Sign Petition. Splost Map. 5K Race. New Board Members

No slaughterhouses in our neighborhoods!    

This is a reminder to please sign the petition against allowing a slaughterhouse to operate in a DeKalb County neighborhood. Click here and sign the petition: http://chng.it/mtMYBR9G6x   

We will share it with commissioners Monday, prior to their vote on the matter Tuesday night.

Please join us if you can and Wear RED.  March 26, 6:30 p.m., 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. The Board responds to public pressure. Numbers count! 

Background:  Bradford Homes & Grounds has been running a slaughterhouse at 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, Ga., for at least five years without a proper DeKalb County business license. Since January 2016, he has slaughtered at least 2,174 animals. Now that Code Enforcement made the business license department aware of the problem, the owner is seeking a rezoning. In addition to signing the petition calling for the commissioners to DENY the rezoning, we encourage you to call or to write all county commissioners and urge them to DENY the request.

 

Keep up with your SPLOST dollars

Here’s a great link to see exactly how the SPLOST money is being spent.
https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/splost/dekalb-county-splost

Click on Project Map and zoom in on the area you want to see. It will show you exactly what projects are on the list, in progress, and completed.

 

Ready. Set. Go!

Join us May 4, 8:30 a.m., for the 2nd annual 5K Walk/Run through Hidden Hills. This is a fun event and a great way to start the day. It’s timed and certified for those who are keeping track. Sign up now at this link: http://www.wearehiddenhills.com/

 

Welcome to our New Board Members

KEN BLAKELY, Executive Committee-Board of Directors. Ken is a 26-year resident of the Hidden Hills community. This is his first year as a board member of GHHCDC.  Ken is retired after working for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) for 25 years in their Washington, DC and Atlanta offices. He currently is involved with several organizations that are working to bring economic development and increased pride in our community. In addition to working with the GHHCDC, Ken is on the Board of Directors of both the Hidden Hills Civic Association, and the Imagine Greenhaven cityhood initiative. He is also a member of the South Dekalb Improvement Association.

 

 

 

LARRY COLES, Executive Committee-Board of Directors. Larry has been a resident of DeKalb County since moving to Georgia over 20 years ago.  He is President of the Highlands at Hidden Hills Condominium Association (13 years), an active member of the Hidden Hills Civic Association, and member of GHHCDC since its inception.

Larry envisions a thriving, clean, and beautifully landscaped area where residents and businesses take pride and responsibility for building a vibrant community for the next generation. 

Larry currently serves as Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office in Atlanta.  He is responsible for building alliances and developing partnership opportunities and services for colleges and universities nationwide.  He has previously served as vice president and in senior management roles at Wells Fargo Bank, Urban Ed Express, the College Board, Georgia Student Finance Commission, and Brown University.

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No to the Slaughterhouse, Anti-Litter Campaign, Cricket, and More

A neighborhood is no place for a slaughterhouse

Bradford Homes & Grounds has been running a slaughterhouse at 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, Ga., for at least five years without a proper DeKalb County business license. Now that Code Enforcement made the business license department aware of the problem, the owner is seeking a rezoning. We ask you to call and write all county commissioners and urge them to DENY the request.

We also need you at the Board of Commissioners meeting, March 26, 6:30 p.m., 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. Wear red! The Board responds to public pressure. Numbers count!  Also, please sign the online petition that we will share with commissioners:  http://chng.it/mtMYBR9G6x

Unfortunately, only three people made the Planning Commission meeting. Despite a strong recommendation from the planning staff to deny the request, four commission members were in favor of granting it.  The commission could not get a majority vote, so that motion did not pass.  Instead, they passed the buck and recommended that the case be sent back for a full cycle deferral.

Here are the key reasons why you should ask for a denial:

Should not slaughter animals in a residential neighborhood

In the first two months of this year, 22 cattle, 5 pigs, 85 goats, and 98 sheep were slaughtered. The killing takes place in the middle of a neighborhood, 1/5 mile from Redan Elementary and ½ mile from Redan Recreation Center.

In the past three years, 2174 animals have been slaughtered, according to the GA Department of Agriculture. The meat is then sold to individual consumers.

This business does not belong in a residential neighborhood. The request is to rezone it as Residential Estate, but that doesn’t solve the problem of having an active slaughterhouse in the middle of a residential community.

Does not meet code

The property does not have the required building setbacks and fencing for the facility.

Has not followed the law

The owner has a history of operating outside the law. He began slaughtering in 2014 (possibly earlier) but was shut down by the GA Department of Agriculture for not having the proper state license. He has been operating for years under a DeKalb County business license that does not allow slaughterhouses, but rather construction.

Has numerous animal control complaints

Since 2012, Animal Control has been to the property numerous times, investigating the shooting of Canadian geese, unvaccinated dogs kept in barrels, ribs showing on a horse on the property, and concerns about the unsanitary conditions.

Please, write or call your county commissioners and ask them to DENY the rezoning. Also, come to the meeting and wear red! March 26, 6:30 p.m., 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. Please share this information with any DeKalb County resident who cares about the quality of life in this county.

District 5 Comm. Mereda Davis Johnson 404 371-2159 mdjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov
District 7 Comm. Lorraine Cochran-Johnson 404 371-2899  LCJohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov
District 3 Comm. Larry Johnson 404 371-2988 larryjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov 
District 6 Comm. Kathie Gannon 404 371-4909 kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov 
District 4 Comm. Steve Bradshaw 404 371-4749 srbradshaw@dekalbcountyga.gov
District 2 Comm. Jeff Rader  404 371-2863 jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov
District 1 Comm. Nancy Jester 404 371-2844 njester@dekalbcountyga.gov

Please sign the online petition that we will share with commissioners:  http://chng.it/mtMYBR9G6x

Your Community, Your Litter –
Pick It Up!

On Friday, March 15, 2019 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson in partnership with the Greater Hidden Hills CDC will launch a guerrilla-style marketing effort designed to engage DeKalb residents to clean-up their communities, take ownership in positive community and environmental outcomes, and actively eliminate litter through clean-up across the county. The campaign will culminate with a county-wide community clean-up day on Saturday, June 1.

According to Phyllis Frierson, Board member of Greater Hidden Hills CDC and the inspiration behind the campaign, “We hope our efforts will inspire people to stop littering and to show respect for our homes, parks, and businesses. We encourage all communities to join us, clean-up our streets, and stop littering.”

To build litter awareness and encourage community pride, the comprehensive effort includes a video and jingle content where students develop original content supporting the “Your Community, Your Litter – Pick It Up!” theme. Local high schools and elementary schools will participate in the content and winning students and teachers will receive Amazon gift cards, pizza parties and recognition for their efforts.  The videos and jingles will become the marketing engine behind the anti-litter campaign.

We appreciate the involvement of Super District 7 commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and her staff.

Cricket May Be Coming to Hidden Hills

Mr. Mahammed Qureshi met with the Hidden Hills Civic Association (HHCA)  March 5 to discuss his vision for the closed Hidden Hills golf course. He wants to create cricket fields on part of the property, housing in the center, and various recreational amenities in other places.  As of this date, he has not closed on the property but he has invested thousands of dollars in surveys and other costs. The HHCA president rod Frierson and GHHCDC President Jan Costello have met with him twice and explained what development is allowed and what the community prefers.

Before any development can take place, the GHH Overlay Code requires that plans be reviewed by the County. Mr. Qureshi has committed to working with the community before he gets to the planning review stage.

He is a wealthy businessman who has put the property under contract. He is a huge fan of cricket, and in 2001, he started a professional organization called Cricket Council USA to promote, develop and expand the sport of cricket in the U.S. It is based in south Florida.

The website is:
http://www.cricketcouncilusa.com

If you would like to learn more about the sport of cricket, go to the USA Cricket website:
https://www.usacricket.org

On the home page, look for the section called, “What is cricket?” The site has ten short videos that show you how the game is played.


Congratulations to Rod Frierson for his nomination to the Marta Board of Directors.  

Rod is president of the Hidden Hills Civic Association, one of the county’s largest communities representing 1,683 homes. He is also a business development consultant with nearly 30 years of leadership experience in manufacturing, distribution and warehouse management. Frierson received a Bachelor of Science degree in resource development and management from Michigan State University. What a wonderful opportunity for our community to have Rod represent DeKalb.

Welcome new Board Members Larry Coles and Kenneth Blackly.

Larry Coles and Kenneth Blackly have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation.

Our next Greater Hidden Hills CDC meeting is March 23, 10 a.m., at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain, 30088. You are welcome to join us for an update on our initiatives and business development in the area.

DeKalb Board Heard Us!

On Jan. 8, the BOC unanimously denied the SLUP for the Tycore Auto Repair shop.

Your activism made the difference!  289 people signed the petition against another auto repair shop, and those names and comments were sent to the DeKalb Board of Commissioners (BOC).

District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis-Johnson and new District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson set the tone by noting that Covington Highway has too many auto-related businesses, and they mentioned some of the facts that we presented. 

After the vote, the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation thanked all of the commissioners.  Commissioner Davis-Johnson thanked us, as well, and said, “I would also like to thank all of the engaged citizens who voiced their concerns, no matter their position on the item.”

Commissioner Cochran-Johnson added, “We need development along Covington, but we must be intentional and specific on permitting what enhances communities.”

It was a painful day for the applicant, but our position was clear before he bought the property.  This part of DeKalb County is ready for more business diversity, and your efforts in signing the petition helped make the case.  The result: the Board reflected the will of the community.

What a great way to start the year!

Making a Difference in Greater Hidden Hills!

2018 Accomplishments

Our redevelopment and beautification efforts are making an impact in the Greater Hidden Hills community. We had a productive 2018, and we thank all of those who were part of the effort.

We advocate for the area within and adjacent to the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District, which covers a four-square-mile area (incorporating these four corners: Covington/S.Hairston, Redan/S.Hairston, Redan/Panola, and Covington/Panola).

Advocating for Better Business Development

Waffle House Opening – Redan Road and South Hairston. GHHCDC celebrated the opening of this new business in October.

New Waffle House on Redan

The company changed its plans to conform to the GHH Overlay District, and the result is a dozen trees in parking lot islands and the street frontage.In addition, the company improved the bus shelter in front of its restaurant, expanded the cement pads and updated the landscaping. GHHCDC provided two new benches, and MARTA pitched in the garbage cans.

New, expanded bus shelter on Redan Road

Rocklyn Homes Development – Covington Highway and Panola Road – heard our concerns and modified its design for the townhome community near LA Fitness. The development will have a one-third acre pocket park, a 30-foot landscaped buffer, and lots of trees.  The area used to be in the GHH overlay district, but the city of Stonecrest annexed it. Nevertheless, we insisted that Stonecrest meet the higher standards that we have in our overlay, and they agreed. We had two meetings with the developers, one with the planning department, and attended four public hearings.

Interestingly, Rocklyn is proposing another townhome community on Covington, and this plan already has walking trails, a dog park, and a pocket park!

Tycore Auto Repair – Covington Highway and South Hairston. We attended four public meetings and one meeting with commissioners to ask that this business not be allowed to open at 5361 Covington Highway, across the street from Pep Boys, a tire shop, and next door to an auto repair shop. Within three miles of this address, there are 183 auto-related businesses.  The effort continues into 2019 as the Board of Commissioners deferred its vote.

Beautification Builds Better Business

We’re beautifying the streetscape in our commercial zones. When the environment looks more attractive, more people want to do business in the area. This helps us attract better businesses and keep consumer spending close to home.   This year we:

  • Refreshed the median on South Hairston, just south of Redan. GHHCDC hired a landscaping company to regularly maintain the median.
  • Planted rosebushes and perennials in the entrance island of Los Arcos and along with beautification of the sidewalk strip.
  • Planted 26 trees as part of our ongoing streetscape improvement, in a joint project with Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the DeKalb County Tree Bank. These include 14 Nellie Stevens Holly leading up to the entrance of Hairston Park; 10 crepe myrtle in the public easement on Redan Road, to beautify the Hairston Square shopping center; and 2 Georgia Gem Green Ash trees on South Hairston and in Hairston Park.

New plantings at Los Arcos on Redan

New crepe myrtle on Redan

South Hairston median refresh, with volunteers (from left) Lois Dunlap, Jan Costello, and Nadine Rivers-Johnson.

Planted trees on South Hairston leading to Hairston Park

Herbert Love and Gwendolyn Stegall on the cold January planting day.

Parks Add Value

Parks are an economic development tool. That’s why we are active Friends of Hairston Park. We finished installing fitness stations in Hairston Park, an effort achieved through the UPS Foundation grant that we received. We also helped make Earth Day in Hairston Park a huge success as we reclaimed trails in the beautiful wooded area on the north end of the park.

Clearing paths and adding fitness equipment at Hairston Park

Remembrance of a Fine Musician and Friend of GHHCDC.

Theresa Hightower, Aug. 2018

Theresa Hightower, the accomplished jazz musician, singer and actress, graced us with what was to be her last public performance at the 2nd annual Music on Main, a significant fundraiser for the organization. She passed away in October. Ms. Hightower was a true humanitarian, and she left a legacy of outstanding performances and community service.

Help GHHCDC Continue Our Work in 2019

Your donation can help us continue our mission to stimulate economic development and create a greener, healthier environment.  Join our efforts for 2019, when we:

  • continue our streetscape beautification along South Hairston and Redan
  • advocate for amending our overlay code so that certain auto businesses and liquor stores are prohibited (No more hearings!)
  • watch that all new development meets our overlay requirements
  • lobby for tougher penalties on code enforcement violations by businesses
  • pursue more grants to enhance Hairston Park
  • stage the 3rd annual Music on Main, our annual fundraiser!

You can invest in this community. Come to our monthly meetings. And send your contributions to:

Greater Hidden Hills CDC
P.O Box 1811
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Or make a payment online at  https://greaterhiddenhillscdc.org/you-can-make-a-difference/

We are a 501(c)3, and your contributions are tax-deductible.

Stop the onslaught of auto-related businesses

We have been asking DeKalb County to achieve the vision of the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District.  That vision is to make our business environment more diverse, attractive and prosperous.  Tycore Auto Services should NOT be granted a Special Land Use Permit to do major auto repair at 5361 Covington Highway. Within one mile of this address, there are 19 auto-related businesses. Within three miles, there are 183. Voice your opinion here, and we’ll send the results to our commissioners.  They say they haven’t heard from the community, so let them know your opinion!

We need diversity of businesses because we cannot get the services and products we need in our own community.  In the retail trade, food & drink areas alone, we lost $20 million in spending within 1 mile of this address, $86 million within three miles.  These are dollars spent outside of our community because the need is not met here.  (all data from ESRI, Nov. 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three auto-repair businesses next door:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, to make your voice even louder, write or call:

District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis-Johnson

MDJohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov

404 371-2159

District 7 Commissioner Gregory Adams

404 371-2899
GregoryAdams@dekalbcountyga.gov

 

Streetscape Improvements! Plus–Zoning Battle

The latest streetscape improvement is at the entrance to Los Arcos.

We planted the 9-foot-by-20-foot entrance and landscaped a 30-foot section along Redan Road.  The old sign will be moved off the property once the restaurant gets its new digital signs fixed.

Impressive Lawns Owner Willie Baker with GHHCDC President Jan Costello

Thanks to Los Arcos for a contribution that went towards the plants. The rest of the expense was covered by all of you who contributed to our fundraising efforts. We also appreciate Impressive Lawns for the landscaping advice and the great planting effort (contact owner Willie Baker, williecbaker63@bellsouth.net, 678-618-4076).

Hurray!  Waffle House is open.

The company made tremendous improvements to the bus stop and streetscape in front of the restaurant. They also cut out islands in the parking lot and planted grass and trees.  It looks great!

 

More auto repair shops, anyone?

The Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District has a special zoning code that affects businesses within the borders.  The code has helped us keep out gas stations, liquor stores, tattoo parlors, and other businesses that do not add to the commercial health of our community.

Tycore Auto Services is asking for an exception to the types of businesses allowed in the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District. The business needs a Special Land Use Permit to do major auto repair at 5361 Covington Highway, next door to Walgreens and across the street from Pep Boys and two other auto-related businesses. The property has approximately 110 feet of frontage along Covington Highway and contains 0.6 acre.

Auto repair shops are allowed all over DeKalb County, and we have plenty in our area. However, we’re trying to create a more diverse business environment at S. Hairston and Covington Highway, and other commercial areas in the overlay district.  This community has an excessive number of auto-related businesses. From the spot where this business would be, the table below shows the number of auto-related businesses.

Auto-Related Businesses
within radius of
5361 Covington Highway
1 mile 3 miles 5 miles
Automotive Services (repair) 13 87 219
Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers 13 59 140
Gas Stations 3 37 92
Total 29 183 451
Percent of all business in the area 16.5% 9.1% 7.8%

Source: ESRI, Nov. 2018

 

The DeKalb County District 5 Community Council split on its recommendation, 4 – 3 with one abstention.  The Planning Commission voted 5 to 1 in favor of the applicant, even though three members said they felt remorse doing so.

 

The Board of Commissioners is the last stop. The public hearing is on Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m., Manual Maloof Building, 1300 Commerce Drive. Please join us.

Update on Developments that Affect Greater Hidden Hills

You are invited to the next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development meeting Oct. 20, 10 a.m., at the Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park, Stone Mountain. We will discuss the next streetscape improvement plan and business development in the area.

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MARTA is very much in the news with its approval of a $2.7 billion transportation plan for the city of Atlanta. In addition, Georgia House District 87 Representative-elect Viola Davis is working hard to get improvements in DeKalb County. We met with her in July, and since then, she has had meetings and frequent contacts with MARTA executives.  She helped us get MARTA to honor a commitment to add benches to the stop by the new Waffle House on Redan Road.

09-01-2018-benches (3-c)That was one item on a long list of needed improvements.  MARTA has not begun to tackle the other issues.  Davis points out that according to MARTA’s own studies, 395 bus stops in DeKalb qualify for but have not received bus shelters or benches. This paltry level of service is absolutely unacceptable. Please read her most recent report, at

MARTA Priority List for Shelters and Benches Memoandum – Update and Extending the Mission 10-09-2018 final 2

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Rocklyn Homes heard our concerns and modified its design for the townhome community near LA Fitness on Covington/Panola. The new design has a .38 acre pocket park, a 30-foot landscaped buffer, and lots of trees.  We appreciate the Stonecrest City Council deferring the vote so that more attention would be paid to the greenspace and buffer. The Council approved the final plans Oct. 15. The plans can be viewed at

Rocklyn_RenderingPanolaCovington_10-01-18

PanolaCovington_10-01-18

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Tycore Auto Services is asking for an exception to the types of businesses allowed in the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District. The business needs a Special Land Use Permit to do major auto repair at 5361 Covington Highway, next door to Walgreens and across the street from Pep Boys and two other auto-related businesses. The property has approximately 110 feet of frontage along Covington Highway and contains 0.6 acre.

 

Auto repair shops are allowed all over DeKalb County, but we’re trying to create a more diverse business environment at S. Hairston and Covington Highway, and other commercial areas in the overlay district.

 

The DeKalb County District 5 Community Council split on its recommendation, 4 – 3 with one abstention.  The next opportunity to speak is Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m., at the Planning Commission, Maloof Building, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.  

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Hightower image 4Theresa Hightower, the accomplished jazz musician, singer and actress, passed away Oct. 10 after a battle with colon cancer. She was a humanitarian, who gave much time and energy to philanthropic causes. Her last concert was at our Music on Main in August. Our sincere condolences go out to her son Tony Hightower and mother Martha Hightower. The family has a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses. https://www.gofundme.com/taking-care-of-theresa

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Waffle House on Redan Road just west of S. Hairston is almost ready to open. The restaurant is hiring and stocking shelves. They hope to open in the next week or two.

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Sign-SHairston-Park-cAnd finally, we have Community Pride signs in three spots where we have planted trees. Look for the signs at the median on S. Hairston near Kroger, on Redan Road, near the  crepe myrtle, and on S. Hairston across from Hairston Park. These signs celebrate the partnership our community has with Keep DeKalb Beautiful.  Community pride at work!