Hearing Postponed

The Aug. 25, Planning Commission hearing to review the Hidden Hills townhome/apartment development will be deferred to Sept. 22, 6 p.m. The meeting was postponed due to insufficient public notice.

The GHHCDC and Hidden Hills Civic Association are working to get the developers’ commitments in writing and to get renderings. We will keep you posted.

We want to work with the developers to explain their intention to convert the office building to assisted living or elder care; define what will happen to the greenspace; and add details about the amenities.

Once the Planning Commission makes a decision, there is no more review. It does not go to the Board of Commissioners.

We will provide the Zoom link for the meeting once we get it.

August News

We’re meeting Aug. 21, 10 – 11 a.m.

At Saturday’s meeting, we will have an update on the public hearing on the proposed townhome/apartment development on the center of the closed Hidden Hills golf course. We will also discuss proposed developments on Panola Road and Rockbridge/Hairston.

Join GHHCDC Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 825 2989 4562

Passcode: 099974

Phone: 646 558 8656 

The Planning Commission is reviewing the Hidden Hills sketch plat on  Aug. 25, 6 p.m.  The Commission can vote to approve, deny, or defer for a one-time revision.  We are asking for the item to be put on the next meeting date because this one did not meet the publication notice deadlines. 

We want to work with the developer to explain their intention to convert the office building to assisted living or elder care; define what will happen to the greenspace; add details about the amenities.

Once the Planning Commission  makes a decision, there are no more review. It does not go to the Board of Commissioners.

You can attend the Planning Commission meeting Aug. 25, 6 p.m.  at: 


Dial: 888 270 9936 (US Toll Free) Conference code: 934462

The sketch plat that the Planning Commission  will review is available at:


Late-Night Establishments in Tier Two Modified Sensibly

The Board of Commissioners approved a sensible amendment to the late-night establishments in Tier Two of the Hidden Hills overlay district.  It will allow them as long as the establishment meets stringent noise control requirements – basically there can be no noise, including bass tones and vibrations, that one can hear outside the building.

This was a compromise worked out over many meetings during the past months. However, the Sherrington group is not satisfied and has asked for another hearing to prevent any late-night establishment from being within 500 feet of a residential boundary line. The problem with that tactic is that it will cut out the opportunity for a late-night establishment in most parts of Tier Two.

This link will show you a map of the overlay district.


What is a late-night establishment? “Any establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises where such establishment is open for use by patrons beyond 12:30 a.m.  A late-night establishment must be 1,500 feet away from the line of property zoned residential.” 

Please write to our commissioners to tell them thank you for the amendment. The extra protection with noise controls is a good idea. No other change is needed.   

Cochran-Johnson, Lorraine, Commissioner District 7

Johnson, Mereda D., Commissioner District 5

Steve Bradshaw, Commissioner District 4

Last chance! Survey closes Aug. 22!

What is your vision for DeKalb County? Please take a few minutes to share your opinion.  Take the online survey at www.dekalb2050unifiedplan.com/

Stay safe everybody!

Meetings on Wesley Chapel Developments, GHHCDC, and Greenspace

Keeping Up Appearances

The median on Hairston Road received a lot of mowing attention recently, due in large part to Walter Kimp’s advocacy.  He and Erica Weaver have also been asking DeKalb County to do more than mow.  As Erica wrote, “edging and curb clean-up should be a part of the county maintenance crews as well as any future contracts awarded.  When traveling through many of our local cities and counties, the maintenance of their public right of ways is far superior to what we see in DeKalb County.” Well-maintained streetscapes send a message that the community cares and it encourages development. 

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson responded to the emails and promises to work on including edging and curb clean-up in future contracts.

Learn about Developments at Wesley Chapel/I-20

Construction is underway at Snapfinger and Wesley Chapel. How does this fit into the comprehensive plan for the area? What are other commercial property owners planning?  Walter Kimp and other interested residents have put together this meeting for the community. It will feature the Planning Department, several Commissioners, property developers and the East Metro CID.  The community may ask questions via chat.  It is both an information meeting and an opportunity to press for the realization of the vision the community has for the area.

Join the Wesley Chapel Business Update meeting at 6:30 p.m., July 21, at this link:


Meeting ID: 819 3527 6065

Passcode: 083258


The next GHHCDC meeting is July 24, 10 a.m.

We’ll discuss business developments in the area. You may join at this link:


Meeting ID: 811 2517 7861

Passcode: 396844

Telephone: 646 558 8656

Greenspace – once it’s paved over, who benefits?

