The VHCA and the Virginia-Highland neighborhood thrives through community activism and awareness. We need and welcome your involvement in any of our committees. You can join through any of the emails listed below or by expressing an interest at any of our monthly meetings.
- Virginia-Highland Conservation League
Responsibilities: The committee is responsible for recommending financial policies, goals, and budgets that support the mission, values and strategic goals of the VHCA. The committee also reviews the organization’s financial performance against its goals and proposes major transactions and programs to the board.
Co-Chairs: George Zirkel and David Brandenberger
Committee Members: Jenifer Keenan, Robin Ragland, Simon Lee
- Recommending policies that maintain and improve the financial health and integrity of the VHCA.
- Reviewing and recommending an annual operating budget that is consistent with the goals and objectives of the organization.
- Keep an accurate record of income and expenses of the Association.
- Provide appropriate insurance for the Association’s directors, volunteers, and tangible assets.
- Ensure the general legal financial obligations of the Association are met and that the assets of the Association are safeguarded.
- Maintain standard practices of fiduciary responsibility within the Association.
- Make detailed financial reports available to each committee chair on a quarterly basis with more frequent reports available on request, including a profit and loss statement for all events.
- Provide a monthly update to the association members on the financial standing of VHCA.
- Make financial information available to members of the association upon request.
- Have timely annual tax returns prepared for in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.
- Review establishing a working capital line of credit with a Financial Institution for purposes of cash flow management between fundraising events.
- Strive to ensure a rolling $75k balance of cash on hand between the various deposit accounts of the VHCA as a reserve as well as a fund upon which to do larger projects periodically.
Responsibilities: Plan, execute and/or approve all communication related to the Virginia-Highland Civic Association including website(s), social media, and other digital content.
Chair: Barry Loudis
Advertising Sales: email@example.com
- Use VHCA website(s), the VOICE, Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, VHList, and other media to raise awareness of association and neighborhood activities, supporting the efforts of other committees (such as Fundraising, Planning, and Safety).
- Ensure all communications reflect a consistent style and represent VHCA’s goal of community engagement, education, and empowerment.
- Seek opportunities for interpersonal communication with association members.
- Generate revenue through advertising to assist with operational costs.
- Monitor relevant social and print media and recommend appropriate responses, as needed. Alert appropriate committees to respond.
- Work cooperatively with local media outlets (Creative Loafing, Atlanta InTown, etc.) to share content, leverage subscriber databases, etc. – especially in support of events.
- Reach out to communication chairs from nearby neighborhoods and find ways to leverage mutual communication efforts and email databases to increase overall reach.
- Assist content providers in providing pertinent content.
- Identify areas where existing static content can be improved. Encourage committees to review, clean up and update content on website.
- Increase traffic to website by posting regularly to Facebook and Twitter
- Clean up website to improve user experience, as possible within budget.
- Push out content via Email blast (Voice) twice a month. Publish meaningful and substantive content that promotes community engagement within VHCA, educates residents of pertinent policy and planning issues, and reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.
- Expand social media presence with postings on Instagram and other social media accounts and innovative, interactive posts
- Increase social media following and regularly compare following with neighborhood demographics
- Implement communication strategies that allow residents to easily navigate VHCA’s structure and find tangible opportunities for involvement
- Recruit additional volunteers to help with ad sales, and content including copy, photography, video, etc.
Responsibilities: The pursuit of various activities which involve and promote the neighborhood and the Association and raise funds to be expended in furthering the Association’s Goals and Objectives.
Fundraising – Summerfest
Responsibilities: Organize and run the annual summer festival, the association’s single largest annual fundraiser. For more information on Summerfest, visit the Summerfest section of this website.
Co-Chairs: Pamela Papner and Jenifer Keenan
Committee Members: George Zirkel
Recurring Annual Goals
- Continue building and refining the event’s business model
- Identify and train new committee members; increase the Committee’s capacity.
