Slaughterhouse on Trial

Rudolph Bradford is going to trial June 22, 1 p.m., but he has already asked for a change of venue.  Bradford is accused of running an illegal slaughterhouse at 1676 Rice Road. He was told to “cease and desist” on March 1, 2019, but he did not.  In fact, as of May, he has slaughtered 4,339 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep in his backyard since the order was issued. 

State Court is back in person, but with limited seating. Assistant Solicitor General Karen Scott has been keeping us in the loop and says that the best option is to watch the proceedings online:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOYFcIJ-UTPPL0tHczknwdw/featured

APEX Advocacy continues to work hard to keep this matter in the public eye.  More than 1,600 emails have been sent to the County thanks to APEX’s efforts. Concerned citizens have been attending the DeKalb Animal Services Advisory board call (next one June 17, 7 p.m., zoom link) and the Board of Commissioner meetings. If you can’t attend a meeting, founder Christopher Eubanks has several ways that you can participate:

Join the June 15 Call to Set Direction for Hairston Park Improvements

Last December, we shared our ideas about improvements needed at Hairston Park, and now we’re having our second public meeting. The DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs and the Foresite Group are working on the master plan with our input. Please join the call. It is important that the County knows we care about this park. Plus, they want to hear your opinions.

Zoom call: Wednesday, June 15, at 6:00 p.m.
https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/89112537122
To join the meeting by phone, dial 888-270-9936, and use conference code 399422.

Lovers of Fine-Feathered Friends

Save the date. We’re having a bird-watching guided tour at Hairston Park July 9, 11 a.m.  The National Audubon Society has graciously agreed to lead the tour. More details to come.

Give Our Side of DeKalb County a Voice: Share Your Thoughts on DeKalb’s Future

Decisions are being made about where to spend money on transportation, sidewalks, and community improvements in DeKalb.  Help set priorities by taking the survey.  We’ve been promoting it for several months, but they are leaving it up past the deadline in hopes of hearing from more people.

Go to  www.dekalb2050unifiedplan.com/

The next GHHCDC meeting is June 18, 10 a.m.

We’re meeting in person!  Please wear a mask.

Join us at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park, Stone Mountain, 30088.  

We always appreciate your support.

Membership is $20 for individuals and $100 for neighborhood associations and businesses.  Click the Donate button at the top of the page, left-hand side. Or go directly to PayPal:

Thank you for reading. We encourage you to do what you can today to make improvements in our community.

Jan Costello
President

Calls for Better Businesses

More than 100 residents carried placards and marched on April 30, calling on businesses in the area to step up their game.  What is a better business? That’s simple: it’s a business that

  • ensures a safe, clean, welcoming environment for shoppers. 
  • provides goods and services that we want (so we don’t have to spend our money outside the community).
  • hires our residents.
  • invests in our community with sponsorships and goodwill activities. 

The Rockbridge Coalition, the NAACP, and Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson co-sponsored the event.  House District 87 Representative Viola Davis attended. The event was covered by several news organizations.  Hidden Hills and other neighborhoods were active participants. Stay tuned. There will be more developments as the organizers move from protest to demands that businesses pledge themselves to better operation.

Thanks to James Johnson and Tanniel Robertson for the great photos.  Many more can be seen at

https://www.jpsphotographs.com/Hidden-Hills/Stop-the-madness-rally/

No Slaughterhouses in Our Backyard

Sounds like a repeat headline?  That’s because it is.  For 38 months, we’ve been trying to get DeKalb County to enforce its cease-and-desist order against Bradford Homes and Gardens, a business operating out of the residence at 1676 Rice Road, just down the street from Redan Elementary school. The County is waiting for the courts to act.  There are cases before State Court and Superior Court. There have been numerous delays and appeals (see the County’s synopsis below*).

Is it truly the case that nothing else can be done?  Since Bradford has been in operation, 6,351 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep have been slaughtered in his backyard, the meat sold, and the leftovers going where?  His septic system? The ground?  What is the environmental impact?  What are the health hazards?  Most of that slaughtering happened AFTER he was given the order to stop.

