Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board Meeting
August 13, 2012; Ponce de Leon Library
CALL TO ORDER
Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7 PM.
The following board members were present: Lola Carlisle, Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Lauren Wilkes Fralick, Jack White, John Wolfinger, and David Wolfson. Pamela Papner arrived subsequently. Peggy Berg, Rob Glancy, and Brian Gross were absent with notice.
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ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
Ms. Carlisle moved to adopt the agenda. The motion was seconded by Ms. Ferrero and passed unanimously (with a slight amendment as to the order, for the purpose of accommodating visitors). The attached agenda (“Addendum 1”), as revised, was approved without objection.
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POLICE AND FIRE
Officer Moore from Zone 6 spoke on behalf of APD. He noted that there have been 146 arrests for the week, 684 arrests for the month, and over 4,000 arrests for the year. He further cautioned that people should be aware of leaving valuables in their car, and providing cell phones to youth (who subsequently steal them). An audience member also expressed concern about the parking of taxi cabs at the corner of Greenwood and N. Highland; Mr. Wolfinger promised a follow-up with APD on the issue.
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CITY OF ATLANTA OFFICIALS
None were present.
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OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS & GUESTS
Rebecca Serna of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition spoke with regard to the Streets Alive event this past May and reported that the group has applied to repeat it on October 7, with a route revision that forms a loop down Virginia Avenue to the Atlanta BeltLine, which will be open by that point. Some residents who live southwest of the Virginia/Highland intersection voiced concerns about being closed in; Ms. Serna said the route would be permeable and allow crossings and that residents who wanted to use their cars would have the option of being walked by police officers to their homes, as was the case in May. Mr. Wolfinger asked if any business owners had expressed opposition; Ms. Serna noted that only one antique shop owner in Inman Park had and that others had supported it. She introduced Matt Garbett, a resident of the Old Fourth Ward, who will be the event coordinator and offered to provide additional information at our AGM.
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VHCA COMMITTEE REPORTS
V-12-119, 988 Lanier Boulevard. Ms. Ferrero explained that owner Jack Zampell contemplates adding a second story within the footprint of the exiting home and replacing a one-car garage with a two-car garage with increased setbacks, though still needing a variance. Mark Arnold appeared for the applicant, who was ill. Several nearby neighbors expressed concern regarding the process, reporting that they had not received adequate or timely notice and documentation on the variance requests. Mr. Arnold had no knowledge of these aspects, which were the purview of the applicant himself. Mr. White moved to defer for one month to allow neighbors to receive and review information relating to the variances and invited everyone to attend the planning meeting on September 5th. Ms. Ferrero seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Amendments to Bylaws. Ms. Ferrero explained the history behind the amendments to the bylaws and noted that they and comments from her and Mr. White had been posted on the web for a month. No questions have been received from the membership; she invited comments and questions from the audience. There were none, and she moved to approve the amendments for presentation and adoption at the AGM. Mr. Dworet seconded, and the motion passed unanimously. Ms. Papner and Mr. Wolfinger did not vote.
Ms. Foerschler Horn provided an update regarding various education issues. Among other things, she noted that VHCA’s previously-approved funding had been sent to the Inman Technology Foundation for the provision of computers. (In this context, she recognized the condition of several Old Fourth Ward groups, an action coordinated by Mr. Garbett, whose actions she recognized.)
Additionally, she noted that the committee will be working with parents to address a new crosswalk zone for Springdale Park students at the corner of Briarcliff Road and Briarcliff Place. The recently expanded walk zone has increased usage of this crossing on very busy Briarcliff Road; at the Ed Committee’s request, APS was now providing a crossing guard and the committee was suing for a new crosswalk. Finally, Ms. Foerschler Horn explained that the Inman Task Force continues to meet to address middle school capacity for our cluster. The superintendent’s goal is to identify a solution by the end of this calendar year; in these meetings, his staff has indicated that the superintendent will not recommend a second middle school with discrete elementary feeders.
