Congratulations Friends of Hairston Park!

Hairston Park received a $50,000 grant from Park Pride to realize the Mindfulness Project.  This wonderful project will activate underused parts of the park with inviting amenities. Many thanks to Gwendolyn Stegall and her team for their heartfelt commitment and diligence to our community.

The project will:

● Create a Serenity Garden. We will clear a one-third mile winding path through a wooded area that is easily accessible from the parking lot and built environment. We will plant three native plant shade gardens, and near these spots will be a comfortable bench.  We will have discrete signs with inspirational quotes that prompt people to seek solace in nature, meditate, and experience awe.

● Provide directional and educational signs.  The directional signs will point people to the Serenity Garden path, helping them feel invited and safe in their exploration. The educational signs will describe the trees, plants, birds, and wildlife in the park.

● Place three shaded benches (one handicap-accessible) near the large lake. These will be visible from the parking lot and draw people to the lovely water scene.

● Place three picnic tables in the woods across from the pavilion (to be built soon). The pavilion is small, and this will provide overflow seating as well as a more private and rustic experience.

Spending time in nature, especially for urban and suburban residents, is a proven way to reduce anxiety and improve a sense of well-being. It fosters curiosity in children. It gives people fresh air and natural spaces to stretch their legs.

The Mindfulness Project will foster peace, tranquility, and inclusion through the enjoyment of nature. At this time in our history, we face heartbreaking loss, social injustice, and bitter divisiveness.  Inviting people into a natural space where they will feel safe and find solace is essential. The Mindfulness Project provides a remedy that is essential to our very beings. It represents a piece of the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned, a place where all people can share in the wealth of the earth.

Gwendolyn Stegall receives flowers and homemade pastry for her dedication to Hairston Park.

The Friends of Hairston Park are meeting Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.  Stay tuned. We’ll provide a link.

Also, write to FriendsofHairstonPark@gmial.com to get on the email list.

Congratulations to our Community for Winning the Senate

Our community turned out to vote in record numbers. Thanks to you and many others, Reverend Ralph Warnock and Jon Ossoff are our new Georgia Senators.  Their victory is a triumph for the forces for good, social justice, health care for all, equality, and economic relief for those hard-hit by COVID-19. 

This victory is the result of years of effort to get out the vote and to fight against voter suppression, an effort led by Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the governor’s race in 2018.  We owe her and all the hard-working organizers much appreciation.

Unfortunately, the elation many of us felt on Jan. 7 was quickly overtaken by despair and horror as white nationalists rampaged through the U.S. Capitol, at the urging of the president and his supporters. It is shameful. The forces of hate have not disappeared. We must be diligent. We must continue supporting our community and VOTING.

The Greater Hidden Hills CDC will hold its next meeting Jan. 16, 10 a.m.

Join us for a discussion of upcoming zoning matters and issues that affect our community. https://gsumeetings.webex.com/meet/jrcostello

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 855 234 573

Please write to GHHCDC@gmail.com with any questions.

Stay Safe and Wear Masks

–Jan Costello
President GHHCDC

December Updates – Attend hearing on gas station, trees, parks, lots of other good stuff

Your vote matters tremendously in the runoff election for two Senate seats. Please vote early. Please ask your relatives and friends to vote. Election day is January 5.  President-elect Biden won by only 12,000 votes in Georgia. Every vote matters!  Click this link to find out where to vote early.

GHHCDC thanks Erica Weaver for her continued diligence in bringing the Family Dollar at Panola and Young Road up to code. Code Enforcement issued a citation because of her efforts. Things are still not right, but they are improving. The store has a new manager, whom Erica has met, and the manager vows to remove the extra dumpsters on the property and keep the remaining one behind the screened enclosure. Erica has pursued this case for well over a year, and we appreciate her efforts.

Another Gas Station! Good Grief
Please attend the community meeting with the developer Dec. 21, 6 pm, via Zoom.

Developer Jeff Smith have invited us to a Zoom meeting to discuss a rezoning for two parcels located on the corner of Panola Road, and Young Road, from R100 to C1, “in order to build a high-end convenience store with gas pumps. We look forward to presenting you all our plan and fielding all questions.”

The GHHCDC has a low opinion of erecting yet another gas station in our community. Unfortunately, the parcels for the proposed gas station falls outside of the overlay district, but it is right across the street, and right across from Berean Christian Church.   We will attend and hope you do, too. Let us see what he has to say. 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89953377945?pwd=RFcvSGgrb3orNXMwWnRLUFErNHV4dz09

Give yourself a few minutes extra to log in. There is a registration form to complete.

  • Meeting ID: 899 5337 7945
  • Passcode: 244430
  • One tap mobile
  • +13017158592
  • Meeting ID: 899 5337 7945
  • Passcode: 244430

Effort to Amend Overlay Code Will Start Again in 2021

Jahnee Prince, deputy director of the department, reports that the department has been able to hire staff and is now fully staffed for the first time in two years.  That is good news for the Hidden Hills Overlay District. We have been trying that long to amend the code – the main objective is to further restrict liquor stores, gas stations, nightclubs, and “dollar” stores, and to update various portions. The overlay district was passed in 2011, and it covers 4 square miles (roughly Covington, Young, Redan, S. Hairston).

Karen Hill, senior planner at the DeKalb County Planning & Sustainability Department, retired recently. We are going to miss her, and we wish her a fulfilling, healthy, and happy retirement.

