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Activists call for justice for Kevin Davis, camp in Decatur Square

Image

  • Robert Isaf
  • Activists marched from the apartment where Davis died to Decatur Square, where they camped

Nearly 70 people gathered at the DeKalb County courthouse steps last night to rally around the death of Kevin Davis, who died on New Year’s Eve, and to demand call for greater accountability from law enforcement officials across the state.

Davis was shot by Officer J.R. Pitts in the home Davis shared with his girlfriend, April Edwards, on Jan. 29 and died from the gunshot wound two days later. The Wisconsin native had been assisting Edwards, who had dialed 911 after being stabbed in the arm by a friend during a heated argument.

The courthouse rally was the centerpiece of a much longer protest program, which started with a 5 p.m. march from Davis’ home just outside Avondale Estates. The 2-mile march was met by what protesters called an unexpected police escort consisting of DeKalb and Avondale police units. Officers rerouted the march away from its intended path along College Avenue and Trinity Place and instead down East Ponce De Leon Avenue.

Following the hour-long rally, a core group of protestors calling themselves the #Justice4KevinDavis Coalition moved into Decatur Square itself, setting up tents and promising to spend the night as a message of their demand for justice.

? ? ?
The first courthouse rally for Kevin Davis took place last Wednesday, a month to the day after Davis' death. During that occasion family members and community protesters demanded police be more transparent and be held more accountable. First, they wanted DeKalb police to formally request the Georgia Bureau of Investigations carry out an independent inquiry into Davis’ death.

In the following week, DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander, who became a recognized advocate for greater police transparency and accountability following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., agreed to that demand. Last night, the coalition protestors called for the implementation of Citizen Review Boards of police forces across Georgia, to ensure greater community oversight of local police action.

DeLisa Davis, the victim’s sister, criticized county law enforcement officials for not allowing family members to visit with Kevin while he was being treated in the hospital before ultimately dying.

“Not one time were we allowed to see him, speak with him or pray with him or anything,” she said. “They treated us like we were yesterday’s garbage. Until this day we have never heard from anybody from DeKalb County, not even the night they murdered him. We haven’t heard an ‘I’m sorry’, nothing.”

She wants Pitts off the streets, and the aggravated assault charges against her brother removed.

“He was a hard-working man,” she said. “He never had a criminal record. But he died with one.”

Alexander last week told reporters that the officer fired after Davis appeared in the apartment with a gun and refused to drop it. DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann said in a statement that the department routinely restrains arrestees and grants visitation only in “grave situations.” It would review the circumstances surrounding Davis’ time at the hospital, Mann said.

Around 8 p.m., protesters began setting up tents began in Decatur Square. Protesters unable to make the march and rally kept arriving long into the night, and those unable to sleep over left with promises to be back before the morning commuter rush.

It’s the commuters that the #Justice4KevinDavis Coalition is targeting with these sleep-outs: the hope is that workers arriving Thursday morning will be confronted not only with tents, but with questions.

The highlight of the rally came in the form of poems from two coalition organizers, both with the group It’s Bigger Than You. Yoehzer Ben Yeeftahk rose first, reworking Akon: “They don’t want us to fight for our freedom, but it don’t matter no.”

He was followed by Aurielle Marie, who drew the most explicit connection to the wider #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“We fight as we mourn,” she said. “If this world belonged to me I’d make black bodies able to breathe fire.”

The relationship between protestors and police was cordial; Decatur police observed the sleep-out but did not attempt to interfere. Yeeftahk called the march’s police escort “preemptive cooperation,” noting that they rerouted the march away from Decatur’s commercial district. Some protesters played games such as “Apples to Apples” and “Scrabble.” Others stopped in to Siam Thai for dinner and Jenni’s for ice cream, while making sure that the surrounding businesses knew what was going on.

The week before, organizer Jim Chambers said, the sleep-out took place in front of the courthouse "because we were speaking to the people in the courthouse.”

Now that message has been heard and responded to, they’ve moved to the square.

“This wasn’t so much about disruption as it was just engaging with people in the public,” he explained. “Escalation wasn’t our aim in being here. Our aim was being here and making a little noise.”

The coalition has promised to continue camping out on Wednesday nights indefinitely, until they feel that justice has been done and their demands for appropriate reform have been met.



More By This Writer

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  string(7963) "Twenty-five times a month across the city, Atlantans gather in rec centers, churches, and even a psychiatric hospital to hear police officers rattle off crime statistics, grill a festival organizer on his plans to take over a park, or tell a developer to stick his or her big-box strip mall where the sun don't shine.

