COVEReport – August 23, 2013

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COVEReport – August 23, 2013

Dear Neighbors,

Citizens of Victoria Estates (COVE) was formed this summer in response to the many existing and pending local issues that can affect our neighborhood.  Examples of our activities include the upcoming neighborhood meeting with Commissioners Rader and Gannon—a smaller forum than large town hall meetings that will provide more of an opportunity to speak directly to our elected officials—and the work to address our crumbling sidewalks with a unified approach.

COVE has three primary missions:

  • to provide a resource for neighbors to stay informed about or engage with governmental, institutional and civic groups that have an impact on the neighborhood
  • to keep the broader community informed about Victoria Estates so that the neighborhood is included in discussions that affect our quality of life
  • to provide a resource for neighbors who need to access local government for services or assistance

As part of fulfilling this mission, this weekly newsletter—the COVE Report—will provide an at-a-glance summary and a look-ahead at issues and events that have an impact on our neighborhood.

The intent of COVE is to complement the Victoria Estates Civic Association, which identifies four specific responsibilities of organizing social activities, creating the neighborhood directory, maintaining the island at the entrance to the neighborhood and disseminating email communications.

COVE’s communication platforms will include this weekly newsletter, a website www.victoriaestates.info and Facebook page VictoriaEstatesAtlanta.

You can join COVE online
Click here
Join the conversation!

With gratitude,
Martha Pacini
President, Citizens of Victoria Estates (COVE)

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News

Cityhood

Cityhood is one of the hottest topics for our neighborhood and DeKalb County this year.   Following the incorporation of Sandy Springs, John’s Creek, Dunwoody and Brookhaven to our north, in February, the Lakeside City Initiative touched off a round of initiatives and debates over the future of our neighborhood and county.  The cityhood movement is a trend that has accelerated since the legislature created the current means to incorporate in 1993.

This year there are two competing new-city proposals that affect our neighborhood, City of Lakeside and City of Briarcliff, on track for review by the Georgia Legislature, with a ballot measure potentially coming in June, 2014.  Two other proposals in Metro Atlanta are Tucker and Stonecrest.  This will be the first time that the legislature has had to consider multiple, competing, overlapping cityhood proposals.

Making sure Victoria Estates has a seat at the table in this important debate is considered a top priority for COVE.  This includes previous meetings for Victoria Estates and our sister neighborhood Mason Mill on June 5 (Briarcliff), July 29 (Lakeside), and next week’s August 29 DeKalb County commissioners Gannon and Rayder meeting.

The process to cityhood has/will include:

  • Citizens formed 501c organizations to promote a city concept, selecting a name, proposed boundaries, and services to be offered by the city, and to raise necessary funds for a study
  • Placeholder bills were made in the Georgia General Assembly
  • Official feasibility studies are being completed (Carl Vinson Institute).  This is where we are now in the process.
  • A committee of the Georgia General Assembly will review the completed study recommendations and may make changes to the proposal(s) including city boundaries
  • Possible committee actions are approving a proposal, approving a proposal with modifications, combining the two proposals, or taking no action.
  • If a proposal comes out of committee a vote of the entire Georgia legislature is taken
  • The approved bill becomes a referendum.  Only voters within the proposed city boundaries get to vote with 50% plus one approval required for success.
  • The governor assigns a representative to a task force which organizes the new city and the state issues a city charter.

There have been many opinions expressed concerning city or no city, proposed boundaries, political motivations, and the potential impact to our neighborhood and the county.

Currently there are four possible outcomes for our neighborhood:

  • Remain in unincorporated DeKalb
  • City of Briarcliff
  • Annexation/redraw of boundaries in the legislature to be included in City of Lakeside Annexation by City of Atlanta

COVE has taken no position on cityhood initiatives but will continue to work to insure our neighborhood has a proper place at the table in this important decision.

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DeKalb County Zoning Change

DeKalb County is undergoing a major update to its zoning code.  This update is intended to “create a user-friendly document and to balance greater design standards.”

