March 12, 2018

Cliftondale Community Club, Inc.
March 12, 2018
The Cliftondale Community Club, Inc. met March 12, 2018 at the Cliftondale Community Center. Over 50 members and guests were present. Distinguished guests in the audience included Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts, City of South Fulton Mayor William Edwards, Fulton County Chief of Operations Todd Long, Interim Police Chief Darryl Halbert, and the meeting’s featured speaker, South Fulton Councilwoman Helen Zenobia Willis. A Girl Scout was present to sell Girl Scout Cookies.
Vice President Marcus Carter opened the meeting, and President Stanley Knowles presided. A guest provided the opening prayer.
Director Harold Reid, who represents the Club at the South Fulton Parkway Alliance, reported on the Alliance’s March meeting, where he was nominated to serve as Vice President. He said that 4 residential builders from northside counties attended the last two Alliance meetings, noting “We have been discovered.”
He reported that Foxhall, the 1,100 acre property just across the Chattahoochee River from Fulton County, plans to transition from a sporting club operation to providing more accommodations for overnight stays and possibly a hotel. Serenbe has a new office of development and is considering annexing some of Coweta County into the City of Chattahoochee Hills. (It is legal for a city to be in more than one county; for example, Palmetto.)
He explained that the proposed warehouse at the intersection of the South Fulton Parkway and Highway 92 is delayed, not scrapped. The parcel is currently zoned GC (General Commerce) rather than warehouse-friendly TCMU (Town Center Mixed Use); also, the project is so large it needs review by a regional authority. The Alliance opposes the rezoning given its proximity to a large subdivision and the impact on traffic at an already congested intersection. Union City will hold meetings on the rezoning on March 26 and April 17; residents who oppose the spread of warehouses across south Fulton are urged to attend.
The southwest corner of Derrick Road and the Parkway is also being cleared for a warehouse. This land was rezoned as TCMU when it was annexed into Union City about ten years ago, so no public notification was required for the construction. Reports are that the warehouse will be operated by a clothing company.
The Alliance’s position is that warehouses should not be built farther west down the Parkway than Derrick Road, which is consistent with the Atlanta Region Commission’s plan for the Parkway. The Alliance is working to get all the surrounding cities to accept the plan.
There was discussion about the dangers posed by large trucks on side roads and the Parkway. Drivers are urged to call police immediately to report dangerous driving, such as turning into oncoming traffic rather than waiting for gaps. Drivers can also use the 1-800 numbers posted on trucks to report drivers directly to the company.
There was some discussion of rezoning, permitting issues, and public notification. Attendees were urged to contact Mr. Reid or Zoning Committee Interim Chair Bruce Moody if they see any roadside zoning signs, regardless of which city posts them. Mr. Moody’s number is 770-306-0080.
In answer to a question about MARTA’s plans for south Fulton, Mr. Reid said the ARC’s plan shows buses coming down the Parkway and rapid bus transit going down Highway 29. Councilwoman Willis said that MARTA bus routes will expand down the Parkway to Derrick Road in April, to serve employees of the Coca-Cola and Walmart warehouses. She explained the bus route was originally planned for Scarborough Road, a two-lane neighborhood street; homeowners protested and MARTA moved the route to the Parkway. MARTA does show responsiveness to residents’ input.
Storm Mitchell attended the recent Community Zoning Information Meeting (CZIM), where the first public announcements of current zoning applications for the City are posted. He said there were no applications for the Cliftondale area, but there is an application for a warehouse on Spence Road which has some issues.
Membership Committee Co-Chairs Tommie Stegall and Julie Wachsler invited new attendees to become members, explaining that dues facilitate what the Club does.
Ms. Wachsler, speaking as Treasurer’s Liaison, provided the Treasurer’s Report. The breakdown of recent expenses, totaling about $700, shows what Club dues help to cover: annual registration of the Club’s non-profit incorporation with the Georgia Secretary of State, upkeep for the Club’s website, registering its domain name, the website’s gallery of photos, and Constant Contact charges for the Club’s email tree of several thousand addresses.
Mr. Knowles referred to a recently released letter from activists in the campaign for the new City, which charges that the County reneged on its agreement to contract police services from the City to serve Fulton Industrial District (FID). He said he was able to arrange a meeting the activists, City, and County officials to negotiate how to get the County police force transitioned to the City.
Commissioner Arrington thanked Mr. Knowles for putting the meeting together, noting that Commission Chair Pitts is very supportive of the City. He said that from the beginning the County maintained it would have ultimate responsibility to provide fire and police services for FID. To explain why the County now wants its own police service rather than providing the service via an agreement with the City, he provided a hand-out titled “City of South Fulton Transition for Police Services, 3/12/18.” Among other reasons, the County has police needs that reach beyond FID district limits, such as security needs across the County, special event assistance, and juvenile ankle monitoring program. The Commissioner also confirmed the City will provide fire services for FID under an IGA contract with the County.
Mr. Knowles turned the floor over to Councilwoman Willis, who thanked the Club for supporting the City. She noted that Odie Donald, the permanent City Manager, will arrive by the end of the month.
Councilwoman Willis reviewed the Ordinances she has sponsored to date:
Rules of the Road Ordinance, enabling policemen to write tickets for offenses.
ATV Ordinance. She encouraged residents to call the police if there is a problem with ATVs on public streets.
