With March Madness, the Masters, and Opening Day, Spring really is my favorite time of year! There’s so much potential in the air that the excitement is contagious. I hope you feel the same way about our neighborhood!
At our Annual Meeting in January, we welcomed 7 new energetic members to our Board, and I was happy to be re-elected to another term as President. Joan Cioffi continued as Secretary, and Andrea Sharma (Vice President) and Helene Deloach (Treasurer) became officers. We also heard about the progress being made on turning the former Pendergrast homesite into Pendergrast Park (see more on that below) and the changes to the Ryland Homes development, where the planned stormwater pond will be replaced with underground detention vaults. (As of today, we understand Ryland is still 2-3 months away from starting construction at the site.)
A few weeks after our Annual Meeting, we held a joint meeting with Sagamore Hills and Leafmore to get an update on cityhood and annexation issues. See our update below on how those bills fared in the state legislature this year. One component of our meeting was a survey opportunity; 85 of the approximate 150 attendees opted to complete the survey. Detailed results can be found here, but respondents were roughly split on cityhood issues – with 48.7% supporting remaining unincorporated and 46.9% supporting the LaVista Hills option for our neighborhood. With the LaVista Hills bill passing, it now turns to us – the residents of this potential city – to decide whether incorporation is right for us.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be a resident of Briarcliff Woods!
LaVista Hills and Tucker: Last fall, the Tucker and Lavista Hills cityhood initiatives were unable to resolve their overlapping boundaries. In December 2014, a House sub-committee reconciled the conflicting boundaries of the proposed Tucker and LaVista Hills city maps, and then the House passed the respective bills with the reconciled boundaries. A Senate committee, at the urging of Sen. Fran Millar, changed the boundaries to switch some areas from Tucker to Lavista Hills. The Senate then passed the bills, based on their revised maps. The House refused to adopt the Senate’s maps. After much wrangling earlier this week, a compromise was obtained, and a bill was approved on April 2. When the Governor signs the bills (which is expected), the issue will be on the ballot in November. Our neighborhood (and all other neighborhoods within the proposed boundaries of LaVista Hills) will be voting on incorporating into LaVista Hills.
Stonecrest: The proposed city of Stonecrest passed the Senate on March 24, and the bill was headed to the House. Apparently, it died for lack of support.
Together in Atlanta: The proposal to annex a large area of North Druid Hills into the City of Atlanta seemed to have gotten stuck and died due to lack of support by the DeKalb delegation. We anticipate that this issue will resurface during next year’s legislative session.
In addition to the major news sources like the ajc.com and wsbtv.com, Decaturish reports focused news on these issues throughout the legislative session and will likely continue to do so.
As we move toward November, we expect the LaVista Hills incorporation issue will be a hot topic in our neighborhood and elsewhere as you and your neighbors discuss and debate these very important issues before the issue is decided at the ballot box.
In recent weeks, several Briarcliff Woods residents reported hearing gunshots near Fisher trail. According to these reports, the gunshots are most likely coming from the I-85 access road that backs up to Fisher trail. Jeff Chester, along with other residents, reached out to local authorities and the office of Commissioner Jeff Rader. DeKalb County Police agreed to patrol the area as often as possible over the next 60 days. In the meantime, it is crucial for you to call 911 if you hear gunshots or observe any other crime related activities; this will help document the ongoing problem, encourage more frequent patrols, and pinpoint the time of night these instances are occurring. Also, please make sure to either post incidents on Next Door or email Jeff Chesterso the reports can be used for upcoming meetings with authorities. The BWCA will continue to work with DeKalb County to make sure our neighborhood remains safe and secure.
Over the next couple of months, the BWCA welcomes new block captains to volunteer for our Neighborhood Watch program. Several of you have graciously volunteered to help in past years and we would appreciate your ongoing support. If you are interested in becoming or continuing to be a block captain, please email Jeff Chester.
