Globally Social: New Media and Policy Change
Colleen McEdwards
Posted by colleenmcedwards On May - 1 - 2013 0 Comment

Meeting Story Assignment

By: Laura Benedetti

All but one of the futureprojects at the Buckhead Community Improvement (CID) District were approved for the 2013 $2.55 million budget.

The Buckhead CID creates a more walkable and livable urban environment for the neighborhood. Its funding comes from property taxes and is used for governmental services including street and road construction and maintenance, parks and recreation, sewage systems and public transportation systems.

The board of members did not approve a project that would cost $109,000 for a parking study to be conducted by Kimley-Horn in the West Village of Buckhead. Kimley-Horn currently handles the transportation demand management program for the Atlanta region.

“They have parking issues down there, multiple land issues, multiple parking agreements, limited supply of parking, and it’s kind of a management problem down there,” Jim Durrett,
executive director of the Buckhead CID, said.

Durett and Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, proposed the study’s results would analyze the parking supply and demand of the area.

“What we want to come out of it is a recommendation for a centralized parking structure that will help spur or support future developments in the whole thing,” Starling said.

The challenge the study proposed was that most of the area is not included in the
CID region. Additionally, the area is private property and the management is
not well organized.

“This is a case where I think you’re trying to over govern what market will actually dictate and take care of,” member Scott Selig said. “It just sounds like a headache that you’re about
to get in.”

Other members spoke up to say they did not agree with spending $100,000 in an area that the CID did not cover.

“It just seems like we are ahead of the game in terms of scope and definition for what we know right now,” David Allman, chairman of Buckhead CID, said. “It just seems like a lot for parking.

“I say no, you’re dealing with people who don’t have the same objectives, and to me, I’m not opposed to spending outside the CID, but I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to spend “$100,000 outside of it,” John Lundeen,vice chairman of Buckhead CID, said.

Lastly, Durrett agreed Starling and he had not made the case for the committee and the project discussion was put to rest for the time being.

“I’m perfectly fine with the answer being no, unless we convince each other that we need to come back to it, then the issue is closed,” said Durrett.

In addition, board members had a problem with the amount of money being spent on the maintenance of medians, landscaping, irrigation and janitorial contracts.

The project areas being maintained are Phase I, transformation between GA 400 and Piedmont Road, Phase II, transformation between GA 400 and Peachtree Dunwoody Road and Charles Loudermilk Park.

Lundeen asked if there was likelihood the city or another entity was responsible for some of the maintenance the CID was paying for.

One of the guests responded that the city does cleanup graffiti and vandalism four times a year.

Allman responded that the contract with ABM Janitorial is for every day of the year. The board agreed with the renewal of the contracts.

Lastly, the members discussed the Buc Shuttle project, GA 400 Greenway, Special Public Interest nine (SPI-9) and 12 (SPI-12) Development Review Committee (DRC) project updates.

The Buc Shuttle project is a community shuttle service designed to provide free connections between area hotels, restaurants, offices, shopping destinations and MARTA rail in Buckhead.

The CID has signed an agreement for three more vehicles with DeKalb County. They have also updated the real time Buc Tracking to see the shuttles locations online and smartphones.

The GA 400 Greenway Trail project will be a part of the Buckhead Collection connecting parks, trails, schools and neighborhoods to the urban core of Buckhead and the Atlanta BeltLine.

Starling discussed how the City of Atlanta has agreed with the Georgia Department of Transportation to begin the project. Atlanta has also agreed to let the PATH Foundation be the main entity as the builder for all trail projects.

“PATH will become the city’s arm for doing all trail projects, that agreement has been tweaked to make sure to incorporate our projects, it will be quickly approved next month,” Starling
said. “That’s the big deal one.”

SPI-9 and SPI- 12 focus on zoning updates. The re-zoning will improve street network to make it safe and convenient for pedestrians. It sets the stage for a village-scale urban community. However, there is problem in SPI-12 because a new Restoration Hardware store wants to build a wall against Peachtree Road to be enclosed with a courtyard.

“It is a little controversial right now because the design includes a wall on the front of Peachtree, which is not exactly the vision for the district,” Starling said.

The DRC has said it does not like the wall because it wants to activate Peachtree and make it more pedestrian friendly.

“The development will look gorgeous without the wall,” Starling said.

The board concluded with the discussion of adding cameras to overhead street signs with the Atlanta Police Foundation.

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