Trees – A Gift to Yourself and Future Generations

Would you like to increase the value of your home? Reduce your air conditioning bill? Improve air quality? Provide habitat for songbirds? You can do this by taking a simple step: ask DeKalb County to plant a beautiful hardwood in your front yard.

This is such an important act of kindness to our environment and to future generations. For only $25, you can participate in the new ReLeaf DeKalb program and have an overstory tree professionally planted in your front yard.   The program is in partnership with the experienced non-profit organization Trees Atlanta.

Please read the flyer and plant a tree!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HfkffyUrTxmtDlTKL1nVeiBJklkd_ZM6/view?usp=sharing

Some of the trees for this effort have been reserved for public initiatives. GHHCDC asked DeKalb County to plant trees along S. Hairston Road from Wesley Chapel to Memorial. The Planning & Sustainability Department is receptive to the idea and is considering the request. We will keep you posted.

Hairston Park Updates

Our park is waiting to hear about the Park Pride grant we applied for. It will be used to build a serenity path and gardens in the wooded area and to add seating areas. We are hopeful. 

The pavilion is coming, really. We won the grant in 2017. The Parks Department intends to send the final plans to the Board of Commissioners for review.

To learn more about the year’s activities at Hairston Park, please read the newsletter by Gwendolyn Stegall.    https://drive.google.com/file/d/12fcb6Xzzf3Ml358WsdC0lBZ6cv5EMDHj/view?usp=sharing

Still no end to the slaughter

Unfortunately, the slaughter continues at 1676 Rice Road.  The State v. Rudolph Bradford (18C16630-3) – against Rudolph Bradford, Bradford Homes & Grounds, Lithonia, GA 30058, has not been heard because of the COVID-19 shutdown in our court system. 

Solicitor-General Thomas Kemp diligently keeps us posted, and he said on Dec. 17:

The DeKalb Courts are still operating under statewide and local judicial emergency orders concerning COVID-19, but the State should be ready to proceed to jury trial when jury operations resume.  Right now, the exact date of in-person hearings and jury trials is unknown, but we will always do our best to keep you and your neighbors informed about upcoming court dates.

W. Thomas Kemp, III
Senior Assistant Solicitor-General

From January 2016 – October 2020, Rudolph Bradford killed 4,079 animals.   Since the cease-and-desist order issued March 1, 2019, he has slaughtered 1,949 animals.  The numbers are based on records sent from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.    

DeKalb Enters Third Phase of New Sanitation Trucks
Are You in the Service Area?
 Since October, many households have noticed that the third phase of DeKalb County’s deployment of automated side loader (ASL) collection trucks have begun. There are 43,000 households on select residential ASL garbage service routes that have or will be issued a larger capacity 95-gallon garbage roll cart in exchange for their existing 65-gallon garbage roll cart.

The DeKalb County Sanitation Department continues to receive emails from residents inquiring about the 95-gallon roll cart curbside exchange project. After review, they have determined that many of the residents requesting exemption from transitioning to the 95-gallon garbage roll cart are not within the project’s participation area at this time.

Why the exchange? The 65-gallon roll cart issued to residents in 2015 is inadequate to meet the needs of many households, and leads to overflowing garbage bins, excess garbage at the curb, and slower collection

Click here to determine if you are within this project’s area.
https://dekalbgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/lookup/index.html?appid=e160189f7c894f4ab1ee8d196025e18f

Next Meeting

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corp. met Nov.21, and it was so good to see everyone. Several of the items in this newsletter were prompted by our discussion.  Getting together helps us stay motivated.  We will meet Jan. 16 at 10 a.m., and I invite you to attend.  GHHCDC will send an announcement with the link closer to the event.

May everyone stay safe.
Happy Holidays!

November Updates

New Rental Townhomes near Indian Creek Marta
Board of Commissioners will Vote on Nov. 19

Kaplan Residential is proposing to build 230 rental townhomes just south of the Indian Creek Marta station, and north of Redan Road.  The Board of Commissioners will vote on the case Nov. 19, and you are welcome to attend the meeting.

This complex will be managed full-time by Kaplan. It includes pocket parks and amenities. The apartments are 1 – 3 bedrooms, and the rent is expected to range from $1,150 – $2,100.

Nov. 19  5:30 p.m. Board of Commissioners Meeting
https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94883110323  

The District 5 Community Council recommended approval of the plan with the condition that the firm work with Marta to provide smooth pedestrian access from the community to the Marta station. The firm has made changes to the plan in response the input.

(From Kaplan)  Pedestrian connections to MARTA:   In addition to the sidewalks at the secondary access drive that connect to the Elder Lane sidewalk, we have added sidewalks connecting to Elder Lane from the pocket park (SE corner), from each unit facing the public ROW, and from the NW corner of the site (subject to MARTA approval).   We also have delineated raised pedestrian crossings at driveway entrances. These changes are responsive to the Community Council’s condition of approval.

The Planning Commission recommended a full cycle deferral, but the vote was based in part on a misunderstanding of the submitted documents.

If you would like to see the townhome plans, click on

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XeQX5JVZOipNW_cGpzc2GxQfAyFudMt4/view?usp=sharing

The firm also provided the traffic impact study, which you may see at

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gHTzk5jJUpqf8pNpBZckoZ9SKbdMm9T2/view?usp=sharing

GHHCDC Meets Nov. 21

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corp. is meeting Nov. 21, 10 a.m., virtually, of course.   We will discuss what we have been doing during this challenging year and what we hope to accomplish next year.