These Atlantans are members of Neighborhood Planning Units, a seemingly ho-hum form of citizen participation that, when created in 1974 by then-Mayor Maynard Jackson, was a revolutionary concept. NPUs gave African Americans a voice in political decisions and cemented communities a part of building the city. But more than 40 years later, the question remains: Just how much sway does your NPU really have at City Hall?

To some residents, these volunteer-run groups are another weeknight meeting they won't regret missing. Developers, festival planners, and liquor license applicants might go shopping for armor prior to appearing before some of the citizen organizations. City Hall observers see them as a battleground for new policies and a political barometer of neighborhoods. Once a month, some of the key decisions affecting Atlanta's 242 neighborhoods get vetted at an NPU meeting before they reach City Council and the mayor's desk. When a young Georgia Tech graduate named Ryan Gravel and then-Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard tried to build interest in a project called the Beltline, NPUs were among their first stops and critical to building support. Want to find budding councilmembers? Visit an NPU.

When Maynard Jackson was elected Atlanta's first black mayor in 1973, his campaign owed a large part of its success to alliances forged with neighborhood activists across Atlanta — including northeast Atlanta residents who had spent nearly a decade fighting a controversial proposed highway. Jackson's victory underscored the power of neighborhoods in Atlanta — and was a sign that a long-overlooked segment of Atlanta's population deserved a voice and direct role in the political process.

"He understood that all of a sudden the African-American community had political power — the kind they never had before — but no experience in using political power," says Gerry Neumark, a Georgia State University professor who has studied the NPU system and community politics.

Adds Angelo Fuster, Jackson's spokesman when he served as mayor: "Jackson thought that listening to the voice of the people and helping the local communities speak was an important part of his role as mayor."

Eight months after being sworn into office, Jackson created the NPU as a new level of representation within the city. Men and women from Buckhead to Thomasville Heights could help alter the city's development plans and their neighborhoods. The system also gave him a political edge — by tapping key people in areas of the city who supported his campaign and getting them involved in NPUs, he had a network to help boost his agenda.

Little has changed in the last 40 years. The city has 25 NPUs, labeled by letters of the alphabet but skipping U. Just as before, their job is to give official recommendations to the mayor, council, and other City Hall entities on issues such as liquor licenses, legislation, and zoning. Some NPUs are strong; some are weak. One might fill a banquet room. Another's number of regular members can probably be counted on two hands.

image-2
Elected officials are free to follow or ignore NPUs' recommendations. But the groups do have considerable power. Attend any NPU meeting and you'll often find a developers ready to ask for a zoning ordinance change and event planners pitching their application. Without support from the neighborhood association and the NPU — and the NPU almost always follows the wishes of the neighborhood association — a proposed building could find its height restricted, and a new restaurant could eventually find itself without a liquor license. The NPU exists, in law, to ensure that a neighborhood looks and feels the way it wants itself to look and feel.

Sometimes they can stop simple plans that could have a future impact (e.g., NPU-F in 2009 delaying a Beltline subarea plan that would allow developers to one day build mid-rise buildings at 10th Street and Monroe Drive). Or they can alter a proposed development on the horizon, as NPU-W managed to do with Jeff Fuqua's planned retail center near Glenwood Park.

"In terms of the NPU having a voice in those development proposals and things that affect their area, they are still effective," says Charletta Wilson Jacks, the director of the city's Office of Planning, which acts as a liaison for the citizen advisory groups.

But talk to people who regularly attend the monthly meetings and you'll often hear a laundry list of complaints: Councilmembers don't listen to residents' concerns. Or more often, they're not giving enough information about proposals — or time to consider them. Mother Mamie Moore is a self-described Christian community political activist and voting member of NPU-L, which encompasses English Avenue and Vine City. She's seen city councilmembers come and place items on the agenda, she says, which they then expect the NPU to vote on immediately, without any time or information offered for a real evaluation of the issue. More egregious, however, are those occasions when city representatives come only to inform residents of a done deal.

"I found out about Wal-Mart coming to our community. Not because it came to NPU-L, not because I voted on it, but because it was coming," Moore says. "And the really painful thing about it is that when Wal-Mart finally did send its people down, they acted like we should be thankful ... you're a food desert, be happy."

Neumark agrees city reps or applicants sometimes don't provide enough information. But there are problems with NPUs themselves. To a first-time attendee, the meetings can be a confusing mix of parliamentary procedure, in-the-weeds minutiae, and prickly personalities. Woe to the lowly resident seeking a variance to build a fence and who finds herself facing the wrath of an overzealous NPU group.

