.

Glenwood Place Project Fight Far From Over

'Our position is clear and they know where we stand.'

by Chris Kazakos

Dear neighbors,

Thank you for signing this petition in support of stopping Fuqua Development’s proposed big-box shopping center in Grant Park/Glenwood Park at 800 Glenwood Ave. Unfortunately, this fight is far from finished and your continued support is vital.

As proud residents and homeowners, our sense of community is the common thread that binds us together. We represent a quiet neighborhood and remain ardently passionate about ensuring our streets are safe for children to play on. Let us not weaken our sense of community, but strengthen it with responsible economic development.

While Fuqua Development’s initial sets of plans for 800 Glenwood Ave. were rejected, unfortunately that was only a harmless pothole in Fuqua’s road to repave the landscape of our neighborhood. After a resounding public outcry and recommendations from the City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development concerning the original concept, Fuqua was granted an opportunity to re-submit. Because of a loophole in zoning laws, Fuqua was only responsible for the minor stipulations set forth by the city and dismissed the community’s concerns.

On Dec. 28, 2012, Fuqua re-submitted site development plans that still include a 155,000-plus square foot major retail anchor with more than 1,000 parking spaces, a drive-through restaurant, and a bank. Perhaps the most glaring and troubling reality is the only entrances and exits for this proposed big-box development are on two-lane neighborhood streets, one of which is directly across from Maynard Jackson High School. There is also limited return access to Interstate 20. This will likely cause a significant increase in traffic throughout our neighborhood. The new proposal also asks the city to waive some Beltline Overlay District regulations.

In the past, Fuqua Development principal proprietor Jeff Fuqua has shown interest in the “input of neighbors” in previous developments. For this project, however, Fuqua has remained mostly mum. Judging by the latest submission, he has no interest in the Beltline’s future or the local residents whose lives will have a major negative impact as a direct result of this development.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith (from District 1, which includes 800 Glenwood Ave.) and Mayor Kasim Reed have also remained silent. It’s another disturbing aspect of this issue. Mayor Reed and Councilwoman Smith have failed to represent the majority of their constituents who oppose this development. Our position is clear and they know where we stand. It’s time for these officials to do what we elected them to do.

Time is running out. Neighborhood Planning Unit-W is close (within the week) to submitting its official response to Fuqua's latest application and the City's next decision will be soon after. 

As a community, we have rallied around a central cause: Responsible economic development for Grant and Glenwood Parks. More action must be taken.

What can you do?

  • Find out how you can participate in the organized effort led by concerned members of our community by emailing smartglenwood@gmail.com
  • Call or write local media outlets

— Mr. Kazakos is a resident of Ormewood Park.