Please click this link:

https://gsumeetings.webex.com/meet/jrcostello

If you have not used Web Ex before, give yourself a few extra minutes so that it can download to your computer.

Your Opinion Matters

Surveys to share your thoughts on community plans and parks

DeKalb County Long-Range Plan

The DeKalb County Planning & Sustainability Department is asking for your feedback on the Five-Year Comprehensive Plan Update. This is a mandatory five-year update required by the Department of Community Affairs that every County must comply with to maintain its Qualified Local Government status. Your input plays a vital role in the development of the plan and will guide the future growth and redevelopment of the County.  Please participate by taking the survey and do encourage others to get involved in the Comprehensive Plan update. The planning department will share results of the survey in the next Comprehensive Plan public meeting.

DeKalb Long-Range Plan Survey link:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=J1UtKf-r_0W8krHbEDdge-5zzAne4ZpGsa2R6nRLUb5UNzVHMEU5WkhJSlYzNVRMMVdIMzFGWEdQWiQlQCN0PWcu

You may also read the executive summary at: 
https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/users/user3566/Exec_Summary.pdf

Hidden Historic Farm on Redan Road
The 9.2-acre park at 5338 Redan Road, a short distance from Redan High School, is undergoing a visioning process with Park Pride. What should the park be?  It was a working farm for most of its history, starting from the late 1800s, and includes several structures – some of them with historic value.

Your opinion is crucial to the success of this process. Take this survey and share your ideas:

https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/5811381/5338-Redan-Road

Once you’re there, you can register for the December 9 public meeting and watch for yard signs around the neighborhood. We will be asking for your honest feedback every step of the way.

For more information, be sure to visit our website at https://5338-redan.wixsite.com/welcome

Glenwood Road and Columbia Drive

The goal is to identify capital investment and policy changes that can support a more livable, pedestrian-friendly environment at this key intersection.

Register for a public input session on Nov. 18 – all done ONLINE. 
Two design workshops:

12 – 1 pm. Envisioning Opportunities (covers overall vision for land use and mobility in the area)

6 – 7:30 pm Planning for Redevelopment (pull together the ideas brought forth earlier in the day and come up with at least one redevelopment alternative

http://bit.ly/GlenwoodColumbia

Update on Community Center, Stop Metro Green, and Comprehensive Plan

Let’s Take a Look at the Planned Community Center

There will be a virtual tour of the new Community and Senior Center to be built on the north end of Hairston Park.  Join the information meeting 

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2020

Location: https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/9738328532

Time: 6:00pm – 8:00 p.m.

There will be a period for public comments on the final phase of planning for the design, engineering, and programming.

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw’s office sent the following announcement:

The proposed center will be located on County owned land at 4875 Elam Road, Stone Mountain GA. The area was selected for a center based on a 2016 Comprehensive Feasibility Study that identified the area as a high priority for Senior Services and Community Activities. The proposed 24,000 sq. ft. center will include a state-of-the-art functional facility to include a multipurpose dining room, classrooms, fitness room, a therapeutic pool with lap lanes, and many other exciting amenities.

The Community meeting will include the following:

1. Project overview by District # 4 Commissioner, Steve Bradshaw.

2. Project Schedule

3. Virtual Tour (Fly thru) of the Facility.

4. Questions and Answers

Questions can be directed to either the Community Development Department at 404-969-9921 or Commissioner Steve Bradshaw at (404) 371-4749.

Update on Effort to Stop Metro Green Recycling

Metro Green Recycling Center has begun construction on the construction debris recycling center on Miller Road (just down the street from Miller Middle School).  Commissioner Mereda Davis-Johnson, some Stonecrest city council members, residents and others are trying to get its permit revoked. People are alarmed by the prospect of toxic air, foul smells and decreased property values. Superior Court will hear the request for a temporary restraining order on Monday.

The City of Stonecrest permitted the business without a public hearing.

The hearing will be broadcast Oct. 26, 9 a.m.via Zoom.   Click this link at that time to watch the hearing.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0oEuLcgV3Rpx-PHhHoSMSg

If you would like background on this business, visit:

https://www.wearehiddenhills.com/stopmetrogreen.html

DeKalb County is updating it 5-year comprehensive plan. 

You can learn more about this effort on Oct. 22, 5 – 6 p.m.  Click this link:

https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/91524396384

Or, by phone:

USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)

Conference code: 483980

You may also read the executive summary at: https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/users/user3566/Exec_Summary.pdf

New Businesses, Parks Update, Environmental Post Open

Three drive-through restaurants coming to Wesley Chapel. Which ones? Your opinion is being sought

CSC Properties received approval to modify the Tier One code in the I-20 Overlay to build three drive-through restaurants on Wesley Chapel near Snapfinger Woods Drive. It was approved by the Board of Commissioners Aug. 25.

When company representatives spoke at public meetings, they mentioned they hoped to bring in restaurants with healthier food options, such as Chipotle and Wendy’s.  As far as we know, no deal has been finalized for any restaurant.  Company representatives know that the community is very interested in what happens here. Now, they would like to hear from us.

Kings Ridge Homeowners Association has been staying in close touch.  They shared the following method for sending Go to the company website:

https://cscproperties.com/

Click Contact.

In the Contact Us box, provide your opinion.  To ensure that your message reaches the right party, put Wesley Chapel Town Center in the box for Company name.