Last fall, students in Neumark's class attended as many as three or four NPU meetings to observe the proceedings. The results weren't pretty. According to a report summary, students saw "general disorganization ... some meetings deteriorated into shouting matches among the leaders or among the attendees." There were "very few, if any, young people." Some chairs "seem to treat the NPU as if it were his/her personal fiefdom." Some NPUs have chosen to govern themselves by a board, something the professor personally finds wrong, as it's not a true direct democracy.

Wilson Jacks says she plans to hold meetings about parliamentary procedure, meeting management, conflict resolution, and the ins and outs of zoning. That could help create more organized meetings.

In Neumark's and others' opinions, the NPU system is "broken ... but not dead." The report says all of the students, save one, "indicated that he or she would like the NPU system to continue." And Neumark thinks that requires true reform. That includes City Council stating explicitly what role it thinks NPUs should play in deciding major issues — and whether they'll vote with them or choose to side with whoever the mayor is or other interests. Or they could receive more funding and full-time staff, as they did in the past.

"I think the healthiest thing you can see for a city such as Atlanta is neighborhood power — a good share of neighborhood power," Neumark says. "When citizens start feeling powerless, they don't vote, they don't participate, and the city is turned over to whoever can garner the few votes that put them in office. I think Atlanta is way too important to allow that to happen. I think the NPU concept was a stroke of genius I really do. And I'd love to see it continue to live.""
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These Atlantans are members of Neighborhood Planning Units, a seemingly ho-hum form of citizen participation that, when created in 1974 by then-Mayor Maynard Jackson, was a revolutionary concept. NPUs gave African Americans a voice in political decisions and cemented communities a part of building the city. But more than 40 years later, the question remains: Just how much sway does your NPU really have at City Hall?

To some residents, these volunteer-run groups are another weeknight meeting they won't regret missing. Developers, festival planners, and liquor license applicants might go shopping for armor prior to appearing before some of the citizen organizations. City Hall observers see them as a battleground for new policies and a political barometer of neighborhoods. Once a month, some of the key decisions affecting Atlanta's 242 neighborhoods get vetted at an NPU meeting before they reach City Council and the mayor's desk. When a young Georgia Tech graduate named Ryan Gravel and then-Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard tried to build interest in a project called the Beltline, NPUs were among their first stops and critical to building support. Want to find budding councilmembers? Visit an NPU.

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"He understood that all of a sudden the African-American community had political power — the kind they never had before — but no experience in using political power," says Gerry Neumark, a Georgia State University professor who has studied the NPU system and community politics.

Adds Angelo Fuster, Jackson's spokesman when he served as mayor: "[Jackson] thought that listening to the voice of the people and helping the local communities speak was an important part of his role as mayor."

Eight months after being sworn into office, Jackson created the NPU as a new level of representation within the city. Men and women from Buckhead to Thomasville Heights could help alter the city's development plans and their neighborhoods. The system also gave him a political edge — by tapping key people in areas of the city who supported his campaign and getting them involved in NPUs, he had a network to help boost his agenda.

Little has changed in the last 40 years. The city has 25 NPUs, labeled by letters of the alphabet but skipping U. Just as before, their job is to give official recommendations to the mayor, council, and other City Hall entities on issues such as liquor licenses, legislation, and zoning. Some NPUs are strong; some are weak. One might fill a banquet room. Another's number of regular members can probably be counted on two hands.

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Elected officials are free to follow or ignore NPUs' recommendations. But the groups do have considerable power. Attend any NPU meeting and you'll often find a developers ready to ask for a zoning ordinance change and event planners pitching their application. Without support from the neighborhood association and the NPU — and the NPU almost always follows the wishes of the neighborhood association — a proposed building could find its height restricted, and a new restaurant could eventually find itself without a liquor license. The NPU exists, in law, to ensure that a neighborhood looks and feels the way it wants itself to look and feel.

Sometimes they can stop simple plans that could have a future impact (e.g., NPU-F in 2009 delaying a Beltline subarea plan that would allow developers to one day build mid-rise buildings at 10th Street and Monroe Drive). Or they can alter a proposed development on the horizon, as NPU-W managed to do with Jeff Fuqua's planned retail center near Glenwood Park.

"In terms of the NPU having a voice in those development proposals and things that affect their area, they are still effective," says Charletta Wilson Jacks, the director of the city's Office of Planning, which acts as a liaison for the citizen advisory groups.