If you’re tired of your government standing by while our laws are ignored, then you should speak up.  APEX Advocacy makes it easy. Christopher Eubanks has all the information you need to write targeted emails to the elected officials who can and should make a difference. He has organized protests, passed out hundreds of fliers, and recruited hundreds of people to write the County. 

Please visit the following site to take action
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-dekalb-county-to-take-immediate-action-to-shutdown-unauthorized-slaughterhouse?source=direct_link&

*Synopsis provided by the CEO’s office May 11:

The Office of the Solicitor General is handling the criminal citations issued by the DeKalb County Code Compliance Administration concerning Bradford’s Livestock. The defendant, Rudolph Bradford, was arraigned in State Court on Sept. 27, 2021. The defendant has requested a jury trial, which has yet to be scheduled by the court.

Additionally, Mr. Bradford filed a lawsuit in January 2020 against DeKalb County, seven district Commissioners, and two code compliance officers. The county filed a motion to dismiss on June 23, 2020, which, after delays due to COVID-19, was granted on December 1, 2021, by the Superior Court.  Mr. Bradford appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia seeking a discretionary review. However, the Supreme Court determined that it did not have proper jurisdiction and transferred the appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals on January 27, 2022.  On March 4, 2022, the Court of Appeals denied Mr. Bradford’s application for appeal.  Mr. Bradford asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider his appeal and the Court of Appeals denied his request on May 5, 2022.  Mr. Rudolph may now pursue an appeal of the Court of Appeals’ ruling to the Supreme Court of Georgia.  If he does not appeal or if that further attempted appeal is denied, the case will be sent back to the trial court for action on the County defendants’ counterclaims.

As you can see from this summary, the county is working diligently through the legal process to address the quality-of-life concerns regarding Bradford’s Livestock.

We appreciate your patience.

Enjoy a Morning in the Park

On May 21, 9 a.m., we ask all volunteers to come to Hairston Park and help prepare the grounds for the Serenity Gardens.  There are a variety of jobs, and everyone’s efforts will make a difference. Bring your work gloves and water. We recommend that you wear pants and long sleeves.  We hope you will take part. This area will soon showcase native plants and offer awesome, tranquil spaces.

Address: 889 S. Hairston Road. Stone Mountain

Share Your Thoughts on DeKalb’s Future

There are two meeting left to talk about your expectations for land use and transportation in DeKalb County. The County would like your input.  You may join the conversation on Thursday May 12, 6:00 – 7:30 pm or Saturday, May 14, 11:00-12:30 p.m.

To get the link for the meeting and more information, go to  www.dekalb2050unifiedplan.com/

The next GHHCDC meeting is May 14, 10 a.m., and we’re meeting in person!  Please wear a mask.

Join us at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park, Stone Mountain, 30088. You can listen by Zoom at the following link. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87819930081?pwd=S2NXaWhBWkdQd080V0R5NFFTVTBwdz09

Phone:  1-301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 878 1993 0081
Passcode: 767205

We always appreciate your support.

Membership is $20 for individuals and $100 for neighborhood associations and businesses. 

or go directly to PayPal:

Thank you for reading. We encourage you to do what you can today to make improvements in our community.

Jan Costello
President

Change  — The Good, Bad, and Ugly

I have lived in Hidden Hills since 1991.  I was here when you could go to the Redan/Hairston intersection and find a Pike’s Nursery, sit-down/full service restaurants, home furnishings, a lovely card and gift shop, a florist, and many other fine businesses.  We know these are gone. We have a few business owners who are working hard to serve the community well.  However, we also know about the murders and criminal activity at the Chevron gas station. When the police aren’t there, illicit behavior flagrantly continues. We see the semitrucks parked illegally at Redan Village and the homeless encampments. (The homeless were offered County assistance, but they refused help.) We know that the new owners of Crowe’s Shopping Center have no interest in doing anything beyond the bare minimum. 

