Planning Commission stays dog park plan

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 11, 2014
Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Some Oakhurst residents are rejoicing after the Decatur City Planning Commission tabled a request to subdivide a lot that contains a popular dog park.

Planning Commissioners tabled the request from the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta that would’ve carved off the wooded area of the park on East Lake Drive to be sold to a developer who wants to build single family housing. That wooded area is the only portion of the park that can be developed. The rest sits on a flood plain.  The Boys & Girls Club can resubmit the request in 60 days.

While the city maintains the dog park, it is owned by the Boys & Girls Club, which leases it to the city for $1 a year. The Boys & Girls Club wants to redirect proceeds from the sale back into its programming. At a meeting on Dec. 1, at the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club on East Lake Drive, Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs told residents, “That’s not our mission, to be honest with you. It’s not to provide dog parks.”

Lee Goldsmith, one of the residents fighting to save the park, said more than 50 people attended the Dec. 9 hearing. Residents had a list of concerns, including the impact the houses would have on traffic and how the water run off would affect neighboring properties.

Goldsmith said via email, “We, in turn, pledged to do our best to keep our amazing forest,  to support the Boys and Girls club, and to strengthen our community in our unofficial Oakhurst ‘town square.’

“Thank you all who showed up. It was a tremendous show of caring citizenship. We will be having planning meetings, creative brainstorming-in-the-forest sessions, and other opportunities to help our community.”

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  • trav

    I’m sure if these folks want to keep the dog park bad enough, they can just pay the Boys and Girls Club the equivalent of what they would earn in the sale, problem solved! I’m sure that’s what Goldsmith means when he pledges “to support the boys and girls club.” Money talks, bullshit walks.

    • Leif Terry

      That’s more or less the plan. If you want to be part of the solution, let me know.

  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks Trav. Well said, especially the “BSW” comment at the end. Glad to see that Danish allowed this comment to stay and wishing that more Decatur citizens would express their anger on line and at public meeting (assuming you are a citizen).
    This is how it will roll in the Republic of Decatur from now on. The new fifteen day rule will allow all the bungalow zealots to protest and stop any tear down in the city. The tree huggers will bring their firearms to a protest anytime a developer wants to cut down a dead or dying tree and then get off with a slap on the wrist. And if these tactics fail, organize a demonstration at the planning commission, where in this case, those who do not live, or pay taxes in the City of Decatur, will influence a decision against the property owner. What’s next? The up and coming diversity summit, designed to weaken the authority of our police officers, will be dominated by outsiders wearing “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breath” tee shirts and speakers, including commissioners, who will cry and complain about white privilege.
    Maybe the only way to stop this mob rule is to go to court. There, for the time being, we are still equal before the law. How long, no one knows.

    • travel

      Whoa, definitely was not my intention to invoke the cascade of conservative talking points regurgitated by Mr. Billingsley here. I don’t think the whole city is going to hell in a handbasket, but I am annoyed at the interference, in this particular instance, with the property rights of the B&G’s club.

      • Eric Burgess

        Everyone agrees that B&G has the right to sell their property. They do not have the right to subdivide it–that has to be approved. There are criteria for that, and there is a case to be made that denial of the subdivision is in the city’s interest and consistent with those criteria.

    • Will Whitley

      Mob rule is when they come to your house, burn it down, and string you up outside in a tree. The right to organize, fight for what you want/believe in, within all legal means, is the basis of Democracy (as I understand it) Do you disagree?
      I believe the B+G should be able to sell their land, but that doesn’t mean the neighbors can’t or shouldn’t fight it. They shouldn’t be demeaned for doing it either.
      And the armed tree huggers can thank the Republican party for the free reign to take their guns directly from church to a bar to the save-the-tree rally. It’s ever so libertarian.

  • Marcus Patton

    Well, Mr. B, you seem to have strayed pretty far from the dog park, but that’s okay. I can join you at the diversity summit where you actually would find many that most people agree with your position that we are equal before the law. The difference is that we are not all equal before law enforcement officers.

    I sympathize with your frustration. It’s hard for white boys like ourselves to see white privilege, so it is easy to wonder what all the fuss is about. If you ask a fish what he thinks about the water, he is likely to ask, “What water?” It’s only the fish who sees someone drowning and stops to wonder why that realizes the environment may not be equally healthy for all living creatures.

    My best to you and the family. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.

  • This discussion was flagged earlier this morning. I’ve edited a comment that I felt crossed the line. I didn’t make that decision lightly, nor should it be viewed as precedent setting for any future comments. If I have to keep editing comments here, I will turn the comments off on this post. We can all agree to disagree, but please be civil and have empathy toward the feelings of others, even if you don’t personally agree with their views. Thank you

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