May 2017 Minutes

Cliftondale Community Club, Inc.
May 8, 2017
The Cliftondale Community Club, Inc. met May 8, 2017 at the South Fulton Arts Center auditorium. About 150 people were present. President Stanley Knowles presided. Vice President Marcus Carter provided the opening prayer.
Tony Jordan, Arts Center Manager, welcomed the audience.
Research and Development Committee Chair Harold Reid reported on two current zoning matters.
Regarding the warehouse facing Stonewall Tell Road near the South Fulton Parkway, on March 26 he and Charley Bingham, president of Stonewall Manor HOA, met with Scott Brown of Majestic Realty (the warehouse’s landlord) and Majestic’s lawyer Woody Galloway. They discussed the berm cut entrance on Stonewall Tell Road and the screening plantings on the berm. The neighborhood had been told that there would be no cuts in the berm. Mr. Brown explained that the entrance is for emergency use only and will not be used by trucks or employees. Mr. Brown agreed that the newly installed screening plantings were not adequate to screen the view of the warehouse, and he has asked the landscaping contractor for additional and larger trees. An installation date will be announced once the contractor has located a source of such trees.
Regarding the 300-acre tract to be developed near the intersection of Fulton Industrial Boulevard and Campbellton Roads, on May 2 the Club sponsored a meeting with a representative from the Walton Group of Companies. He described the planned 6 warehouses, an entry plaza with a gas station and drug store, a supermarket plaza with 6 outbuildings, 128 townhouses, and an office park with 20 buildings. Given that the proposed uses are permissible under the Land Use Plan, the community’s concern focuses on a proposed exit for heavy trucks on Riverside Drive. The project will face the Community Zoning Board on May 16 and the Board of Commissioners on June 7. Mr. Reid urged concerned neighbors to attend the two meetings as the best way to influence the outcomes.
Membership Committee Co-Chairs Tommie Stegall and Julie Wachsler greeted first-timers to the meeting. Mr. Knowles said that the Club’s email tree was approaching capacity and in the future only paying members would be able to sign up to receive our community newsletter.
Mr. Carter announced upcoming events to be held at the South Fulton Arts Center.
Mr. Knowles recognized three distinguished guests in the audience: Senator Donzella James, Representative William Boddie, and former Commissioner Robb Pitts.
Mr. Knowles introduced the featured guests: Mayor Bill Edwards and Council members Helen Z. Willis and Carmalitha Gumbs. (Councilwoman Naeema Gilyard was unable to attend.)
In his introductory remarks Mayor Edwards said that the City’s newly installed officials had been hard at work in the first week. He believes this new city has done more in its first 8 days than any other new city in the County. He introduced interim City Manager Ruth Jones and City Clerk Mark Massey.
Councilwoman Willis described the work she has already done to fulfill her campaign promises. She spent Sunday in Welcome All Park with police officers and the Department’s helicopter in a campaign “to take back” the Park from bikers and 4-wheelers. She also spoke to the City Manager regarding an RFP for waste management and recycling. She is also working to be sure the new government practices fiscal responsibility.
Councilwoman Gumbs said she too had promised to work for the cleanliness of the City’s streets. This is a campaign that ordinary citizens can help with by reporting litter and dumping. She is also on the City’s fiscal trail, including the inter-governmental agreements for some services. She urged citizens to stay engaged and to attend council meetings.

Mayor Edwards reviewed several City matters. Negotiations with the County regarding leasing the Annex on Stonewall Tell Road and leasing or transfer of the Fulton Industrial offices are in progress. The City closed on a $12 million Tax Anticipation Note (a loan for operating expenses until property taxes arrive in the fall) at a 2% interest rate. The City will bring in the County police within 60 to 90 days. He also asked residents to be careful of what they said about the City on the internet; negative comments could go viral.
Senator James, who served on the Governor’s “Transition Team,” explained details of the facility leasing negotiations.
The floor was opened to questions from the audience.
Asked about issuing bonds to pave our streets, Mayor Edwards said the bonds to cover the top coat of subdivision streets had mostly been released by the County. [Until the work is done, the bonds must be renewed annually. The County was apparently lax in following this up, whereupon the bonds lapsed and are considered “released.”] The City itself will not be issuing bonds.
Asked about the process of translating County regulations to City regulations, Ms. Jones explained that will be done in the context of looking at the City’s comprehensive plan and the Land Use Plan (LUP) in the next 90 days.
Asked about the volume of heavy trucks on Camp Creek Parkway, Mr. Reid said the Parkway is a state route and heavy trucks are allowed. The railroad bridge is the bottleneck.
Asked about big trucks on the surface streets, West Stubbs and Demooney Roads in particular, Mayor Edwards said that when the City takes over the police department, we will increase patrolling and ticketing. Councilwoman Willis said that citizens can use their phone video feature to take pictures of the trucks and their tags to forward to the police.
Asked about warehouse placements, Mayor Edwards said the City would not zone warehouses and residences next to each other. The warehouse across from Stonewall Manor subdivision is located in Union City.
Asked when the City would be hiring, Ms. Jones explained that the City will start small, with offices of 3 or 4 people, and grow later. Once a human resources specialist is hired, the City will advertise openings.
Mayor Edwards asked the former candidates for any office to stand, and he told them they are a pool of leaders we want to stay engaged in our City.
Representative Boddie reported on the recently passed “slider crime” legislation (when criminals steal from unlocked cars at service stations), which defines the crime as carjacking in the second degree. Slider crimes are now down by 300%. He praised the legislation as effective and swiftly passed by the legislature in response to citizen insistence.
Senator James said that she and Representative Boddie will study the issue of whether heavy trucks can be rerouted on some state roads. Research will include a review of existing laws, GPS systems, and trucking company policies and practices.
The meeting was adjourned.
Gayle Lesser, Secretary

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