So, it is with stunned relief that I have noticed the improvements at Hairston Square, now owned by Hale Retail Group.  There’s a new roof, the façade is painted, new paving and stripes, new landscaping, and much less trash. Soon, there will be new signs.  It is incredible and very welcome.  Steve Maxey, the property manager, has expressed to me that the company knows that a clean, attractive shopping center attracts high-quality tenants and customers.  Hale Retail is working on turning Hairston Square around.  Hairston Square, the southwest corner of Redan/Hairston, sets a great example of what shopping centers can do if the owners only care enough.

But, we have seen that the other three quadrants are sadly lacking in business sense and community concern.  People are fed up.  There is a protest April 30, 9 – 11 a.m. organized by the Rockbridge Coalition to ask the County and business owners to step up and solve the problems of crime and decay in our business district.  Please meet at the Kroger parking lot.   Read more at www.therockbridgecoalition.org

No Slaughterhouses in Our Backyard

APEX Advocacy has joined our efforts to insist that DeKalb County take action and shut down the slaughterhouse that is operating in a residential neighborhood near Redan Elementary. The business was issued a cease-and-desist order three years ago, to no avail.   Rudolf Bradford has slaughtered 4,088 animals in his backyard since the order was issued (March 1, 2019 – March 31, 2021). 

Thanks to APEX Advocacy, led by Christopher Eubanks, for staging a protest April 4 that received coverage in the Tucker Observer .

The group is also using social media and has generated 800 unique emails to key County officials.  There are simple ways you can get involved to make DeKalb County enforce its laws.  Please click the link below to take action.

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-dekalb-county-to-take-immediate-action-to-shutdown-unauthorized-slaughterhouse?source=direct_link&

The criminal and civil cases are still stalled in court. However, we learned through Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson that Bradford lost a recent appeal on March 4, but he is bound to appeal again.  Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams says there is nothing more that can be done until the Court moves.  We disagree. 

Please view the photos and read more in the Tucker Observer:

Join Us May 14

The next GHHCDC meeting is May 14, 10 a.m., and we’re meeting in person!  Please wear a mask.

Join us at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park, Stone Mountain, 30088. You can listen by Zoom at the following link. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87819930081?pwd=S2NXaWhBWkdQd080V0R5NFFTVTBwdz09

Phone:  1-301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 878 1993 0081
Passcode: 767205

We always appreciate your support. Membership is $20 for individuals and $100 for neighborhood associations and businesses. 

or go directly to PayPal:

Thank you for reading. We encourage you to do what you can today to make improvements in our community.

Jan Costello
President

March Update on Protest, New Restaurant, Trees, Red Hot Mess at Redan Village, and More

Protest! Shut Down the Slaughterhouse in the Residential Neighborhood

Since March 2019, Rudolf Bradford, owner of the slaughterhouse at 1676 Rice Road (near Redan Elementary School) has killed 4,019 cows, pigs, goats and sheep and sold the carcasses to individuals even though there is a cease-and-desist order from DeKalb County went into effect that month. Slaughterhouses are not allowed in residential areas.   We have been trying for 36 months to get the law enforced. There have been Covid delays, backlogs in the courts, and delay tactics from Rudolf Bradford, but how long can the excuses last?

Ryan Brown finally got the County to respond to his questions, and now the County has finally decided to seek injunctive relief. 

Christopher Eubanks, founder of APEX Advocacy, has enlisted his network and has prompted 350 people to write to the CEO and ask for action.  The campaign now enters the protest phase. On April 4, noon, opponents of the neighborhood slaughterhouse will gather outside the DeKalb County government building at 1300 Commerce Drive.  Please go to one of the links below to RSVP.

Feel free to bring your own signs. There will be a limited number of signs provided.  

Date: Monday, April 4th, 2022, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location: 1300 Commerce Dr, Decatur, GA 30030-3222, Dekalb County Government Building

Meeting Point: We will meet on the sidewalk beside the visitors entrance sign and the sign with CEO Michael Thurmond’s name.

Travel: Take MARTA to Decatur Station and the DeKalb County government building is an 8-minute walk.

Parking: There is street parking available or you can park in the DeKalb County Courthouse Parking Deck at 125 W Trinity Pl, Decatur, GA 30030. Parking is typically $6.

