Give Me My HOST Money!

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis met with the county’s mayors at Agnes Scott this morning.

I wonder how many of them said the above – couched in slightly more diplomatic language of course.

The HOST fight has rattled its way up and down the state court system for eight wonderful years at last count.  If and when the County finally fesses up that it has illegally withheld sales tax funds that rightly belong to the cities, we’ll have millions more dollars to put toward capital improvements, which are currently funded by our property taxes.

Free Redbud Seedlings Available at Decatur First Bank Tomorrow

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Jack Regan at Decatur First Bank writes in…

In celebration of the arrival of Spring this weekend, Decatur First Bank on Friday March 20 will be giving away redbud seedlings, one to a customer, on a first come, first served basis at its main office located at 1120 Commerce Drive . Supplies are limited, so drop by early. Decatur First Bank, which has been serving this community since 1997, is the only bank with its home base in Decatur.

Decatur Blogs Make Learning About Local Gov't Bearable

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DHS teacher Chris Billingsley notifies us that he’s been using DM and InDecatur this week to teach a unit on local government!

Just to let you know that DHS students in the 9th grade have been looking at your Decatur Metro blog this week as part of a unit on local government. Many of my students complain that the only thing more boring than local government is yard work. Not true but it can be hard to get students excited about Decatur unless you mention zombies. The students were very interested in the information posted on Indecatur and Decatur Metro blog sites concerning the movies being filmed this week in Decatur. One of my students later told me, “Your class was not too boring today.” Thanks Decatur Bloggers!

What is the world coming to!

But seriously.  Wow.  I’m flattered!  As I’ve discovered for myself over the past year and a half, local activity is just as interesting, if not more so, than anything at the monolith, national level any day.  You just need to know where to look.

Thanks for stopping by DHS students!  Come back tomorrow (and the next day) and amidst the seemingly ENDLESS talk about development, I promise to incorporate more talk of zombies even when its completely unnecessary and inappropriate.

One more photo after the jump. Continue reading “Decatur Blogs Make Learning About Local Gov't Bearable”

The Toco Hills Battle Over the Williamsburg Apartments

Wheatley forwards a call-to-action from StandUpDeKalb, over the land use redesignation of the Williamsburg Apartments at the southeast corner of Clairmont and N. Druid Hills Road.

The note promotes opposition to the redesignation because the apartments were not part of the County Planning Department’s original list of “appropriate town centers”, and because the developer JLC (not to be confused with 315’s JLB) has turned down the neighborhood’s request to submit a detailed site plan.  However, a site plan isn’t required for land use redesignation in the county, only for rezoning.

This project is part of the larger ARC project to create senior-oriented mixed use development in this car-centric area of DeKalb County.  Duany talked the neighborhood specifically in his opening address to the ARC a few weeks back, and though the neighborhood says the apartments weren’t part of the county’s original “town center” list, I believe Duany showed inital plans for this very intersection.

Unfortunately for everyone, with the advent of sprawl, today we have these huge plots of developed land that rely solely on automobile use.  And whether you believe in “climate change” and our “dwindling natural resources” or not, you must admit that the only 50 year-old concept of “retirement homes” is a rather depressing result of our car culture.  The only feasible way to “start over” in these massive plots, and allow our aging population to “live in place” (read: avoid the retirement home) is to let developers take them on at once, building these large mixed-use communities.

Its NOT the optimal solution.  I’d much rather see individual properties with different owners, slowly redevelop their individual plots to create more organic mixed-use growth.   But that ship sailed long ago.  Now, thanks to the huge land grabs made 50-60 years ago, these large-scale redevelopments are about our only option.  I’m not advocating that we let the developers run wild.  Do your part.  Go to the meetings, challenge their plans, make them second guess everthing.  If you have a critique, make it known.

But don’t stand in the way just because its new and different.