Land-use regulation or zoning is a key component to the regulation and development of quality growth.  While many people are averse to being told what they can or cannot do with their property, land-use regulation has provided the means for the protection and collective betterment of municipalities throughout the U.S.

Some sections of the proposed DeKalb code have been identified as potentially problematic.  These include the regulations for cell towers in residential areas as well as the potential for our neighborhood to be included in a special empowerment tax zone, permitting non-residential uses such as commercial and industrial construction.

It’s important that the potential impacts to our neighborhood and county are understood, prior to the code being adopted.

The next draft of the code will be published on the DeKalb County website on September 15 and there is a public October 7 meeting.  You may find more information here:  DeKalb Planning

Commissioners Gannon and Rayder to Meet with Victoria Estates and Mason Mill Neighbors

Thursday, August 29, 7:30 pm @ Intown Community Church – Room 205
Commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader will meet with Victoria Estates and Mason Mill neighborhoods.  The purpose of the meeting is for residents of our neighborhoods to discuss county issues that are on their minds with their county commissioners, including the important topics of city-hood and zoning.

 

Welcome to the Website!

We’ve launched the new COVE website.  There you’ll find a calendar of events, cityhood news, contact information for COVE officers and committees, archives on neighborhood news, useful links, and soon to come – an online forum for neighbors!

Some of you may also be aware of the Facebook page VictoriaEstatesAtlanta created by COVE organizer Erika Birg.

One of the catalysts for organizing COVE was the desire for neighbors to have greater opportunities to communicate directly with each other.  Multiple communication channels provide an easier opportunity for our neighbors to stay informed and importantly, discuss and organize around their particular topics of interest.

This is a work in progress and we look forward to your input, volunteering, and most importantly, check it out and Join the Conversation!

Carl Lange

COVE Communications Chair

 

Let’s Get Our Sidewalks Fixed!

As you may recall, last year neighbors Susan and Roger Rochat marked our broken sidewalks with bright orange paint after another neighbor had a bad fall.  Since that time, sidewalks have remained unrepaired by the County (except where required for the recent water main breaks).

The newly formed COVE board acknowledged this as an important safety issue and contacted the county for help.   We heard back promptly with a request for a list of property addresses.  An email on 8/5 went out to the neighborhood and a compiled list was created and delivered on 8/9.  We received the following response that day:

From: Anderson, Michael
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2013 4:14 PM
To: Stevenson, Shirley J.; Knight, Jacqueline D.; Dalrymple, Mark
Cc: Enloe, Caroline; Edmonds, Nakisha M.; Edwards, Douglas T.; Edmonds, Nakisha M.; Dalrymple, Mark; McKinney, James; COVE
Subject: RE: Victoria Estates sidewalk complaints

Shirley:

Please get these locations inspected if no history.

Jim:

Please work these into your schedule based on condition and your current work assignment.

Yesterday COVE board member David Woolf completed a neighborhood survey to add to the list provided by neighbors (after a long rain delay).

“Fun fact: If you walk all of our sidewalks in our neighborhood on both sides of the street, the total distance is just under 5 miles (according to my pedometer).” – David

David marked up one of our neighborhood maps here, which is being converted to spreadsheet format for an update to the county.   There are no guarantees, but hopefully our collective request will get a better response than individually.  We’ll continue to stay on top of this for the entire neighborhood until the county gets the job done!

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2 thoughts on “COVEReport – August 23, 2013

  1. Peter Sederberg

    I agree much of our sidewalks need repair. More serious, in my view, is the need to replace our aging waterlines. I know of three breaks in the past month involving, among other things, tearing up the sidewalk. In one case, nearly 80 feet needed to be replaced.

    The county did a decent job, even discounting the dog prints on the wet concrete.

    Peter Sederberg

    Reply
  2. Erika Birg

    Peter, you are right – our water mains/ sewers are higher on our target list but because of the recognized budgetary issues in DeKalb, we decided to hit and move where we thought we might have more immediate success. Hope you will come to the meeting Thursday with our county commissioners because I expect the water main/sewer issue will be raised as I know we are all talking about it and couldn’t agree with you more. ~ Erika

    Reply

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