Thank you to the Kings Ridge Homeowners Association for staying in close touch with CSC Properties and for sharing this information with us.   

 

Lidl has finally begun clearing land

It’s been a long time coming, but Lidl is moving ahead with its plans to build a grocery store at 6038 Covington Highway. Lidl is a German-owned chain, similar to German-owned Aldi, but Lidl offers more products and has slightly larger stores.  It operates on the “everyday low cost” model.

You may recall that the community attended public hearings on the plan beginning in January 2017.  The company responded favorably to our requests for landscaping and screening of the retention pond and dumpsters.

Since that time, delays occurred as a result of Stonecrest acquiring that portion of the county. The company had to go through new permitting process. In addition, it was analyzing which type of stores work best in the U.S. and waiting to build until it had enough data.

The company spokesperson would not give details on a specific opening date.  They are aiming for summer 2021. However, the construction signs say they are interested in hiring.

 

Hairston Park – Made it through Step One

Gwendolyn Stegall did a super job describing the Meditation Project for Hairston Park. The DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department gave the project its support.  Now, we can apply for the grant from Park Pride.

This project includes shaded benches placed near the lake, a serenity garden with winding path, picnic tables in the wooded area near the spot where the pavilion will be (one day – things seem to be moving in the right direction), and new signage.

 

Intrenchment Creek Park – Fighting for Survival

The County is considering a deal with Blackhall Studios that would give it 40 acres of beautiful parkland in a critical watershed for private development.  The County would receive, in exchange, a clear-cut piece of land.  Hundreds of people have spoken out against this plan because they do not want to lose any of our natural, untouched park landscape.

This 125-acre park is on what used to be the Atlanta Prison Farm. It is at West Side Place, Atlanta, 30316.
https://atlnature.com/blog/intrenchment-creek-park

There will be another public hearing on the matter on Sept. 10, 5:30-6:30 pm.

Commissioner Larry Johnson sent out this information.

To join with your computer, go to

https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94883110323

To call in, dial 602-333-0032 or 888-270-9936

Conference code: 217687

To watch on DCTV, go to

https://video.ibm.com/channel/dctv-channel-23

To learn more about the Stop the Swap effort, go to

https://www.stoptheswap.org/?fbclid=IwAR1y5ZCmCUnOBL2srqvxrtWhJxGl8QzuUlpxGK_yjXYi4Ia6tXE2N-Fc9vY

 

SE Fields in Stonecrest Still Closed

Southeast Athletic Complex near Covington Highway & DeKalb Medical Center Parkway has been closed since mid-March. Every park in the state and in unincorporated DeKalb County is open.  Even if citizens cannot play organized sports in this time of Covid-19, they could at least use the 97-acre park for walks.  Come on. Open the park or give it back!

When Stonecrest became a city, it made a deal with DeKalb County to get eight county parks for $34,950 in July 2019. The eight parks are Gregory Moseley, Southeast Athletic Complex, Fairington Park, Salem Park, Browns Mill Park, Chestnut Lakes, Miners Creek, Everett Property, and Browns Mill Aquatic Center.

If you would like to speak out on this matter, contact:

City Hall:  770 224-0200

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary
jlary@stonecrestga.gov

Robert Turner
District 2 Councilman (SE Fields is in his district)
rturner@stonecrestga.gov

Brandon J. Riley Sr.
Stonecrest Parks & Recreation Director
briley@stonecrestga.gov

This page has more contact info for the City of Stonecrest:   https://www.stonecrestga.gov/ContactUs.aspx

 

Important Environmental Position Needs a Volunteer

The DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors is currently interviewing for a vacated appointed Supervisor position.

The Board tries to ensure that developers follow the state’s erosion and sediment control laws. In addition, an especially important role of the District is to support, encourage and educate citizens, staff and officials with the significant goal of protection and sustainability of the natural  resources of DeKalb County    The District meets the second Friday of every month at 10:00 am virtually via Zoom.

If you would like to see the volunteer job description, go to:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EnyWBGUNKQMMvSA8ETAJq8212vHt4qgB/view?usp=sharing

This file also has contacts you can write for more information.

 

Until next time, may everybody be healthy.

 

Jan Costello
President, Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation

Rental Townhomes Proposed, Slaughtering, Hairston Park, Questions for Stonecrest

Community Zoom Meeting on New Rental Townhomes near Indian Creek Marta

Kaplan Residential plans to ask for a rezoning that would allow the firm to build 230 rental townhomes just south of the Indian Creek Marta station, and north of Redan Road.

The firm invites the community to a zoom meeting so that you can learn more about the proposal and provide input.  The meeting is:

Tuesday, August, 18, 2020, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Zoom Meeting Information:
https://dentons.zoom.us/j/99411238473?pwd=S25rYkQ5eWJMNVdRQ2lKZUFZLzJKdz09

Meeting ID: 994 1123 8473
Passcode: 953218
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,99411238473#,,,,,,0#,,953218#

The firm sent a draft site plan. Click the link to review it.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R5qqLQDgSkehI-CqC1zCMxLOJvmEbqkI/view?usp=sharing

 

Our Wells Fargo Branch is Closing

The Wells Fargo branch on Redan Road near Hairston will close on Sept. 30.  The company alluded to the “rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation” as the reason for the change.  That seems like a convenient cover for the 4th largest bank in the U.S. based on total assets.  You may recall that Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3 billion to settle criminal and civil complaints stemming from its mistreatment of customers over the last 14 years.  The bank opened more than 2 million fake accounts without the customers’ knowledge and manipulated other accounts.

