Tag Archives: Land Use

COVE Report – January 30, 2017




Houston Mill Road Water Line will be Reconnected and Flushed: January 31, 2017


A notice was provided by the CDC indicating DeKalb County will reconnect and flush a water line on Houston Mill Road Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The work could discolor water or impact water pressure.

Victoria Estates Public Safety Meeting – February 9, 7:00 pm @ 961 Castle Falls Dr.

How will Victoria Estates be impacted by Atlanta’s annexation of Emory University? Will we continue to be served by the closest fire station on Clifton? Changed borders have resulted in some confusion between the County and cities and extreme delays in 911 responses. Does DeKalb county have plans to address this for our neighborhood?

These are some of the questions to be asked of the county’s chief operating officer for public safety, Cedric Alexander. He has agreed to meet with Victoria neighbors to address these important concerns.
Thank you to COVE board members Martha Pacini for arranging the meeting and Barbara Zehnbauer for agreeing to host at her home. This meeting is open to Victoria Estates residents and COVE guests.

Dr. Cedric L. Alexander serves as the county’s deputy chief operating officer for public safety.
Prior to joining DeKalb County, Dr. Alexander was the Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration, United States Department of Homeland Security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. His responsibilities included the coordination and oversight of all security and regulatory actions. He served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; Chief of Police in the Rochester Police Department; and held several leadership roles at the University of Rochester Department of Psychiatry in New York. Dr. Alexander began his law enforcement career in 1977 and served with the Miami-Dade Police Department, and was a law enforcement officer in Florida for 15 years.

Property Owner at 1840 Mason Mill Jailed Over Signage

January 22, 2017 – Reposted from the Mason Mill Civic Association

The judge found the property owner at 1840 Mason Mill guilty on 10 code violations.

He sentenced the property owner to one week in the County jail, starting immediately.

Upon returning to his property the owner is on probation for 60 months. As a special condition of his probation, he is not to violate the code ordinance dealing with signage in any way (including content). If he does, he will be put in jail again, and each time he is returned to jail, the amount of time will be increased, so that after spending 4 months in jail, the property owner will have to serve the remainder of the 60 months in jail. He also assessed a $10,000 fine to be paid over 60 months. This fine will be suspended $1,000 for every 6-month period the owner remains in compliance. (This is based on notes taken at the trial. We hope to obtain a written order from the Court soon.)

We have included below the neighborhood statement presented during the sentencing phase of the trial. Many thanks to the 20+ residents who showed up in the courtroom. We appreciate your support.

I believe the solicitor has provided you with Victim Impact Statements from the neighborhood civic association and property owners near Mr. Avery.

As you consider sentencing Mr. Avery, I hope you will review those statements and consider that our neighborhood has endured his signage and disrespectful behavior for the past six years. Through his signage, behaviors, emails and blogs he has shown us contempt, vilified our leaders and threatened our neighborhood. We do not come before you in a capricious or light-hearted manner, but with a heavy heart. We can no longer deal with our neighbor by ourselves. We need your help. And so does he.

Since this is a code violation trial, our view is this:
When people choose to become property owners in DeKalb County, they inherently assume the responsibility of living within the rules and regulations of the county, as expressed in the DeKalb Code of Ordinances.

This code sets forth just the minimum standards that we as property owners are expected to follow for property use and health and safety issues, and the minimum standards that we expect our neighbors to follow. Even if, as in the case of Mr. Avery, we become angry at county government, community institutions such as churches and academic institutions, or our neighbors, we are expected to adhere to these ordinances and conduct our behavior accordingly.

For the past six years, Mr. Avery has violated the code continuously, to the detriment of our neighborhood. His signage and behaviors have had a negative impact on our residents’ property values and our emotional health, as described in the impact statements. Moreover, he has flaunted his complete disregard for our neighborhood and the justice system of this county by continually mounting an excessive number of signs and inflatables on a daily basis, in spite of receiving numerous citations.

His blog and emails suggest that he finds all of this humorous and that he is “playing” a game with us. Well, we do not view his sadistic and antagonistic behavior as a game; nor do we find it humorous.
We ask that the Court sentence Mr. Avery in such a manner that will ensure his adherence to the code and protect our neighborhood. We also ask for a sentence that will guarantee his facing more serious consequences if he continues to violate the code and threaten our residents.

DeKalb County Comprehensive Plan Update for 2016

Carl Lange
On January 24, the DeKalb County Commission agreed to defer voting on an update to the county’s long-term land use plan to its next meeting on the morning of February 14.
Mason Mill Civic Association president Mary Hinkle, who has been tracking this closely, was unable to attend. I spoke for her and COVE at the meeting, requesting a deferral. Final versions of this important document were not updated till the morning of the meeting, not providing sufficient time for review. My approximate comments to the commission:
– We remain concerned that the land use designation for the Toco Hills shopping center is not in alignment with the wishes of the surrounding communities.
– I’d also like to thank the work that staff has done in updating the plan. However, in the most recent publicly available 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update, Toco Hills continues to be designated as a town center.
– The community expressed its desire for Toco Hills to be a neighborhood center as was previously agreed to in the North Druid Hills LCI study.
– This has been a repeated requested that we feel still has not been clearly addressed. We have noted a small area plan designation on page 98 of the latest 2035 Comprehensive Plan which designates specific Land Use Development Policy Guidelines for Toco Hills. This addresses some issues but still contains higher density standards than neighborhood centers allow.
– Until the implementation of the North Druid Hills LCI is accomplished, we request written assurances that any development in Toco Hills will not exceed neighborhood center requirements in density and land use.
– If these assurances cannot be sufficiently provided, we request that approval of the Comprehensive plan be deferred.
– Additionally, we request sufficient time now and in the future to review these important impacts to our neighborhoods. Receiving a final version of the plan with significant revisions the morning of the meeting is unacceptable, providing insufficient opportunity for neighborhood evaluation and input.

The updated plan is located here:

New Proposal Would Restore Emory’s Briarcliff Mansion

The State Properties Commission approved the plans for renovating the Briarcliff (Candler) Mansion on Emory’s Briarcliff campus, into a boutique hotel. Once this exciting restoration is completed (anticipated to be in late 2018), it will be a wonderful amenity for our community.
Here is a link to an article posted in the Emory Report with old photos of the Mansion along with plans for the new hotel. http://news.emory.edu/stories/2016/12/er_briarcliff_mansion_renovation/campus.html

First Annual Report of the DeKalb County Ethics Officer

County ethics officer Stacey Kalberman has issued her first annual report, as required by the county’s ethics code. The report describes the activities of the ethics officer and reports on the “ethical health of DeKalb County.”

The four-page report can be found at: Annual-Report-of-Ethics-Officer-2017

DeKalb Tennis Center Open House – February 11, 11 am – 3pm

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Tennis Center under New Management

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs and AGAPE Tennis Academy will host an event to celebrate new management at DeKalb Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., located at 1400 McConnell Drive, Decatur.

The event will include entertainment, drills, games, food, tours, giveaways and more. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about parks and natural resources that are available in their community.

For more information, contact Amy Pazahanick at 678-333-5934.

DeKalb Tax Commissioner Reminds Local Residents to File for Basic Homestead, Senior & Disability Exemptions

DeKalb County Tax Commissioner, Irvin J. Johnson, would like to remind all DeKalb County taxpayers who owned and resided in their property on January 1, 2017 that they may qualify for a basic homestead exemption. The homestead exemption, which provides a significant tax savings to homeowners, must be applied for in person, by mail or via the Internet as exemptions are not automatically granted. Please note, that no company to include mortgage companies may file applications on behalf of property owners. Also, by law, exemptions are not available for rental or commercial property and there is never a fee to file.

In addition to the basic homestead exemption, there are special exemptions for citizens 62 years of age and older. Eligibility is determined only by application based on age and total household income. Special exemptions are also available for citizens that are deemed totally and permanently disabled. Applicants for senior or disability exemptions must visit one of the Tax Commissioner’s office locations in person so that specific circumstances and required documentation (2016 State & Federal income tax returns, proof of age and proof of disability status), are reviewed for eligibility.

Residents are reminded that application must be received by April 3, 2017 in order for the exemption to be granted on 2017 annual property taxes. Although applications are accepted year round, any approved application received after the April 3rd deadline will be granted for the 2018 tax year.

Residents are encouraged to visit the website at www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner with questions. You may also call 404-298-4000 or email proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov for assistance.

If your community or civic organization would like to schedule a representative from the Tax Commissioner Office to speak at an event regarding exemption options, please feel free to reach the office at any of the contacts noted above.

Tax Commissioner Office Locations:

Central: 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur 30032 – across from the DeKalb County Jail
North: 1358 Dresden Drive, NE, Atlanta 30319 – 2 blocks east of Brookhaven Marta Station
South: 2801 Candler Road, Suite 66, Decatur 30034 – The Gallery @ South DeKalb Mall by Macy’s

DeKalb County 24-Hour Tag Renewal Kiosk

Town Hall Meeting – February 9, 6:30 pm

State Senator Elena Parent will be joined by State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver in a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 9th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central DeKalb Senior Center, 1346 McConnell Drive. This is your opportunity to learn about what’s happening during this year’s state legislative session.

