a side door had been kicked in. A jewelry chest, pearl bracelet, necklaces, earrings and rings valued at $9,000 were stolen from the master bedroom.

 4100

block of Paran Pines Drive— Police officers responded to an audible alarm. A side door has been kicked in and the center glass was shattered. Several drawers were opened and ransacked.

 500

block of Twin Springs—A homeowner discovered a Honda lawn mower was missing from his carport.

 2600

block of Hyde Manor Drive—A rear glass patio door was damaged, several drawers opened and the house was ransacked. A diamond necklace, diamond watch, a Rolex gold diamond watch, a Swiss Chrono watch, a Luigi watch and an Xbox gaming system were taken.

 1900

block of Sunbury Place—A window in the door to a house was broken. BH


PUBLIC SAFETY A wedding ring, several pieces of jewelry, silverware and money were taken from a purse.  2000

block of Springlake Drive—Police officers responded to an audible alarm call at a house and found a glass door and window broken. block of Edinboro Road—Someone broke into a house through a garage window and stole a Wolf stove top.

32GB, Lenovo laptop, Apple iPhone 6, passport, birth certificate, Tiffany sterling silver ID bracelet, four autographed baseballs and a pure silver card case were taken. 

 600

 400

block of Northside Circle—A 32-inch Vizio flat-screen TV was taken from an apartment.

 1000

block of Peachtree Park Drive—Two Apple MacBook Air laptops, a T31 DSLR camera, a diamond ring, a diamond necklace and $30 cash were taken from an apartment.

 1400

block of Mecaslin Street—An apartment door was kicked in and an Apple iMac machine drum pad, a Universal Apollo audio interface, Marshall microphone, Arturia 49 MIDI controller, Hisense TV, Canon Rebel T5 camera, $450 in cash, black Canon Rebel camera and a 21-inch Apple iMac laptop were taken.

 500

block of Northside Circle—A 50inch Sony TV was taken.

 3500

block of Roswell Road—Someone tried to pry open a door, but no entry was made.

 First

block of Putman Circle—A window was broken, desk drawers were rummaged through and several sliver items and coins were taken. Also, a Kindle Fire, jewelry and an Apple iPad were taken.

1100 block of Converse Drive—A garage door was forced up and a front door was left open. A set of keys to a 2014 Lexus ES330 were taken.

600 block of Garson Drive—A front door to an apartment was kicked in, but no items were taken; a second apartment also had a front door kicked in, but its interior was ransacked and a Samsung Curve TV, an Apple iPad Air laptop, two suit cases, several shirts and other clothing, a Dell laptop and Jordan tennis shoes were taken. 

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 First

block of West Paces Ferry Road— Several people were seen taking about $20,000 worth of clothing from a store after a window was broken with a rock.

 3300

block of Peachtree Road—Security officers told police that a hotel door was left open and a purse containing credit cards, house keys, a passport and money were stolen.

 2200

block of Cheshire Bridge Road— A garage door was damaged and several boxes of shoes and clothing were taken.

 1900

block of Hills Avenue—A clothing store’s garage door was damaged and an unknown amount of baby clothing was taken.

Bishop Street—Three businesses reported burglaries between Dec. 6 and 12. The front glass was broken at a talent agency and four Apple computers  4300 block of were taken; a front Peachtree-Dunoffice door was Read more of the woody Road— forced open and Police Blotter online at An HP Netbook a 27-inch Mac www.ReporterNewspapers.net laptop, a black desktop computer .38 revolver with taken; a modeling a camouflage holster, a 52-inch Toshiagency reported a Mac computer stolen ba TV, Xbox, a small safe with a Smith after a side door was broken. & Wesson pistol and some silver and  1800 block of Peachtree Street—A law gold coins, a Samsung Chromebook, a group reported a window broken and the Samsung tablet and several PlayStation office’s interior ransacked. Five checks games were taken. and receipts were taken.  1100 block of Alexander Circle—A  1800 block of Piedmont Avenue— man heard a loud noise and saw a figA glass front door to a pizza restaurant ure inside his apartment. When he yelled was broken and someone attempted to out, the suspect ran out the balcony door. break into a safe using a butter knife. The A wallet that contained credit cards, safe, knife and file cabinet were damaged. $100, identification, a 15-inch Apple Nothing was taken. MacBook, and sets of keys to a Porsche and Lexus were taken.  3500 block of Chantilly Drive—A storage room lock was damaged and a  3400 block of Kingsboro Road—Two Visio TV and a Dynex TV were taken. Xbox One with Kinect units, a safe, five one-ounce silver coins, an Apple iPad Air BH

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 23


Celebrating

the opening of the new Atlanta Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Heal thcare of Atlanta a t Scot tish Rite .

© 2015 RMHC

Keeping Families Close when it matters most. The mission of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities is to nurture the health and well-being of children and families. At our Ronald McDonald Houses, no family is turned away if they cannot afford the $20 per night contribution and many of these families stay at our Houses for weeks, even months, while their children receive medical treatment at local children’s hospitals.

Donate today at www.armhc.org 24

|

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net

BH

12-25-2015 Buckhead Reporter