- Attempt to earn revenues equivalent to or greater than last year.
- Offer a fun, safe, quality event for all ages.
- Generate sufficient and effective publicity and advertising.
- Continue to solicit participation by local businesses.
- Maintain the high quality of artwork; specifically report on that at the conclusion of the event.
- Maintain a successful community parade & dinner.
- Examine ways of keeping costs in check while making it a celebratory neighborhood event.
Specific Goals for 2017-2018
- Utilize marketing company to sell festival sponsorships of at least $100K.
- Sell 10-15 available neighborhood sponsorships.
- Pay attention to cost of beverages and select those that will maximize contribution margin, subject to sponsorship constraints.
- Create a plan to establish tighter beverage cash controls.
- Monetize and improve Kidsfest
- Maintain cost of artist market booths at last year’s level.
- Review the operation and expectations of the road race in light of existing competition.
- Develop brochure with artist names/locations, as we did last year.
- Appoint specific person to be in charge of print/online PR.
- Post street banners on light posts and within square.
- Encourage participation by and benefits to local businesses.
Fundraising – Tour of Homes
Responsibilities: Organize and run the annual Tour of Homes, one of the association’s largest fundraisers. For more information on the Tour of Homes, click on the “Home Tour” button above.
Chair: Chase Johnson
Committee Members: TBD
- Maintain the Tour as one of the premier events of its kind in the region.
- Maintain its grassroots feel while showcasing a variety of interesting homes and structures paired with local restaurants.
- Maximize the profitability of the tour through close analysis of past successes and failures. Ensure sponsorship money is successfully solicited and collected.
- Develop a cohesive team to put on a neighborhood friendly event.
- Be cognizant of issues regarding infill housing during the home selection process and showcase the importance of the historic character of VaHi via the homes selected.
- Create more tie-ins with the local Virginia-Highland business community.
- Include restaurants as food tasting sponsors to differentiate our tour from others, and enable a higher priced ticket.
Specific Goals for 2018
- Gather the 2017 committee in January to:
- Discuss and document tour feedback, and identify improvement to implement for 2018.
- Identify committee members who wish to continue for the 2018.
- Invite potential new members to learn about the committee
- Recruit new co-chairs for the 2018 tour
- Offer a number of higher valued sponsorship spots to maximize the opportunity for sponsorship revenue
- Increase the capacity of the shuttle service
- Select a variety of types of homes, yet avoid inclusion of ‘McMansions’ on the tour. Avoid multiple homes with renovations with the same builder/architect combination.
- Select at least 6 homes to be on the tour by the end of May.
- Ensure the planning committee visits home candidates prior to finalizing each invitation to the homeowners to insure no unpermitted situations will be included on the tour
- Maintain expanded hours for the tour to ease crowding.
- Address insurance needs when overall liability policy is being renewed – early May.
- Provide a complimentary full page ad for the VHBA
- Offer Facebook giveaway sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, including restaurants that are not participating as food sponsors.
- Require gift certificates from participating restaurant sponsors to be used as Facebook giveaways.
- Develop a plan to insure that food supplies are available throughout the specified hours. Review and plan with restaurants.
- Sign-up a ticket sponsor, and charge ticket fees to attendees to offset credit card and online ticket system fees.
- Sign-up a transportation sponsor to cover the expenses of offering a shuttle.
- Re-use all signage if possible, and collect signage after event to make possible re-use again in for the 2018 tour
- Engage an external PR firm to create further reach, and drive higher ticket sales.
- Enhance the restaurant sponsorship brochure to illustrate breadth of value to participating food sponsors.
- Target specific PR activities for the food sponsors.
- Sign up local schools to provide music and caroling throughout the tour weekend
Fundraising – Other Events
Responsibilities: Develop, organize and run additional events for fundraising and other purposes.
