Panola Slopes Project Vote Deferred until Nov. 4

At this week’s meeting, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners deferred a vote on the Panola Slope zoning requests until Nov. 4, 10 a.m. This is the proposal for the redevelopment of the vacant townhomes near Young Road, Hidden Creek, and Covington Highway. APD Solutions proposes to redevelop the property into a luxury resort and entertainment complex, with restaurants and electronic games.

The Board of Commissioners wants to know more about the gaming operations. In addition, Commission Sharon Barnes-Sutton requested a meeting with the developers.

 The DeKalb Planning DepartmenPanola Resort-aerialt staff recommended approval under   specific conditions. These include a limit on the number of games, a limit on the square footage of entertainment space, a new access road into the facility, and a 50-foot buffer between the development and the residences. It also set a condition of no alcohol service after 2:00 a.m, a minimum number of security officers, and compliance with the county’s noise ordinance. The full list is included below.




The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation supports APD Solution’s redevelopment project, and all the recommended conditions, for the following reasons:

  • the commitment to an aesthetically pleasing and safe environment that APD Solutions has demonstrated as owners of the property for five years;
  • the concept of a moderate- to high-end resort and entertainment complex;
  • the prospect of 150 new jobs;
  • the addition of two full-scale restaurants;
  • the addition of four retail shops;
  • the addition of an outdoor venue;
  • the attention to security;
  • the attention to building synergy with other entertainment venues in the area, such as Stone Mountain Park and local golf courses; and
  • the willingness to be “good neighbors,” paying careful consideration to the needs of the adjacent residential communities.



Full List of DeKalb County Planning Staff’s Recommended Conditions

The DeKalb Planning Department staff recommended approval of rezoning the property from Office-Commercial-Retail to Commercial (C-1) with the following conditions:

  1. To the revised conceptual site plan entitled proposed Panola Slopes Resort dated 8/29/14 and stamped received by the Department of Planning and Sustainability on September 2, 2014. The maximum building square footage of all uses shall be limited to 83,679 square feet. Said site plan is conceptual and must meet or exceed the development standards of the C-1 (Local Commercial) District and the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District and approved conditions.
  2. Indoor amusement to serve adult patrons shall include 425 games consisting of simulators, virtual realities and coin operated machines. All prizes to be redeemable on-site. No cash redemption.
  3. No more than 3 restaurants on the subject site.
  4. Location of access, number of curb cuts and transportation improvements on Covington Highway shall be subject to approval of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the Transportation Division of the Public Works Department.
  5. Provide one (1) curb cut on Hidden Creek Drive. Location is subject to approval of the Transportation Division of the Public Works Department.
  6. Provide inter-parcel access from the adjacent C-1 (Commercial) zoned property as shown on the submitted site plan.
  7. Refuse areas shall be screened from the public street and not be visible from adjoining properties. Enclosures shall be constructed of building materials matching the primary buildings.
  8. Provide 50-foot wide undisturbed transitional buffer adjacent to residential zoned properties subject to the requirements of the Tree Preservation Ordinance.
  9. Maintain the open green space area designated as park space on the submitted site plan.
  10. Provide sidewalks along property frontages (Covington Highway and Hidden Creek Drive).
  11. The approval of this rezoning application by the Board of Commissioners has no bearing on the requirements for other regulatory approvals under the authority of the Zoning Board of Appeals, or other entity whose decision should be based on the merits of the application under review by such entity.



The DeKalb Planning Department staff recommended approval of the Special Land Use Permit for a late-night establishment with the following conditions:

1) The late night establishment shall be limited to the ground floor within Buildings A, B and C as depicted on the revised conceptual site plan entitled proposed Panola Slopes Resort dated 8/29/14 and stamped received by the Department of Planning and Sustainability on September 2, 2014. Said site plan is conceptual and must meet or exceed the development standards of the C-1 (Local Commercial) District and the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District and approved conditions.


2) Late Night Establishments shall stop serving alcohol by 2:00 a.m.