Senator Elena Parent Newsletter

January 9th marked the opening of this year’s legislative session, which lasts 40 legislative days.
What’s on tap for this session? Read on…
Welcome to the Parent Press, Senator Elena Parent’s newsletter. January 9th marked the opening of this year’s legislative session, which lasts 40 legislative days.
What’s on tap for this session? Read on…
Did you know Georgia has the fewest competitive legislative races in the nation, despite being an increasingly competitive state from a partisan perspective? Did you know that legislators get to draw their own districts, which allows them to pick the people who vote for them and intentionally disadvantage voters from the minority party?
That’s the process we call “redistricting” and I’ve got a plan to fix it by turning the once-every-decade process of drawing legislative districts over to an independent commission less influenced by partisan politics. Until we have more fair districts, the extreme polarization and gridlock we see in our governments will continue. Check out more details in this news article.

Campus Carry!
It’s coming back. Even though poll after poll show that Georgians (including the Governor) don’t want it, Republicans announced plans to push for it again this session.

I’ll share the bill with you as soon as it is filed, but I plan to fight against just like I did last year — with success. (You can watch my speech – just click the photo.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QDMSwIP1h8

Women’s March on Washington!

I had the honor and distinct pleasure of attending the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, where I marched with my mother, sisters, cousins, many friends and over 500,000 other people determined to make our voices heard that we oppose the new administration’s divisive rhetoric and “alternative facts.” In Atlanta, 63,000 marched, including many of you. This outpouring was cathartic and inspiring; now that the world is watching, we need to stay involved and make a difference. See below for ways to do so.
Legal, but predatory, loans ripple across Georgia
There is a current practice in Georgia where companies send out checks to people they know are in financial distress, and when they cash that check that are stuck in a high-interest loan contract that they can’t pay back. It is totally legal. Find out more in this television report.
I have a plan to fix this problem. Watch this space.
What You Can Do.
Information is power. Empower your friends by sending them this update! Just click here! Forward
Want to get the latest on what’s happening at the Capitol? Attend my town hall, details below.
Town Hall!
Want to find out more about what’s going on this session? Come to my Town Hall! Here’s all the info:
When: Thursday, February 9th, from 6:30-8:00 PM
Where: Central DeKalb Senior Center, 1346 McConnell Dr, Decatur, GA 30033, USA (map)
We need your input, your thoughts, and your ideas! Please contact us at our office at the Capitol, by phone, or by email.
Elena Parent

Representative Mary Margaret Oliver Newsletter

…Before discussing this week’s activities, however, please tell me how you would vote on legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia–survey below….

Dear Friends,

We have completed eight days of the 2017 General Assembly Session, 20% of our 40 days, and the House has passed only one bill—HB 43, the Supplemental Budget amending this Fiscal Year Budget that ends June 30, 2017. Below is a discussion of this important legislation.

Before discussing this week’s activities, however, please tell me how you would vote on legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia–survey below. Legislation to allow casino gambling, which requires a constitutional amendment and a 2/3 vote of both chambers was introduced this week in the Senate, SB 79, to allow casinos in two areas of Georgia–Atlanta, and one other unnamed area, presumed to be Savannah. Proceeds would go exclusively to fund HOPE scholarships and Pre-K, the same limitations as the current lottery.

If revenues raised from casino gambling would only fund HOPE and Pre-K education, would you be in favor of allowing casino gambling in Georgia?

Click here to take survey


With friends, on last Saturday, I joined 60 thousand plus other Georgians on a march from the Civil Rights Museum to the Capitol for social justice! I most enjoyed the signs and the families with children marching together.

On a daily basis I am approached by citizens who express their wishes to be more involved in politics, and you are all welcome. We particularly need help under the Gold Dome–come visit please!

Supplemental Budget Highlights

HB 43 passed the House on January 26 to amend the current state budget by adding $606.2 million in additional revenue or 2.5% over the original 2017 budget passed in the 2016 Session. The total appropriation for this year is now $24.3 billion. The new revenue includes fully funding our reserve funds, and $108.9 million for enrollment growth of almost 12,000 additional k-12 school children, a .68% growth rate statewide.

Additional funds will be added to the Governor’s Emergency Funds for south Georgia storm damage and litigation fees for the water wars with Florida. Many other agencies receive additional funds for services that faced unplanned or extraordinary needs, such as waste cleanup, or to expand health care programs for the telehealth network or trauma centers. The complete budget additions and cuts are set out in detail in HB 43, here. These highlight links here and here might

MMO New Bills

HB 86 is requested by DFCS based on a federal mandate to add a definition of Sexually Trafficked minors to a category of child abuse investigations. The federal government has appropriated $100 million for services for these victims and requires that the states provide additional data to receive this money.

HB 126 sets out a new composition and confidentiality requirements for the Judicial Qualifications Commission that the American Bar Association proposes for the reconstituted JQC favorably approved by the voters on November 8.

DeKalb County has requested that I introduce again legislation relating to the pension legacy issues created by incorporation of new cities. More to come on this complex financial and actuarial issue.

Hearings are currently tentatively scheduled for HB 52 and 53, described in an earlier newsletter. Stay tuned for progress reports on these bills, and HB 10 that bans assault type weapons and high capacity magazines and cop killer bullets.

State of Judiciary

Chief Justice Harris Hines gave the State of the Judiciary report this week to a joint session of the House and Senate. Highlights include his review of his 16 years of service chairing the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Commission on Children. Representative Wendall Willard and I are the House appointees to this Commission which has led the state in child welfare reforms — thank you Justice Hines, who will be replaced as Chair of the Commission by Justice David Nahmias.

There are currently 139 Accountability Courts, funded as part of Governor Deal’s Criminal Justice Reform, and additional proposals are coming forth this year to reduce the number of Georgia citizens on criminal probation. Georgia has 6 times the number of citizens supervised by probation services than other states–inefficient use of tax money, that should focus on a smaller number of more dangerous offenders.

Activities this week and Next–join us!

This week I joined this Emory Lavista Parents Council

the Greater Presbyterians Advocacy group
medical residents from Emory and Grady
the DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond and Commissioners, and many others. They all are part of the public discussion under the Dome.

Coming up are the following events:

Every Monday the DeKalb delegation meets at noon, in Room 230 of the Capitol, with guests and an agenda. Local legislation is presented and discussed. All are welcome to come.

February 1, Glenn Memorial Wednesday night Supper for the annual legislative report from me and Senator Elena Parent. 6:30, Fellowship Hall.

February 2, Room 406 CLOB, Tentative hearing scheduled for my HB 53 which expands the jurisdiction of Juvenile Courts to include minors age 17.

February 7, CASA day at the Capitol, Freight Room, noon.

February 9, I am joining Senator Elena Parent for a Town Hall meeting, 6:30 pm, DeKalb Senior Citizens Center, 1346 McConnell Dr., Decatur.

Please contact me anytime with your questions or comments and visit our website at the link below and follow me on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links below. I look forward to working with you during the 2017 Georgia General Assembly, and I need your help and your support!! In the meantime, I will continue to report on issues that may interest you, and welcome your suggestions on how this newsletter may better serve you.

Mary Margaret
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265

COVE Report – October 18, 2016

COVEReport logo2




Mason Mill Civic Association – Fall Picnic for All Area Neighbors


Sunday, October 23, 2016*
4:30 – 6:30 pm, W. D. Thomson Park Pavilion
The tradition continues: our semi-annual neighborhood picnic!

We are hoping for perfect fall weather and expect lots of good food. The MMCA Social Committee will be grilling hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs, and supplying drinks, ice, plates, cups and plastic ware. Please bring a favorite main or side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors. Bring enough for 8-10 people. (Don’t forget a serving utensil!) Also, bring folding chairs, tables or blankets and any kind of toys for the kids.
* Any postponement due to rain will be posted on the picnic pavilion and via nextdoor.com. Your donations help defray picnic costs! A jar will be on the sign-in table. If you are attending, please rsvp to civicassn@masonmill.org. Hope to see you there!

2016 General/Special Election – Advance Voting Has Begun

voteSample Ballot

Click here for Victoria Estates residents: 2016-general-ballot
In addition to races, there are four proposed constitutional amendments, and a special vote concerning homestead exemptions.

Click here for My Voter Page with Sample Ballots

Some Advance Voting Locations

10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
330 W Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
4362 Peachtree Rd, NE
Brookhaven, GA 30319

10/17 – 10/22 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
10/24 – 10/29 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
10/30 (12:00 pm – 5:00 pm)
10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
4380 Memorial Drive
Decatur, GA 30032

General/Special Election

November 8, 2016
ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Proposed Georgia Constitutional Amendments


Amendment 1

Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.
Senate Resolution No. 287 Act No. 309 Ga. L. 2015, p. 1498 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?”

Amendment 2

Authorizes penalties for sexual exploitation and assessments on adult entertainment to fund child victims’ services.
Senate Resolution No. 7 Act No. 306 Ga. L. 2015, p. 1497 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited?

Amendment 3

Reforms and reestablishes the Judicial Qualifications Commission and provides for its composition, governance, and powers.
House Resolution No. 1113 Act No. 537 Ga. L. 2016, p. 896 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to abolish the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission; require the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges; require the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have procedures that provide for due process of law and review by the Supreme Court of its advisory opinions; and allow the Judicial Qualifications Commission to be open to the public in some manner?”

Amendment 4

Dedicates revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care, fire services, and public safety.

Senate Resolution No. 558 Act No. 530 Ga. L. 2016, p. 895 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the proceeds of excise taxes on the sale of fireworks or consumer fireworks be dedicated to the funding of trauma care, firefighter equipping and training, and local public safety purposes?” DEKALB COUNTY SPECIAL ELECTIONS YES NO DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596 (Vote for One) “Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?”

