GPNA Monthly Meeting Minutes

GPNA Meeting Minutes - 2007, February 20

GPNA Minutes, February 20, 2007
By Karen Greene, secretary

Phil Cuthbertson, president of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA), called the monthly meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He introduced Paula Jessup, who offered baked goods for sale as a fundraiser for the Atlanta Charter Middle School. Cuthbertson reviewed meeting conduct and voting eligibility. He invited new members to introduce themselves and reminded all to sign in.
Public Officials
Cuthbertson introduced Sheryl Bennett from city councilmember Carla Smith’s office. Bennett announced upgrades to Grant Park as well as the park recreation building. Work is scheduled from March to August 2007. A March 21 meeting is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. to solicit community input for program content as well as building design. She said two or more meetings have been planned by Alvin Dodd of the city’s department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. Additionally, Earth Day celebrations, sponsored by the city, will be held in Grant Park April 21-22. Activities include litter pickup, neighborhood cleanup, tire roundup as well as the annual electronic waste recycling event to be held April 21 at Turner Field from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Atlanta Police Department (APD) Officer Maj. Finley reported five robberies in the neighborhood in January, including a carjacking at the CVS pharmacy on Boulevard. There was an influx of 24 vehicle break-ins but the numbers have decreased with a recent arrest. When questioned about fingerprinting crime scenes, Finley stated that the APD ID unit is called in when items of value are taken or a serious offense has been committed. He said recent vehicle larcenies at Grant and Glenwood involved gang activity prompted by a basketball tournament at Southside High School. He addressed reports of speeding and said he would ask Officer Jim Hodge to execute more patrols and he would look into adding a decoy patrol car on Park Avenue.
Officer Reports
Cuthbertson presented the 2007 GPNA budget, as promised from last month’s meeting, as a line by line comparison to the budget for 2006. He explained that several budget items, such as the Economic Development committee’s business directory and Fundraising Committee’s Tour of Homes, are fundraisers, bringing in more money than budgeted. A goal this year is to make the Mothball break-even or profitable. Approximately $10,000 is set aside for a transportation study which has been budgeted and held for two years.
Cuthbertson proposed a new policy on committee purchases as well as meal and other reimbursements. He stated it is not a policy of GPNA to reimburse committee members for meals; and to avoid conflict with ethics rules, no government officials will be entertained. All monies will be held in the general administrative budget for oversight. Receipts, meeting purpose, names of attendees as well as documentation of the meeting will be required for any reimbursements.
A motion was introduced, and seconded, to accept the 2007 budget as it stands. The vote in favor was unanimous. Cuthbertson reminded members that GPNA distributes grants three times a year to nonprofit or other groups that have an association with the Grant Park neighborhood. Applications must be received by the first of the month of the distribution; distributions are made in March, June and November.
There was no report from Lauren Rocerta, vice president. Secretary Karen Greene noted the January minutes were on the back table for review. Michelle Botwinick, treasurer, stated GPNA was in a strong financial position for the start of 2007 with approximately $27,500 and an additional $20,000 earmarked for the transportation study with oversight from the GPNA. She reminded members that all contributions to the 501c3 organization are tax deductible. Cuthbertson commented on a possible merger between the Grant Park SAND Community Federal Credit Union and the Bond Community Federal Credit Union in Little Five Points which would offer additional bank services to members.
Committee Reports
• Public Safety: Chair Chris Newman presented two liquor license status changes for review. Zoo Atlanta is changing its concessionaire to Sodexho, a national food and facility management firm. Mindy Thompson, a representative with Sodexho’s law firm, spoke on behalf of the company, outlining their experience. A motion was entered to approve the license change; it was seconded and passed unanimously.
A second license involved a change of ownership at the Marathon service station on Hill Street. Newman reviewed the NPU-W’s “good neighbor” policy, which stipulates no single sales of alcohol and/or cigarettes, to the new owner Mr. Patel. A question arose concerning a valid business license to operate a U-Haul rental on premises. A motion was entered to defer any license decisions to the NPU-W Safety Committee meeting to be held the following evening and to abide by all conditions agreed upon by the NPU-W Safety Committee and general NPU-W. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Newman gave an update on the Community Justice Restorative Board and asked that any persons wanting to volunteer contact him after the meeting.
The March Public Safety committee will meet on March 21 (third Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at the East Atlanta library.
• Fundraising: Chair Ann Floyd reported a total of $6,455 collected for the business directory; the ad deadline has passed. She is sponsoring an open house to discuss planning of the Tour of Homes and the Mothball Wednesday, March 13, 2007 at 7 p.m. at 307 St. Paul Avenue. For additional information, please contact Ann at 404-277-1900 or
• Land Use & Zoning: Rick Hudson, chair, presented 24 proposed conditions for the neighborhood commercial district (NC-7) zoning at the corner of Ormewood and Confederate avenues. The conditions, passed by both the LU&Z committee as well as immediate neighbors, apply to both the southeast and northeast corners. The conditions are:
•No on premise dry cleaners unless totally green.
•No on premise photo finishers unless totally green.
•Dumpster pickup only between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m.
•No use of EIFS anywhere.
•Operating hours to be seven days a week between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.
•No convenience stores.
•No on street vending machines.
•No sandwich board signs and no signs that would obstruct the public right of way.