Learn about the plans to destroy 150 – 300 acres of forest for a police training center operated by the city of Atlanta. Make your voice hear by attending a virtual meeting July 29, 6 p.m.

Click here for the meeting link. As of this email, the details had not been made public.


The situation is unusual.  The land is in DeKalb County, but the City of Atlanta has the lease.  The City wants to clear-cut the land and build a training center.  You can learn more about the plans at these links:




Late-night establishments under review

The text amendment to prohibit late-night establishments in Tier Two of the Great Hidden Hills overlay zone went through more changes before being considered by the Planning Commission July 8.  The Planning Department decided that the amendment should apply only to Tier 2 and that any request go through the Special Land Use Permit process.  Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) recommended that the amendment also require an late-night establishment be located 2,000 feet from the boundary of residential property (currently the distance is 1,500 feet.) We asked for traffic and noise controls.   GHHCDC does not want a complete prohibition because there are decent late-night establishments, and we would like some in our neighborhood.

The Planning Commission did not like any of the options, and deferred the matter to the Board of Commissioners.  The BOC will hear the case July 29; the meeting starts at 5:30. 


888-270-9936 (US Toll Free)

Conference code: 217687

There are many items on the agenda, and this one was second to last, which meant we were on the call four hours before our item was heard.  Awful! Thank you Phyllis Frierson for sticking it out and making wise and useful comments. Billy Ray Jones and Dawn Foster stayed involved, too, lending moral support.  Thank you!

Thank you for your attention.

Jan Costello

Meeting June 26, 10-11 a.m.

We will discuss the proposed text amendment to prohibit late-night establishments, tree-planting initiative on Hairston Road, the upcoming meeting on the Panola/Young development, and Hairston Park.

Join the Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 851 3335 5523

Passcode: 177619

Phone: 646-558-8656

Click here to access background on the text amendment.

Click here to access the May 15 meeting minutes.

Your Opinion Wanted on New Plan for Panola/Young Road Site and Future of County

Meeting on New Plans for Panola Road/Young Road   

CityView Design Build has digested the results of our survey, and now they are ready to get feedback on a new proposal for 1744 and 1762 Panola Road.  This address is next to Family Dollar, catty-corner from Berean Christian Church.

This a pre-submittal community meeting, and will be followed with the regular Planning review.   

The request is to rezone the existing parcels from R-100 (residential) to C-1 (commercial) to construct a neighborhood retail center.

Please join the meeting on  Zoom on Wednesday, June 30, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., at the link below. Plans will be presented and comments heard.


Meeting ID: 738 1828 7867

Passcode: 501WCD

Background: In March, after hearing from the community, the developers withdrew their proposal to put a gas station there. 

Note: If you would like, you can see the results of the survey of the community about their preferences at this link:


Get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County. Take the online survey. Your opinion matters.

Zig Ziglar, the inspirational business leader, said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” 

You can help DeKalb County set goals and head in your preferred direction. Just take the survey. Share your opinion! Influence the future!

Go to this site for information:


Click the link to take our survey https://engagekh.com/dekalbup#/sidebar/tab/about

June Update on Our Community

Police on Patrol at Troubled Intersection

The DeKalb County Police Department has been responsive to calls for more patrols near Redan and S. Hairston following a deadly shooting late on May 16. More than two dozen shots were fired into a crowd of people outside a smoke shop next to the Chevron station. In addition to more patrols, the Tucker Police Precinct held its roll call on the site on May 19, and many police cars have been visible in the area. 

Police Chief Mirtha Ramos held a public Zoom meeting on May 18.  Assistant Chief Gregory Padrick says that the business licenses are being checked.  Major Hughes and Major Medlin says that cameras are effective, and they have encouraged the store owners to get cameras.   Just a week before this tragic crime, Major Hughes was on a Zoom call with the community talking about crime and how the police are targeting hotspots.

The police urge you to call 911 if you see suspected criminal activity.

If the call is not urgent, call 404 294-7911 or 678 406 7932. Those numbers were provided by Major Hughes.

Several people in the community have asked the chief to put a precinct in the area, and she said that she would give it some thought.

The DeKalb Police Department urges you to follow them on social media:

Twitter:   #WeAreDKPD

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/DeKalbCountyPD/

Golf and Tennis Tournament at Sugar Creek

On June 11 – 12, Sugar Creek is holding its first annual golf and tennis tournament.  It’s part of the grand celebration of the reopening of the golf and tennis facility in South DeKalb County. 