DeKalb County Special Election

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596
Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?

Our Representatives’ Statements Concerning the Ballot:

gannon raderelena_parent

Amendment 1

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment would allow the state to manage schools that have been deemed as failing, based upon their College and Career Ready Performance Index score. These schools would be shut down or placed under a statewide opportunity district overseen by a governor-appointed Superintendent.”

Senator Elena Parent – “Summary: Amendment 1 is a constitutional amendment that would allow the General Assembly to authorize the establishment of an Opportunity School District (OSD) to provide for state interventions for low-performing schools.

Governance: The OSD Superintendent, who is appointed by the Governor, is granted broad power and flexibility to waive State BoE rules, regulations, policies, and procedures for OSD schools with the ultimate goal of improving academic performance. The OSD Superintendent has the authority to select, approve, or remove the school principal for schools in the opportunity district and governing board members for opportunity which become OSD charters.

Structure: The proposal authorizes the OSD to take over up to 20 schools a year with a cap of 100 schools total. OSD schools will remain in the district for at least five years but no more than 10. If an opportunity school or OSD charter earns above an F on the relevant criteria for three consecutive years, the school will be removed from the OSD or no longer subject to OSD oversight.

Powers: The OSD director can take one of four steps regarding a struggling school: (1) direct management, (2) shared governance, (3) conversion to a charter school or (4) closure. Any teacher who is not hired on at their school post-OSD takeover remains an employee of the local school district and the district may determine whether or not to keep employing the teacher.

Elena’s Opinion:
I voted against the Opportunity School District and plan to vote no. While the goal of improving failing schools is laudable and I believe that Governor Deal is well-intentioned, the appointment of a superintendent who is unaccountable to taxpayers and parents is not a recipe for success. There is no specific plan delineated as to how the failing schools would be turned around. This, when coupled with the lack of accountability, is worrisome. We do need to turn around our struggling schools, but state leaders should be following proven, research-based methods of doing so rather than chasing the “state-takeover” fad that has taken root in some nearby states. There are no quick fixes and this “solution” does not provide a long-term plan for improving education in Georgia for all our kids, which is what we need to do.
There are theoretically some pros. There is a chance good reforms could emerge at the school level. These could be positive. We just don’t know, because there is no specific plan for voters to count on. (In the other extreme, there is no prohibition on the use of for-profit charter managers, for example.)

The biggest pro that I see is that the threat of state takeover and the loss of associated local school dollars could motivate some local school boards to implement reforms that have not occurred due to lack of motivation or politics. However, I believe that there are other, better ways to accomplish that goal. To begin with, current law permits the State School Superintendent to exercise several of these powers.

This is a complex issue. For those who want more information, following are links to several articles:
An op-ed I wrote in Reporter Newspapers explaining my opposition to the OSD.
AJC: 7 Things to Know about Gov. Deal’s Opportunity School District
Report from pastor who attended OSD meeting with Gov. Deal
Info from group supporting OSD

Amendment 2

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment will allow for establishing a Safe Harbor Fund for rehabilitative and support services to sexually exploited children. Taxpayers would not contribute, but would use fines from convicted sex trafficker cases and annual fees from adult entertainment industries.”

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Amendment 2 establishes a new Safe Harbor for the Sexually Exploited Children Fund, receiving money through $2,500 fines on convicted traffickers and an annual fee of $5,000 or 1% of annual gross revenue, whichever is greater, on adult entertainment establishments. Funds are then used to provide housing, mental care, education, job training, legal help, and child care to the victims. Convicted traffickers will also be listed on the state sex offender website.

Elena’s Opinion:
I voted for Safe Harbor and plan to vote yes. Our city and state see some of the highest levels of human trafficking in the country. I agree with the goal of ensuring that victims of child sex trafficking get the needed counseling, medical care, education, and other support services they need to live happy and healthy lives – and without raising taxes. Some feel that the fee on the adult entertainment venues is punitive or unconstitutional, but I feel that the good in this amendment strongly outweighs the bad.

Amendment 3

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment will abolish the longstanding Judicial Qualifications Commission overseen by the judicial branch and give the authority to the general assembly. “

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Under current law, the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) is comprised of two judges selected by the Georgia Supreme Court, three lawyers appointed by the State Bar of Georgia and two citizens appointed by the Governor. The proposed constitutional amendment would change the appointment powers: appointments would be made by the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor. The public will now be denied access to a judge’s disciplinary hearing before the JQC for the first time.

Elena’s Opinion:
I am strongly against Amendment 3 and will vote no. This amendment eliminates the JQC as an independent constitutional entity and puts political appointments in its place. As such, it makes the oversight of our judiciary less democratic and more political. And indeed, it appears that at least some of the impetus for the passage of this Amendment is dissatisfaction with actions of the JQC by members of the Legislature, one of whom happens to be a former judge who was investigated by the JQC.

Furthermore, the Legislature’s work on this has been the reverse of thoughtful policymaking. Hearings should have been held to take testimony to determine what exactly is wrong with the system the way it is and then a solution addressing those perceived flaws should have been crafted. Instead, hearings are being held NOW to determine those things. I consider the passage of this Amendment to be mostly a political power play. This is actually all you need to know to understand why you should vote against Amendment 3.
Conducting a Google search will bring up other interesting articles, if you so choose to immerse yourself further.

Amendment 4

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment would support moving tax revenue from the sale of fireworks to trauma care, fire protection services and fire safety. 5% of the tax revenue would be allotted to local governments to support 911 services.”

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Amendment 4 will dedicate the proceeds from a general excise tax on fireworks to support funding for fire protection services, trauma care and public safety. The intent of the amendment is to establish a permanent revenue source that may not be diverted by the legislature without repeal of this amendment by the people.

Elena’s Opinion:
I will vote yes for this amendment. If passed, this creates a permanent fund for trauma care, fire safety and public safety, all of which are impacted by the legalization of fireworks in Georgia. The use of the excise tax for this purpose should provide a direct funding stream to ameliorate any harms created by the use of fireworks.

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “In 2015, the General Assembly passed legislation to call a referendum to extend the existing Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze (applicable only to County taxes) until 2022. Voters wishing to extend the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze until 2022 should vote yes to approve the legislation. Voters wishing to end the freeze at the end of 2016 should vote no. The freeze maintains your property value at the level set when you elected to take the freeze.”

State Senator Elena Parent – A “yes” vote will extend the existing Homestead property tax assessment freeze (applicable to County taxes only) until 2022.

Commissioner Jeff Rader – “In 2015, the DeKalb Delegation passed local legislation to call a referendum this November to extend the existing Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze (applicable only to County taxes) until 2022.

However, the legislation went further to stipulate that, if the voters approved separate referenda to dedicate the Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) exclusively to tax relief (eliminating the current 20% available for capital improvements) AND to approve a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for capital projects (to replace the 20% HOST allocation to capital), THEN the Assessment Freeze would be TOLLED (suspended) while those taxes were in effect. The authors of the legislation have said that the wording was in error; instead of “tolled” they meant “extended”. Nevertheless the language is plain, and therefore binding. As a consequence of this error, the Board of Commissioners withdrew plans for a referendum on the HOST amendment and the SPLOST. Legislators intend to address the error in this year’s General Assembly.

All this complexity notwithstanding, voters wishing to extend the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze until 2022 should vote yes to approve the legislation, or the freeze will expire at the end of 2016, exposing many homeowners to increased County property taxes

Jeff Rader”

Discussion on the Proposed GA Constitutional Amendment “Opportunity School Districts”

Become an informed voter!
Please join CINS, SEACS, and the Carver Cluster for a Round Table Discussion on the Proposed
GA Constitutional Amendment “Opportunity School Districts”
When: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 – 8:30 pm
Where: The Frazer Center, 1815 S Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

If entering through the front gate from S. Ponce, take the driveway all the way up to the right to back of the property and park. Head towards the circular drive, and you should see a sign and a cracked door into the Senior Center.

What: We are hosting a community discussion with panelists representing both sides of the proposed amendment, including:
• Diane Jacobi, Public Education Advocate (substituting for Janet Kishbaugh, Director of Research and Information Services, Public Education Matters http://publiceducationmattersga.org/)
• Steven Quinn, State Outreach Manager for GergiaCAN, http://www.gacan.org/ and Field Coordinator for Students First, https://www.studentsfirst.org/georgia/wh…
• Atlanta Public Schools Board Member, District 3 Representative, Matt Westmoreland, will be on hand to answer questions about their Turnaround Strategy currently underway.
• GA House of Representatives District 59 Representative Margaret Kaiser will also be on hand to answer any questions on the proposed amendment and its history and future significance.
For more information and to become an informed voter, please see: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-U…

Emory Annexation into Atlanta – Update


Emory University has indicated its proposed annexation into Atlanta will not occur in 2016. Victoria Estates and adjacent areas are not included in the annexation but could be impacted in regard to transportation, public safety, schools, and taxes.

The COVE board is working the following response:
• Obtain more definitive responses from officials on impacts
• Provide updates to neighbors through COVE Report
• Conduct survey of neighbors to understand concerns
• Neighborhood meeting with Atlanta, DeKalb County, and Emory representatives

While Victoria Estates is not included in the annexation, it could be annexed by petition of residents. The petition option would be available to VE only if the Emory petition is successful and Victoria Estates then has a border with Atlanta.
A collection of articles concerning annexation proposals on Decaturish

DeKalb Interim CEO, Commissioners Address Water Billing Issues with New Resolution – New Water Meter Installation Halted

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution introduced by DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May which empowers the chief financial officer (CFO) with discretion to address unusually high water bills due to billing or meter errors.