Chair: George Zirkel
Committee Members: Steve Messner, Kay Stephenson, George Zirkel
Responsibilities: To provide grants to organizations within the Virginia Highland Neighborhood to fund projects that will benefit the community and further the development and preservation of the neighborhood.
Chair: George Zirkel
Committee Members: David Brandenberger, Steve Messner, Simon Lee, Barry Loudis
- To recognize ongoing and newly proposed projects presented to the committee.
- To determine if the proposed projects will benefit the VaHi Community.
- To determine if funding from the committee is appropriate for the proposed project.
- To determine what amount of monetary funding will be appropriate and available for the proposed project.
- To review the outcomes/impact of past grants awarded by follow up report of grant recipient.
- To determine the amount needed to budget for the current and future years needed to continue with the goals set above.
Responsibilities: The development, enhancement and maintenance of the park land located within Virginia-Highland, in cooperation with and as a local complement to the City of Atlanta’s primary responsibility in this area. Public park areas in the neighborhood include: John Howell Memorial Park, Orme Park, and the Triangle at Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue. In addition, the Parks Committee does the same for the VHCA-owned North Highland Park at St. Charles Place and North Highland Avenue.
Chair: David Brandenberger
Committee Members: Adam Bergeson, Troy Murray and Jack White
- In cooperation and with the support of CoA Parks, to protect and improve the neighborhood’s open spaces.
- Develop and share a detailed narrative of each park’s needs and contemplated responses that encourages not only beautiful space for residents and visitors alike, but that also benefit the general environment in an eco-friendly manner.
- Organize, nurture and assist a network of citizens interested in parks. Stage volunteer days as needed to work on plantings and cleanups, etc.
- Lobby for matching grants from non-profits such as Park Pride to maintain and support desirable park qualities such as sustainability, safety, and eco-friendliness.
- Maintain a functional and inclusive relationship with the CoA Parks Department that makes effective use of the services they provide while bolstering their efforts, as needed—especially as it relates to preserving the character and ecology of all neighborhood parks.
- Select and hire appropriate professional horticultural services to meet these goals.
- Hold public ‘Open Houses’ to engage with citizens about their parks on an ‘as-needed’ or as requested basis.
- Continue with the established program to routinely aerate, fertilize and re-seed park lawns, and prune desired plants, shrubs and trees (while removing invasive plants where possible) in addition to performing general maintenance and cleanup.
Follow General Design Principles adopted for Virginia-Highland Parks in 2015-2016 (below)
- Keep park spaces safe, inviting, and pleasant to be in.
- Park edges should be active and inviting, not barriers. Interior fences are appropriate only to address specifically identified needs. Except to shield private property, fences should be transparent and allow the inside of the park to be visually connected to the outside—both for safety and to induce greater usage.
- Realizing that no park can be all things to all people, we strive for diverse and flexible designs that can attract a diverse set of users from the neighborhood and beyond.
- Spaces that are adaptable to multiple future uses are ideal; functional open areas are preferable to a field designed for a single sport, for example.
- Urban stormwater is not inevitable; it is a design failure. We should mitigate this problem wherever possible and feasible, not exacerbate it. We support the use of rain gardens and other formal methods of absorbing stormwater on site, both to supply a healthy water table and to protect our city’s infrastructure. Onsite, we try to break up and re-distribute stormwater before it accumulates and accelerates.
- We deliberately plant native flora. Many non-invasive non-natives exist in VaHi parks and are tolerated because they address specific challenges. However, we strive to remove all invasive plants where possible—both from a design and a practical perspective. Our parks should showcase the right plants in the right places. We rely upon trained professionals for guidance.
- Because open areas and recreational opportunities are at a premium in Atlanta, we support sharing all public spaces with the neighborhood’s public schools.
- By intention, by law, and in spirit, our parks are open to all citizens who follow the rules and treat their fellow humans with respect and courtesy.