The Redan branch never upgraded its property or invested in decent landscaping the entire time it occupied the spot, despite frequent requests to do so.  I am sorry to lose a bank in the area. But, this bank made little effort to be part of the community, and it was extremely difficult to build any kind of relationship with the bank because branch managers rarely stayed at that branch longer than a year or two.

 

Slaughterhouse Kill Report – Numbers set record

This year’s slaughtering at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058, surpasses the 2019 total, and we have five months to go.

So far this year, Rudolf Bradford has slaughtered 895 animals on the residential property.  Last year, the total was 819.

In his years of operation, between January 2016 and July 2020, he slaughtered 3,678 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep.

The company received a state license April 22, 2014, but the owner, Rudolf Bradford, never received a license from the county.  DeKalb County issued a cease-and-desist order March 1, 2019.  Since that time, he has slaughtered 1,504 animals.

The County has taken him to court, but there have been many delays due to Rudolf’s own delaying tactics and the virus. Thomas Kemp, II, DeKalb County senior assistant solicitor-general, has conscientiously kept us in the loop the whole time.   We will keep you updated.

 

Hairston Park – Update on Volunteer Efforts and the Community Center

Keep your fingers crossed for Hairston Park.  Gwendolyn Stegall, the energetic and persistent leader of Friends of Hairston Park, is working with volunteers on a grant.  The project is to increase enjoyment of the natural areas. The grant will ask for shaded benches to be placed near the lake, a small picnic area under the trees near the pavilion (eventually, it will be built!), and a winding natural path through a serenity garden.  The application work is underway. The first step is to present a detailed plan to Park Pride and the Parks Department at the end of the month and, hopefully, get support to apply for the grant.

The Community Center that is to be built on the north end of Hairston Park near Elam Road is not forgotten. The Department of Community Affairs says construction bids are going out “soon.”  The hope is to break ground by the end of the year.

In my last newsletter, I gave Gwen the wrong last name.  I definitely have lost some gray matter between the ears. My apologies, Gwen!

 

What is Going on in Stonecrest?

What happened to the spirit that formed the new City of Stonecrest?  Why did Stonecrest allow a recycling center to be built at 2450 Miller Road, near hundreds of homes, without so much as one public hearing? The Metro Green Recycling plant will recycle concrete.  How will the noise, dust, and traffic affect the community?  Let us hope we never find out.

DeKalb Commission Mereda Davis-Johnson has asked the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to answer questions about the permit process. The company says it is in compliance with all state and local ordinances.

After the neighbors got wind of the recycling plant and protested, Mayor Jason Lary issued a stop work order. But, he rescinded it, and the work continues on the site.  On July 9, the Stonecrest City Council decided to investigate the permitting process.

On another matter, what is going on with the parks Stonecrest “received” from DeKalb County? Southeast Athletic Complex near Covington Highway & DeKalb Medical Center Parkway has been closed since mid-March. Every park in the state and in unincorporated DeKalb County is open.  Even if citizens cannot play organized sports in this time of Covid-19, they could at least use the 97-acre park for walks.  Come on. Open the park or give it back! 

If you would like to speak out on this matter, contact:

City Hall:  770 224-0200

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary
jlary@stonecrestga.gov

Other places to raise your concerns are:

Stonecrest Parks & Recreation Department

Brandon J. Riley Sr.
Parks & Recreation Director
briley@stonecrestga.gov

Sheldon Fleming
Parks & Recreation Operation Manager
sfleming@stonecrestga.gov

This page has more contact info for the City of Stonecrest:   https://www.stonecrestga.gov/ContactUs.aspx

Background: The intergovernmental agreement between DeKalb County and Stonecrest gave the City of Stonecrest eight parks for a total of $34,950 in July 2019. The eight parks are Gregory Moseley, Southeast Athletic Complex, Fairington Park, Salem Park, Browns Mill Park, Chestnut Lakes, Miners Creek, Everett Property, and Browns Mill Aquatic Center.

 

Until next time, may everybody be healthy.

 

Jan Costello

President, Greater Hidden Hills Communi

Zoning, slaughtering, and something to be grateful for

BOC Passed the Disputed Rezoning Request for an Indian Creek apartment complex

Despite opposition and the lack of opportunity for community review, the Board of Commissioners unanimously gave approval for the four-story apartment complex to be built behind the CVS at the corner of Indian Creek and Redan.  We saw some of the plans for the first time at the Zoom meeting July 30.  Those plans are still not part of the application.

I made the point to the Commissioners that we are missing a valuable opportunity to develop something of benefit to the Indian Creek transit corridor.  This complex looks like a weekly motel. It is a box in a parking lot.

I realize that people have different opinions about design. That is to be expected. But, give us a chance to air those views. We saw no renderings of the actual project at either Community Council meeting.  Some new images were revealed at the second Planning Commission meeting and at a hastily called “community” meeting on Zoom. Then, on July 30, a new sketch of the interior was provided.  We cannot comment on what we can’t see.

An intersection this close to a Marta station could be something grand. The idea was to have mixed-use here.  Why are we allowing the area to be developed in a piecemeal fashion, with no thought to the future that we had hoped to create.  It is a disappointment.

 

 

Slaughterhouse court date – rescheduled again

Yes, that is the same headline as used in the last newsletter. Covid-19 is completely disrupting the court calendar.