The legislation clarifies code sections 25-106(f) to specify that the CFO has the authority to make adjustments to a customer’s account for billing errors, as long as the dispute was recorded within two years of the billing error itself.

The resolution also stops the installation of the new iPerl water meters and calls for the establishment of convenient bill resolution sites around the county during the moratorium.

Another proactive step addresses excessively high bills. In these cases, Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams has directed the Utility Customer Operations Center to send out estimated bills with messaging that indicates that the county is investigating the cause of the variance. Once a high variance is detected, a work order for a water meter inspection will automatically be generated.

“Sending out estimated bills will let our customers know what is going on with their accounts in a timely manner, as well as provide a mechanism for them to pay their average amount due while we get to the root of the problem,” COO Williams said.

On Sept. 20, Interim CEO May issued a moratorium through the end of 2016 on the disconnection of residential water accounts that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center.

Water customers who believe their bill is in error should notify the Utility Customer Operations Center at 774 Jordan Lane in Decatur, or call (404) 371-3000 to speak with a customer service representative. Account holders with disputed balances are required to pay their average amount due until the case is resolved, with the balance, if any, due at the time the investigation is complete.

Further, a third-party dispute process is being developed to provide customers an additional avenue to resolve their disputes. This process will be implemented during the moratorium.

There will be no water service disconnections for customers with account balances in dispute who have paid their average bill through the end of 2016.

Jeff Rader

W.D. Thomson Park Work Days Kick-Off 10/22


The 2016-2017 season of volunteer work days at W. D. Thomson Park begins on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9a-12noon.

(And please save these dates for more fall & winter work sessions: Saturdays Nov. 12 and Dec. 10, and MLK Day Monday Jan. 16. We’ll announce our dates for February through June at a later date.)

October 22 will mark the start of the 5th year of the “Friends of Thomson Park” group. Over each of the previous 4 years, individual park lovers have contributed well over 200 person-hours of time at WDT. They’ve accomplished a great deal and had a good time at it! This year we’ll be expanding our volunteer outreach and involvement, and changing our focus to reflect having achieved most of the highest-priority goals of our initial years.

Please help make this first session of the 2016-2017 season a successful one. There are tasks for young and old, large and small. Friends will continue to remove some invasive plants, but also make preparations so that in coming months we’ll be able to relocate some heavily eroded trails, rebuild failing bridges and stairways (and add some new ones!), plant native species and install benches in some of the areas we’ve reclaimed from privet and thicket, add more signage and trail information, and much more.

As always, we’re also interested in snacks and beverages for our workers, which could be delivered to Patrick Noon in advance, if need be. Contact Patrick at

Open Streets Emory Village – October 23rd – 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Enjoy Oxford and N. Decatur closed to vehicular traffic from roundabout to roundabout in the Village for pedestrians, bikes and strollers. Healthy activities, good food, music, arts & crafts and science.

Some Recent Area Zoning Applications


This application has been filed with DeKalb County and will be heard by the Community Council in October before going to the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners in November.


2312 and 2320 LaVista Rd NE, 4 1/2 acres

Edge City Properties seeks a rezoning from R-100 to RSM for 5 fee-simple detached homes and 18 attached duplex homes.


Commission District: 2 Super District: 6
18-102-04-001, 18-113-11-012, 18-113-11-137

Application of Oak Hall Companies, LLC to rezone property from R-100 (Single-Family Residential), C-2 (General Commercial), and M (Light Industrial) to RSM (Residential Small Lot Mix) to allow an 82-unit fee simple townhome development at a density of 5.74 units per acre. The property is located on the north side of North Druid Hills Road, approximately 551 feet east of Spring Creek Road, at 2369, 3352, & 3396 North Druid Hills Road, Decatur. The property has approximately 753 feet of frontage on North Druid Hills Road and contains 14.28 acres.

Additional zoning information… http://commissionerrader.com/boc-business-zoning-summary.html

DeKalb County Seeks 2017 Art Calendar Contest Entries from Elementary School Students


DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management is calling for artistic elementary students across the county to enter its 2017 Art Calendar Contest. Entries are due by Oct. 21.

The 2017 theme is “Your Water – To Know It Is to Love It.”

Artwork ideas could include conserving water; using water wisely; water/wastewater treatment; cleaning up our water resources; reducing water pollution and more.

Submitted artwork must be drawn on a landscape piece of white paper 8.5 inches tall by 11 inches wide. On the back of each entry, clearly print the artwork title; student’s name, grade level and age; school name and address; and teacher’s name, contact number and email address.

Watershed Management will honor 12 winners during a special ceremony at the Dec. 13 Board of Commissioners meeting.

For a complete set of rules or more information, visit www.dekalbwatershed.com/education.html or contact Michael O’Shield, environmental education coordinator, at (770) 724-1456 or msoshield@dekalbcountyga.gov.

COVE Report – June 3, 2016

COVEReport logo2

Annual Membership Meeting – Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

annual meeting2
Please mark your calendar for Citizens of Victoria Estates’ (COVE) annual membership meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, at the home of Bobby and Jocelyn Baker, 1473 Rainier Falls Dr.

The meeting will include a presentation of accomplishments, election of board members, review of budget, and next year plans. If you are unable to attend, please consider supporting our work for Victoria Estates by becoming a member/renewing your $25 annual dues today.

1) A payment can be made by check, payable to Citizens of Victoria Estates, and mailed to COVE, 1548 Mason Mill Rd. NE, Atlanta GA 30329 (or left in the mail box).

2) Make a secure credit card or checking account payment via PayPal:
Click to donate

3) Make a secure reoccurring payment via PayPal. You’ll be billed $25 annually from the date of payment, and may cancel at any time from your PayPal account.
Click to subscribe

We look forward to seeing you on July 19!

The COVE Board Members and Officers – Bobby Baker, Susan Bell, Tim Buchman, Pat Killingsworth, Emily Koumans, Carl Lange, Ron McCauley, Martha Pacini, and David Woolf

How Would You Like Your Tax Dollars Spent? – Take the Survey Today


DeKalb County’s proposal to address the poor state of roads and other infrastructure is the addition of a Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) penny tax and restructuring of property tax relief on the November ballot. If you would like to voice your opinion on the prioritization of types of projects, please take this survey: http://dekalbcountyga.gov/splostsurvey today. Click for more

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Summer Swim Season Began May 28

swimming pool

The 2016 DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs swim season opened Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28 through Friday, August 5. Select pools will remain open on weekends until Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5, 2016.

Pool patrons will have the opportunity to participate in water aerobics, swim lessons and swim leagues throughout the summer.


Browns Mill Aquatic Facility 4929 Browns Mill Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 1 – 7 p.m.

Exchange Splash Pad 2771 Columbia Dr, Decatur, GA 30034
Hours: Monday, Wednesday- Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday and Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m.

Tobie Grant 644 Parkdale Road, Scottdale, GA 30079
Kittredge 2535 N. Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
*Gresham 3113 Gresham Road, Atlanta, GA 30316
*Lithonia 2501 Park Drive, Lithonia, GA 30058
Hours: Closed Mondays, open Tuesday through Saturday noon until 6 p.m.

*Kelly Cofer 4259 N. Park Dr. Tucker, GA 30084
*Midway 3181 Midway Road, Decatur, GA 30032
*Medlock 874 Gaylemont Circle, Decatur, GA 30033
Hours: Closed Tuesdays, open Monday, Wednesday Saturday noon until 6 p.m.

*Open Sundays 1 to 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Justin Blanton, Parks Program Coordinator, at (404) 371-6270.

DeKalb County seeks community input in the Development of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan

DeKalb County Planning & Sustainability will host two community meetings on Saturday, June 4
in an effort to obtain input on the County’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The meetings will take place simultaneously at Stonecrest Mall and Northlake Mall, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The project team will update citizens on the plan process, review and prioritize the list of previous plan goals, as well as identify current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and needs throughout the county.



Calendar of Events at DeKalb County Public Library

Public Library

FESTIVAL OF WRITERS – Friday, May 27-Friday, June 17

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Gallery Show
Now an annual event, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Gallery Show returns to the Decatur Library Main Lobby on Friday, May 27, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Come and see fabulous works of art and literature from some of the South’s finest writers and illustrators. The Gallery will remain on display through Friday, June 17, during library hours. Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur 30030. 404.370.3070.
For more information, call 404.370.3070, ext. 2285 or visit georgiacenterforthebook.org or dekalblibrary.org.


During Library Hours
Brookhaven Library, 1242 N. Druid Hills Road. 404.848.7140.
Chamblee Library, 4115 Clairmont Road. 770.936.1380.
Clarkston Library, 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. 404.508.7175.
Covington Library, 3500 Covington Highway. 404.508.7180.
Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. 770.512.4640.
Flat Shoals Library, 4022 Flat Shoals Parkway. 404.244.4270.
Lithonia-Davidson Library, 6821 Church Street. 770.482.3820.
Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, 3772 LaVista Road 770.679.4408.
Redan-Trotti Library, 1569 Wellborn Road. 770.482.3821.
Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library, 1282 McConnell Drive. 404.679.4404.
Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library, 5234 LaVista Road. 770.270.8234.
Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road. 404.286.6980.