Specific Goals for 2017-2018, by Park
John Howell Memorial Park
- Complete and close out the execution of work as part of the Park Pride Community Building grant this year, including, but not limited to: (1) the establishment of a rain garden at Arcadia Street to prevent stormwater runoff from entering city streets and the sewer system; and (2) completion of replanting and landscaping with native perennials (where possible) to enhance both the beauty and the low-maintenance qualities of the park as much as is practical.
- Continue with the established program and funding to seasonally aerate, fertilize and re-seed the lawns; routinely prune plants, shrubs and trees; and remove invasive plants—in addition to performing general maintenance.
- Stage quarterly or ‘as needed’ volunteer days to work on plantings and cleanups, etc.
North Highland Park
- Continue to utilize funds to pay down park note in a fiscally responsible manner.
- Continue with the established program and funding to seasonally aerate, fertilize and re-seed the lawn; routinely prune plants, shrubs and trees; and remove invasive plants—in addition to performing general maintenance.
- Encourage different public and/or private uses and activities appropriate for the active areas (special events, exercise gatherings, receptions, community-led events, etc).
- Monitor and maintain the renovation completed several years ago.
- Study, analyze and consider plans to move forward with the contemplated riparian restoration of the Clear Creek basin in the park and the southern half of the park – via the reduction of invasive plants in the riparian corridor and the installation of appropriate new native plants.
- Stage quarterly or ‘as needed’ volunteer days to work on plantings and cleanups, etc.
- Help to organize and participate in meetings of the Friends of Orme Park organization.
The Triangle at Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue
- Continue to install and maintain seasonal and perennial plantings.
- Consider implementation of edging on the southwestern ‘hypotenuse’ side to restrict citizens from entering the planted areas.
- Continue with the established program and funding of bi-weekly cleanups of the Triangle by a professional maintenance crew.
Responsibilities: Oversight and review of all variance requests, special exceptions, rezoning applications and land-use proposals. Review of impact to the neighborhood from the City’s Comprehensive Development Plan and related documents. Promote implementation of the Va-Hi Master Plan.
Chairs: Barry Loudis and Jenifer Keenan
Variances: Barry Loudis
Land Use and Zoning: Jenifer Keenan
Transportation/Master Plan: Troy Murray and Jenifer Keenan
Liquor Licenses: Barry Loudis
Committee Members: Chip Bullock, Lola Carlisle, Jenifer Keenan, Barry Loudis, Troy Murray, Debbie Skopczynski, Micah Stringer, George Van Horne, Jack White, Jess Windham
- Review all new applications for variances, special exceptions, and liquor licenses and make recommendations to the Board.
- Represent the Association at NPU-F meetings, with special attention to NPU activities that impact Virginia-Highland. Provide updates and feedback to the VHCA Board.
- Attend relevant BZA meetings to advocate for VHCA and/or NPU decisions. Monitor trends and developments within the BZA.
- Monitor the development of public policies in the city that might impact the neighborhood and the Association, with a particular emphasis on land use, zoning, transportation and the environment.
- Monitor the ongoing development of the commercial nodes to ensure that development does not adversely affect residents and traffic patterns in the surrounding streets. The redevelopment of the Atkins Park node – specifically the expansion of sidewalks and pedestrian capacity – is an area of special emphasis.
- Compile and maintain a record of all existing businesses in each NC node. Share with the City and business owners a list of each node’s eating and drinking establishments.
- Expand our database of existing and historic traffic volume, flows, and impacts.
- Review public education policies and help educate residents so they can respond to their Planning impacts.
- Respond to citizen complaints and concerns about potential building code violations.
- Monitor Beltline-related developments, CDP updates and other citywide transportation and development initiatives.
- Continue to make clear that in building and zoning (as in all areas), we acknowledge the rule of law and follow it, even as we sometimes advocate for changes in it.
- Educate the citizenry about the challenges that result from decades of inadequate onsite stormwater management and the difficulties that even legal practices can pose for us and our neighbors. Be unafraid to advocate for the Golden Rule.