Ormewood Park Mom January 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM
After walking on the Beltline for the first time yesterday, we are reaffirmed that it would be an absolute tragedy to put this monstrosity of of a development in our neighborhood. The Beltline is truly transformational and something we should all be very proud of for the future of the city. As for Carla's silence, what else is new?
Chris Murphy January 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM
City Council has no power over the plans. You're showing your ignorance. Carla Smith has been one of the most consistent, effective and energetic guardians of the affected neighborhoods.
Chris Kazakos January 13, 2013 at 03:46 PM
She doesn't have a vote, but she has a voice and an opportunity to support the community. Saying a Councilwoman has no power is showing your ignorance.
Chris F. January 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM
As someone who has only been in the neighborhood for a couple years, I have no impression of Carla Smith. What has she done? I'm not trying to be smart; I just don't know. I know that people who know her personally always say good things, but never hear anything from the community at large. The City Council and Mayor do have a role in these developments. Look at the photos of the groundbreaking of the WalMart in the West End. You'll see Ivory Young and Mayor Reed. Councilman Young claims a big part of bringing WalMart to the table, getting that store there, negotiating the tax breaks, etc. I don't understand how this is considered feasible from an infrastructure perspective alone.
Ron January 14, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Oddly enough, infrastructure is not one of the considerations at this stage of the application process. The BeltLine Overlay District SAP process requires only those things that are in that legislation be addressed by an applicant. As for the West End situation, the communities there are largely in support of having the retailer locate there. The zoning was already in place, as it was a Publix grocery store site previously. I'm not familiar with tax breaks, but if there are any, then the entire City Council would have had to vote on that legislation, and the Mayor would have also signed off. Interesting that the Council or Mayor could not convince Publix to remain there, or could not pass a law to compel them to stay there.
Susy Meier January 14, 2013 at 07:01 PM
While I don't know Carla personally, she and her office have helped me negotiate the city bureaucracy on more than one occasion. They have been very responsive when I have written or called them.
Chris Murphy January 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM
@Chris Kazakos: while I appreciate you starting the Facebook page, that's small potatoes. More (much more) has been done by Ron and others at the NPU-W. Carla generally doesn't toot her own horn; she prefers to work behind the scenes, getting the right people together, those being affected leadership and/or those who pull the levers. Hers is *not* an executive position; she can only influence. In that role she knows if she calls people out, she's ruined her influence, so she only uses that as a last resort. It may not be the way some dream they'd do it, but it has worked for her- and us, the neighborhoods in District 1- hundreds of times.
Chris Kazakos January 15, 2013 at 04:50 PM
I've never claimed to do more or less than anyone, but thanks for pointing out the size of my potatoes. Carla can "only" influence? Is she afraid of ruining her influence with Fuqua? Does that mean she knows him? Who else's influence would she ruin? Does she care more about her influence than the demise of our neighborhood. Have we not come to the last resort at this point? You're not doing a very good job of speaking for her. Too bad she will not speak for herself.
Chris Murphy January 15, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I don't speak *for* Carla Smith; I will speak in her favor. I can't speak in *your* favor, as you're nothing more than a whiny voice on the internet.
Bryan January 15, 2013 at 06:55 PM
I have sent this to some of the links above but I think this is a great model for Fuqua to follow when it comes to urban development, even if it is a Walmart: http://exmiami.org/threads/midtown-miami-walmart-renderings-released.10/ Please share this link to all that you may think will benefit from it in the fight against the suburban style developments planned at Glenwood Park and Lindberg.
Ron January 16, 2013 at 02:14 AM
@ Chris K, your enthusiasm for making 800 Glenwood a better project is showing! You have a better understanding of Council's 'power' and 'influence' than I do, so bear with me on this response. I'm not sure what you mean when you say: "She doesn't have a vote, but she has a voice and an opportunity to support the community. Saying a Councilwoman has no power is showing your ignorance." Why do you say that CM Smith is not being supportive? Council powers come from the City Charter and Code of Ordinances: http://goo.gl/l5aYw. Council's 'hard' power comes from their mandate to vote on ordinances. Council has no power without a vote. Council does not vote on SAPs. No vote, no power. Overall, Fuqua's SAP app complies with the City's Zoning laws. SAP apps are handled administratively, via the BeltLine SAP process. The Mayor, not Council, is the head of the administration. If the SAP app fails zoning req'mnts, then the administration will deny the SAP application. If you are saying that a CM's 'voice' can influence the administrative decision, then you are aware of something that I am not. If a CM could influence a different outcome, when a proposal COMPLIES with zoning laws, then they, and the City, would be sued by the proponent. The CM would have no immunity because they would have been acting outside their elected role and would pay their own legal tab in that scenario. Precisely what are you asking CMs to do, to affect the outcome?
