COVEReport – November 26, 2013

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County Survey on Area Projects; Zoning Issues

There is a survey on line …  A number of them would be very, very good for our area and address Clifton Road, Briarcliff Road, North Decatur Road, Clairmont Road, North Druid Hills Road and LaVista Road.

marthaMartha Pacini – 11/26/13

On November 18, DeKalb County’s Planning & Economic Development Committee hosted a public meeting/information forum on two important topics:  the 2013 transportation plan and the zoning code update.  Both topics have a potential impact on residents of Victoria Estates.  The County Commissioners who are members of the Planning & Economic Development Committee are Larry Johnson (who serves as the chair), Stan Watson and Jeff Rader.  There may be others, but these are the three who hosted the meeting.

The transportation plan has been in the works for a year.  There is a project team that includes an outside consultant that has sifted through thousands of proposed transportation projects.  This is a link to the slides from an on-line meeting in mid-November DeKalb Transportation Plan Presentation

They’ve gotten the original list of projects down to a little more than 180.  There is a survey on line to rank the projects from highest to lowest priority.  A number of them would be very, very good for our area and address Clifton Road, Briarcliff Road, North Decatur Road, Clairmont Road, North Druid Hills Road and LaVista Road. I’ve attached the list of projects, but it is also available on line Project List.  The survey is on line and still open—Click here for Survey   It would be well worth everyone’s time to take the survey.

Regarding the zoning code rewrite, the final draft is available on line click here for Zoning Code Update Final Draft

They are targeting February for approval.  Some of our neighbors in Druid Hills have devoted considerable time to digging into the details of the rewrite, and I have attached their concerns and it is worth taking a look at them—and at the zoning code—and sending in your comments. DeKalb County Zoning Ordinance Issues

One additional piece of information that was new to me—there is something called a “Community Council” that has direct involvement in zoning decisions.  The next meeting for our district is on February 11, 2014 at the Avis G. Williams Library.  The members of the community council are appointed, and here is the list with their emails:

Community Council District 2

Blair Belton

Jodi Cobb

Ted Daniel

Larry Diehl

Jim Eyre

Jacq Marie Jack

Richard Maise

Tim Miner

Katie Oehler

Betty Phillips

Susan Rowe

John Stabler

Jon Steinigen

Pat Thomas

Kerry Witt

DeKalb County Structure of Government Meetings

Carl 3

Carl Lange – November 26, 2013

I attended the first of three meetings organized by Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, seeking input on potential changes to our county form of government.

Kimberly Nelson, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provided a presentation on the forms of county governments in the U.S.

There are two primary forms of county government in the U.S., Commissioner and Executive.

Commissioner based is the most popular and common.  The commissioners hire a professional county manager or administrator who runs the business of the county.  The county manager is accountable to the commissioners.

In the executive form there is a separation of powers, as in the federal government.  Here political leadership is typically emphasized over administration.  The CEO is politically elected , defines policy, and runs the business of the county.  The commissioners provide approval of policy.  DeKalb does not exactly fit this model as our CEO also hires a county manager.

Based on situations, both have their advantages.  Professor Nelson, though, was clearly advocating for the Commissioner based solution.

We then broke out into 6 discussion groups.  It was the consensus of our group that we did not have enough information to conclusively recommend the best form of government.  What should be critical is focusing on controls and transparency, regardless of whatever the form of government.  We requested immediate focus on empowering the independent ethics commission as well as the auditor.

Interestingly, my group included Allen Moye, the chairman of the county study commission that resulted in the change to the DeKalb CEO form of government in the 70s.  He indicated the process took 10 years and a lot of effort.

In summary we were reminded that the key to good government is to have good people involved, including citizen participation, no matter what the structure.  Lee May said to change or not to change is not a superficial question; the importance is in the details.  May has asked the county commissioners for a study commission.

I recommend attending one of the two upcoming meetings.

May 2Interim CEO Lee May
Governance Meetings

Interim CEO Lee May is hosting a series of town hall meetings with breakout sessions that will offer the citizens of DeKalb County a participatory platform. Citizens will gain an understanding of the current CEO form of government, as well as various other forms of county government.   

Monday, December 2 | 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center

3181 Rainbow Drive in Decatur


Tuesday, December 3 | 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Rehoboth Baptist Church

2997 Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker

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