Visitors and residents often ask, “Where is Briarcliff Woods located?” Although we have a few marquee signs along Briarcliff Road, the neighborhood is large along both sides of Briarcliff and there are often no specific boundaries delineating one neighborhood from another. Coming soon, you will only need to look up to know where you are!
BWCA has purchased “Briarcliff Woods” Street Sign toppers (pictured above) that will be placed on top of existing street signs throughout our neighborhood. Installation is expected in about 3 months.
Street Sign Toppers are common in many American cities to build community identity. Sign Toppers increase visibility, advertise the neighborhood name and encourage a sense of pride and belonging from residents. In short, they beautify an area and make it stand out as special!
Your home's curb appeal makes a great first impression to everyone -- including potential homebuyers in the area. As a way to encourage and support curb appeal in the neighborhood, we are having a Spring Spruce Up Contest where you can win a $50 HomeDepot gift certificate. All curb appeal projects started and completed from April 1 thru May 15 are eligible for the contest. All you need to do is email BWCA before and after pictures of the front of your home and give a brief description of your project. All contest entries must be submitted by May 15, 2015, to BriarcliffWoods@gmail.com. The BWCA Board will vote to decide which project added the most curb appeal. The winner will be announced by May 31st.
About 35 people attended the planning meeting on March 24th with Dave Butler, from County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs (RPCA). Overall, there was a good discussion of the many park elements and amenities desired. Several people mentioned the need for sidewalks in the area to improve access to the park and limit the need for parking. Unfortunately sidewalks are not handled through Parks and Recreation, but this is an issue that BWCA will continue to monitor. Parking was also discussed, as the area near the current property entrance is somewhat of a blind narrow curve that can be dangerous and congested with street parking. There may be space for limited parking inside the property. No parking on site was requested by a couple of attendees and that option will be further evaluated. Most residents expressed desire for a picnic pavilion and site furnishings (e.g., grills, benches, bike rack, trash cans) as well as a playground and exercise stations that fit in with the natural landscape. The county requires designated handicap parking if play structures are installed. Trails with good visibility are also desired. A dog park (fenced off-leash area) was discussed, but it appears there may not be enough space for this because of the drainage feature crossing the property. Based on the community input, RPCA will develop a sketch of the park with the proposed amenities displayed and a second meeting will be scheduled for public review and comment. A design engineer will visit the site to recommend several parking options. Community workdays will be scheduled to help remove invasive plants. Stay tuned...
Spring for the Parks
Silent Auction Donations Needed
Fundraising is essential to establish a quality neighborhood park. Mark you calendar for May 9 for a silent auction to benefit 3 local area parks – Rehoboth Park, Springbrook and our own Pendergrast Park. The auction will be held at the Briarcliff Woods Beach Club, from 7-9 PM and there will be a cash bar and free appetizers. Tickets are $10 until May 1st and then go up to $20. You can also pay $20 at the door on the day of the event. All tickets include 1 free drink.
We need your help to provide donations for the auction. All donations are tax deductible and will go towards the development of Pendrgrast park. If you know of a business willing to donate a good or service we would be interested. Ideas for donations include:
Personal Services (Pet sitting, babysitting, cooking, etc),
Business services (Landscape design, tax service, attorney consult, etc)
Artwork, Unique items, Jewelry
Handmade items, Gift baskets
Sports memorabilia, Event tickets
Firewood, Tours, Gift certificates
Please contact Randy Roosa to donate an auction item and to purchase tickets. See what auction items are currently available on the Spring for the Parks website.
The County will be matching funds raised at the auction up to $5,000 per park!
Fund Pendergrast Park Directly
Cash donations are always accepted. A big sincere thanks to those that have already donated!
To donate by check, make your check payable to Park Pride with "Pendergrast Park" in the check memo and mail to:
c/o Friends of Pendergrast Park
P.O. Box 98358
Atlanta, GA 30359
To donate on line, go to thePark Pridewebsite. Click on the link to donate to a specific park. Select Pendergrast Park, provide the required payment information and you will have an opportunity to print a receipt for your tax deduction.