Friday, June 11

6:00pm-9:00pm – Tennis Tournament and Meet & Greet

Saturday, June 12

8:00am – 1:00pm – Golf Tournament

** Tennis Registration includes: Friday night Meet & Greet.

** Golf Registration includes: Friday night Meet & Greet, breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

For more information and to register, go to https://www.sugarcreekgt.com/

Get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County.

Several public meetings have been held about the direction we would like to go in the next 30 years. You can still take the online survey.  Share your opinion! Influence the future!

Go to this site for information and to take the survey:


Lidl is opening June 9 on Covington Highway, just west of Panola. 

We’ve been waiting for this store for a long time.  The first public hearing we had on it was Dec. 16, 2016.

Update on Pep Boys at S. Hairston/Covington

It’s not closing, but is transitioning to a “dedicated service center,” according to the staff.  There will not be parts and retail sales beginning July 11. It will still offer auto repairs.

Judge Delays Decision on Controversial Stonecrest Recycling Plant

On April 28, for about six hours, the case was made for and against Metro Green Recycling’s controversial cement plant on 50 acres near Miller Middle School (on Snapfinger Woods Drive and Miller Road).  The case has languished for months.  A citizen activist group and various elected officials contend that the company was improperly authorized by the Environmental Protection Division (EPD).  Metro Green disputes the claim and points out that the city of Stonecrest wrote a letter of approval to the EPD. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie says she must consider the arguments before she makes a ruling.  To read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s article on the hearing, click here.

Slaughterhouse Continues to Violate County Law

The slaughtering continues at 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia (near Redan Elementary School) as we wait for the case to go to trial. Rudolph Bradford, owner of Bradford Home & Grounds, has been cited for operating a business without a license, a business NOT allowed in a residential zone, and for violating a cease-and-desist order issued March 1, 2019.  He is countersuing. 

According to GA Department of Agriculture records, he has slaughtered more than 500 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep this year.  Since the department first started keeping records on him, he has slaughtered 4,816 animals at this residential property since Jan. 31, 2016.

The pandemic kept Superior Court from holding trials. Hopefully, this case will be on the docket soon.   

Our next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting is June 26, 10 a.m. 

Join us at this link:


Meeting ID: 851 3335 5523

Passcode: 177619

Thank you for reading the update.  Stay safe and continue building our great community.

Jan Costello
GHHCDC President

Gratitude, groundbreaking, new developments

May Update in the Greater Hidden Hills Community

We are happy to welcome The Villas to the Greater Hidden Hills CDC.

They join our other neighborhood associations: Carriage Woods, Carriage Cluster, The Highlands, Hidden Hills, Mainstreet, and Kingsgate. Thank you, neighbors! Together, we are making our voices heard as we work to improve our commercial corridors and our quality of life. If you would like to join as an individual, it is $20. Neighborhoods and business memberships are $100.  The membership link is on our website. Go to Donate Here at the top bar.

Ground has been broken for the new community & senior center on the north end of Hairston Park,

at 4885 Elam Road. DeKalb County District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw hosted the much anticipated ceremony 4885 Elam Road April 15, 2021.  Many heartfelt speeches were given, including one by Commissioner Bradshaw who initiated and nurtured the development of this center, and one by Friends of Hairston Park president Gwendolyn Saunders. 
You can watch the video at the link below.  All of the speeches are inspiring, but if you are short of time, jump to 16:15 to see Commissioner’s Bradshaw’s remarks and to 55:15 to see Gwendolyn’s.  

We continue to follow the proposed development for the center of the closed Hidden Hills golf course.

We will provide an update at our May 15, 10 a.m. meeting. We will also discuss initiatives to improve the overlay district code,  beautify the median on Hairston, and fight crime at some commercial corners.  

Please join us for our next meeting, May 15, 10 a.m.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 823 3902 0755
Passcode: 049090
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb2CkQGV8H

Now is the time to get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County.

Discussions about the 2050 comprehensive plan are underway.  There are two ways to get involved in the public process. 

  1. Attend a virtual public meeting
  2. Take the online survey

The meetings are offered

  • May 17, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • May 19, 2:30-4 p.m.
  • May 20, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

You may register for the meeting and get the link at http://www.dekalb2050unifiedplan.com

or email 2050unifiedplan@dekalbcountyga.gov

Thank you for reading this update.

May you be healthy and committed to making progress in our community.

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Happy Spring, Everybody!

This newsletter is longer than most. We cover the groundbreaking of the new community/senior center at Hairston Park, the survey results for businesses you would like to see at Panola and Young, the Hairston Park Clear the Trail Day, and an update on the proposed development on the closed Hidden Hills golf course. 