But talk to people who regularly attend the monthly meetings and you'll often hear a laundry list of complaints: Councilmembers don't listen to residents' concerns. Or more often, they're not giving enough information about proposals — or time to consider them. Mother Mamie Moore is a self-described Christian community political activist and voting member of NPU-L, which encompasses English Avenue and Vine City. She's seen city councilmembers come and place items on the agenda, she says, which they then expect the NPU to vote on immediately, without any time or information offered for a real evaluation of the issue. More egregious, however, are those occasions when city representatives come only to inform residents of a done deal.

"I found out about Wal-Mart coming to our community. Not because it came to NPU-L, not because I voted on [it], but because it was coming," Moore says. "And the really painful thing about it is that when Wal-Mart finally did send its people down, they acted like we should be thankful ... you're a food desert, be happy."

Neumark agrees city reps or applicants sometimes don't provide enough information. But there are problems with NPUs themselves. To a first-time attendee, the meetings can be a confusing mix of parliamentary procedure, in-the-weeds minutiae, and prickly personalities. Woe to the lowly resident seeking a variance to build a fence and who finds herself facing the wrath of an overzealous NPU group.

Last fall, students in Neumark's class attended as many as three or four NPU meetings to observe the proceedings. The results weren't pretty. According to a report summary, students saw "general disorganization ... some meetings deteriorated into shouting matches among the leaders or among the attendees." There were "very few, if any[,] young people." Some chairs "seem to treat the NPU as if it were his/her personal fiefdom." Some NPUs have chosen to govern themselves by a board, something the professor personally finds wrong, as it's not a true direct democracy.

Wilson Jacks says she plans to hold meetings about parliamentary procedure, meeting management, conflict resolution, and the ins and outs of zoning. That could help create more organized meetings.

In Neumark's and others' opinions, the NPU system is "broken ... but not dead." The report says all of the students, save one, "indicated that he or she would like the NPU system to continue." And Neumark thinks that requires true reform. That includes City Council stating explicitly what role it thinks NPUs should play in deciding major issues — and whether they'll vote with them or choose to side with whoever the mayor is or other interests. Or they could receive more funding and full-time staff, as they did in the past.

"I think the healthiest thing you can see for a city such as Atlanta is neighborhood power — a good share of neighborhood power," Neumark says. "When citizens start feeling powerless, they don't vote, they don't participate, and the city is turned over to whoever can garner the few votes that put them in office. I think Atlanta is way too important to allow that to happen. I think the NPU concept was a stroke of genius I really do. And I'd love to see it continue to live.""
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These Atlantans are members of Neighborhood Planning Units, a seemingly ho-hum form of citizen participation that, when created in 1974 by then-Mayor Maynard Jackson, was a revolutionary concept. NPUs gave African Americans a voice in political decisions and cemented communities a part of building the city. But more than 40 years later, the question remains: Just how much sway does your NPU really have at City Hall?

To some residents, these volunteer-run groups are another weeknight meeting they won't regret missing. Developers, festival planners, and liquor license applicants might go shopping for armor prior to appearing before some of the citizen organizations. City Hall observers see them as a battleground for new policies and a political barometer of neighborhoods. Once a month, some of the key decisions affecting Atlanta's 242 neighborhoods get vetted at an NPU meeting before they reach City Council and the mayor's desk. When a young Georgia Tech graduate named Ryan Gravel and then-Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard tried to build interest in a project called the Beltline, NPUs were among their first stops and critical to building support. Want to find budding councilmembers? Visit an NPU.

When Maynard Jackson was elected Atlanta's first black mayor in 1973, his campaign owed a large part of its success to alliances forged with neighborhood activists across Atlanta — including northeast Atlanta residents who had spent nearly a decade fighting a controversial proposed highway. Jackson's victory underscored the power of neighborhoods in Atlanta — and was a sign that a long-overlooked segment of Atlanta's population deserved a voice and direct role in the political process.

"He understood that all of a sudden the African-American community had political power — the kind they never had before — but no experience in using political power," says Gerry Neumark, a Georgia State University professor who has studied the NPU system and community politics.

Adds Angelo Fuster, Jackson's spokesman when he served as mayor: "Jackson thought that listening to the voice of the people and helping the local communities speak was an important part of his role as mayor."

Eight months after being sworn into office, Jackson created the NPU as a new level of representation within the city. Men and women from Buckhead to Thomasville Heights could help alter the city's development plans and their neighborhoods. The system also gave him a political edge — by tapping key people in areas of the city who supported his campaign and getting them involved in NPUs, he had a network to help boost his agenda.

