Thursday, May 23, 2013
On Wednesday, the second auto-train collision in 15 months occurred at the North McDonough Street rail crossing in Decatur.
Though Decatur is only four square miles, it has three grade crossings on the CSX railroad line that splits the town. The crossing at North McDonough Street has been the site of two auto-train collisions in 15 months. Luckily, nobody was killed in either wreck. It doesn't sound like the train employees were at fault in either incident, but the collisions raise the question: Can these train crossings be made safer? Dozens or hundreds of cars and pedestrians cross daily at these crossings. Traffic is especially heavy at the North McDonough crossing because of three nearby schools: Decatur High, Renfroe Middle and Agnes Scott College. Patch asked Decatur City Manager if the city government had ever considered new safety measures. She replied …
Saturday, May 18, 2013
The city staff will present the 2013-14 budget to the Decatur City Commission on Monday. After that, several public hearings will be held.
The City of Decatur is entering budget season. That means a series of legally mandated public meetings will be held. Here's the schedule recently sent out by the city. All the meetings will be in city hall. Beginning Wednesday, copies of the proposed budget and the revised 2012-13 budget will be available at Decatur City Hall and at the Decatur Library. After Wednesday, the budget will be available on the city’s website. For more information, contact Meredith Roark, budget manager, at (404) 370-4102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals found city Planning Director Amanda Thompson made no procedural errors in processing the massive 315 West Ponce project.
(Editor's note: The writer of this article is a resident of the 335 West Ponce condo building.) The Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday rejected all complaints filed by people living near the site of the 315 West Ponce mixed-use development. Unless residents take the next step and file a lawsuit, the decision clears the way for the developer, Carter, to build 235 apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a seven-story parking garage in the asphalt parking lot behind the office tower at West Ponce and Ponce de Leon Place. During the five-hour meeting, residents said city Planning Director Amanda Thompson didn't give proper notice for public meetings, failed to make information about the project public and didn't consistently…
The job advertised on the City of Decatur website would pay $39,998 to $46,301.
The City of Decatur is looking to hire its very first full-time public information officer. This will be a newly created job. The post advertised on the city website would pay $39,998 to $46,301 per year. The application deadline is 5 p.m. May 21. Patch asked City Manager Peggy Merriss some questions about the job. Here are her e-mailed answers. Why did the city decide to create this position? Communication is at the heart of Decatur’s commitment to transparency and in order to continue to meet the increasing demand for information and the growing communication tools for delivery of information, we created a dedicated PIO position. We previously had a Community Relations Officer position in the Police Department and after assessing the …
Monday, May 13, 2013
At 7:30 p.m. Monday, the Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals will hear complaints about how the city handled the 315 West Ponce mixed-use project.
(Editor's note: Ralph Ellis is a resident of the 335 West Ponce condo building.) The Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday night to hear resident complaints about the massive 315 West Ponce project. The city Downtown Development Authority approved the project last month, but people living in the neighborhoods around the proposed project filed an appeal. They say the city didn't follow proper procedures in processing the application. Many of the complaints question decisions by city Planner Amanda Thompson. City Manager Peggy Merriss said in an email that one of the city attorneys, Bryan Downs, will represent Thompson at the hearing. Kathie Gannon, a DeKalb County commissioner and a resident of the 335 West Ponce condo …
Thursday, May 9, 2013
The city is offering rides and classes to promote cycling, starting with "Introduction to Bike Commuting" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The City of Decatur has declared May "Bike Month" and is going out of its way to promote cycling. That's only appropriate since the Leagle of American Bicyclists named Decatur a "bike-friendly community" last fall. The city started offering activities last weekend but the non-stop rain caused problems. Here's' the list of remaining bike-centric things to do in May, courtesy of Decatur Active Living.
Monday, May 6, 2013
The groundbreaking for the Beacon Municipal Center will be held at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Atlanta Avenue construction entrance. The public is invited.
The City of Decatur will hold a groundbreaking for the Beacon Municipal Center at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. City officials will gather at the Atlanta Avenue construction entrance. The public is invited. Parking is limited so the city recommends you park on West Trinity Place at Adair Park if you cannot walk or bike. The city is now demolishing part of the building that used to be the city's African-American school before integration. In recent years it's housed the police department, municipal court, recreation programs and, for a time, the Active Living Department. The city's beactivedecatur.com website says, When the construction is completed in the spring of 2014, the Beacon Municipal Center will house a new Police Department and Municipal …
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Jameson Elder performs at noon Wednesday in the first Blue Sky Concert of the month. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Michelle Malone Banned plays the first Concert on the Square. Both shows on the Decatur Court Square.
Decatur is a music-loving town and there will be no shortage of free concerts in the month of May. Blue Sky Concerts start at noon Wednesday for the lunchtime crowd. Concerts on the Square begin at 7 p.m. Saturday. Both take place at the community bandstand on the court square. Here are the schedules, courtesy of the Decatur Business Association website: Blue Sky Concerts Concerts on the Square There will also be a bonus concert in the Jazz Nights at Scottish Rite series when Annie Sellick performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, in Oakhurst. In September, the free concerts kick off again.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
On May 13, the Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the appeals filed by people living near the site of the proposed 315 West Ponce mixed-use development.
(Editor's note: Ralph Ellis is a resident of the 335 West Ponce condo building.) Decatur homeowners battling a proposed 235-unit apartment complex have filed appeals with the city Zoning Board of Appeals. The appeals, which will be heard at 7:30 p.m. May 13, said the city government didn't follow proper procedures in handlng the 315 West Ponce mixed-use development. For instance, one of the appeals' bullet points says the "zoning administrator failed to folow the procedures established in the applicable orinances for providing public notice." Another said city ordinances are in conflict with each other. (See attached PDF to read the full appeal.) City Planner Amanda Thompson said Thursday in an email that she doesn't know what role she'll …
Monday, April 15, 2013
The commission has asked the staff for an update on what's being done to stop the spate of robberies.
The Decatur City Commission plans to talk Monday night about the city's recent spate of street crime. Mayor Jim Baskett said in an email to Patch, "I think I speak for all of us on the City Commission when I say that we are very troubled by recent events." Some of the police department's efforts can't be revealed, he wrote, but "We have asked the staff to bring us an update on our efforts and will have that discussion at our meeting on April 15. I hope all interested parties will attend." Since Feb. 7, police have reported seven robberies in the city. Six were armed robberies, including one restaurant holdup and four incidents in which men stole from women pedestrians. Patch readers have complained the city government and police have done …