The exciting world of an Alternate NPU rep!

Dec 10 2013

Have you been looking for just the right opportunity to dip your toes into the pool of neighborhood activism? To test the waters of community volunteer-itude? To swim in the pool of civic do-goodery?

Friends and neighbors: Have we got the opportunity for you! 

How about throwing your rubber ducky into the pond to become a Neighborhood Planning Unit-N alternate representative? Getting involved in our NPU — a multi-neighborhood, city-chartered organization that has a say on a wide variety of planning issues and events — is an excellent way to learn how the city works from a grassroots perspective ... and frankly to make a difference.

CPNO can appoint up to five alternates to NPU-N to support our lead rep, Amy Stout. The basics of serving as an alternate don't take much time -- all you're really expected is to do is fill in very occasionally for Amy if she can't make a meeting. And if there are five alternates, filling in just ain't gonna be a big deal.

But we do hope to attract folks to these positions who are genuinely interested in making in difference for Candler Park. It certainly will motivate you to learn a little bit more about the system and specific issues. And it should give you a better idea of effective ways to push a project or two that you really care about.

If you’re interested in serving as an alternate, please send an email by clicking here. It would help if you'd tell us how you’d like to be involved in making Candler Park a better place. Examples might include “improving our parks and public spaces,” “solving transportation issues,” “making CP safer,” “fundraising,” or “putting on great events.” We want this NPU alt position to serve as your gateway drug to neighborhood activism.

December Messenger - Available Now

Dec 7 2013

The December Messenger [pdf] is available now! Physical copies will be distributed soon.

CPNO Board to APS: Please suspend Candler Park traffic changes

Dec 6 2013
The CPNO Board of Directors adopted this morning a statement urging Atlanta Public Schools and Mary Lin Elementary to suspend the Mary Lin principal's decision to end northbound student dropoffs on Candler Park Drive this coming Monday.
The board took the unusual step of adopting this statement in expedited fashion not only because of our concern about its sudden implementation, but also because the change hasn't been vetted with all interested parties or with all information available. In addition to neighborhood concerns about how this change will impact traffic, we're worried for the safety and disrupted routines of both parents and children.We are simply asking for a delay of this change so that it can be properly examined, so that all stakeholders can participate in the process, and so that any change can be properly planned for -- rather than suddenly imposed.

The full statement appears below and it's attached as a PDF here.

Council OKs CP Master Plan

Dec 3 2013
With a handful of changes, Atlanta City Council endorsed the Candler Park Master Plan on Monday, according to the planner engage by the neighborhood earlier this year develop the plan. Now, our real work begins.
The plan actually was approved as part of a bundle of other measures that passed Council unanimously, planner Aaron Fortner of Market & Main wrote me last night in an email. The changes, which are fairly standard as neighborhood plans work their way through City Council, involve three issues that I'll address in a later post. Only Mayor Kasim Reed's signature is needed for the document to be officially adopted by the city.
Congratulations are due — not only to Fortner, but also to Jimmy Bligh, to the Master Plan Steering Committee that he chaired, and to more than 100 Candler Parkers who provided input to the plan.
It's important to note, however, that the plan’s adoption doesn’t turn any of its recommendations into reality. It's up to us — working together as neighbors — to put in place the improvements we voted for back up in August.
Toward that end, I’ve been working with board officers and other neighbors to develop an inclusive approach for implementing the plan. We discussed that proposal briefly at last month’s membership meeting, and I've posted the latest version of it here. You'll also find an article in this month’s Messenger about it.
Please check out the proposed approach and offer your feedback here. If we can follow up last month's membership Q-and-A with some online discussion here, perhaps things will fall into place to allow us to vote on it at the Dec. 16 membership meeting.

Runoff Elections Today - PLEASE VOTE!

Dec 3 2013

Today, Tuesday December 3, a runoff election will be held for two important school board races. All Candler Park residents will vote at Epworth Church (1561 McLendon) and polls are open from 7 am - 8 pm. 

On the ballot for Candler Park voters:

School board at large seat 8: candidates are Reuben McDaniel and Cynthia Briscoe Brown

School board at large seat 9: candidates are Jason Esteves and Lori James

Run-off elections tend to have a low turn-out, so your vote counts more than ever. Any registered voter can vote today, whether or not you voted in the general election. Go get that peach sticker!

Lin principal: Traffic change takes effect in a week - period

Dec 2 2013

Don't expect Mary Lin adminstrators to back off their decision to end student dropoffs next Monday from the northbound lane of Candler Park Drive or to reverse the elimination of voluntary crossing guards in front of the school.

That was the message of Principal Brian Mitchell during a special meeting of the Mary Lin Building Committee in the Lin auditorium Monday. Approximately 25 parents attended the midday meeting, as did Mitchell, Assistant Principal Ashley Adamo, the architect of the school's ongoing renovation and addition project, and our neighborhood's recently elected, soon-to-be School Board District Member Leslie Grant.

Of perhaps a dozen commenters, all but one or two were critical of Mitchell's decision, how it was decided or how it was communicated. As CPNO president, I read a statement requesting that the school delay the changes and strive to be more inclusive in future decisions that might affect the neighborhood. Read it here.

But Mitchell was firm. He told parent activists that they should advise other parents to change their behavior by using buses or by dropping their kids off around 7:30 am, before the traffic's backed up for southbound dropoff ... and to be patient. One father, a crossing guard, supported Mitchell by saying parents need to adjust their behavior even if it's inconvenient, because dropping off children across the street from their school is inherently unsafe.