Little has changed in the last 40 years. The city has 25 NPUs, labeled by letters of the alphabet but skipping U. Just as before, their job is to give official recommendations to the mayor, council, and other City Hall entities on issues such as liquor licenses, legislation, and zoning. Some NPUs are strong; some are weak. One might fill a banquet room. Another's number of regular members can probably be counted on two hands.

image-2
Elected officials are free to follow or ignore NPUs' recommendations. But the groups do have considerable power. Attend any NPU meeting and you'll often find a developers ready to ask for a zoning ordinance change and event planners pitching their application. Without support from the neighborhood association and the NPU — and the NPU almost always follows the wishes of the neighborhood association — a proposed building could find its height restricted, and a new restaurant could eventually find itself without a liquor license. The NPU exists, in law, to ensure that a neighborhood looks and feels the way it wants itself to look and feel.

Sometimes they can stop simple plans that could have a future impact (e.g., NPU-F in 2009 delaying a Beltline subarea plan that would allow developers to one day build mid-rise buildings at 10th Street and Monroe Drive). Or they can alter a proposed development on the horizon, as NPU-W managed to do with Jeff Fuqua's planned retail center near Glenwood Park.

"In terms of the NPU having a voice in those development proposals and things that affect their area, they are still effective," says Charletta Wilson Jacks, the director of the city's Office of Planning, which acts as a liaison for the citizen advisory groups.

But talk to people who regularly attend the monthly meetings and you'll often hear a laundry list of complaints: Councilmembers don't listen to residents' concerns. Or more often, they're not giving enough information about proposals — or time to consider them. Mother Mamie Moore is a self-described Christian community political activist and voting member of NPU-L, which encompasses English Avenue and Vine City. She's seen city councilmembers come and place items on the agenda, she says, which they then expect the NPU to vote on immediately, without any time or information offered for a real evaluation of the issue. More egregious, however, are those occasions when city representatives come only to inform residents of a done deal.

"I found out about Wal-Mart coming to our community. Not because it came to NPU-L, not because I voted on it, but because it was coming," Moore says. "And the really painful thing about it is that when Wal-Mart finally did send its people down, they acted like we should be thankful ... you're a food desert, be happy."

Neumark agrees city reps or applicants sometimes don't provide enough information. But there are problems with NPUs themselves. To a first-time attendee, the meetings can be a confusing mix of parliamentary procedure, in-the-weeds minutiae, and prickly personalities. Woe to the lowly resident seeking a variance to build a fence and who finds herself facing the wrath of an overzealous NPU group.

Last fall, students in Neumark's class attended as many as three or four NPU meetings to observe the proceedings. The results weren't pretty. According to a report summary, students saw "general disorganization ... some meetings deteriorated into shouting matches among the leaders or among the attendees." There were "very few, if any, young people." Some chairs "seem to treat the NPU as if it were his/her personal fiefdom." Some NPUs have chosen to govern themselves by a board, something the professor personally finds wrong, as it's not a true direct democracy.

Wilson Jacks says she plans to hold meetings about parliamentary procedure, meeting management, conflict resolution, and the ins and outs of zoning. That could help create more organized meetings.

In Neumark's and others' opinions, the NPU system is "broken ... but not dead." The report says all of the students, save one, "indicated that he or she would like the NPU system to continue." And Neumark thinks that requires true reform. That includes City Council stating explicitly what role it thinks NPUs should play in deciding major issues — and whether they'll vote with them or choose to side with whoever the mayor is or other interests. Or they could receive more funding and full-time staff, as they did in the past.

"I think the healthiest thing you can see for a city such as Atlanta is neighborhood power — a good share of neighborhood power," Neumark says. "When citizens start feeling powerless, they don't vote, they don't participate, and the city is turned over to whoever can garner the few votes that put them in office. I think Atlanta is way too important to allow that to happen. I think the NPU concept was a stroke of genius I really do. And I'd love to see it continue to live."    Boyd Lewis/Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center MAN WITH A PLAN: After being elected Atlanta's first black mayor in 1973, Maynard Jackson (front) decided to create the NPU system, making direct citizen participation an official part of the political process — and giving a voice to African-American residents.      "neighborhood issue 2015" beltline  13082298 13834029           http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/mediaserver/atlanta/2015-17/cover_npu3-1_48-teaser.jpg Will Hughes PUBLIC INTEREST: Once a month, residents and business owners — including Neighborhood Planning Unit E, pictured above at Peachtree Christian Church pack meeting rooms across the city to sift through neighborhood minutiae and weigh in on mega-projects.             Neighborhoods - Wither the NPU? "
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Thursday March 26, 2015 04:00 am EDT
Maynard Jackson's innovative plan to give citizens a role in political process is 'broken but not dead' | more...
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*Peter Drey
*