And so, the slaughtering continues at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058. The company received a state license April 22, 2014, but the owner, Rudolf Bradford, never received a license from the county.  DeKalb County issued a cease-and-desist order March 1, 2019.

Between January 2016 and May 2020, he slaughtered 3,407  cows, pigs, goats, and sheep. I have asked for the records for May and June.

The County has taken him to court, but there have been many delays due to Rudolf’s own delaying tactics and the virus. Thomas Kemp, II, DeKalb County senior assistant solicitor-general, has conscientiously kept us in the loop the whole time.   We will keep you updated.

 

Community Spirit continues to amaze me

In this dark time of our nation, with this horrible virus taking lives, compromising the health of so many thousands of people,  and changing the very fabric of our social bonds, I would like to say thank you to the people who are still out there in the community, doing what they can to make our world better.

  • Thank you to all the many people who are caring for our loved ones in senior citizen and assisted living homes.
  • Thank you to the doctors and nurses and aides who do so much.
  • Thank you to the grocery and pharmacy workers for keeping the stores open.
  • Thank you to those who pick up trash.
  • Thank you to our police and fire fighters and to all the public servants who continue to report for duty.
  • Thank you to our teachers.
  • Thank you, postal workers. Thank you, poll workers. Thank you, UPS and Amazon delivery workers.

So many people to thank.  But I will end here by mentioning two.  Rod Frierson, president of the Hidden Hills Civic Association, continues to invest countless volunteer hours in a brighter tomorrow. He is working on so many good projects – from Marta improvements to planting trees in the neighborhood.  His service work lifts my spirits.

And Gwen Stegall, tireless advocate for Hairston Park.  Even after endless delays in a park improvement project, she is still leading the good fight.  Good luck, Gwen, on getting the grant to build a serenity trail in the park and make other improvements.

Until next time, may everybody be healthy.

 

Jan Costello

President, Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation

Free Youth Activities, Indian Creek proposed Apartment Zoom Meeting, and the Slaughterhouse

Neighbors,

May this email find you healthy and may you have strength as we continue to deal with the deadly COVID-19 and the terrible injustices that permeate so many of our institutions and lives.

My name is Jan Costello, president of the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corp., an organization that encourages better business through the area. Here are three items of interest for our community.

DeKalb Launches Virtual Village Platform for Youth

The Youth Services Virtual Village is an online platform that offers resources, programs and activities to children and youth living in DeKalb County. Many children who normally attend recreational facilities and summer camps remain sheltered in place at home as a result of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The Virtual Village is an online platform that will provide information, classes and activities to parents and youth (from birth through 18 years of age).

More than thirty (30) classes and programs that are normally held in person have been converted to this virtual platform- connecting instructors with youth participants in a safe way. Class topics include dance, theater/film, arts & crafts, technology, media, cooking and more. Featured classes are free to DeKalb County residents; however, class sizes are limited and are available on a first come first served basis.

 The Virtual Village also includes information about premiere fee-based youth programming and a limited number of scholarships are available for those who qualify. Parents can access the Virtual Village to learn about approved program providers for the DeKalb 2020 Youth Summer Voucher Program, which features in person camp options for youth. A limited number of youth vouchers will be made available through these approved program providers.

Virtual classes are taught by local experts in their perspective fields. Local film and TV veterans, Ben McIver and Karen Ceesay, with film credits such as Stranger Things, Black Lightning, and Greenleaf, have teamed up to bring real life experiences of Georgia’s burgeoning film industry to the youth through this platform. McIver notes that, “It’s important that we give students and youth a different avenue to tell their stories using tools that they already have.”

There is a loaner program for computers, tablets and other internet-based technology. Families in need may apply through the platform to borrow a loaner Chromebook in order to take advantage of the Virtual Village.

The Department’s Office of Youth Services is responsible for the oversight and management of the Virtual Village. To learn more about the Virtual Village and to register for classes, visit http://www.DeKalboys.org or contact Mr. Jashawn Williams, Office of Youth Services Division Manger via email at oysvirtualvillage@dekalbcountyga.gov.

Rezoning Request for an Indian Creek apartment complex

Should a four-story apartment complex be built behind the CVS at the corner of Indian Creek and Redan? The man who owns the property, Sudhir Tejpaul, needs a rezoning in order to do it. The District 5 Community Council turned him down in February.  It went through the hearing process and was sent back to Community Council. We heard the case on June 8.  The council recommended the rezoning be granted by a vote of 7 to 1.  Let me tell you why I am opposed.

In February, the Council asked Mr. Tejpaul why he had no community meetings prior to the public hearing. We asked him to provide renderings at the next public hearing of what he proposed to build.  He never held the meeting and he never provided renderings.

I am not opposed to multi-family living, especially within easy walking distance of Marta.  I am opposed to the community having no voice in how the project will look.  Without accurate renderings, it is hard to know, but what he has shown us has no greenspace. The balconies will look out over a dreary parking lot.  We know nothing about the quality of the construction, the types of materials that will  be used, or how residents will access the 2nd – 4th floors.

