May 2019 Minutes

Cliftondale Community Club, Inc.
May 13, 2019
The Cliftondale Community Club, Inc. met May 13, 2019 at the Cliftondale Community Center. Vice President Marcus Carter presided. About 20 members and guests were present. Distinguished guests included Councilwoman Naeema Gilyard, the featured speaker, and Commissioner Marvin Arrington’s Community Engagement Representative Channing Parham.
Harold Reid, who represents the Club at the South Fulton Parkway Alliance, reported on the Alliance’s April meeting. The featured speaker was Mayor Tom Reed of Chattahoochee Hills. Mayor Reed explained that he has been able to “monetize” a comparison of the returns of using land for warehouses versus mixed use, which weighs in favor of mixed use. The tool might be of help in reducing the proliferation of warehouses along the South Fulton Parkway.
Mr. Reid also said that Aerotropolis would like to provide a speaker for an update on its projects, which might be scheduled for the Club’s September meeting.
Zoning Committee Interim Chair Bruce Moody reported on a proposed subdivision at 7195 Butner Road, which backs up to Walden Park. The developer is proposing CUP zoning [flexible lot sizes] with 81 lots for 40 acres. The developer held a community meeting at Wolf Creek Library on May 8, where the large turnout opposed many aspects of the proposal.
Mr. Moody made the point that to be effective in getting better development, we have to fight all the bad zoning battles. Bad zoning becomes a legal precedent for future developers to exploit. Among the standards the Club has fought for over the years are stream buffers to guard against flooding, vinyl siding because it presents a fire hazard to the initial house and its neighbors, reasonable side yard space between houses, etc.
On May 14 the City Council will consider a modification application for The Bluffs, a development on Butner Road near the Camp Creek Parkway. Because the terrain is steep, the developer wants to decrease the distance from the house front to the street from 45 feet to 20-25 feet and the distance from the sides of the house to the lot lines from a 20-foot building separation to 7.5 feet fixed distances from the lot lines. Because the application was for a modification rather than a rezoning it was not submitted to the City Planning Commission for review. Mr. Moody urged attendees to speak against these modifications in the public comment session of the Council meeting.
Secretary Gayle Lesser, speaking as Treasury liaison, provided the Treasurer’s Report.
Mr. Carter introduced Councilwoman Gilyard. With reference to the complaints of some residents located near The Bluffs that they had not received any notification about the modification applications, she said she is supporting legislation to remedy that complaint.
The Councilwoman explained that she wanted to focus her presentation on the City’s finances “Because finances are the way the City does anything.”
She introduced Frank Milazi, the City’s Chief Financial Officer. He noted that the proposed 2020 budget does not contain a tax increase, nor will it unless the citizens ask for an increase. The plan is to create an urban redevelopment agency to fund capital projects for the whole city through bonds rather than taxes.
Mr. Milazi provided a slide presentation on the City’s income statement as of March 31, 2019. Total revenues for the 2019 Budget are $71.1 million. General revenue has jumped because of more property tax revenue, more intergovernmental revenue (services provided to Fulton Industrial District, which is held by the County), and more franchise revenue. Total General Fund expenditures are budgeted at $66.7 million. Year-over-year expenditures are down because of delay in capital projects implementation; delay in purchasing motor vehicles, equipment, and software; and delay in hiring in some departments.
Councilwoman Gilyard turned to a survey of developments in her District.
District 4 has had very little economic development since 2008, the start of the Recession, though some residential activity is now underway. The District has 30,000 undeveloped acres, the most of any City district. In March she sponsored a development tour of 15 available parcels, which went well. She wants quality development in the District, and will seek to turn down developers who propose less. She instituted a moratorium on CUP zoning in the District, to last until November or until the City finishes its zoning ordinance rewrite. She is sponsoring a survey for District 4 residents to indicate what development they want.
A committee is considering how to enforce impact fees for developers, which are actually already in the zoning code. For many years the County did not enforce impact fees in unincorporated south Fulton in hopes of encouraging development. The fees are designated for infrastructure improvements needed for the influx of residents in new subdivisions.
The Council has received a draft of the proposed strategic plan, which needs community review and comment.
She wants to partner with the Chattahoochee Hills charter school for gardening and a farmers market, and has applied for a grant for that purpose.
Regarding the “smoking landfill” of tires near Fairburn, she noted that EPD regulates landfills. An emergency can be declared, but that must be done in conjunction with the Governor, and he has said he will not deal with the residents. The matter will be back in court on May 20, and we need to pack that courtroom.
Mindful of such recurring environmental challenges, in April the Councilwoman sponsored a forum on environmental health, and a group is following up identified issues.
The clearing on Highway 92 next to Mt. Vernon Church is occurring in Union City, and it will be for a 1.3 million square foot warehouse.
She is pursuing renovations for two of the fire stations in her District.
A Chattahoochee Greenway Study is underway for a project to stretch from Buford Dam to Coweta County on Fulton County’s side of the River, with efforts to do something similar on the Cobb side. Mr. Reid asked if the City would consider buying up the extensive County property that abuts the River in south Fulton.
Asked if the City has competitive police salaries and personnel stability, the Councilwoman replied “Yes”.
Mr. Carter thanked Councilwoman Gilyard for a very informative and wide-ranging presentation.
The meeting was adjourned.
Gayle Lesser, Secretary

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