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Druid Hills Civic Association Pursues Overlay District

Historic Preservation Needs ‘Insurance Policy,’ Board Member Says

It’s in DeKalb courts to decide whether zoning or historic preservation has first refusal to subdivide parcels in the Druid Hills Historic District, but Druid Hills Civic Association isn’t waiting for the next case.

At Wednesday night’s board meeting, DHCA voted to form a committee that will investigate forming an overlay district that will be used to guide zoning and planning in their review of proposals.

In their update of the lawsuit challenging the county zoning commission’s approval of the subdivision of the Nunan property from three parcels to seven with a cul-de-sac at the corner of Clifton and Oxford roads, the board learned that the DeKalb Law Department has opted to become “silent” in their portion of the case, leaving DHCA to shoulder the task but allowing for resumed action.

Sally Sears, chairperson for the South Fork Conservancy, updated the board on the plans to link existing parks and green space by building pervious-surface trails along Peavine Creek, including behind homes which adjoin the creek.

On July 11, Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition will meet to detail the plans for the Zonolite Park section, she said. “Our hope is that the plan will move forward.”

In all, the conservancy envisions trails in seven interconnected areas, including Druid Hills, Emory, Decatur, Medlock Park, ThompsonPark, Morningside and LaVista/Cheshire Bridge.

Park Pride and PEDS are interested in the project for impervious-surface trails that, Sears said, could someday mean that neighbors could walk entirely across Druid Hills, from Zonolite to the city of Decatur, without ever stepping on a street.

“We are very excited about that,” Sears said.

Also eyeing a use for the Zonolite area is a Kay Lane neighbor who reported to DHCA that he has hired an attorney to oppose the City of Atlanta’s possible construction of a sewage storage and pumping station near his home.

Environmental studies are under way, and the board expressed concern that the process will not have to undergo permitting processes to build unlined injection shafts and underground tanks.

“My goal is to get the county to go back to the Zonolite site,” said neighbor Ed Jividen, who told the board he does not “relish living next door to the sweet smell of sewage every time it rains and the noise of blasting during the construction” and that his understanding had been that the Zonolite site was unsuitable for the project due to asbestos contamination.

Sears detailed in her report that environmental studies showed the site was safe for park use.

In traffic issues, the Clifton Corridor Community Transit Authority is continuing to narrow down its preferences for improving public transportation as the deadline approaches for a state transportation bill, also expected for action in coming months. Another public meeting will be held on July 12.

Residents on Oxford Road have hired an architect to address traffic calming.

One board member suggested that Springdale Road might share in this project, since often after speed humps are installed on one street, then traffic is driven to other streets in the neighborhood. Options other than speed humps, which fire truck drivers object to, movable speed clocks and in-street signage are less-expensive, effective alternatives.

Amy Power, president and DHCA board member, updated the group on the county’s vote to include replacing the school with SPLOST IV funds, if voters renew the one-percent sales tax to fund construction projects.

“The school is in dire need of better facilities,” she said. “In all likelihood, Fernbank’s attendance zone under the new 900-student plan would include the streets around Chalmette, Stillwood, University and Kay Lane, and bring all of Druid Hills into the same district.”

Sally Sears June 18, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Nice reporting, Eden. Thanks. One point about our trails? Paving or concrete is NOT the surface we're recommending for the most part. Much better for the creek's health is the mulch and gravel paths we're clearing now. One at Lindbergh and I-85 is made exclusively of the leaves that fell in the neighbors' yards last year. That's a measure of how much people want this to happen: they're willing to bring leaf litter from around the neighborhood to construct a trail. Thanks. Sally Sears
Eden Landow June 24, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Fixed. Pervious surface. Duh. Thanks!

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