Over the next year, MARTA will be moving forward to partner with private developers and start turning some of the transit agency’s parking lots into mixed-use developments. Brookhaven, King Memorial, and Avondale Estates stations have already been selected for the program aimed at increasing ridership and shoring up the transit agency's balance sheets. Also on the list: the Oakland City station in southwest Atlanta, on the edge of Fort McPherson and just a few stops shy of the world’s busiest airport.
 
On Dec. 11, a spread of finger sandwiches, slaws, and chicken wings greeted community members at the James Orange Recreation Center for a two-hour presentation on the current state of MARTA’s transit-oriented development aspirations in the neighborhood.
 
The Oakland City plan, which earlier that day was selected by MARTA staff as one of five to move forward in 2015, is the only TOD project south of I-20. The charette process, aimed at gathering opinions and developing ideas, was kicked off on Sept. 30, and followed by additional meetings in November. A viability report was created and a series of surveys conducted.
 
Last Thursday’s meeting was aimed at summarizing the process. The results of the survey were presented back to the community, along with an architect’s concept of what a final development, based on survey feedback and the report’s suggestions, might possibly look like.
 
According to Greg Floyd of MARTA, more than 100 people responded to the survey. Nearly one-third came from outside the neighborhoods considered to be within the “immediate study area.”
 
More than 80 percent of respondents identified the neighborhood’s greatest amenity gap to be its lack of a coffee shop. Desire for sit-down restaurants and grocery stores followed closely, at 77 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Respondents were clear in their support for new mixed-use developments, with 60 percent in favor. 42 percent support new single-family houses.
 
Oakland City was one of many neighborhoods in the 30310 ZIP code to be walloped in the early 2000s by an epidemic of mortgage fraud that has been characterized as among the worst in the nation. Properties acquired by mortgage fraudsters were abandoned and left to decay. Such decayed and dilapidated housing stock came up throughout the evening as the primary issue facing any revival of Oakland City. When officials reported that 32 percent of survey respondents described the condition of Oakland City housing stock as “good,” a woman sitting in the front row asked for clarification as to how “good” was defined.
 
Lela Randle, the president of the Oakland City Community Organization, agrees that the proposed development could help act as a catalyst for the neighborhood’s revival.
 
“It brings in new people,” she said. “But it also can help us as a community have more faith. We do have people in the neighborhood that have kind of lost hope. And there is hope, there’s plenty of beauty in the neighborhood — and so when you bring stuff like this in, it does help us, as residents and owners, to see the beauty.”

?      ?        jump?        
Scott Dupree, an artist who has lived within a mile of Oakland City since 2001, echoed that excitement.
 
“I think it looks great,” he said, referring to the architect’s renderings placed on easels after the presentation, which residents were encouraged to comment on with markers and “like” and “dislike” stickers. “I love the proposal — it’s in its first stage and they’re already, to me, doing something really good. With input from the rest of the community over the rest of the process I think they’re going to nail it.”
 
Not everyone was excited about the proposal.
 
“I like Decatur,” businesswoman Pamela “Ms. P” Hawes said. “It’s walker friendly. It’s just really nice to me. It makes you want to go back.”
 
The concept renderings presented to the community, however, made her think of “a prison. An institution.”
 
Hawes, however, is bullish about Oakland City’s future. “I’ve been in this community since ‘68. First black person on my street. I’m not going anywhere. Anyone who has property here needs to stay where they are.”
 
A report of the TOD planning process is now being prepared, and its contents will have to be adopted as an amendment to the Oakland City/Lakewood Livable Centers Initiative. That process requires an Neighborhood Plannig Unit vote and a public hearing in March or June before the amendment appears before the City Council. The MARTA property must be rezoned to allow mixed use development — a move that also requires legislation to appear before the NPU and Zoning Review board before heading to the City Council.
 
The MARTA Board must also authorize the release of the parcel where Oakland City’s southernmost parking lot currently sits, where Phase I of the development is planned. Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be released in the second or third quarter of 2015.


