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GPNA Meeting Minutes – Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Call to Order – 7:30pm. President’s Introduction. 2023 GPNA Budget Vote – The 2023 proposed budget can be found in the GPNA 2023 Google Drive. Budget was approved by the meeting participants without further discussion or questions. 2023 Bylaws Amendment Vote to switch to quarterly regular membership meetings.

Questions we’re considering: How can we lower the time commitment barrier to entry for GPNA? Commitment goes from 12 hours per year to 6 hours per year for general meeting attendance. Increased documentation of committee work in email newsletters would supplement the decrease in meetings. How can we amplify Grant Park voices on a city level? The Neighborhood Planning Units are the official mechanism for community feedback, so we need neighbors to attend those meetings for important votes. We are part of the NPU-W; NPU-W meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm, except in November and December; 3rd Wednesday of the month. Voting at the NPU-W: any resident of the NPU-W who has attended two NPU-W general meetings within the preceding 12 calendar months may vote at their next (3rd) NPU-W general meeting.

NPU-W has an elected representative system and each area puts forth representatives to have special voting privileges. Grant Park is currently missing three representatives (we have 5 currently with 3 vacancies). How do we best use our time as a neighborhood organization? Considering better ways to communicate updates rather than a meeting, which creates more time for projects and service in the community. This also creates more time for timely, topic-specific meetings that involve public officials and time for conversation.

What about GPNA votes? We can still take neighborhood votes at our quarterly meetings. There have been 10 LUZ votes in the last three years, and three public safety votes in the past 3 years, all of which were approval for alcohol licenses (these votes all go to NPU-W for a final vote). No homes & history votes have been documented since 2017 and other votes like fundraising, philanthropic, budget, and steering committee elections run on a cycle.

Neighborhood feedback not in support of this change: Concerns were raised about information potentially being missed, lack of communication, and fewer opportunities to give feedback. There’s also the argument that no other neighborhood association conducts meetings in a quarterly manner. Some residents feel this is too much change, too soon. Some feel it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on from a growth level, particularly for neighbors close to Memorial and in the southwest area near the Beacon. Another neighbor voiced that shutting off opportunities to engage does not help bring in more diverse voices. In response to the point about potentially shifting back to monthly meetings, it would take longer to process that change if we move forward with quarterly meetings, which could waste time.

Neighborhood feedback in support of this change: we can reach thousands of people with the email list GPNA has, vs. hosting meetings with roughly 50-60 people monthly. This would free up more time for NPU-W participation and reduce meeting burnout/fatigue. Some voiced that most of the valuable work is done in the monthly committee meetings, not the larger GPNA meeting. Another neighbor acknowledged that the shift is worth a test, and could always be reversed if needed. Another neighbor mentioned that GPNA meetings are repetitive after NPU-W and LUZ committee meetings, noting that any additional updates could be communicated via email. Phill Kelly noted that much of the recent neighborhood involvement in the sign topper initiative was spurred following email/online communications, not monthly meeting presentations. A motion was made to table the agenda item.  26 yes votes and 13 no votes.

Vice President’s Welcome. Treasurer’s Update. January Income Statement is posted online.

Special Orders

Item One – Public Safety / Zone 6 & Fire Department Update: Lt. Carroll (APD) has noticed an uptick in auto thefts from Kias and Hyundais, mostly occurring overnight. Captain Sullivan (AFR) – On February 9, AFR responded to a fire at 432 Cherokee. There was activity inside the house a few weeks earlier in January, specifically a small fire at that time that was extinguished. On February 9 at 7:21, AFR were dispatched for the structure fire. AFR found the back side of the house had heavy fire involvement and enacted an offensive operation before it developed outside of the resources available on the scene. It took several hours to get the fire under control. If the cause can’t be determined, AFR will call fire investigators, and any arrest update would be reported by them. For Atlanta Fire Rescue, fire investigators have arresting power. Next meeting – March 13 at 6:30pm – Zoom link on the NPU website. License hearings – Presentation at NPU-W on February 22. Emmy Squared on Bill Kennedy, Change of Agent. YourPie on Memorial, Change of Ownership.

Upcoming Events: February 26 – Publix Marathon; Road closures approximately 9-noon; Routes in Grant Park neighborhood include Atlanta, Cherokee, Georgia and then north side from MLK to Oakland to Grant. Detailed route can be found on the Atlanta Track Club website. March 25 – Northside Hospital Women’s 5K; will publish the route next month before the event. Juvenile Justice 2021 Annual Report Summary –  Chair Chris Newman will plan to cover next month and share on the website.

Item Two – Homes & History: Resolution regarding 687 Waldo Street – Previously, our Homes & History Committee has sent letters of support to the AUDC without the input of the body, so we will continue to follow that process for February. Design Regulations Update – Everything is in process and GPNA is working to put forward an executive summary. 432 Cherokee Update – David Mitchell, Executive Director of the Atlanta Preservation Center. Next week (February 27 at 7:00pm)  the Homes & History Committee will meet at the Atlanta Preservation Center and assess how to move forward with what remains. Neighbors can get involved by visiting https://grantpark.org/historic-committee.