Facebook: https://fb.me/e/67agu3aTb

Meet Up: https://www.meetup.com/atlanta-animal-rights/events/284742992/

ActionNetwork: https://actionnetwork.org/events/protest-illegal-slaughterhouse-in-dekalb-county/

Rezoning Request Approved for New Restaurant/Club

The Rockstone Café received approval March 24 for the rezoning request at 1726 Panola Road (across from Berean Church). The approval came with the conditions that are attached to all Tier Two zoning, plus noise restrictions.  We asked for these conditions, and we are pleased that the owner, Adian Prince, accepted them without reservation.  The restaurant will have a West Indian theme. It will close at 12:30 on Fridays and Saturdays We look forward to having a wonderful restaurant in the community. 

More Trees in the Fall

Trees Atlanta and the DeKalb Arborist have committed to planting more trees on S. Hairston, this time on both sides of the Woodway/Bishop Ming intersection.  These trees are part of the ReLeaf DeKalb program, and at last count, there are 67 available.  

Trees Atlanta was too busy this spring to get them planted, but they committed to a planting next fall. By the way, the 50 trees we planted last November (on S. Hairston, near Antioch A.M.E. Church).  Stay tuned for more ways to increase tree cover and beautify our community!

Redan Village – Illegal Truck Parking and Homeless Encampment

DeKalb County is aware of the homeless encampment on the vacant Wells Fargo property at 4798 Redan Road, in Redan Village (corner of Redan and S. Hairston).  It is aware of the many tractor-trailers and truck cabs illegally parked at the shopping center.  Commissioner Bradshaw told us that DeKalb Code Compliance has cited the property owner for “accumulation of open storage, illegal parking of tractor trailers, and repair of parking & walking surfaces.” He notes the Family Dollar has prior citations. 

The commissioner sent the Community Development Street Outreach Team to offer assistance to the homeless individuals, but they refused services. Commissioner Bradshaw promised to contact Wells Fargo and urge them to handle the homeless camp on their property.  Wells Fargo needs to evict the squatters and erect a fence around its property. 

So, we’re still in a holding pattern.  I reached out to Wells Fargo’s property manager, and I was told they are pricing fencing and considering what action to take. We’ll keep you posted

We always appreciate your support.

Membership is $20 for individuals and $100 for neighborhood associations and businesses. 

or go directly to PayPal:

The next GHHCDC meeting is April 9, 10 a.m., and we’re meeting in person!

Please wear a mask.

Join us at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park, Stone Mountain, 30088

Thank you for reading. We encourage you to do what you can today to make improvements in our community.

Jan Costello
President

February Updates

Tour of Tiny Houses

There is an effort in DeKalb County to create zoning that allows the development of “cottage housing” communities. These homes are typically on 770-1800 square feet, on small lots, with a public greenspace in the center. It’s a cool concept and would allow more types of housing choices. Did you know that 80% of American households are not traditional nuclear families, yet 72% of the housing units cater to traditional nuclear families? There is a mismatch of need and supply.

The public is invited to see the concept. Clarkston has a community that will be on tour

Feb.  19, 11:30-12:30 p.m.   

1182 Vaughan Street, Clarkston

If you would like to go, please RSVP at this link:

If you would like to learn more about Cottage Housing, please visit https://www.microlifeinstitute.org/

Note: No parking will be available on site.
Free parking throughout Clarkston:

  1. Vaughan St, between Montreal Rd and Market St
  2. Market St, between E Ponce de Leon Ave and N Indian Creek Dr
  3. E Ponce de Leon Ave, between Hill St and Market St
  4. Clarkston Woman’s Club, 3913 Church St
  5. Clarkston United Methodist Church, 1019 Rogers St (Rogers St entrance only, just west of Market St.)

Short walk to the Cottages on Vaughan at 1182 Vaughan St, Clarkston, GA 30021

State Shenanigans

State Senator Emanuel Jones is busy trying to remove the two super districts in DeKalb County.  This means that each resident would have half as much representation. The plan cannot go through without a public referendum, as State Representative Viola Davis pointed out and had lawyers confirm.