*Peter Drey
*



*Peter Drey
*
"
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*Peter Drey
*


Over the next year, MARTA will be moving forward to [http://www.itsmarta.com/TOD.aspx|partner with private developers and start turning some of the transit agency’s parking lots into mixed-use developments]. Brookhaven, King Memorial, and Avondale Estates stations have already been selected for the program aimed at increasing ridership and shoring up the transit agency's balance sheets. Also on the list: the Oakland City station in southwest Atlanta, on the edge of Fort McPherson and just a few stops shy of the world’s busiest airport.
 
On Dec. 11, a spread of finger sandwiches, slaws, and chicken wings greeted community members at the James Orange Recreation Center for a two-hour presentation on the current state of MARTA’s transit-oriented development aspirations in the neighborhood.
 
The Oakland City plan, which earlier that day was selected by MARTA staff as one of five to move forward in 2015, is the only TOD project south of I-20. The charette process, aimed at gathering opinions and developing ideas, was kicked off on Sept. 30, and followed by additional meetings in November. A viability report was created and a series of surveys conducted.
 
Last Thursday’s meeting was aimed at summarizing the process. The results of the survey were presented back to the community, along with an architect’s concept of what a final development, based on survey feedback and the report’s suggestions, might possibly look like.
 
According to Greg Floyd of MARTA, more than 100 people responded to the survey. Nearly one-third came from outside the neighborhoods considered to be within the “immediate study area.”
 
More than 80 percent of respondents identified the neighborhood’s greatest amenity gap to be its lack of a coffee shop. Desire for sit-down restaurants and grocery stores followed closely, at 77 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Respondents were clear in their support for new mixed-use developments, with 60 percent in favor. 42 percent support new single-family houses.
 
Oakland City was one of many neighborhoods in the 30310 ZIP code to be walloped in the early 2000s by an epidemic of mortgage fraud that has been characterized as among the worst in the nation. Properties acquired by mortgage fraudsters were abandoned and left to decay. Such decayed and dilapidated housing stock came up throughout the evening as the primary issue facing any revival of Oakland City. When officials reported that 32 percent of survey respondents described the condition of Oakland City housing stock as “good,” a woman sitting in the front row asked for clarification as to how “good” was defined.
 
Lela Randle, the president of the Oakland City Community Organization, agrees that the proposed development could help act as a catalyst for the neighborhood’s revival.
 
“It brings in new people,” she said. “[B]ut it also can help us as a community have more faith. We do have people in the neighborhood that have kind of lost hope. And there is hope, there’s plenty of beauty in the neighborhood — and so when you bring stuff like this in, it does help us, as residents and owners, to see the beauty.”

?      ?        [jump]?        
Scott Dupree, an artist who has lived within a mile of Oakland City since 2001, echoed that excitement.
 
“I think it looks great,” he said, referring to the architect’s renderings placed on easels after the presentation, which residents were encouraged to comment on with markers and “like” and “dislike” stickers. “I love the proposal — it’s in its first stage and they’re already, to me, doing something really good. With input from the rest of the community over the rest of the process I think they’re going to nail it.”
 
Not everyone was excited about the proposal.
 
“I like Decatur,” businesswoman Pamela “Ms. P” Hawes said. “[I]t’s walker friendly. It’s just really nice to me. It makes you want to go back.”
 
The concept renderings presented to the community, however, made her think of “a prison. An institution.”
 
Hawes, however, is bullish about Oakland City’s future. “I’ve been in this community since ‘68. First black person on my street. I’m not going anywhere. Anyone who has property here needs to stay where they are.”
 
A report of the TOD planning process is now being prepared, and its contents will have to be adopted as an amendment to the Oakland City/Lakewood Livable Centers Initiative. That process requires an Neighborhood Plannig Unit vote and a public hearing in March or June before the amendment appears before the City Council. The MARTA property must be rezoned to allow mixed use development — a move that also requires legislation to appear before the NPU and Zoning Review board before heading to the City Council.
 
The MARTA Board must also authorize the release of the parcel where Oakland City’s southernmost parking lot currently sits, where Phase I of the development is planned. Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be released in the second or third quarter of 2015.