DeKalb County May 24, 2016 Election Results

Voting Result_05242016

Mark Your Calendars – Runoff Election – July 26, 2016








Mason Mill Petition to Enforce Code of Ordinances Regarding Signs at 1840 Mason Mill Rd

1840 Mason Mill

A petition has been forwarded to residents of the Mason Mill neighborhood by the Mason Mill Civic Association concerning the lack of code enforcement regarding the signs at 1840 Mason Mill Rd. The petition was created to “keep pressure on the county to act in this matter and to ensure that the community’s voice is heard in upcoming meetings with county staff – and later before the hearing judge…. We are greatly disturbed by the number, design characteristics, content, and location of signs and activities in the front yard of 1840 Mason Mill Road. Many of the signs use offensive language and present distasteful, provocative and abusive content….”

COVE Report – April 1, 2016

Land Use Community Meeting – April 5, 2016 – 6:30 – 8:00 pm

master plan

DeKalb County Public Library
1282 McConnell Drive
Decatur, GA 30033

The DeKalb County Department of Planning and Sustainability will be hosting a community with residents of and near North Druid Hills to discuss the Livable Centers Initiative’s (LCI) recommendations. The meeting is open to the public and scheduled to gain consensus on land use resolutions for the study area. We encourage you to attend. These recommendations impact the Toco Hills shopping center and nearby area. In particular, it impacts potential zoning for Toco Hill such as the ability to zone for  4 vs. 8 story high buildings. The plans call for multi-purpose trails in our area going through Thomson Park. For more background click here
North Druid Hills Community Meeting Public Notice Flyer 1

Survey Concerning Briarcliff Road


Road Safety Audit Survey: SR 42/Briarcliff Road – from Ponce de Leon Ave. to North Druid Hills Road

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is conducting a Road Safety Audit (RSA) for State Route 42 / Briarcliff Road NE, from Ponce de Leon Avenue NE to North Druid Hills Road. An RSA is a formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an interdisciplinary team of transportation professionals. RSAs have been used successfully for a wide variety of locations to identify potential solutions leading to both short-term improvements and longer term efforts including construction projects. RSAs are proactive tools, not solely dependent on crash data, but that use an innovative approach, including firsthand observation, to identify potential safety issues and enhancement opportunities to be considered in improvement projects.

As part of the RSA process for this corridor the audit team is conducting a survey in order to obtain input from key individuals and groups that have an interest in the study area along the stretch of State Route 42/Briarcliff Road NE between Ponce de Leon Avenue NE and North Druid Hills Road. You are receiving this email because you were identified as a potentially interested party and the audit team would like to gather your thoughts about potential safety concerns and possible solutions to those safety concerns along this corridor. We invite you to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Please feel free to share this survey with others you think might be interested in taking it.

Please CLICK HERE or the image below to launch the survey, or enter the following URL into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BriarcliffRSA. Please note, in order to expedite the audit process, this survey will be available for a limited time: it will remain open until 11:59 pm on Friday April 15, 2016.

Please contact Michael Turpeau, State Safety Program Supervisor, Georgia Department of Transportation, with any questions: MTurpeau[at]dot.ga.gov.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to your valuable input.

Jeff Rader

Local Elections Candidates Fair


DeKalb Strong is sponsoring a candidates fair at Rehobeth Baptist Church on
L’ville Hwy, just outside 285 on Saturday, April 30 from 2-4pm

Rehoboth Baptist Church, 2997 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker, Georgia 30084

See the Dekalb Strong Facebook page for updates on confirmed attendees.

Please join us for Dekalb Strong’s candidate forum at Rehoboth Baptist
Church! This is a great way to meet candidates in the challenged local
races in Dekalb County before the May primary, all in one spot! We will be
in the fellowship hall, and will have tables for each of the candidates and
voters can ask questions and share ideas.

We have invited candidates for CEO, Tax Commissioner, District Attorney,
Solicitor, State Court Judge, Sheriff, District 4 Commission and District 6

Confirmed attendees (this list will be updated):

Michael Thurmond
Connie Stokes

Tax Commissioner:
Susannah Scott
Irvin Johnson

District Attorney:
Robert James
Sherry Boston

Nicole Marchand Golden
Donna Coleman-Stribling

Superior Court
Judge Clarence Seeliger
Stephone Johnson

Superior Court:
Judge Gail Flake
Angela Brown

State Court Judge:
Judge Dax Lopez
Roderick Bridges

Kyle Jones

District 4 Commission:
Steve Bradshaw
Lance Lawyer Hammonds

District 6 Commission:
Representative of Kathie Gannon

State Senator Elena Parent Update

March 28, 2016


The 2016 Legislative Session adjourned Sine Die at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, March 25. The Governor now has 40 days to sign or veto legislation or allow it to become law without his signature. Below are updates on some of the high-profile pieces of legislation.

“Religious Liberty”

Governor Deal announced this morning that he will veto HB 757, the so-called Free Exercise of Religion Act. This does not come as a surprise to me, given the onslaught of corporate leaders and others who have declared that they would pull back operations in Georgia if bill became law. Gov. Deal had previously indicated skepticism toward legislative efforts to craft religious liberty laws.
I appreciate Governor Deal swiftly making it official that he would veto. This is the right decision. The legislation was unnecessary, given the First Amendment to the US Constitution and a robust body of caselaw outlining freedom of religion over the centuries. And the context within which it was passed, obvious animus toward the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, demonstrated that the measure did seek to allow people to be treated differently based on sexual orientation. Gov. Deal said this morning that the bill did not fit with the character of the people of Georgia, and I agree. He is charting a better future for our state, and our country, with this veto, and I appreciate his courage.

Rape Kit Bill

My DeKalb colleague, Rep. Scott Holcomb, had an excellent piece of legislation this session that would force an accounting of untested sexual assault evidence kits throughout Georgia and set up a procedure going forward for how such evidence kits should be handled. He worked with law enforcement, hospitals, victims’ rights groups, sexual assault survivor groups, and others to craft legislation supported by all. After unanimously passing the House, this bill was inexplicably blockaded by Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Renee Unterman, who came under a lot of pressure to get this bill moving again, including being skewered on a TBS show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
Meanwhile, my bill SB 304 to eliminate the automatic purge from weapons-purchase-ineligibility lists after 5 years for persons who have been involuntarily committed, was put into HB 1060 (and passed!), and SB 304 was still sitting in the House. On the last 2 days of the Session, Rep. Holcomb and House leaders put the rape kit bill into 304, got it passed again and back to the Senate. You can read about it here. This meant that the bill went right to the Senate floor on Sine Die, bypassing Sen. Unterman’s blockade. I spoke with the Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, about how I wanted this bill to come for a floor vote. He spent time working on it and lo and behold, got Sen. Unterman to agree and brought SB 304 to the floor of the Senate, where it passed and was swiftly agreed to by the House! I am proud that I played a role in moving this important legislation.

Campus Carry

House Bill 859, allowing people who have concealed carry permits to bring guns onto the campuses of our colleges and universities, was the second-most controversial bill of the session.

Shortly after its passage, Governor Deal released a statement indicating that without changes to the bill to account for day cares, dual enrollment, and others, he had serious concerns about campus carry. I am very hopeful that he will also veto this dangerous and unpopular legislation. I participated in a press conference on Sine Die, Thursday March 24, organized by a number of gunsense groups, to call upon Gov. Deal to veto the legislation and deliver the thousands of petitions from citizens requesting a veto.
News has come out that Gov. Deal did, in fact, give legislative leaders specific language that would assuage his concerns with the bill. They chose not to act, and I hope he will not give in. Please do continue to contact his office.

Decatur Senior Tax Relief

All of the Decatur senior tax relief bills passed after we were able to lobby leaders and Republican House Caucus measures to build support for our position. Mary Margaret Oliver and other Decatur Representatives worked tirelessly to end the House blockade. Thanks goes to Decatur’s elected officials, especially Mayor Patti Garrett, former Mayor Elizabeth Wilson, Senior Connections Director Debra Furtado, and the many citizen activists who came to the Capitol to explain why this bill should pass!


SB 369, the City of Atlanta/Fulton Co. transportation divorce legislation, passed both chambers. It creates two districts in Fulton, one City of Atlanta, and one the areas of Fulton that are not City of Atlanta, and allow each to levy separate sales taxes upon successful referenda. Atlanta’s would go for MARTA rail, and outside the city it would go towards roads and bridges. You can read all about it here. While I am still dismayed that we have such confounding opposition to transit in our region, I am pleased for MARTA and Atlanta that at least a bit of forward movement has been made.

DeKalb Governance and New Cities

The bill that came out of the study committee I chaired during the summer to make the process of municipalization more transparent and fair ended up languishing in the Governmental Affairs Committee in the House. It is SB 375. I hope that Senator Gooch, its sponsor, does not give up and we keep working next year. Those that want to assist can reach out to the offices of the Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader Jon Burns to express your support for the bill and why it is needed.
SB 378, Senator Fran Millar’s bill to call for a referendum on the elimination of the CEO position in DeKalb County and redraw the Commission districts among other things, failed to reach the House floor for a vote. I think that is good, because what form of government we have is an issue DeKalb citizens need to weigh in on before we move ahead to eliminate the CEO position. We proffered the Charter Review Commission to do just that, but Sen. Millar blockaded it to try to get his way with the CEO bill. I am hopeful that the County will move ahead to establish the Commission by executive order and commence work.
Finally, the City of Stonecrest bill passed both chambers, so there will be a referendum in November. The City of Greenhaven bill failed to advance.
Elena Parent

Commissioner Kathie Gannon


Survey of Super District 6 Residents

Please take a few minutes to let Commissioner Gannon know what you think are the issues facing DeKalb County. Here’s the link to her survey:

Volunteer Positions for Citizen Boards

Dear Neighbors,

There are two citizen boards with District 6 vacancies. I am seeking potential appointees with professional knowledge or committed volunteer experience in these areas.