You may read more at:

https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/contentious-dekalb-redistricting-proposal-would-require-a-referendum/UVOP6GS63RHTPPZJ6CUZXYFJ3Q/?fbclid=IwAR2Mn6XiIb0MJo2L8SCc0ar4_48DWYvCaVkRLhofTm9YMXjO0niSpTP5IYw

If you would like to express your views on this matter, please write to our state delegation.

DeKalb Delegation Members:

More Slaughterhouses?

On another matter, some state representatives are trying to take away zoning rights of property owners who live near farms and agricultural operations.  We appreciate Rep. Viola Davis for pointing out this proposed power grab.  Zoning decisions belong at the local level.  Look how hard we are fighting to close a slaughterhouse in a residential neighborhood near Redan Elementary School (close to 4,000 animals slaughtered there since the County ordered it to cease and desist.  We are completely appalled by the lack of County enforcement protocol, and we continue asking for action.

Here is the link to a news story about the proposed bill that could led to more slaughterhouses.

https://www.ajc.com/politics/georgia-farm-legislative-bill-takes-aim-at-property-rights-disputes/3GJRRIHIZNCIXJ26NQNTYKL2B4/

You may speak out against the slaughterhouse and the lack of action at the DeKalb County Animal Services Citizens Advisory Board meeting Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.  Public comments usually begin about 7:15.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81123099875?fbclid=IwAR0fg4mG7bPM-5dvuu1hpjynT5w4VnbTJMcnLitOIi9ZwROakRAn1e1awN0#success

Rezoning Request for New Restaurant/Club

Adian Prince announced plans to build the Rockstone Café at 1726 Panola Road (across from Berean Church). It sounds appealing, but we want any zoning change to include conditions that will make the site conform to the Hidden Hills Overlay standards. Once the zoning is changed from residential to commercial, anything could happen. The conditions are critical.

We’ve reached out to Mr. Prince, but we have not heard back.  We shared our concerns at the District Five Community Council meeting on Feb. 7. 

Next up—the Planning Commission hears the case.  You may join us in expressing your concerns. 

March 3, 5:30 p.m.

https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94261560575#success

The item is fourth on the agenda.

The effort to make the Great Hidden Hills community attractive to high-quality businesses continues. 

We met with the new property manager at Crowe’s Plaza, and they cleaned up the parking lot after we showed them pictures of the trash that had piled up during their first two weeks of management.  We hope to meet with other shopping center managers soon. We continue to make streetscape improvements.

We would appreciate your continued support. Membership is $20 for individuals and $100 for neighborhood associations and businesses.  Click the Donate Here button at the top of the screen.

The next GHHCDC meeting is Feb. 26, 10 a.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88497600782?pwd=SzNWTFBaSGY0cjMwOFRsYW11QVdVUT09

Meeting ID: 884 9760 0782

Passcode: 922956

312-626-6799

Happy New Year 2022!

Environment Service Opportunity

The  DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District is actively seeking a volunteer in your area! Position can either be elected or appointed. Must have flexible schedule and able to attend 2nd friday (virtual for now) monthly meetings that begin at 10am.

https://gaswcc.georgia.gov/soil-water-conservation-districts/how-do-i-become-swcd-supervisor

Georgia has 40 soil and water conservation districts and 370 Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors. District supervisors are either elected for a four-year term or are appointed to a two-year term.

Please contact Victoria Webb to ask questions or express interest.
vic@furiousdreams.com

Marta is Improving Indian Creek

Ten million dollars is being invested in the Indian Creek MARTA station. The project improvements include a new lighted walkway from the parking to lot into the station, replacing all signage and damaged concrete, new public restrooms, tile cladding on the concourse level, and new landscaping. We are excited about the investment.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 22, and Rod Frierson, a Hidden Hills resident for 30+ years and member of the MARTA Board of Directors, is pictured 2nd from the left.

There’s a short video about the project featuring DeKalb’s own Charles David Moody, founder and president of CD Moody Construction, which will do lots of the work.