Specific Goals for 2017 – 2018
- Work with District 6 Council Member and the City of Atlanta Departments of Planning and Public Works on opportunities to implement projects from the VaHi Master Plan, including – but not limited to – reduced traffic speeds and safer pedestrian and cycling capacity on Monroe Drive and other neighborhood streets, creating a more functional intersection at 10th and Monroe, improved design of Barnett Street, bike lanes on St. Charles, and BeltLine-related development.
- Participate in Renew Atlanta projects in VaHi, including the Monroe Complete Streets Project and North Highland Complete Streets Project.
- Closely monitor the anticipated re-development of 10th and Monroe, with a particular emphasis on any proposed rezoning or land use changes to NPU-F’s CDP and/or the VHCA Master Plan.
- With the Preservation Sub-committee, monitor the ongoing redevelopment of FS19, paying specific attention to the budget, fundraising, and construction schedule, maintaining the building’s historic elements and addressing stormwater challenges. Monitor and support the City of Atlanta’s ongoing revisions of the zoning codes, with a specific eye on informing and resolving challenges resulting from inconsistent and overlapping responsibilities, processes, and approaches within the Departments of Planning, Watershed Management, and Public Works.
- Continue to install ‘Only Rain in the Drain’ markers on storm water outlets in the neighborhood.
- Monitor ongoing development to promote cycling and pedestrian strategies within, PEDS, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, and the City of Atlanta.
- Work with Center4ward to advocate for locations of the City of Atlanta Bike share plan.
- Identify architectural features and appropriate building scales within the neighborhood that, if codified, would prevent or reduce development that is out of scale with the surrounding R-4 lots.
- Report the Planning Committee’s formal decisions to the VaHi Communications committee by the Friday following the Planning meeting for inclusion in the agenda.
- Continue to monitor the impacts of stormwater at Callanwolde and Laurel Heights and their outcomes for downstream residents on Rosedale Road.
- Provide formal opportunities for the committee, board, and public to increase their understanding of the Neighborhood Commercial code and the Beltline Overlay District and their meaning and application within VaHi.
- Continue to streamline the committee’s approach and response to variance applications.
- Map parking spaces using Open Maps and their assignors at each NC node.
- In conjunction with the Planning Department and our council member, examine the wisdom of a change to the code for the VaHi NC districts that allows a very limited number of easily-measurable seats in a new (or revised) category of licensing (possibly labeled “Retail Eating.”)
- Educate citizens about the city’s evolving approach to limits on residential development and redevelopment around sanitary sewer and stormwater lines.
Planning – Preservation & History
Responsibilities: Identify and educate the community on the historic features and defining qualities of Virginia-Highland.
Chair: Catherine Lewis
Committee Members: David Brandenberger, Lola Carlisle, Raymond Keen, Karri Hobson-Pape, Judy Potter, Robin Ragland, Jack White
- Gather and archive historic documents, images, and stories
- Examine other organizations’ activities in this field for useful practices.
Specific 2017-2018 Goals:
- Oversee and coordinate between various entities involved in the Fire Station 19 restoration project, and develop an exhibition
- Oversee the Todd Historical marker application and installation at 797 Ponce de Leon Terrace
- Oversee the Todd Monument installation at Adair and Highland View or North Highland Park
- Maintain VHCA historic archives
- Coordinate with the Virginia-Highland Historical Society (VHHS) to add to and access historic archives of Virginia-Highland and to promote historic tours through VHHS
- Inform the citizenry about the preservation and conservation of historic features and their defining qualities.
- Encourage the selection of historic homes on Tour of Homes and provide histories of those homes for informational and educational purposes.
- Follow the exploration of Quick Fixes for neighborhood over-development issues currently in progress with the City of Atlanta and provide input as needed regarding the history of Virginia-Highland, its architecture and existing conditions.
