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A Greener Place

Druid Hills could become a National Wildlife Federation [NWF] Community Habitat if we neighbors join together to certify private property and open space as wildlife conservation areas. The Druid Hills Civic Association recently formed a committee to promote the goal of certification. Residents with an interest in wildlife and conservation should contact board member Anne Wallace at annewallace@prodigy.net. The committee seeks at least six people to serve as project team leaders.

Fall in Olmsted Linear Park (photo by Jennifer J. Richardson)

Fall in Olmsted Linear Park (photo by Jennifer J. Richardson)

To support the NWF application, approximately 100 individual yards will need to be certified as wildlife habitats. There are four essential elements for certification:

  • Food – foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds, nuts & bird feeders
  • Water – bird baths, ponds, water features, streams
  • Cover – trees or shrubs that provide a sheltered habitat for wildlife
  • Places to raise young – brush & thickets where nests are safe

There is no downside to having your yard certified: no restrictions on what you may grow or do with your property and no change in historic status. You may continue to use lawn services and chemical treatments on your property, although reduced use of pesticides and herbicides is encouraged.

Certification requires that 100 homes, three common areas, and two schools meet these four criteria. With 35 homes, one common area, and five schools already designated NWF areas within zip code 30307, Druid Hills is off to a good start.

Clifton Ridge Update

A hearing date of July 9, 2015 at 9:30am has been set by the DeKalb County Superior Court in the Planning Commission Decision case. This hearing before Judge Asha Jackson specifically concerns the developers’ 2011 decision to circumvent the Historic Preservation Commission and – without a Certificate of Appropriateness [COA] – apply directly to the Planning Commission for the approval of a subdivision Sketch Plat. In a 4-3 vote on April 13, 2011, the Planning Commission approved the Sketch Plat without a COA. Deny Clifton Ridge has legally challenged the Sketch Plat in the Planning Commission Decision case for two reasons: (1) the developers never received a COA from the Historic Preservation Commission for their subdivision; and (2) the person who cast the deciding vote and represented herself as a planning commissioner was in fact not qualified to vote.

We urge you to attend the July 9 hearing. It is important to have a good show of strong community support. Further, the outcome of three other Clifton Ridge cases pending in DeKalb Superior Court is dependent on the issues to be decided at the July 9 hearing, 9:30am at DeKalb County Courthouse, 556 N. McDonough Street, Decatur; 6th Floor, Courtroom 6C. For more information: Click Here.

Annexation Update

During the 2015 session of the Georgia Legislature, the organization Together In Atlanta led an annexation effort to secure a bill allowing parts of DeKalb County to hold a referendum on annexation to the City of Atlanta. The directors met on May 8, 2015 and subsequently issued the statement below.* Read more

A Letter from Jason Marshall, Principal, Fernbank Elementary School

The purpose of this letter is to provide you updates regarding Fernbank Elementary School’s move into the new building. Due to construction matters at the site related to rock, unsuitable soils, and an extremely rainy and wet winter, the completion date for our new school is now set for September 6, 2015.

Although the completion date is early September, I have asked the District to delay our move until the Thanksgiving Break to prevent any disruptions in the preparation and administration of assessments during the month of October, and the District has been more than willing to accept and support this request. Furthermore, the District is prepared to offer the necessary personnel and equipment to make sure that all grade levels move over the Thanksgiving Break, so that when all students return from spending the holiday with their families, they will all be in their new building.

A more detailed explanation and the steps being taken to mitigate the issue will be presented to the DeKalb Board of Education by Mr. Joshua Williams, Chief Operations Officer, along with the contractor on Monday, May 4, 2015, at the Board’s work session. Join me in continuing the work to prepare for the new Fernbank Elementary School. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you.

BRIARCLIFF MANSION: SNAPSHOT HISTORY

Briarcliff Mansion façade, 1930s

Briarcliff Mansion façade, 1930s

There is a once-grand mansion in our midst on Briarcliff Road. Blocked from view by a tall stone wall and thick overgrowth, it is easy to miss. Built for Asa “Buddie” Candler, Jr., and his family in the early 1920s, the 42-acre estate came to include greenhouses, a terraced garden, a swimming pool where neighborhood children were welcome, a bathhouse, a commercial laundry, a dairy, and a (short-lived) private zoo. This mansion has fallen on hard times.

The Coca-Cola tycoon Asa Candler and his wife had four sons (and a daughter) who all built their homes in Druid Hills. The patriarch himself built a one-story home in Druid Hills when his wife became incapacitated. And at least three Candler grandchildren received houses in Druid Hills as wedding presents (or so the story goes). These are the houses that “Coca-Cola built.” Read more

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