The Watershed Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Advisory Group has the following responsibilities:
• Review water and sewer system improvement projects
• Evaluate progress on EPA Consent Decree requirements
• Discuss best practices with staff for project implementation
• Represent communities’ water and sewer priorities
• Review scopes of work for Request for Proposals (RFPs), which are used to award contracts for Watershed projects
• Provide feedback on new Watershed CIP initiatives for the CEO
• Time commitment: Monthly meeting.
The Citizen Website Advisory Committee has the following responsibilities:
• Review and provide input on the current use of web services and approaches
• Provide feedback on the County’s future web site enhancement plans
• Identify opportunities for new services that would provide value to DeKalb County website users and visitors
• Serve as informed communicators to others in the community as it relates to current policies, activities, and plans associated with the DeKalb County website
• Time commitment: Initially, 90 minutes once a month; later, one meeting quarterly.
If you are willing and able to serve on either of these boards, please reply to this email. Thank you. Kathie


Legislative Town Hall – April 4 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and Scott Holcomb will be having a post-session town hall on Monday, April 4th from 6-7:30 PM at the Avis Williams Library, 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur, 30033.

Scott Holcomb 2016 Legislative Recap

The 2016 legislative session adjourned last week. I worked very hard and I’m happy to report the passage of Senate Bill 304 concerning the timely processing of rape kits in Georgia. I also sponsored House Bill 1099 to provide for a referendum for a change of government in DeKalb from a CEO model to a Chair/County Manager model. While this did not pass this term, I am committed to working on this issue going forward and I think we made progress this term. I had a number of town halls on the issue in north, central, and south DeKalb, and I will continue to share information with the community about the merits of the proposed change.

I am also pleased to report that I was a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan “Georgia Military Service Integrity and Preservation Act.” Modeled from the federal Stolen Valor Act, this bill makes it unlawful for someone to claims a public benefit or preference based on false claims of military service or decorations.

For those of you who drive electric vehicles, you may be pleased to know that I sponsored House Bill 878 to correct the annual fee from $200 to $75. The $200 fee is based on bad math and it means that Georgians who drive electric vehicles are paying more than their fair share in taxes. I plan to re-file this bill again next year.

I also sponsored House Bill 1052, a bill that would bring benefit corporations to Georgia. A benefit corporation is a for-profit corporation that has both a profit making and public good purpose. This corporate structure is available in a majority of states and will soon be available in all 50. This bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and is supported by the State Bar of Georgia but did not pass the House before Crossover Day. I will continue to work on this next year.

Governor Deal now has 40 days from the date of passage to sign or veto bills. Any bill that he does not sign or veto becomes law. Below please find a summary of a number of the more prominent pieces of legislation, as well as an update on local issues that were addressed during the session.

Here are some of the bills that passed both the House and Senate and either have been signed by the Governor or await his signature:

Rape Kits SB 304

This was the Senate version of HB 827, a bill that I authored to ensure the timely processing of rape kits in Georgia. The bill was supported by law enforcement, victims’ rights advocates, and care providers.

Here are news articles about its passage:



Campus Carry HB 859

This bill will permit the concealed carrying of guns on college campuses. The bill allows anyone aged 21 and older to carry guns anywhere on campus except for athletic facilities, sorority and fraternity houses, and dormitories.

The Governor has expressed concerns about this bill because it would allow guns in on-campus childcare centers, in disciplinary hearings and for high school students who are participating in dual-enrollment. It is unclear at this time if he will veto the measure.

Fireworks HB 727

This bill limits the usage of fireworks after a certain time. Prior to this bill people could use fireworks up until 2 am on New Years and July 4th , and 12 midnight on all other days. With this law the cut- off time is 1 am for New Years and July 4th, and 9 am for all other days.

Firearms HB 1060

This is a “clean up bill” that does three things. First, it provides a grace period of 90 days for new Georgia residents to apply for a Georgia Weapons License (GWL). They can continue to carry their guns up until this time. Second, it prohibits a probate judge from suspending, extending, delaying, or avoiding the process of a GWL application. Finally, the law protects firearms instructors from civil liability for injuries caused by failure of their students to use a firearm properly.


This legislation allows a referendum for MARTA funding this November. The referendum will allow the City of Atlanta to levy a new sales tax for the purpose of MARTA expansion, and also would allow cities in North Fulton to raise taxes for road improvements. One estimate projects the sales tax could fund about $2.5 billion in new transit projects if this were to pass. DeKalb County did not pass a similar measure.


As required by the state Constitution, the House and Senate approved the Budget for the 2017 fiscal year, with a spending plan of $24 billion starting July. Among other things, it includes a 3% pay raise for state employees and teachers. $800 million will be allotted for transportation projects.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers SB 308

This bill allows state funding for pregnancy centers, and states any centers that receive state funding cannot perform or promote abortions.


Bills that will not become law include the following:

Medical Marijuana

This bill would have legalized the use of medical marijuana for certain diseases and disorders. It passed the House, but was denied a hearing in the Senate. It would have legalized medical marijuana usage for conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, AIDs, seizure-related disorders, autism, and Tourette’s syndrome.

“Religious Liberty”- HB 757

The Governor vetoed the bill earlier this week.


The following are local issues that were addressed at some point during the session:

DeKalb County form of government

As noted above, I proposed House Bill 1099, which would have involved a referendum in which the citizens would decide whether to eliminate the elected CEO position and replace it with an appointed professional county manager. Other changes in DeKalb governance were included in the bill as well. My constituents have expressed overwhelming support for this change. I saw this bill as the beginning of a necessary discussion, and spoke with citizens at several meetings in various parts of the county. In doing so, it became apparent that despite the strong support in the 81st district for changing the form of government, citizens in other view the problem less in terms of structure and more in terms of the people filling the positions. As such, they are not as supportive of a structural change at this time. That said, I am committed to continue working on this and I believe that, while getting the right people is always critical, we can and should make changes to the structure that can improve performance. I believe that moving from a CEO model to a Chair/professional county manager model as proposed in House Bill 1099 can lead to better performance.
Chamblee annexation

At the beginning of the session, some residents of the LaVista Hills footprint expressed the desire for a referendum to consider annexation into the city of Chamblee.  The Mayor and City Council were interested in exploring this as well.  Ultimately the Mayor and City Council members decided not to pursue annexation in 2016.

Proposed new cities for DeKalb

The proposed City of Stonecrest passed both chambers and will be decided in a referendum this coming November.  The proposed City of Greenhaven did not pass

COVE Report – March 17, 2016

Upcoming Area Property Rezoning and How It Impacts You

Toco Hill & Mason Mill Node

Proposed changes to the DeKalb land use map may have substantial impacts to our future area including traffic, quality of life, and property values. Changes are being considered now by the planning commission and board of commissioners. Once these changes are made, they impact us for the next few decades.

The land use map indicates what desired future zoning is for entire areas such as Toco Hill, Mason Mill Park Area and the North Druid corridor. When a developer looks at a property and the land use map shows that it can be developed with a higher density or more commercial use, they have a much easier opportunity to have the property rezoned to that higher density or use. The land use map serves a valuable purpose in guiding the character of neighborhoods and future development.

The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), created by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), is a planning and funding program designed to support innovative development within activity and town centers around the metropolitan area. The North Druid Hills LCI, which includes Toco Hill and Mason Mill Park, was developed over many years with input from citizens and businesses. It was passed in 2011 and the county is now, with much delay, attempting to update the land use map based on these recommendations.

Click here for the North Druid Hills LCI report: http://planningdekalb.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/NDH-LCI-Final-Report2.pdf

Click here for Toco Hill & Mason Mill Park LCI map: LP-16-20574 Community Maps

Click the map for the full North Druid Hills LCI map: master plan

Toco Hill is currently on the land use map as a Town Center district that allows for a maximum of 8 story buildings, 60 living units/acre, townhomes, health care, retail, commercial, office, entertainment, and civic facilities. The LCI recommendation was for the area to be downgraded to Neighborhood Center which would reduce future development to a maximum of 4 stories, 24 units/acre, and more limited uses.

In the March 1, 2016 DeKalb Planning Commission meeting, commissioners were scheduled to vote to approved these changes. The Mason Mill Civic Association (MMCA), which has been monitoring this, was prepared to go along with the recommendations. During the meeting the planning staff reversed its recommendations and recommended to the commissioners that Toco Hill be maintained as a Town Center. Mary Hinkel (MMCA president), myself, and many neighborhood representatives and citizens recommended against the vote at that time and the commissioners agreed to postpone.

This past Tuesday, 3/15/16, neighborhood representatives from surrounding areas met with the planning staff to discuss issues. Neighborhood leaders discussed the pros and cons of the proposed changes and the question remains, what should be recommended for the Toco Hill node. Proposed changes also include Mason Mill Park area, and Briarcliff all the way up to Brookhaven at I85.

Transportation is a major issue that was incorporated into the LCI but is not being addressed as a condition to proceed with changes to the land use map. If we increase density and traffic, will the County be able to respond appropriately? Some leaders feel this should be addressed before approving the land use map changes. Once changes are made to the map, it could result in greater traffic. Alternatively, if the LCI recommendations are not adopted, what kind of unplanned development will we end up with, thousands of townhouses without appropriate commercial supporting properties and the same amount of traffic?