Mr. Dworet noted that the budget report is posted on the VHCA website. Mr. Dworet stated that last month he received two ‘lost’ invoices originally dated June 2010 from Trees Atlanta in the amount of $1,073 for a replacement tree and grasses installed in the streetscapes in that time period. Trees Atlanta reported that they had submitted the bills in a timely way after the work but had not been paid despite renewing the request several times with the Parks chairman of that period. Mr. Dworet’s requests to that person for additional background yielded no new information. Mr. Dworet concluded that the work had been done and that Trees Atlanta deserved to be paid for it. He therefore moved to amend the budget to allocate the $1,073 from the current unallocated funds to the Parks Committee budget to pay the invoice. Ms. Carlisle seconded the motion; it passed unanimously.
Finally, Mr. Dworet moved to amend the budget to allocate $4200 from unallocated funds for real estate taxes and waste services for NHP to the Budget Committee. Ms. Foerschler Horn seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Mr. Wolfinger spoke regarding the Briarcliff Summit building. He is pleased that new ownership will likely address many deferred maintenance items. Evergreen Associates, a management company, has concluded the purchase of the building and is scheduling staggered renovations to allow occupants to remain in residence during construction. It will remain a Section 8 property, but he hopes that the new work will improve the quality of the neighborhood.
Ms. Papner announced that 2012 Summerfest revenue will likely exceed $180,000, which would be a new high. She further noted that the New Highland Park construction will commence next week (with completion scheduled for within a few months). In connection with the funding of New Highland Park, an audience member questioned whether Ms. Papner has received the donations (promised at the February meeting by Rob Glancy), who had managed the Intown Ten road race held on March 4th of this year. Ms. Papner noted that she has not. Mr. White explained that the VHCA did not hold the run and could not provide a financial summary, and that at the July meeting the individual who held the run has promised to provide a report in August.
Nominating Committee and AGM
Ms. Carlisle stated that the annual meeting will be held September 13 at Inman Cafeteria from 6:30 – 9:00. The Nominating committee is working hard on candidates for next year’s board; four members have announced they are leaving: Mr. Dworet, Mr. Gross, Mr. Glancy, and Mr. Wolfinger have announced they will not be candidates. She again invited everyone to suggest any individual that he/she believes will make a good contribution to the VHCA.
Ms. Carlisle spoke at the specific request of Mr. Gross, who was absent. Due to the success of the electronic Voice, Mr. Gross has requested that we permanently end the regular publication of the printed version. Mr. White reported that Mr. Gross estimated savings of approximately $7,000 per written issue. Ms. Carlisle therefore moved that the Board discontinue the written edition of the Voice and continue the use of publishing an electronic version of the Voice. Several audience members were opposed to doing so, fearing new residents and those without computers would not see it and that the move had not been sufficiently publicized. Several Board members responded that the Board has over several months made repeated invitations to the residents of the neighborhood to request written copies of the Voice, and that no such requests have been received to date. Ms. Papner and audience member (and former Voice editor) John Becker pointed out that a printed Voice was hugely burdensome and time-consuming to volunteers, contained information that was often outdated after the time needed for printing and distribution, and that the responsibilities fell on a few small number of increasingly unwilling volunteer board members The motion passed 6-1; in favor were Ms. Carlisle, Mr. Dworet, Ms. Ferrero, Ms. Foerschler Horn, Mr. White, and Mr. Wolfson; Mr. Wolfinger opposed without comment.
A. John Howell Park. Ms. Wilkes Fralick discussed the conceptual plan for the recent improvements to the park. The plan has been posted on the website, and the Parks Committee wrote a very detailed article about the plan and process in the Voice and solicited comments and input from citizens on four scheduled tours (two with the Landscape Architect) on varying hours and days of the week. The plan has been widely supported. She moved to adopt the conceptual plan as presented in the Voice and online (minus the contemplated new sandbox, which the Parks Department asked be removed out of concern for the longevity of the adjacent rubberized safety surface). Mr. White seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Wilkes-Fralick explained that an additional $1,330 was required to finalize the plans to obtain bids from contractors for the actual costs of the improvements. Such plans will be required to apply for grant funds. Ms. Fralick moved that the funds be allocated for the final plans. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dworet and passed unanimously.
Ms. Wilkes Fralick also notified the Board that the cost of the re-grassing effort in September at JHP was going to be less than previously thought.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:53 PM.