JustAnotherArsehole January 16, 2013 at 05:33 AM
@Ron it's very simple...Carla Smith is an elected representative for District 1, the "voice" Chris K. is referring to is what we call constituent services and is a service to be provided by city council. To me it sounds like, Chris K. would like appropriate oversight from his elected council member that could address problems and concerns with the Fuqua development. Did you not understand that from his post?
Chris Murphy January 16, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Would you rather she preen in front of the cameras (like GA Sen. Nan Orrock) denouncing the plans? Boy, that gets results. Or would you rather she helps the NPU get the right people together to review the plans for details for legally appealable items, and makes sure the Office of Planning pays attention to those details- line by line? That's what's holding up those plans right now- that, and the fact 1) he doesn't own the land, currently, only has an option and 2) he doesn't have any tenants, yet. The ARC is reviewing it, and that wasn't by chance. Hopefully, their traffic review (as far as I know, that is the crux of their interest, and probably the only place they can stick their nose in) will show the plan to be untenable with the current road system and interstate access. That, and all the details the NPU-W pointed out (and that went on for pages, done by highly competent people- for free) will keep them tied up until any financial Fuqua backers start to get nervous, and begin to look at true modifications that will actually 'work' on that property. This current process may not be as satisfying to some as joining them at the Whine Bar, but it has the best chance of (legally) ramping down this monstrosity and may even result in a decent development. Anyone notice the sign says, Dine Dwell Shop? He wants dwelling, he has to 'play nice' with Carla et al, because while he can legally put in that 200,000 of retail, the zoning doesn't allow residential.
DooDooBird January 16, 2013 at 03:19 PM
@ChrisMurphy I think either option will do just fine...Since you seem to know firsthand what's going on, how about you write an article detailing the things she and the NPU are doing instead of flaming on a comment thread.
Ron January 16, 2013 at 05:16 PM
@JustAnother....oddly enough the Charter does not bestow "constituent services" responsibility to CMs. It puts constituent services in the Mayor's set of responsibilities. There's an Office of Constituent Services at City Hall, and on the City's org chart, it's in the Mayor's office. Sure, CMs help constituents with a number of things - everything from getting missed garbage picked up to dealing with fallen trees. They act as the middle person between the constituent and the City department responsible for that matter. Those "services" situations are different from matters involving the use of property, and property redevelopment. The SAP process requires that the application be circulated to the NPU for comment. The NPU is made up of residents who live within the NPU boundaries. The process gives the NPU (the residents) the responsibility to review, comment, provide recommendations etc., and in effect provide the oversight that you refer to. In this situation, and with many, but not all land use kinds of matters, the City has given the residents the right to voice their concerns through a defined process. Elected officials, and specifically CMs, don't have the same right - at least my read of the Charter and Code of Ordinances does not lead me to believe that they do.
DooDooBird January 16, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Constituent Services The Atlanta City Council prides itself on being responsive to its citizens. Each councilmember employs a professional staff to address questions and concerns of Atlanta’s citizens. If you have a comment or concern and would like to speak to the council, there are many ways to get in touch with the Councilmember’s offices. You can call the Council’s general number at (404) 330-6030, or contact your Councilmember’s office directly, or visit the Atlanta City Council’s website at citycouncil.atlantaga.gov
Jarod Apperson January 17, 2013 at 10:36 AM
@ Chris K, if you haven't reached out to Carla directly yet, I would encourage you to give her a call. I called her a few weeks ago about another development project and she was quite responsive. She called me back within 15 minutes and shared some insight into her reasons for supporting the project, primarily that it was supported by the NPU. She also said she has made it a policy to side with the NPU every time. In this case, that puts her on the side demanding a plan consistent with the Beltline, cognizant of traffic concerns, and consistent with neighborhood values. If you think she hasn't been as vocal as you would like, I think its ok to voice that, but your tone seems a little aggressive toward someone who has made it a policy to always side with the NPU (i.e. the side you're on).
Nicole B. January 18, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Whew. I'm exhausted reading this! It would make more sense to me for these posters to use this energy they've spent calling out each other and griping over the effectiveness or lack thereof of local representatives to actually go around said people or propose another more suitable project. The reality is, if it is in fact zoned commercial, everyone is out of gas on fighting some type of commercial project going up. Work together on it, people.

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