Item Three – Transportation: Woodward Avenue Update – There was a meeting on February 21, and about 60 neighbors attended. This was to discuss removing the parking between Kelly Street and Boulevard. Most neighbors do not want to remove this parking. The new design presented tonight was to not remove any parking and add bike shared lanes. Other improvements include having double-sided stop signs at Woodward and Wood St., and to look at where Woodward meets Boulevard for business parking. This year’s resurfacing of Woodward will not have any drastic changes. The city’s main point was sending out postcards, so we’ve requested that the city engage earlier in relevant projects. Sign Topper Update & Installation – 20 people volunteered to install sign toppers. There are about 70 remaining intersections left to install. Those wanting to get involved can reach out to Phill Kelly at transportation@gpna.org. Any missing sign toppers or street signs can be reported to 311 at www.atl311.com/311. NPU-W Community Impact Grant Project – Voting will take place at tomorrow’s meeting. More information can be found at https://cityofatlantanpu-w.org. Boulevard Speed Cushion Proposal – We’re not able to do stop signs on Boulevard, but we’re able to explore speed cushions (similar to what’s on Bill Kennedy). The idea is for the community to propose to our Councilmembers Winston and Bhaktiari to then propose speed cushions on Boulevard before the full Complete Streets redesign. A motion was brought forward to request implementation of speed cushions between Mead/Robinson, Delmar/Ormewood, and Rosalia/Hansell, by Councilmembers Winston and Bakhtiari. The motion passed unanimously. 

Item Four  – Technology: Newsletter Updates – GPNA switched platforms for newsletter sends. If you didn’t receive one and should have, please check your spam/junk folder. Additionally, mark our email as “safe” to ensure delivery in the future. Anyone with questions can contact Laura at technology@gpna.org

Item Five – Economic Development: Call for committee volunteers – Those looking to get involved should reach out to economic@gpna.org. Looking at April or May for the next Small Business Mixer, which will take place at Grant Park Market. Neighbors can expect more information on that in the coming weeks.

Item Six  – Legacy Neighbor Ad Hoc Committee: Next Event: Roundtable Talk on Insurance with Ti-Juana Stuard and Antonio Raven on February 22 from 11:00am-1:00pm at the Grant Park Recreation Center. Lunch will be provided.

Item Seven – Land Use & Zoning: V-23-9 – 746 Woodson Street – GPNA recommends approval and will be voted on formally tomorrow at NPU-W. Variance for 7 ft. to 3 ft. rear yard setback adjustment. Special Exception for active recreation in yard adjacent to public right-of-way. ATL Zoning 2.0 Focused Workshop #3 – Growth Area Alternatives; Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30pm.Buckhead Library (269 Buckhead Avenue) and concurrently online through Zoom. Register at www. HYPERLINK “http://www.atlzoning.com/meet-and-contribute” HYPERLINK “http://www.atlzoning.com/meet-and-contribute” HYPERLINK “http://www.atlzoning.com/meet-and-contribute”atlzoning.com/meet-and-contribute.

Item Eight – Community Items

Council Member Winston Updates: We are seeing an increase in auto thefts in Zone 6 & Zone 3. Almost 70% stolen this year have been Kias and Hyundais. This has been happening primarily on Cherokee and west towards Summerhill. Zone 3 is anticipating an update to the car software to combat the situation.

On March 13 at 1:00pm, there will be the groundbreaking for the Atlanta BeltLine, which will go from Bill Kennedy Way to Boulevard. This section will be closed for up to 24 months during construction. They’re looking to start another section from Boulevard, connecting to the Westside at the end of the year. Construction at the two bridges will start – the one at Ormewood/Grant Park and a new bridge at Ormewood. This new bridge will be part of future transit use (a separate bridge will be built for pedestrians/cyclists). The BeltLine contractor is Reeves Young LLC and anyone with construction  questions or issues can email nnewell@atlbeltline.org. Ongoing discussions with Georgia-Power are taking place. Georgia-Power owns the property near the Beacon where the police mounted patrol are housed. Conversations are taking place about keeping that land in control of the community in some capacity.

The Grant Park Gateway Restaurant RFP went out a few weeks ago, with a well-attended open house. We expect someone will be chosen soon. Want to thank ATL DOT for having a very public discussion around Woodward Ave and what that project will look like. There is a partially-protected bicycle lane going up on United Avenue between Ormewood Avenue to Moreland. This was a grant that the SAND committee applied for and received. ATL DOT did the design work, but it’s a GDOT project from an installation standpoint. Construction should be done by the end of the summer.

Council Member Winston also made a sizable donation to House Proud, which helps residents make needed updates to their homes. Winston recently spoke with the Boulevard redesign team for South Boulevard and there has been a contractor identified. The process is going through legal processes and the project is expected to kick off in 2025 following community input. Discussions about a partnership between Zone 3, 6, and Georgia State University to increase bicycle patrols. Hoping to have the new bicycles in place by the end of spring.

Approval of the January Minutes. Adjournment – 8:30pm.

GPNA Officers and Steering Committee: Visit www. HYPERLINK “http://www.gpna.org/calendar”gpna.org/calendar for committee meetings and Zoom links. Catherine Manci – President; Mboh E. Elango – Vice President; Lauren Watt – Secretary; Evelyn Pannell – Treasurer; Laura Keen – Fundraising Committee Chair; Skyler Hassan – Land Use & Zoning Committee Chair; Chris Newman – Public Safety Committee Chair; John Sitton – Homes & History Committee Chair; Laura Gonzalez – Technology & Communications Committee Chair; Phillip Kelly –  Transportation Committee Chair; Carl Rowland – Legacy Neighbors Committee Chair; Amber Scott – Philanthropic Committee Chair; Nate Cook – Economic Development Committee Chair.


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