Groundbreaking for the new Community and Senior Center in Hairston Park

The dirt will finally start moving April 15, 10 a.m. You can watch the groundbreaking live at


Parking is very limited. If you do go, masks and social distancing are required.  The center is at 4885 Elam Road, Stone Mountain.  It is the first community and senior center in District 4, and it will have an indoor lap pool. Commissioner Steve Bradshaw and the DeKalb County Community Development have been working for three years on the plans, and the public has been included in the process in several public meetings. 

We continue to work with Community Development and the DeKalb County Parks Department to build a hardscape walking path from the center to the center of Hairston Park.  

Survey of Preferred Uses near Panola and Young Road

Thank you for your survey input on what to put on the parcels at 1762 and 1764 Panola Road, across from Berean Christian Church.  The developers withdrew their plan to put a gas station/convenience store there, and we are most grateful. 

We wanted to let them know what we would support, and that’s why we asked you.  We shared the results with the developers, and they were pleased to receive them.

We heard from people in five zip codes, most of them in Stone Mountain. The survey results show that more than half of the respondents are open to commercial development. About an equal number prefer medium-density residential.

It is currently zoned residential (R-100, which means single-family homes on medium- to large-sized lots. We asked people if it were to be rezoned, which of the choices listed are best (and people could pick more than one).

We asked people If it were to win approval to become commercial, what businesses would you like to see on the 1.38 acres?

  1. Commercial
  2. School
  3. Law firm, financial/accounting/bookkeeping, Call Center where locals can be employed.
  4. Chipotle, Starbucks, Gusto!, Panera, Blaze Pizza
  5. Publix
  6. Seafood Market, Meat Market, Coffee whop with sit-in area
  7. Restaurant
  8. Juice bar, medical clinic, mental health clinic, professional buildings, standalone pharmacy
  9. Upscale restaurant
  10. Restaurants, bar
  11. Starbucks
  12. Office blog like insurance, realtor or tax office
  13. Residential
  14. Smoothie King or Planet Smoothie Small home and gift shop Health/Wellness Store
  15. Office Space
  16. None, there are already enough strip malls within in range of this property.
  17. I would love to see something like a JoAnn’s or Michaels. No more dollar stores, a Chick-fil-A on our side of Wesley Chapel.
  18. None
  19. Lidl grocery
  20. Coffee shop, juice bar, cookie/cake bakery, casual dining restaurant
  21. Office building
  22. Starbucks, Chipotle
  23. Restaurant
  24. Coffee shop, accountant office, doctor’s office, bakery (not a Dunkin Donuts)
  25. Nice Lofts for residents.
  26. Doctor’s office, dental office
  27. None, there are already enough strip malls within in range of this property.
  28. cookie or cake shop
  29. We should build big Lofts on upscale end.

We asked specifically about businesses that are on the approved use list in the Hidden Hills overlay zoning district. These parcels fall just outside of the boundaries, but we think the list is appropriate.

Again, thank you for taking the survey. Your opinion will help shape development.

The Clear the Trail workday in Hairston Park March 27 was a huge success.

Twenty-five friends showed up, and we cleared the trail around the small lake. Jason Woods led the work crew. Jonathan Stegall picked up and shared the work tools we rented from Tool Bank, and he took them back. Patrick Medley and John Deas provided tremendous motivational support. Antioch A.M.E. Church Senior Pastor Vandy C. Simmons cleared a lot of brush and brought many members with him, including Janice Hardy who helped take care of sign-in and directing volunteers. Abraham Smith brought his chain saw so that we could move chunks of huge trees that had fallen on the paths. We also appreciate District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran Johnson and staff liaison J.P. Phillips for lending a hand. Here are pictures of the grand morning when people who care worked together to open the paths in the park.

Plans to develop townhomes and apartments in the center of the closed Hidden Hills golf course and convert all of the fairways to permanent greenspace are still in the works.

The proposal has undergone a revision to include a community center and more amenities for the community.  We will keep you posted on the development.  When the plans are closer to being finalized, we will have a public meeting and show them to you.  You can also join our next meeting because I always show the current plans during the call.

Our next GHHCDC meeting is May 15, 10 a.m. We’ll send out the link closer to the date.

Thank you for being involved!

Jan Costello

Gas Station Update, Quick Survey on Business Preferences, and more

Update on Gas Station/Convenience Store on Panola near Young Road 

There was an unexpected development at the Planning Commission hearing on March 4 when the gas station/convenience store came up for review.  The developer said he no longer wants to put a gas station at 1762 Panola Road, across from Berean Christian Church.  Instead, he wants to put in a strip mall with businesses as yet undetermined. What are the types of business you would like to see? Take the survey and let us know.