The DeKalb transportation study (2014) includes specific projects for our area. None of these projects are currently funded but could proceed with the approval of a future SPLOST or other options. Staff encouraged leaders to advocate with the SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee putting together the proposed SPLOST list so that our area does receive these improvements when funds come available.

Click here for SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee www.dekalbcountyga.gov/SPLOST/advisoryMeetings.html

Another point made by neighborhood leaders is that developer impact fees should be required to support improved infrastructure. This has not been approved by the board of commissioners and strains the county. Leaders should work with the commissioners to have this addressed.

COVE will continue to work with MMCA and in the scheduling of a meeting with the planning staff for neighbors. We’ll also coordinate on neighbors’ opportunities to advocate for proposed transportation changes for our area to be included on the SPLOST list and in commissioners approving impact fees for development projects.

Thanks!Carl small

Carl Lange, COVE Secretary and Board Member


Legislative Update


March 17, 2016 – Pat Killingsworth, COVE President

Substitute Bill 378 was submitted by Sen. Fran Millar to, and quickly passed out of, the House Governmental Affairs Committee at a hastily called meeting at the Capitol yesterday afternoon.  The bill was  amended to remove the CEO position, keep the 7 Commission Districts as they are now, but adding an eighth countywide elected commission chair with significantly reduced authority than the CEO now has, and who can only vote to break a tie.  A county manager who will be given a significant amount of authority will be appointed by the commissioners.  All of the commissioners will have term limits.  It is a major change from HB 1099 introduced by Rep. Holcomb at the beginning of the session, and Sen. Millar’s original SB 378, which was almost an exact duplicate of Rep. Holcomb’s original bill.


SR 421, which will establish a Charter Review Commission to make recommendations to the legislature for a new Charter has been amended and passed by the House and is now back in the Senate Committee awaiting final approval and placement on the Consent Calendar for a vote.  It is possible that the General Assembly will approve both a November referendum on Senator Millar’s bill and the creation of a Charter Commission to be convened this summer that will research and make recommendations on the same matter.

Friends of Thomson Park Work Day This Saturday, 3/19/16


From Mason Mill Civic Association:
Come out and join your neighbors and other volunteers to work in Thomson Park from 9 a.m. to noon.  Any time you can spare would be most appreciated.  Friends Chair Patrick Noonan makes sure there are suitable jobs for every age and interest.


Remember, the Friends also can accept *tax-deductible* contributions! These will help greatly in 2016 and beyond, as we begin to rebuild some of the decaying structures in the park – steps, bridges and benches – and add a few new ones to make everyone’s visit easier, safer, and with a reduced environmental impact. (Remember to scroll down to “Thomson Park” on this Park Pride page: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E195170&id=5


Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the (literally) hundreds of hours of work over the past few seasons. The Park is looking better each year, and the best is yet to come.

Coffee with a Cop, Tuesday, March 22

dekalb police
1346 McConnell Drive, Decatur Ga., 30033
10am – 11:30am

Meet and greet Precinct Command Staff and ask questions.  This is a great opportunity to express any concerns or ask questions one-on-one of the police officers responsible for our area.

2016 “In the Know” Sessions

dekalb police

From DeKalb County Police Department Detective Al Fowler

The 2016 “In the Know” Sessions are scheduled for April 23, June 25 and October 1, 2016. Each date is a Saturday event and the time is 9:30am – 1pm. The events are held at the Public Safety Building at 1950 W. Exchange Place, Tucker, 30084. The subjects covered at each event will be published 2 weeks prior to each event. The DeKalb County Police department is dedicated to providing information to heighten awareness on topics such as N/W participation/maintenance, how to work with the police, community activity, safety information, court procedures, functions of County departments and many more.

Representative Elena Parent Newsletter


March 17, 2016

We have reached the 38th legislative day out of a total of 40. The last day of the session is called Sine Die and it is quickly approaching.

Campus Carry

House Bill 859 allows people who have concealed carry permits to bring guns onto the campuses of our colleges and universities. The argument in favor is that it would increase public safety. I am unpersuaded by that argument. The fact is that adding guns into the mix at college does not make our kids safer.  Below, you can watch the speech I made at the well during the Senate’s debate:

Specifically, I identified the fact that this bill would allow guns in the numerous day care centers that are on the campuses of our universities and technical colleges, and pointed out the issue that high school students as young as 14 attend classes on our college campuses through dual enrollment. The Senate voted not to allow amendments, so my attempt to get day care centers that are on campus removed from the areas in which guns can be carried was unsuccessful. There is a petition underway, which I have signed, to encourage Governor Deal not to sign the bill.

Shortly after I and others spoke out about these issues, Governor Deal released a statement indicating that without changes to the bill to account for day cares, dual enrollment, and others, he had serious concerns about campus carry. I welcome his statement and hope that we can make policies that do, in fact, make our kids safer.  You can review the latest AJC coverage here.

Decatur Senior Tax Relief

I sponsored a number of local bills this year, including the DeKalb Charter Review Commission to study our form of government, and five bills providing tax relief for seniors in the City of Decatur. One of those, SB 343 which would provide an exemption from school taxes for seniors, has been held up in the House. The City of Decatur Commission, the School Board, and its seniors are in favor of this bill, and I have advocated on their behalf and will continue to push to get this bill to the Governor’s desk.

We hope to get this bill moving again and have it get its due consideration by the people who are affected by it. If you’d like to see this bill become law, you can help by reaching out to the Office of the Speaker of the House, David Ralston.


You may have heard that the comprehensive Marta bill (SB 330) was dead for this session, but there may be a local solution on the way. SB 369 was originally all about fireworks, but it has been gutted in committee and replaced by language creating two districts in Fulton, one City of Atlanta, and one the areas of Fulton that are not City of Atlanta, and allow each to levy separate sales taxes upon successful referenda. Atlanta’s would go for MARTA rail, and outside the city it would go towards roads and bridges. You can read all about it here.


DeKalb Governance and New Cities

Two bills here are of importance. First, the bill that came out of the study committee I chaired during the summer to make the process of municipalization more transparent and fair is currently languishing in the Governmental Affairs Committee in the House. It is SB 375. This bill would greatly improve the way in which we create cities in this state and we are working to make it the law. Senator Gooch, its sponsor, has a plan to get the bill moving. Watch this space.

The other bill to keep an eye on is SB 378 which would eliminate the CEO position in DeKalb County and redraw the Commission districts among other things. It is also in Governmental Affairs and I will update you on its progress.


Elena Parent

COVE Report – February 17, 2016

COVEReport logo2



Rep. Howard Mosby Meeting – Recap


Twenty-five neighbors met at the home of Ron and Linda McCauley with Representative Howard Mosby, Chair, DeKalb County House Legislative Delegation on January 22. This was our third annual meeting with Rep. Mosby.

Mr. Mosby mentioned a number of bills being considered by the legislature. These included the so-call religious freedom bills, a ban on certain types of guns, criminal justice, the DeKalb County Charter, cityhood, and transportation.

Criminal justice has become a big issue due to lack of funding for training and support of mental health issues. The state’s reduction in funding for mental health issues has contributed to an increase in the homeless population.

Transportation is a big issue including access to Decatur and the Emory area. Rep. Mosby said DeKalb is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in advancing regional solutions, but has not demonstrated the political willpower. Neighbors asked about partnership opportunities with Emory and other educational, research, and health institutions to define this vision. When asked how other major cities are handling these issues, he said that they are having similar problems, with a major factor being how the state distributes funds disproportionality more to rural areas.

The current HOST tax was structured to fund both homestead exemptions and transportation expenses. With the creation of new cities, the distribution has resulted in a significant reduction in available funds for unincorporated transportation expenses. The county would like to restructure the HOST tax so that it is dedicated 100% to homestead exemptions with a new SPLOST tax dedicated to transportation.

A question was raised concerning the statewide billion-dollar transportation tax approved last year. How much of this is going to DeKalb County? Mr. Mosby said that according to the State Department of Transportation (GDOT) that DeKalb has been slow to provide a list of requested projects and does not seem focused on this priority. State revenues are up so GDOT does have more funds available for projects. When asked who is responsible, Rep. Mosby indicated the interim CEO is responsible for creating the list and submitting it to the commissioners. A neighbor suggested engaging Georgia Tech in the creation of a DeKalb County master transportation plan.

Martha Pacini reported on progress concerning regaining the turn lane at the intersection of Houston Mill and LaVista. Discussions with Intown Church, Mason Mill neighborhood, DeKalb County, and GDOT have been positive and the county needs to respond concerning a traffic study. Martha asked Rep. Mosby to assist with follow up with the county.

Rep. Mosby said there is an issue that Marta is funded by DeKalb and Fulton Counties but is acting as a regional transportation system instead. The State should have recognized this a long time ago and taken over management. A neighbor suggested expansion of an express bus service saying it has been effective in other areas and that women do not always feel comfortable riding on Marta trains.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is in the position to provide regional transportation leadership but is composed of political appointees which have not shown that vision. Rep. Mosby said he has not seen a regional leadership meeting on transportation. Marth Pacini suggested Mr. Mosby should lead that initiative.