Mr. Tejpaul hired Michele Battle, renowned zoning attorney, to represent him during this second round of hearing. She arranged a community meeting via Zoom regarding the rezoning application. You may read the application at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1INUzwhb2Q3IoA7XOH8xzNMKrQm1I82Vo/view?usp=sharing

Zoom Meeting

Monday, June 22nd  – 6:00 pm

Click on:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85713193736?pwd=cnN1NG9WUXlNWWw0UkZlZUNxdUE2QT09

Meeting ID: 857 1319 3736

Password: 382151

One tap mobile:   (646) 558-8656

Please make a note that the next public meetings are as follows, and they will be on Zoom.  Details are on page 1 of the document found at this link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hFo9IeS4xGtrYNc5XRjToICTpJaoUp1v/view?usp=sharing

Planning Commission Meeting Date – Tuesday, July 7, 2020 5:30 P.M.

Board of Commissioners Meeting Date – Thursday, July 30, 2020 5:30 P.M.

 

Slaughterhouse court date – rescheduled again

Slaughtering continues at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058. The company received a state license April 22, 2014, but the owner, Rudolf Bradford, never received a license from the county.  DeKalb County issued a cease-and-desist order March 1, 2019.  The slaughtering and sales continue, and according to state records, he slaughtered 3,254 cows, pigs, goats and sheep between January 2016 to April 2020.

The County has taken him to court, but there have been many delays due to Rudolf’s own delaying tactics and the virus. But now, we have a new court date. Thomas Kemp, II, DeKalb County senior assistant solicitor-general, has conscientiously kept us in the loop the whole time, and he says:

Pursuant to Chief Justice Harold D. Melton’s Second Extended Order Declaring a Statewide Judicial Emergency on May 11, 2020 and subsequent local emergency orders, the Motions Calendar and Calendar Call in Rudolph Brown’s DeKalb State Case 18C16630-3 were rescheduled by the trial court to July 6, 2020 and July 10, 2020, respectively.  Specifically:

  • State v. Rudolph Bradford(18C16630-3) – Motions Calendar – Rescheduled before Judge Wayne Purdom, Chief Judge, DeKalb State Court, DeKalb Courthouse, Courtroom 3-B, to Monday, July 6, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.
  • State v. Rudolph Bradford(18C16630-3) – Calendar Call – Rescheduled before Judge Wayne Purdom, Chief Judge, DeKalb State Court, DeKalb Courthouse, Courtroom 3-B, to Friday, July 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend the Defendant’s Motions Hearing and Calendar Call on July 6th and July 10th, but I would recommend that you attend Mr. Bradford’s Calendar Call or Jury Trial (once the date is determined by the State Court) if you can only attend one appearance.  I will contact you separately -or- send you a calendar invite if you are needed to testify at Mr. Bradford’s motions hearing on July 6th.

Meanwhile, State Representative Viola Davis, District 86, has taken up this issue even though the property is not in her district. We could not get the district representatives, Senator Gloria Butler (District 55) or Representative Karen Bennett (District 94) to help us.   The Dept of Agriculture first told her they knew nothing about this property. Then, they said they can release no tax records or other items she requested because they were confidential.

The slaughter report is available for viewing at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H1VKb6qQcqQLJJ5xl91NVt01xirHY1w0/view?usp=sharing

Thank you for reading. You can reach us with comments or questions at ghhcdc@gmail.com  .

 

 

Housing, State Update, Kroger, New Community Center, and More Updates

DR Horton Townhomes Approved

The DR Horton townhome project was approved by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners Feb. 25. This project, near the corner of Covington and Young Road, will add 324 townhomes to the area over the next 3 – 5 years. People are concerned about the housing growth along Covington Highway, but more homes means more people – and that is what attracts restaurants and other business.

 

State of Georgia Update from Rep. Davis

State Representative Viola Davis (District 87) provided an update on state government at the GHHCDC meeting Feb. 22.  The Republicans are continuing to work to cut essential services while trying to cut taxes for the wealthy and raise their own pay.  There’s much effort to pass some form of gambling. Rep. Davis has a full update in her online newsletter Talk Issues Under the Gold Dome.  Click:  https://violadavis.com/f/talk-issues-under-the-gold-dome

 

Kroger on Wesley Chapel “Underperforming”

The manager of the Kroger on Wesley Chapel near I-20 met with concerned residents of Kings Ridge recently.  She said that the store is not doing as well as the one on Redan or other neighboring stores, and that sales were lower this February compared to last February.  The community is naturally concerned about Kroger. None of us wants a repeat of what happened with Publix at Covington and Hairston.

The community has created a short survey to gather input on what to do next.  Please take the survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SJG7L7V

We will keep you posted on any upcoming meetings.

 

New Senior Community Center

DeKalb County showed the latest renderings of the new senior community center on Elam Road on Feb. 24.  The $7.8 million, 24,000-square-foot center is a welcome development, and dozens of people came to see the plans. The center will have a 30-by-75-foot swimming pool, a multipurpose room with a stage (it will serve as the dining hall for seniors’ meals), exercise rooms, classrooms,131 parking spaces, and many amenities.  The pool will be available for public use, county officials said.

It will be built on 8 acres of Hairston Park, and the director of Community Development, Allen Mitchell, again made the promise that there would be at least one path connect the center to the center of the park.

District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw noted that there is not a senior center in the district, and he has been working hard to make this happen. Groundbreaking is scheduled for May 2020. It will take at least 18 months to build.

 

 Slaughterhouse Continues to Violate County Law

Unfortunately, the slaughtering continues at 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia (near Redan Elementary School). Bradford Home & Grounds is now suing DeKalb County and trying to get the criminal case delayed.  The County has cited him for operating a business without a license, a business NOT allowed in a residential zone.  He is in violation of the citation and of the cease-and-desist order issued March 1, 2019.   He does have a license from the State of Georgia, which for some reason does not respect County laws.