3) A minimum of one outdoor security officer and a minimum of two indoor security officers shall patrol at regular intervals.


4) Compliance with the DeKalb County Noise Ordinance.


5) No dance floor allowed as part of the subject late night establishments.


6) The SLUP is non-transferable. Any new owner operator

Minutes-Board Meeting Aug. 23


Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) Meeting
Mainstreet Community Center, Aug.23, 2014, 10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Attending: Jan Costello, Nadine Rivers-Johnson, Phyllis Frierson, Joyce Russell


Treasurer’s Report
Phyllis Frierson reported that we will have a complete report next month. We received several membership payments. Jan will submit invoices (about $80) for the checks, business cards, and website fees.

Joyce has created the financial statements we need (income, cash flow, balance sheet) for 2013 and year to date. Joyce and Phyllis are working together on merging some of the reporting functions so that we don’t duplicate work.

We have a financial folder in Google Drive with the financial reports.

We have business cards! Board members were given copies. Nadine and Jan have extras. We can distribute these one-on-one and at our meetings.


We are eligible to fill out the “easy” online form. It will cost $400. Joyce volunteered to handle the data entry. We will each provide her information, as needed. Our goal is to finish by the end of September.


PJ’s Liquor Store at 1241 Panola Road received the SLUP variance with the conditions we requested. All but the painting have been accomplished. Painting will occur once the gas station franchise change takes place. PJs is going through the building permit promise and hope to expand into the new space as soon as possible. Jan will send them a letter thanking them for their willingness to improve the lot. The conditions that were attached are:

1) The requested Special Land Use Permit shall be issued to Parkash Enterprises for operation of an alcohol outlet at 1241 Panola Road, Suite E, and shall be transferrable in accordance with Section 27-877 of the DeKalb County Code or the applicable provisions of the new zoning ordinance.

2) Total floor area after expansion of the proposed addition of PJs Package Store shall not exceed 4,330 square feet.

3) Compliance with the alcohol license requirements of DeKalb County. After expansion, PJ’s Package Store will maintain the existing entrance to Suite E, and there will be no additional customer entrances/exits to the alcohol outlet unless in compliance with the distance requirements of the alcohol ordinance.

4) Implement the landscape improvements as noted on the two landscape concept plans dated 04/29/14 and entitled PJs Package Store as prepared by El Mina Incorporated and date stamped by the Planning Department on July 23, 2014. This includes new plantings of a minimum of four trees with shrubs in four areas as shown on landscape plan.

5) Provide security coverage after 6:00 p.m. to closing.

6) Add two refuse containers at the gasoline pump islands, one refuse container near the convenience store entrance, and one refuse container at the other (west) end of the shopping center.

7) Provide a defined pedestrian pathway/steps through the parking landscaped island/median servicing the parking area along the Redan Road frontage.

8) Any change in exterior building façade, including wall signage, the building parapet wall, and/or accent walls, shall be painted in compliance with the Hidden Hills Overlay District requirements.


APD Solutions

The Panola Slope zoning requests will come before the Planning Commission Sept. 9 (6:30 p.m.) and the Board of Commissioners Sept 23 (6:30 p.m.). We discussed how the redevelopment fits in with the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation’s mission of economic development. Even though we do not have the answers to all of our questions, we are inclined to support the project because it is upscale and promotes economic development. We will request a meeting with the developer on the Panola Slope property to review the project one more time. Following that meeting, we will decide whether to issue a letter of support.


Lot near LA Fitness
No word yet on a meeting with Halpern, the owners.


New Business

Nadine made contact with Kroger’s. The manager is still eager to help set up a meeting of business owners. Nadine will keep working on the arrangements.

We will plan a general public meeting for Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m. Nadine will approach White Oaks church about using their facility. We will find a marketing expert to speak to the group about ways to reach and attract customers. This would be a great time to pass out Char’s streetscape brochure.


Future Dates

Our next board meeting will be Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.

Our next general public meeting will be Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m.