Ethics Ordinance, providing financial conflict-of-interest guidelines for Councilmembers and City employees.
Gas Station Ordinance, in process. The County has an ordinance holding gas station owners accountable if the station has a high rate of crimes or repeat crimes; this Ordinance brings the County Ordinance to the City.
Sanitation Ordinance, providing for City sanitation services, which we must have in order to receive our share of Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST), about $20 million. Once approved by the Council, a Request for Proposals (an invitation to bid for the business) will go out on March 28. The City will contract for the service rather than establishing its own garbage department. The plan is to have the County Tax Commissioner collect fees for the City.
Commercial Truck Ordinance, prohibiting heavy trucks on all posted streets (effectively all secondary streets) unless actually making a delivery on that street. Street signs will go up on March 15. City police are asked to make enforcement a priority. She added that warehouse interests opposed this ordinance.
Purchasing Ordinance, in process, setting limits for discretionary spending for city manager, department heads, etc.
Parent Accountability Ordinance, in process. She will hold the Ordinance until she speaks to the new City police chief and City Manager to make sure it will be enforced if enacted. The proposal will be less strict than the state ordinance. The purpose is to find constructive ways to intervene before a juvenile accumulates “12 points” in minor crimes and enters the criminal justice system. Constructive options include involving the parents in parenting classes, anger management classes, resource groups, etc.
In community outreach, last year she sponsored 2,000 back-to-school bookbags. She is also creating District 3 committees to address local priorities, starting with an Economic Development Committee and a Keep District 3 Clean committee. The latter plans an “adopt a street” program.
On the state level, she is working with State Representative William Boddie on an HOA bill to apply to future HOAs. Its purposes are to insure transparency, timely establishment of HOAs, and financial reports.
Councilwoman Willis is also involved in warehouse issues. Her own home has been affected by the construction of the Coca-Cola warehouse on the Parkway, which is located in Union City. Residents are organizing to address issues such as buffers around warehouse perimeters, traffic impact studies, repairs to damages of nearby residences and yards, etc., for the full length of the Parkway. The leader is Wanda Mosley of Creekside subdivision, telephone 404-396-3115.
The County does have an environmental ordinance that applies to south Fulton, which Commissioner Emma Darnell worked on. The ordinance mandates buffers along city limits for adjacent jurisdictions. The intention is to provide space between, say, a parcel zoned industrial in one city and a parcel zoned single-family residential in the adjacent city. Councilwoman Willis would like to have the Ordinance administered by the City, which would negotiate with bordering cities.
She noted that the City is considering joining South Fulton Connect, an organization proposed to promote common interests for the 8 south Fulton cities. Dues are based on population, and City of South Fulton dues would be $75,000. However, the organization is headed by Union City Mayor Vince Williams, and the South Fulton Council feels it cannot support the effort until Mayor Williams understands how our quality of life is being affected now by construction in his City.
Asked if the City of South Fulton will have an ordinance against litter, Councilwoman Willis replied that the City has adopted the County ordinance and she plans to strengthen it with an Adopt-a-Street program. The City already has a universal Neighborhood Watch ordinance.
Asked if the City has any leverage regarding the frequent Georgia Power electricity outages, Commissioner Arrington said he is already negotiating that issue and will follow up if citizens give him information about their problems.
Asked if the City can be more active with regard to abandoned buildings, Councilwoman Willis answered yes, but such
programs cost money. The City plans to pursue grants to fund the necessary due process of condemnation and the costs of demolition.
Asked if the City has a nuisance noise ordinance, she replied yes. If police are summoned twice in a month to handle nuisance noise, citations will be written.
Mr. Knowles thanked Councilwoman Willis and introduced Mayor Edwards.
Mayor Edwards emphasized that the City’s number one priority is to “stand up the City” by transitioning the police and parks departments from the County and establishing a sanitation service. We are on the way, and the arrival of the City Manager will provide oversight. He said City officials are endeavoring to do better as they gain experience, and much has been accomplished in less than a year.
He urged the Council and community to live by the principle of “Let’s work together.” He offered the example of handling the burial of a Sandtown child killed in an accident whose mother could not afford a service. The school’s cafeteria was shut during the investigation, and Cliftondale resident Damita Chatman voluntarily brought lunch to the staff.
Councilwoman Willis observed that our police officers often do not feel supported by their community. She encouraged communities to support them with gestures such as Walden Park’s annual breakfast.
Interim Police Chief Darryl Halbert noted that he is serving as the team leader for the police transition team. His contact number is 404-613-5714.
Jaceey Sebastian, former Co-Chair of the People’s Campaign and Vice President of South Fulton United, said there are still questions about the police transition and the County’s decision to keep police service for FID despite the Inter-Government Agreement; also, the County also does not recognize that the City’s police resources were purchased with Special Services District taxes.
Rodney Littles of the People’s Campaign asked Mr. Todd to explain why the County wanted its own police force for FID.
Mr. Todd replied that the Board of Commissioners made the decision. The state legislature is now considering two bills to change FID’s legal protection against being incorporated into any city. FID’s future is uncertain: it could continue its unincorporated status, be annexed into South Fulton, be annexed into Atlanta, or be split and the parts annexed by the two cities. A $3,000 bonus is being offered to police officers who choose to stay with the County because of this uncertainty regarding their future.
Mr. Knowles thanked all present for a very informative and lively meeting. The meeting was adjourned.
Gayle Lesser, Secretary

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