On March 16, the Superior Court judge will decide whether to set a trial date as the County Solicitor has asked.  Rudolph Bradford has slaughtered 2,943 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep from Jan. 31, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2020.

 

New Subdivision on Stephenson Road

A development of 160 single-family homes is proposed for 45 acres on Stephenson Road (1467 & 1503 Stephenson Road, Lithonia, just east of S. Deshon).

At the pre-submittal meeting Feb. 25, the developer said that the price point would begin at $225,000. There would be about 3.57 units per acre, and they would be built over a 2 – 4-year period. The homes would be 1800-square-feet minimum, have 3 – 4 bedrooms and 2-car garages. There will be a mix of single and 2-story (mostly 2-story).

Parkland Communities is the land developer.  To build at that density, they need to get the land rezoned from R-100 to RSM. The property adjacent to the proposed development is RSM. Once they get approval and prepare the site, they would sell it to another company for the build-out.

The meeting had several dozen people from the community, and most were concerned about density, traffic, and impact on services such as schools, sewage treatment, and roads.

The developer expects to file the official application this week, and eventually, it will be online.

We will be hearing a lot more about it.  If the plan is filed soon, it should come before District 5 Community Council on April 6.

 

 

Best 5K Event Around!

Time to sign up for the annual Hidden Hills 5K Walk/Run/Bike.  This great event is a wonderful celebration of community, there are great prizes, AND you get an official time.  Click below to register:

https://www.wearehiddenhills.com/annual5k.html

 

The Next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting will be March 25, 2020, 10 am.  We meet at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain. You are welcome to attend.

Thank you for your attention. We encourage you to stay informed. Make this the year to get involved. 

Update on business developments in our community

DR Horton Townhomes, Covington Highway

DR Horton wants to build 324 townhomes near the corner of Covington Highway and Young Road. The Board of Commissioners will vote on this case Feb. 25, 10 a.m. There will be limited time for public comments. The project will increase the number of rooftops in our area, and that’s a good outcome. Decent restaurants, shops, and service companies look at density to determine where to put businesses. 

 The residential growth is one reason why the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) supports the project.  Even more important is that DR Horton has made many improvements based on community input (provided often by GHHCDC and others over the last 8 months).  The improvements include: a community pavilion, a splash pad, upgrade to the facades, the higher price point, improvements to ingress/egress, the rental restriction in the covenants, and, most significantly, the access from the back of the property to the Covington side of the property.  The development has sidewalks throughout the community, and sidewalks along Young Road and Covington. Each home has a cement outdoor patio. The traffic study shows that the streets can handle the load, and the traffic will be much lower than a commercial development would be, which is how the land is zoned now.

Click on this link to see the concept plan.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ggpy-2bSysJA_2AeBSOYx5oFZyYnNUvj

Click on this link to see the application and planning documents.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ROqYieIVNIlsMZHNIadYg0TGgI558X_r

 

 

The Next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting will be Feb. 22, 2020, 10 am.  We meet at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain. You are welcome to attend.

 

Meeting on New Single-Family Detached Home Development Proposed for 1467 & 1503 Stephenson Road

There will be a community meeting about a new single-family subdivision proposed for 1467 & 1503 Stephenson Road. The developer is requesting a rezoning from R-100 to RSM. Typically, RSM allows slightly higher density than is already in place in exchange for such things as greenspace, public improvements, and amenities. The plan will be unveiled and discussed at the meeting.   This is an excellent time to provide feedback on the development so that they can make changes before they enter the review process.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Colonnade Room (in same shopping plaza as the Dept. of Driver Services)

8010 Rockbridge Road, SW

Lithonia, GA 30058

 

Slaughtering Continues, Trial Looms

The trial date for the man slaughtering animals in a residential neighborhood was not scheduled as planned on Feb. 7.  Rudolph Bradford and his attorney filed motions to delay the case until they have completed their lawsuits against DeKalb County.

The Superior Court judge ordered Bradford to court March 16, 1:30 p.m. to continue to hear arguments. The County is asking that the court go ahead with the trial (a criminal proceeding) while the civil cases proceed in their own court.

In the meantime, the slaughter of animals at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058, continues, despite the cease-and-desist order and the violation of DeKalb County laws.   Bradford is slaughtering between 800 and 1,000 cows, sheep, goats and pigs a year at a business that was supposed to provide landscape services.  We’ll keep you posted.

 

Proposed apartment complex at Indian Creek and Redan (next to CVS)

The owner of the area that was supposed to be a mixed-use development is asking for a rezoning so that he can put apartments on ½ of the site.  The other half of the site is built out with owner-occupied townhomes.

The developer did not have a well-publicized pre-submittal hearing. No one on the Council was told about it, and nearby neighbors knew nothing. The renderings did not reflect what he planned to build (they didn’t even show the correct number of stories).  There were no amenities for residents. It was a four-story box in a parking lot.  The Community Council recommended full cycle deferral and encouraged the owner to hold a public meeting.

The Planning Commission will hear the case March 3 at 6:30 p.m.  The BOC will hear it March 24, 6:30 p.m.  Both meetings are in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce, Decatur.

 

 

Thank you for your attention. We encourage you to stay informed. Make this the year to get involved.