While Mitchell initially announced last week that northbound dropoff needed to be eliminated to make room for teacher's parking spaces, he argued today that it's a non-negotiable move to enhance safety. The crosswalk in front of the school is striped and marked by city school xing signs. It's been operated for around a decade. But it apparently isn't an official city crosswalk. Asked why it was necessary to make the change so quickly, he said the administration is "leveraging" construction to close the crossing.

Mitchell did thank me for the statement and came up to me afterward to apologize for not engaging the neighborhood.

What will this mean for neighborhood traffic? My guess is that it'll clog up Oakdale Road and North Avenue as more parents funnel through those two streets to drop off their kids by heading south on Candler Park Drive. We'll see if that creates a bit of gridlock on the North Avenue stop signs. The northbound lane on Candler Park Drive may become less congested, but freer flowing traffic isn't likely to enhance the experience of parents and kids who are walking across the street to get to the school. 

To me, the whole controversy also underscores how crucial it is that we work to implement priority projects on our Candler Park Master Plan. Among other improvements, the plan calls for two new crosswalks across Candler Park Drive and a sidewalk running the entire length of the eastern edge of Candler Park Drive. Prescient? Certainly. But it's too bad we can't get all those changes installed by next week.

Zoning Committee meeting - Cancelled

Updated:  The 374 Clifton Road Application was withdrawn; therefore, no pending applications remain to be reviewed at the December meeting.  The December Zoning Committee Meeting is cancelled.  The next scheduled meeting is January 1, 2014.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Epworth at Candler Park, 1561 McLendon Avenue, Atlanta GA 30307

Parks Dept wants to hear from you -- before Nov 30 though!

Nov 27 2013

Follow the link below to take park in an important survey.

Share your needs and priorities for Parks and Recreation facilities in the City of Atlanta.

Your opinions and ideas will have an impact on the Parks Master Planning process.

To show our appreciation for completing this important survey, you will receive a coupon for 20% off an upcoming City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation program or membership.

Builder says city lost Mary Lin building permit

Nov 25 2013

Mary Lin Elementary’s construction project has run into another delay — this time because the City of Atlanta allegedly lost drawings that were part of the project's building permit application.

A memo to Mary Lin Principal Brian Mitchell from an Atanta Public Schools construction management official put it this way:

The City is requiring a total resubmission for the building permit.  According to Hogan Construction, the drawings submitted previously are lost in the permitting office.  The City will not accept the second application without these documents.

Architect's rendering of Mary Lin's main entrance after addition and renovation are completed.

It’s unclear how far back the permit problem will move completion of the addition portion of the project, which already had slid to July 2014. And it’s unclear how further schedule changes might affect classroom space for the 2014-15 school year. A separate stage of the overall project — renovation and reconfiguration of the existing building — is slated to get underway after the addition is complete.

According to that APS construction management memo:

Hogan is still meeting with their subcontractors to revise the phasing plan and more importantly, we still do not have a building permit in hand. The team is contacting the City Building Department daily.

The original phasing plan indicated phase 1 to start October 21st and phase 2 to start on November 4th.  These date slipped because the permit took longer than anticipated. Hogan is revising the schedule based on receiving the [Land Disturbance Permit] on November 13th.  The Land Disturbance Permit only allow[s] site work which is the phase 1 work. Based on the date the construction team received the LDP, the July 2014 date probably slipped also. The construction team is working on a worse case phasing plan scenario. 

Heads up on possible Mary Lin traffic changes

Nov 24 2013

Most Mary Lin parents probably know about it from a zillion or so comments on the Lin PTA Facebook page, but other commuters should be aware of a potential big change in CP's morning traffic patterns: Lin Principal Brian Mitchell has announced a new policy, starting in December, to end parent dropoffs from the northbound lane of Candler Park Drive. Please be aware that the change could ripple onto Oakdale Road and the nearby cross streets.

From Mitchell's announcement in the Mary Lin PTA Rocket:

Beginning Monday, December 9, the morning parent carpool drop-off on the golf course side of Candler Park Drive will no longer be available. Parents using this drop-off option will need to use the regular carpool lane, which travels SOUTH on Candler Park Drive and enters the school’s traffic circle by making a right turn. There is NO LEFT TURN from Candler Park Drive into the traffic circle during morning drop off OR afternoon pick up. With the closing of the back parking lot, we need as many parking places as possible, hence, the decision to eliminate the morning parent carpool drop-off in the morning.
In a separate, but related move, Mitchell said he also plans to discontinue the use of crossing guards at Candler Park Drive, from the golf course side to the school. Apparently, the crossing isn't sanctioned because it's not an official crosswalk. Part of the problem is that there's no sidewalk on the golfcourse side of the street, and crosswalks must terminate at sidewalks on both sides. (I should note, for what it's worth, that the Candler Park Master Plan does recommend a sidewalk there.)
The changes will allow four or five teachers or Mary Lin staff members to continue to park close to the school by occupying on-street parking spaces that currently are used as part of the dropoff process. The back lot where teachers had parked is being disrupted by construction.
Some Lin parents are complaining that, in an effort to enhance the convenience of a few teachers, the move will cause traffic jams to ripple through the cross-streets and onto Oakdale, and that it also endangers children because they'll no longer enjoy crossing-guard protection.
Parents are appealing to Mitchell to consider these repercussions. The Mary Lin Building Committee is planning to meet with the school administration about this issue on a week from today (Monday, Dec. 2)  at 1 pm at the school; this is an open meeting.
The best place to keep track of the issue is likely to be that PTA Facebook page. Please feel free to comment on this topic here if you have updates, ideas or concerns, particularly as this pertains to the neighborhood.