His application cannot be amended once the process has begun.  He will have to submit a new application. The Planning Commission had to vote on what was before them, and they unanimously recommended denial. 

Several people in the community attended the call and spoke out. I thanked the developer for the withdrawal of the gas station and added that we needed to see the new proposal and have hearings on it.  Others spoke up, too, including Laura Ellis, Lois Dunlap, Phyllis Frierson, and Barbara McClendon.

The Board of Commissioners votes on the case Thursday, March 25, 5:30 p.m.  You may give your opinion at the meeting. 

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

Or dial: 602 333 0032

Conference code: 217687

If you want to review the application, go to https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info    and click on N15, N16, and N17.

The issue of allowing a renter to run a transitional home for teenaged boys was deferred to the Board of Commissioners.  The home is at 4552 Dorset Circle, Decatur, just off of Hairston Road, one mile from Wesley Chapel. According to the GA Department of Community Health, there are 13 “personal care-type” homes within one mile of this address. This issue will also be considered March 25 by the Board of Commissioners.

If you want to review the application, it is https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info  and click on N19.

Calling All Friends of Hairston Park

We look forward to seeing you on March 27th, 10 – noon!

This is our first workday of the year with additional safety protocols. Please be mindful of the following:

  • All volunteers must sign in
  • Liability waiver required
  • Masks MUST be worn at ALL times
  • Working spaces will be marked 6-12 feet to ensure social distancing
  • To reduce waste, bring your own refillable water bottle. (As an exception this year, we will have some extra water bottles on hand).
  • Bring sunscreen and/or bug spray. Long sleeves and denim pants are recommended.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, please stay at home! There will be other opportunities.

Yellow Rose Award Given to Gwendolyn Stegall

The State of Georgia recognized Gwendolyn Stegall, the president of Friends of Hairston Park, for her service to the community. On March 8, 2021, Gwen received the Yellow Rose Nikki T. Randall Servant Leadership Award. 

She was nominated by District 87 State Representative Viola Davis.  “Gwendolyn Stegall has a long history of serving our community with dedication, diligence and a heartfelt commitment,” said Rep. Davis. “I commend Gwendolyn for working extremely hard for many years to renovate the Hairston Park in DeKalb County and her efforts to acquire a $50,000 park grant from Park Pride. I also commend her for envisioning neighborhoods in this area coming together as a community to promote beautification, encourage commercial growth and cultivate business relationships.”

Gwen serves on the GHHCDC as treasurer and is president of the Carriage Cluster Neighborhood Association.  She and her husband Jonathan have lived in their home for 29 years, raising three children and doting on the grandchildren.

The Yellow Rose award was created in honor of former State Representative Nikki T. Randall, the first African American female elected to the Georgia General Assembly. Former Rep. Randall served as chair of the Georgia Legislative Women’s Caucus, and every year during Women’s History Month, this caucus recognizes outstanding women in Georgia who exemplify the leadership and inspiration embodied by former Rep. Randall.

We are all so proud of Gwendolyn Stegall and thrilled that she received recognition for her tireless efforts on behalf of the community. 

Please join us for the next GHHCDC meeting, 10-11 a.m. March 20. 

We will discuss the proposed developments on the closed golf course, business developments in the area, and other initiatives.

Click the Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 869 8168 4060


Stay involved and stay safe!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Speak Out Against Gas Station/Convenience Store on March 4, 5:30, via Zoom

Please come to the Planning Commission meeting Thursday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. Make your opinion known.  It makes a HUGE difference. Note – the Planning staff recommends approval with conditions, so if you care about this, you really must speak out.

The District 5 Community Council met Feb. 8 and heard from many residents who do not want this development. No one spoke in favor. The Council unanimously recommended denying the application.

Zoom   https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94261560575

Or Telephone: USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 934462

You can watch a simultaneous broadcast available on DCTV’s UStream link https://video.ibm.com/channel/dctv-channel-23

If you want to review the application, go to https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info    and click on N15, N16, and N17.

At this same meeting, speak out on the request to put another personal care home in the community.  The owner of 4552 Dorset Circle, Decatur, just off of Hairston Road, one mile from Wesley Chapel, wants to rent the home to a group home provider for boys.  Within a mile of this spot are eight homes that provide such services. Yes, children need loving care and supervision, but this neighborhood does not need any more transitional housing. If you know anyone in that area, please tell them about the meeting. The Planning staff recommends a full cycle deferral.

If you want to review the application, it is https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info  and click on N19.

Stay involved and stay safe!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC