Happy new year! May this be the year that more people get involved in making our community a better place to live.

We have a vision for 2020.  At our final meeting in December, we all spoke about our hopes and prayers. Here is an abbreviated list:

  • More foot soldiers in the community development effort (Join us!)
  • Permanent legislation to restrict dollar stores
  • A working Tree Bank program
  • Local businesses that support the community and show pride
  • Stronger code enforcement (more officers!)
  • People stop littering (and more people help pick up litter)
  • A pavilion in Hairston Park – finally using the 2017 grant we received
  • Responsive elected officials and public servants
  • Passing of necessary amendments to the overlay code

 

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) represents dozens of neighborhoods in and around our 4-square-mile overlay district.  Make this the year to get involved.  The following short items tell about upcoming community meetings and news concerning our community.

 

Self-storage facility – 2nd community meeting this Thursday

Jan. 2, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Crossroads Presbyterian Church, 5587 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, 30058

The developer agreed to Community Council’s request for a follow-up meeting with the community to discuss the self-storage facility being considered for 5636 Redan Road (between small shopping center and tire shop, across from the fire station. Please attend.

You can also speak at the Jan. 7. 6:30 p.m. Planning Commission meeting, and at the Jan. 28, 630 p.m. Board of Commission meeting.  Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce, Decatur.

 

The County Issued a 45-day Moratorium Against New Dollar Stores

County commissioners heard the complaints and took action. Let by Super District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, the county enacted a 45-day moratorium on new dollar stores in the unincorporated parts of the county.  The City of Stonecrest has already banned them.

During the moratorium, the County will develop legislation that can curb the proliferation.

“We have to watch out for oversaturation and proliferation,” said Cochran-Johnson.  “I don’t think they should be on every corner.”

These stores may give consumers small bargains, but they retard good economic development and lead to the closure of grocery stores that carry fresh produce and healthy items.  Dollar General and Dollar Tree (which owns Family Dollar) operate 30,000 of these stores, and 10,000 of them were built in the last 10 years.  They plan to open 20,000 more.  The firms target rural areas and low-income urban neighborhoods.  They are part of a dystopian economic outlook that says there will always be a permanent underclass and firms should make a buck off the people.

When decent businesses look for a place to invest, they do not choose locations near dollar stores. Think about what kind of community you want to have when you spend your dollars.

 

Code Enforcement: Small Victory against Family Dollar

In December, the Family Dollar at 1800 Panola Road had 4 citations issued and received a court fine at $250, $250, $200, $200 plus 35% court fee added to the total.

The store did repair the exterior ceiling damage and cut overgrown vegetation. However open storage remains to be an issue. Code Enforcement Supervisor Lorena says that the property will continue to be monitored.

Vigilance pays off. After talking to the unresponsive management, Erica Weaver turned in many complaints against this facility, and we appreciate her efforts.

 

Slaughtering Continues, Trial Looms

The slaughter of animals at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058, continues. In October and November 2019, Rudolf Bradford slaughtered 153 animals.  This brings the total of animals slaughtered since the DeKalb County cease-and-desist order to 468 cattle, goats and sheep. He has slaughtered 2,642 animals since Jan. 1, 2016.

We continue to monitor the case.  Mr. Bradford has a court appearance Jan. 6, for the routine Motions Calendar.  Then, there will be a Calendar Call on Feb. 7 at which time the trial date will be set. At either of these appearances, he could plead guilty. Senior Assistant Solicitor-General Thomas Kemp is doing an excellent job keeping us informed of the case.

When the trial is set, it will be helpful for the public to attend.

 

The Next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting will be Jan. 18, 2020, 10 am.  We meet at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain. You are welcome to attend.

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!

Community Input Makes a Difference

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 will receive the final plans for a vote on Oct. 15.

Click the links to view the plans.

Rocklyn_Rendering

PanolaCovington_10-01-18

Stonecrest asks developer to make improvements

The Stonecrest City Council heard our voices at the meeting Monday night. We asked that more of the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District zoning code be applied to the property the city plans to annex. This property is at 6024 Covington Highway, to the west of LA Fitness.  The council voted unanimously to defer the matter and asked the attorney to convey to Rocklyn Homes that some improvements were needed.

If the property had stayed under the GHH overlay, it would have been required to set aside 20% for public open space, have 30-foot buffers next to the Scarbrough neighborhood. We also asked for more trees and that the stormwater drainage system be environmentally sensitive and attractive.  For example,  the site could include permeable pavers, rain gardens, and vegetative swales. The stormwater retention pond could be an aesthetic and recreational feature, with a walking path and benches around it.

The next step is up to Rocklyn Homes.  We’ll keep you posted.

Thank you to all the people who came to the meeting. Your presence made a difference. We only had 10 minutes to speak; we appreciate the comments made by Jan Costello, president of the Greater Hidden Hills CDC; Kenneth Saunders III, president of the South DeKalb Improvement Association; and Rod Frierson, president of Hidden Hills Civic Association. Bernard Knight, general counsel of the Stonecrest Business Alliance, provided a factual reminder that the area was part of the GHH overlay district and that the city forgot to include the zoning when it incorporated part of the district.

Also, a word about the property owner, Halpern Enterprises. The firm did meet with us and accept the conditions we asked for that apply to commercial development. We appreciate the firm’s accommodation.

Inspired by Music on Main

What a wonderful evening!

Thank you to our special guests Theresa Hightower and Moses Davis for their spectacular performance Aug. 18.

Thank you to our elected representatives – DeKalb Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, DeKalb Commissioner Gregory Adams, and GA Senator Steve Henson – for celebrating with us.

Thank you to our wonderful supporters and volunteers who know that together we can make a positive and lasting impact on our community.

Team

And thank you to all of our sponsors.

 

sponsors

We will use the funds raised to continue making our commercial areas look better, to advocate for high quality businesses, and to enhance greenspace.

You’re Invited August 18!

Join us for Jazz, Delicious Food & Drinks, and Great Auction Bargains on Aug. 18, 8 – 11 p.m.

Our 2nd annual Music on Main features Theresa Hightower,an acclaimed jazz and blues vocalist, actor, and songwriter. During the event, you can get a deal on the items we’ll auction, such as:

  • Ion All-weather speaker system
  • Dinner for Two at CalaBar & Grill
  • ART Station Holiday tickets
  • All-Attraction Stone Mountain Park – two tickets
  • Hotel Indigo Peachtree – 2-night staycation
  • Unique, hand-painted Australian boomerang
  • Original Jennifer Dreznin mixed media artwork
  • Mystery Valley golf package
  • Sircles necklace and Sircles bracelet set
  • Nick’s Barbershop hair cut package
  • Fender amplifier from Pro Music  
  • Mary Kay gift set plus spa facial for three
  • PJs Package Red and White wine gift baskets
  • Rob Reardon original metal wall art (one features the Georgia Bulldog and the other Ray Charles)

The event raises money for streetscape improvements in the Greater Hidden Hills area. We all want better business. Please support the effort to improve our commercial areas. Remember, it’s tax-deductible.

Where:  Mainstreet Clubhouse, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain

Tickets are $35 each or two for $60.  You receive food, beverages, entertainment, and a fun time with neighbors and elected officials.    Purchase at the door or in advance at:  Music-on-Main

Just Say No!

It’s time to restate your opposition to unwanted businesses in the community.  We are facing the prospect of three more liquor stores and one gas station. In all cases, the applicants have asked for a special land use permit to operate. Our overlay code put that restriction in place. This email shows you several ways that you can keep them from getting the permit.

1)   Show your opposition by showing up at meetings.

Oct. 16, 7 p.m. – Meet with owner of proposed liquor store at Publix Shopping Center. 2079 S. Hairston Road, Suite E

Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m. – Ask the Community Council to deny a request for a gas station and liquor outlet at the old tire shop at 4736 Redan Road, Stone Mountain. The meeting is at Sue Kellogg Library, 952 Leon Street, Stone Mountain. (Does this look familiar? It is! We fought the same battle last year and won!)

Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. – Ask the Board of Commissioners to deny the request for a liquor store at 1026 Holcombe Road, Decatur.  The meeting is at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.

Nov. 2, 6:30 p.m. – Ask the Planning Commission to deny request for a gas station and liquor outlet at the old tire shop at 4736 Redan Road, Stone Mountain.  The meeting is at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.

 

2)   Sign the online petition the states your opposition. It will be shared with DeKalb County.

Click here for the petition.

3)  Write our county commissioners.
Email to:  GregoryAdams@dekalbcountyga.gov, srbradshaw@dekalbcountyga.gov, mdjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov, kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov, larryjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov, jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov, nancy@nancyjester.com
Dear DeKalb Commissioners,
Please support our community in its efforts to attract businesses that we need and to keep out undesirable operations. In particular, we ask you to deny the special land use request for these three applicants:
1026 Holcombe Road, Decatur, GA – Request to operate a retail liquor store.
4736 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, GA – Request to build a gas station and request to build a convenience store/alcohol outlet.
2079 S. Hairston Road, Suite E., Decatur, GA – Request to operate a retail liquor store.

4)   Share this message with your email list.

 

If you want to write individual letters, here is the complete email list.

Gregory Adams GregoryAdams@dekalbcountyga.gov
Steve Bradshaw srbradshaw@dekalbcountyga.gov
Mereda Davis-Johnson mdjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov
Kathie Gannon kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov
Larry Johnson larryjohnson@dekalbcountyga.gov
Jeff Radar jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov
Nancy Jester nancy@nancyjester.com