- Encourage school based documentaries and projects that support History Committee responsibilities.
- Display historic materials at public events and places–for example, a North Highland Park historical installation similar to last year’s photo exhibit.
- Identify and recommend actions to protect historic sites. Identify research incentives that encourage preservation, matching grants, and tax write-offs, etc.
- Work with the Virginia Highland Historical Society to organize history tours – as part of events (Tour) or stand-alone events. Could serve as a fundraiser as well.
- Advise residents on how to research their home histories.
Support Preservation & History
Responsibilities: Promote and advocate for the safety of the Virginia-Highland residents and visitors
Co-Chairs: Troy Murray and Kay Stephenson
Committee Members: Eleanor Barrineau, Jimmy Craig, Sterling Eaves, Linda Kondilis, Simon Lee, Holly Lybeer, Shannon Mehl, Steve Messner, Troy Murray, Richard Newman, Deborah Schwartz, Kay Stephenson, John Wolfinger, Jo Ann Zyla
- Coordinate the Street Captain Program including recruiting new captains as needed and holding an annual street captain meeting.
- Prepare and distribute safety reports based on information from Atlanta Police Department (APD) and other sources. Publish graphical representations of safety statistics to educate and inform the neighborhood.
- Organize “thank you” programs for Zone 6 and the Fire Station #19 (meal/snack delivery, thank-you notes from residents, etc).
- Coordinate and share info with the other committees on safety issues such as parking, school safety, event licensing, etc. Refer requests for stop signs, traffic calming, sidewalk and crosswalk improvement to the transportation committee.
- Coordinate with elected officials, City of Atlanta departments, Fulton County justice resources, nearby neighborhood associations and others to share information and promote a safe neighborhood for citizens. Report needed sign, pothole, street light and other safety issues to 311 and specific city departments and track results to assure satisfactory completion.
- Monitor graffiti in the neighborhood and report to appropriate City of Atlanta departments for removal. Maintain information for residents on best methods for removal on private property.
- Monitor large events with special attention to security and parking provisions. Provide advance notice to residents.
- Identify areas of insufficient lighting in the neighborhood and work with the city, Georgia Power, and business and residential owners to improve lighting in those areas.
- Work with Atlanta Police Foundation, Atlanta Police Department and funding sources to continue to expand video camera and license plate reader coverage in the neighborhood. Encourage business owners to install and integrate video cameras with the APD Video Integration Center. Maintain a private video camera registry for use by APD.
- Encourage residents to participate in the Fulton County CourtWatch program, and citizen academies for APD, Atlanta Fire Rescue (AFR) and Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.
- Use all VHCA communication channels, including website, Facebook, Twitter, Voice e-newsletter, as well as Street Captain email lists, VH List, Nextdoor and other social media assets to share information with the neighborhood and promote participation in safety initiatives.
- Maintain a positive working relationship with the Virginia-Highland security patrol (FBAC) and coordinate as needed to improve neighborhood safety.
- Support Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful to organize a spring and fall neighborhood clean-up
Virginia-Highland Conservation League
Responsibilities: Virginia-Highland Conservation League (VHCL) is a registered 501c(3) non-profit corporation. VHCL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Virginia-Highland Civic Association, but it has a separate Board of Directors that operates the League and makes decisions about League activities. VHCL can accept tax-deductible donations.
VHCL is organized exclusively for the promotion and furtherance of the common good, general welfare and interests of the residents of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood and the broader Atlanta community. It maintains and provides recreation areas (like North Highland Park), improves recreation areas (like John Howell Park and other facilities in the neighborhood), works on conservation and water quality, and supports other initiatives in Virginia-Highland like the renovation of historic Fire Station #19.
Chair: Catherine Lewis
Board Members: Peggy Berg, Lola Carlisle, Catherine Lewis, Genny Ferrera, Pamela Papner, Judy Potter, Lauren Wilkes-Fralick, Jess Windham