•Newspaper or weekly paper distribution should be inside the building only.
•Utilities ingress and egress should be buried underground or attached from the rear of the property.
•Dumpster enclosure should be made of brick or stone and be porous in nature so as not to create a hotspot. The enclosure should have plantings around it to create a more pleasing appearance.
•The Ormewood and Confederate avenues street facing facades would be subject to full Atlanta Urban Design Commission Review and would conform to the GPNA Historic District guidelines.
•There will be no automobile service facilities or gas stations in the district.
•There will be no adult businesses of any kind in the district.
•There will be no telecommunications substations or power generation stations located in the district.
•This district would allow for specialty grocery stores or wine stores and would exclude any other off premise consumption liquor sales.
•Any street furniture or ornamentation (such as lamp posts, planters, sidewalk materials or bike racks) will conform to the Grant Park Neighborhood design standards set forth at that time.
•There will be no drive through windows for any businesses.
•Any signage must conform to the GPNA standard for signage within the Historic District.
•Designated deliveries can only occur on the Ormewood Avenue side of the district and must occur between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m.
•There would be no doctor’s offices, medical facilities, or veterinary facilities located inside the district.
•Lottery sales, gambling, games of chance or any other gaming would not be allowed in the district.
•Sidewalk dining would be permitted within the district.
•Any outdoor facilities would have to close by 11 p.m.
A motion to approve all conditions passed with two opposed and one abstention. The next LU&Z committee meeting will be held March 1 (first Thursday of the month) at 8 p.m. in the ARC building at Zoo Atlanta.
• Parks & Recreation: Chair Nancy Mau reported that the ball fields in Grant Park will be re-sodded and closed from March to August. An irrigation system will also be installed. The Park Safety Committee, a partnership between the Grant Park Conservancy and GPNA committees for Parks & Recreation and Public Safety, will meet the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Grant Park Conservancy on Broyles Street. Brian McGill is chairing the committee which is developing a survey for neighborhood input. The survey will appear in The Porch Press and on the GPNA Web site at She reminded members to report incidents in the park by calling 911.
Mau urged members to attend upcoming Beltline meetings for public input: (1) quarterly updates convened by Atlanta Beltline, Inc. on February 28, April 13, August 9 and October 11 at 6 p.m. in City Hall; (2) Beltline Tax Allocation District (TAD) advisory meetings on February 20, March 27, April 24 and June 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Development Authority building; and (3) the Beltline Study Group meeting March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Boys and Girls club at 790 Berne Street. A pre-meeting for the Beltline Study Group to gather neighborhood input will be held March 8 at 7 p.m. in Room 316 at the Georgia-Hill Community building; look for any changes at
• Transportation Committee: John Liebl, chairperson, spoke of the city’s establishment of new bicycle lanes which were originally approved in 1995. He presented a case for modifying the lanes so as not to affect on-street parking:
• Bike lanes have been striped on Confederate between Woodland and Ormewood avenues.
• Part of a city plan was initiated in 1995.
• Our neighborhood has changed a lot in the last 12 years.
o Bike lanes may not be consistent with our neighborhood vision or with Historic District designation.
o Negative Impact: Bike lanes eliminate on-street parking. Can't park on bike lane. This eliminates parking on Confederate and may eliminate on-street parking on our other streets.
o Police have been warning residents on Confederate that they can be towed.
o Streets in the plan: Berne, Ormond, Park, Hill, Cherokee, Woodward, Grant and Ormewood.
o City has not been forthcoming about the plans for these streets, so we don't know if parking will be eliminated.
o On-street parking is a part of the design of the historic district of our neighborhood that should be preserved.
o Some houses don't have any off-street parking.
o Eliminating on-street parking will hamper our efforts to revitalize our neighborhood business districts like the one at Confederate & Ormewood.
o On-street parking helps to calm traffic by effectively narrowing roads to discourage speeding and makes pedestrians feel safe by providing a barrier between the sidewalk and road.
He asked for a vote to amend Historic District Regulations to state that bike lanes (1) be placed on the traffic side of any existing on-street parking in the Historic District and (2) not be installed at the expense of on-street parking in the Historic District. The motion was seconded and approved with two opposed.
The next transportation committee meeting will be held March 27 (fourth Tuesday of the month) at 7 p.m. in room 316 of the Georgia-Hill Community building.
Old Business
The January meeting minutes were approved.
New Business
Cuthbertson announced two openings for Grant Park board members at The Porch Press. He pointed out an article about Atlanta’s neighborhood planning units (NPU) in the January edition and encouraged members to attend NPU-W meetings on the fourth Wednesday each month at 7 p.m. in the East Atlanta library. He recognized NPU-W representatives present: Indasa Crisp, Susan Crozier, Rick Hudson, Tom Jennings and Paul Simo.
Cuthbertson fielded questions concerned the possible move of Zoo Atlanta and its affect on Grant Park. He said zoo CEO Dennis Kelly is waiting for results from a consulting firm, hired to review the zoo’s future growth, before making any decisions. Results are due this spring. The zoo is raising funds which will be used to either relocate or upgrade the current Grant Park location. Cuthbertson asserted that the neighborhood needs to support a “successful zoo” and should the zoo relocate there will be a public process to decide what happens to the 35 acres in the park currently occupied by the zoo.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.
The next GPNA meeting will be held March 20 (third Tuesday each month) at 7:30 p.m. in room 316 of the Georgia-Hill Community building.

NOTE: These minutes are subject to the approval of the GPNA membership.