{img src="https://media1.fdncms.com/atlanta/imager/marta-considers-turning-oakland-city-stati/u/original/12991148/1418945027-screen_shot_2014-12-18_at_5.34.53_pm.png"}
*Peter Drey
*


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*Peter Drey
*
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  string(5492) "       2014-12-19T17:31:00+00:00 MARTA considers turning Oakland City station's parking lot into newest transit-oriented development south of I-20   Robert Isaf 12991288 2014-12-19T17:31:00+00:00  
*Peter Drey
*


Over the next year, MARTA will be moving forward to partner with private developers and start turning some of the transit agency’s parking lots into mixed-use developments. Brookhaven, King Memorial, and Avondale Estates stations have already been selected for the program aimed at increasing ridership and shoring up the transit agency's balance sheets. Also on the list: the Oakland City station in southwest Atlanta, on the edge of Fort McPherson and just a few stops shy of the world’s busiest airport.
 
On Dec. 11, a spread of finger sandwiches, slaws, and chicken wings greeted community members at the James Orange Recreation Center for a two-hour presentation on the current state of MARTA’s transit-oriented development aspirations in the neighborhood.
 
The Oakland City plan, which earlier that day was selected by MARTA staff as one of five to move forward in 2015, is the only TOD project south of I-20. The charette process, aimed at gathering opinions and developing ideas, was kicked off on Sept. 30, and followed by additional meetings in November. A viability report was created and a series of surveys conducted.
 
Last Thursday’s meeting was aimed at summarizing the process. The results of the survey were presented back to the community, along with an architect’s concept of what a final development, based on survey feedback and the report’s suggestions, might possibly look like.
 
According to Greg Floyd of MARTA, more than 100 people responded to the survey. Nearly one-third came from outside the neighborhoods considered to be within the “immediate study area.”
 
More than 80 percent of respondents identified the neighborhood’s greatest amenity gap to be its lack of a coffee shop. Desire for sit-down restaurants and grocery stores followed closely, at 77 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Respondents were clear in their support for new mixed-use developments, with 60 percent in favor. 42 percent support new single-family houses.
 
Oakland City was one of many neighborhoods in the 30310 ZIP code to be walloped in the early 2000s by an epidemic of mortgage fraud that has been characterized as among the worst in the nation. Properties acquired by mortgage fraudsters were abandoned and left to decay. Such decayed and dilapidated housing stock came up throughout the evening as the primary issue facing any revival of Oakland City. When officials reported that 32 percent of survey respondents described the condition of Oakland City housing stock as “good,” a woman sitting in the front row asked for clarification as to how “good” was defined.
 
Lela Randle, the president of the Oakland City Community Organization, agrees that the proposed development could help act as a catalyst for the neighborhood’s revival.
 
“It brings in new people,” she said. “But it also can help us as a community have more faith. We do have people in the neighborhood that have kind of lost hope. And there is hope, there’s plenty of beauty in the neighborhood — and so when you bring stuff like this in, it does help us, as residents and owners, to see the beauty.”

?      ?        jump?        
Scott Dupree, an artist who has lived within a mile of Oakland City since 2001, echoed that excitement.
 
“I think it looks great,” he said, referring to the architect’s renderings placed on easels after the presentation, which residents were encouraged to comment on with markers and “like” and “dislike” stickers. “I love the proposal — it’s in its first stage and they’re already, to me, doing something really good. With input from the rest of the community over the rest of the process I think they’re going to nail it.”
 
Not everyone was excited about the proposal.
 
“I like Decatur,” businesswoman Pamela “Ms. P” Hawes said. “It’s walker friendly. It’s just really nice to me. It makes you want to go back.”
 
The concept renderings presented to the community, however, made her think of “a prison. An institution.”
 
Hawes, however, is bullish about Oakland City’s future. “I’ve been in this community since ‘68. First black person on my street. I’m not going anywhere. Anyone who has property here needs to stay where they are.”
 
A report of the TOD planning process is now being prepared, and its contents will have to be adopted as an amendment to the Oakland City/Lakewood Livable Centers Initiative. That process requires an Neighborhood Plannig Unit vote and a public hearing in March or June before the amendment appears before the City Council. The MARTA property must be rezoned to allow mixed use development — a move that also requires legislation to appear before the NPU and Zoning Review board before heading to the City Council.
 
The MARTA Board must also authorize the release of the parcel where Oakland City’s southernmost parking lot currently sits, where Phase I of the development is planned. Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be released in the second or third quarter of 2015.


*Peter Drey
*



*Peter Drey
*
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Article

Friday December 19, 2014 12:31 pm EST

  • Peter Drey



Over the next year, MARTA will be moving forward to partner with private developers and start turning some of the transit agency’s parking lots into mixed-use developments. Brookhaven, King Memorial, and Avondale Estates stations have already been selected for the program aimed at increasing ridership and shoring up the transit agency's balance sheets. Also on the list: the...

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