The DeKalb County organizational act was not appropriately updated when the county was converted to the current CEO structure. The organizational act should be updated along with an emphasis on best practices for the county government and wholesale restructuring of some departments. The electorate needs to understand that they are electing leaders to manage a billion-dollar corporation. The right people must be elected.

Pat Killingsworth asked if new city legislation could be introduced in the final hours of the legislation? Mr. Mosby expressed his opinion that the unincorporated county delegates should have approval over other delegate’s decision to do this. Anywhere else in the state, local delegates have authority without interference from other delegates.

Mary Margaret Oliver Legislative Update


Chamblee Annexation of LaVista Hills Area

chamblee annexation

A proposal has been recently circulated to annex 30,000 residents of the formerly proposed LaVista Hills city into the City of Chamblee instead. This would double the size of Chamblee if the local bill goes forward, it is approved by the city council, and voters within the proposed annexed area approve it.

Elimination of DeKalb CEO Position

Representatives Oliver and Scott Holcomb are co-sponsoring a bill to eliminate the DeKalb County CEO form of government.

February 18 – Town Hall Meeting

February 18–Town Hall Meeting at Lakeside High School on Chamblee Annexation issues, plus other concerns. 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

The DeKalb delegation meets every Monday at noon, usually in Room 230 of the Capitol–always open to the public.

Link to the full letter

LaVistaLaVista and Houston Mill/Houston Mill Intersection Update


The Georgia Department of Transportation has indicated it is in agreement that there is a traffic issue at the intersection and that it will not require a traffic study. DeKalb County is developing a concept drawing for stakeholders to review.

Early Voting for the March 1st Presidential Primary


Voters have the opportunity to cast early ballots, Monday through Friday, until Friday, February 26. The locations and times are listed below.

• Main Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, in two separate areas; one section designed exclusively for seniors aged 70 and older, voters with disabilities, and a general voting area for all other voters – 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

• Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084 – 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

• South Dekalb Mall – The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall, 2801 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30034 – 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Voting is available on Saturday, February 20, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the same locations.

There will be additional early voting locations starting Monday, February 22nd. For more information, and additional locations, please visit www.dekalbvotes.com.

Conversations with a Cop – Evening Program in Our Neighborhood

dekalb police
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
2056 LaVista Road, 30329

In order to better serve and protect citizens, DeKalb County Police Department’s North Central Precinct is conducting on-going Community Conversations with residents and clergy of the county. This is one of the first evening programs they’ve had. The event will be a good time to meet and greet our Precinct Command staff and ask them questions about policing in our area.

DeKalb County Sewer Assessment Begun


The DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) has launched a comprehensive, multi-phased Priority Area Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program” (PASARP) to assess and rehabilitate sewer lines throughout the county.

These activities will encompass about one-third of the DeKalb’s sewer lines. Smoke testing and other assessment activities will be conducted by contractors through January 2018.

DWM will host a series of informational community meetings focused on PASARP activities scheduled to take place in area neighborhoods.

The informational community meetings are free and local participation is encouraged.

For more information, please visit DWM’s Consent Decree website at www.dekalbconsentdecree.com. You may also call the dedicated Project Hotline at 1-800-986-1108

Park Ideas Requested for Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)


The county is considering placing a half cent SPLOST on the November ballot for Capital Expenditure funding. Different departments have been told to compile lists of capital projects that need funding. The Parks Dept. has compiled a list, based on the 2010-2020 Parks Master Plan.

If you know of a parks-related need or idea (capital expense level) that is
(a) not mentioned as a project still underway using the 2006 bond funds (attached PlansFor2006Bonds) and
(b) not mentioned on the attached RPCA draft SPLOST list (attached SPLOST2016_RPCA),
please be sure that your Commissioner hears about your need/idea ASAP. Please forward this message to your local Friends group and/or parks activist.

Beth Nathan
North Briarcliff resident; parks activist

SPLOST attachments: 160126_PlansFor2006Bonds (2)  160126_SPLOST2016_RPCA (1)

Kathie Gannon Newsletter – 2015 Year in Review


Major Rezoning Plan for Toco Hills and Mason Mill

master plan

From John Musser in Mason Mill on Nextdoor.com

In regard to all of the new yellow signs placed today along Clairmont and N Druid Hills, I have pasted the link to the “N Druid Hills LCI Plan” a detailed 200 page commissioned plan for redevelopment of this section of town, including new roads, bike lanes, trails, new parks, redevelopment of Toco Hills Shopping Center into something like the Brookhaven Costco multi-use complex, a second senior living complex, and more.

There is a Planning Commission meeting 3/1/16 at 6:30pm at the Dekalb Co Auditorium at 1300 Commerce Drive.

Link: NDH-LCI-Final-Report2


COVE Report – November 2, 2015

COVEReport logo2

Countywide Referendum on Ethics – Victoria Estates Residents Vote Tomorrow, November 3!!!

It is your civic duty to vote tomorrow. You have the opportunity to approve sweeping improvements to the ethics laws affecting County officials and employees as advocated by Blueprint DeKalb whose leadership included Victoria Estates residents Pat Killingsworth and Martha Pacini.

Ballot Question: “( ) YES ( ) NO
Shall the Act be approved which revises the Board of Ethics for DeKalb County?”

You can help implement it by voting YES tomorrow, November 3.

Click here for a complete summary of the new code.

Significant Traffic Increase for North Druid Hills Road

City of Brookhaven and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Attempting to Ignore State Mandated Traffic Requirements
Voice Your Opinion – November 4 – 7pm

Brookhaven-BlogChildren's Healthcare of Atlanta

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHA) has applied to Brookhaven for a special permit and two variances to build a new medical office facility at North Druid and I-85. A hearing is scheduled at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven at 7pm.

CHA is requesting variances to build an eight story structure, reduce parking requirements, and reduce building setback requirements. A traffic study indicates that the busy intersection will have a significant increase in traffic, which could have a huge impact at the North Druid/85 intersection, particularly at rush hour.

This should trigger an impact study by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Brookhaven has failed to involve the ARC as required by law. CHA plans to use both the existing entrance on North Druid Hills as well as the I-85 northbound access road for ingress and egress. If you travel up or down Druid Hills, this could have a big impact for you with an additional 13,688 vehicles per day using our already inadequate road system at this intersection. This is in addition to the already approved 3,100 vehicle per day for new apartments in Executive Park.

The Brookhaven Planning Staff has approved The CHA application and the Brookhaven Planning Commission will vote on it this Wednesday, November 4. CHA has indicated they care about what local residents think so, if you feel strongly about increased traffic, please wear a red shirt and show up at this hearing at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, at 7 PM. This is the only item on the agenda. Brookhaven needs to be held accountable to enhance traffic flow in this area that impacts us all, before granting these changes.

DeKalb Citizen Input Needed on Form of Government

November 16, 7 – 8 PM
DeKalb South Senior Center at 1931 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30032


Kathie Gannon – October 23, 2015

The dysfunction and corruption in DeKalb County requires citizens to consider changes in the DeKalb form of government. DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon will host a town hall meeting to launch a citizen study of local governments to guide elected officials. “Government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people,” Gannon said. “DeKalb citizens must be actively involved in choosing their form of government. It cannot be imposed by politicians or selected by experts.”

Over the past years, corruption, bribery, sloppy management has plagued DeKalb. “I am all for reviewing and improving our form of government, but I think we should look before we leap. We need to understand how changing the form of government will correct the problems. What other corrections and adjustments need to be made that will make DeKalb more accountable to the citizens? “

All interested DeKalb citizens are invited to attend a kick-off meeting on November 16th at 7PM in the new DeKalb South Senior Center at 1931 Candler Road for Blueprint 2. Two years ago Gannon initiated the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb, a citizen lead effort that resulted in legislation being passed to strengthen the Ethics Code (if the referendum passes on Nov 3), create an Internal Auditor and improve our Purchasing procedures. “The first Blueprints effort was a successful method for citizens to make
meaningful changes. We will kick off Blueprint 2 on November 16th and keep citizens at the forefront of reforming DeKalb government. Government is a participatory sport! Now is the time to step up and help,” Gannon said. The meeting will start promptly at 7 PM and end by 8 PM. Interested volunteers will decide how to organize, study the problems and options, reach conclusions and make recommendations before the end of the 2016 state legislative session in March.

Kathie Gannon represents the western half of DeKalb on the Board of Commissioners. She has been a champion for environmental sustainability, government reforms, neighborhood protection, efficient government and senior citizens. Her website is http://www.kathiegannon.com/ and email is
kgannon@DekalbCountyGa.gov .

Nextdoor.com Etiquette

Carl Lange – November 2, 2015


Last week a couple postings by Victoria Estates residents were flagged and removed from Nextdoor.com. When posting or discussing an item for sale, please do not respond to everyone with what can be accomplished through a private message.

This is an example. “Hello, what year and what is your lowest cash price? Thankyou – XXXX” A neighboring Nextdoor lead provided the following response for the deletion, “Please discuss all one-on-one transactional details such as negotiating price, arranging pickup, etc. via Private Message with the seller. Rather than in the main newsfeed going to thousands of people. Thank You”

Also, remember you have control over the amount of emails and newsfeed you receive. You can limit communications you receive to just those from Victoria Estates or select neighborhoods. Personally, I’ve turned off the Morningside neighborhood from my list because of the volume of members and have eliminated for-sale items from my feed. I’ve also set my alerts status to receive any messages people mark high-priority via text, such as notification of a break-in.

Nextdoor.com has proven to be an extremely useful tool and virtual community for our neighborhood. Take advantage of it and use it well!