Dear Tuxedo Park Neighbors—
It’s that time again—when we look back on all TPCA has done this last year to protect and preserve our great neighborhood and when we reach out to our current members to renew their membership and to our new residents (and others who are not yet members) to join us. As we have often said, it is our members who give TPCA its power, who make us a force to be reckoned with, and we’re counting on you to keep our association strong as we face whatever new challenges the next year brings to Tuxedo Park’s integrity.
This last year certainly brought our biggest challenge yet—City Planning’s 600-page 2021 Comprehensive Development Plan, which would have eliminated single family zoning and institutionalized a “densification strategy” for Atlanta’s neighborhoods that would have devastated much of our iconic tree canopy, worsened our flooding and destroyed the historic parklike setting that defines Tuxedo Park. TPCA leadership was instrumental in defeating those efforts, and we also helped forge an alliance of Neighborhood Planning Units all over the city that should help us defend against any renewed efforts to undermine single-family zoning or densify Atlanta’s neighborhoods without regard to infrastructure needs or other neighborhood concerns.
But while that fight dominated our agenda for a good part of this last year, our work for Tuxedo Park has not all been defensive. We got our Transportation Plan approved in August, and we’ve made big strides in securing funding for its implementation—with a number of projects scheduled for completion this year. And we have continued to offer best-in-class security and continued to seek ways to reduce neighborhood flooding and temper the inconveniences of filmmaking. The highlights of our year’s work and a list of what we believe are truly compelling reasons to become or remain a part of TPCA are set out below.
So please join or renew your membership today and mark your calendars for our annual meeting on May 19—our first live-and-in-person meeting since 2019. And whatever else you do, send us your email address if you haven’t already (firstname.lastname@example.org), so you will be sure to receive our security alerts and other important messages concerning Tuxedo Park.
It has been my honor to serve as your president this year, and I must say it has been one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had. But old age and creaky joints and family commitments have compelled me to pass the baton, and I hope you will join me in welcoming my good friend, neighbor and fellow board member Peter Wright as our new TPCA president effective June 1.
With warm regards to you all,
TPCA Board of Directors: Gloria Cheatham (President), Peter Wright (President-elect; Co-chair – Parks/Conservation), Dorothy Snowden (Immediate past president; Co-chair – Filming), Kim Shorter (Secretary); William Seigler (Treasurer), Jen Alewine (Chair – Community Events), Jean Astrop, Lisa Brown, George Calfo, Walter Cheatham (VP – Historic Preservation), Grady Clinkscales (Co-VP – Zoning and Land Use), Cynthia Davison (Co-chair – Filming), Michael deGolian, Jay Hale (Co-VP – Security), Carolyn Hewes, Lem Hewes, Mark Kozinn, Chuck Leone, Debbie Levin (Assistant VP – Membership); Susan Reisner (VP – Transportation), Gigi Rouland (VP –Membership), Brennan Spry (Co-VP – Security), Eric Swanson, Andrew Tritt (Assistant Treasurer), Mercy Sandberg-Wright (Co-chair – Parks/Conservation).
OUR YEAR IN REVIEW
- We fought down City Planning’s dramatic zoning changes and “densification strategy” for Atlanta’s single-family neighborhoods.
After assuring neighborhood leaders the 2021 Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) (the City’s blueprint for how Atlanta will be developed for the next five years) would be a “nonevent” and “just the minimum the law requires,” the Department of City Planning dropped a bombshell of a document in June. Over six hundred pages long, it contained hundreds of new policies and zoning “directives,” along with a development framework that was significantly at odds with the one in Atlanta’s City Charter. These changes included provisions not only allowing second homes to be built on every single-family property in the city, but also allowing them to be subdivided off—and on small lots not subject to otherwise applicable zoning rules. The new CDP also included provisions reducing minimum lot sizes citywide and other proposals that would have significantly densified Atlanta’s single-family neighborhoods.
TPCA leadership led the advocacy efforts against these residential zoning changes and helped form an alliance of Neighborhood Planning Units all over the city to convince City Council to remove those changes and restore the City Charter’s development framework. With the substantial efforts and leadership of Councilmember-at-Large Matt Westmoreland, City Council approved all of our amendments to the 2021 CDP.
- We fought down specific legislation changing Tuxedo Park zoning.
To show they meant business with their CDP proposals, City Planning introduced formal legislation in July that, among other things, would have allowed second homes to be subdivided from R-4 properties on slivers of land with street frontage of only five feet and side and rear setbacks of only four. This would have directly affected properties on Habersham Road north of Valley and several other streets in that area. (The rest of Tuxedo Park is zoned R-2 and R-3, zoning classes that were included in the CDP’s “blueprint” subdivision proposals but not in this specific legislation.). We believe passage of this legislation likely would have spawned development in the affected area that would have exacerbated flooding on Lakeland Drive, Karland Drive and Valley Road. TPCA leadership led a multi-NPU advocacy effort opposing this legislation, and it was defeated by City Council in November.
- We got the Tuxedo Park Transportation Plan approved and have made real progress on its implementation.
The Atlanta Department of Transportation approved our Transportation Plan in August. Transportation Commissioner Josh Rowan even went a step further, declaring it “the best neighborhood plan [he had] ever seen” and suggesting that other neighborhoods use our plan as a model for creating their own. We have been working together ever since to find funding sources for our plan’s projects and have made substantial progress. ADOT has committed $200K toward the design of the Habersham/Valley roundabout and is partnering with the Buckhead Community Improvement District (BCID) who is funding the rest. This partnership enabled that work to begin immediately, rather than suffering through the year-long procurement process. TPCA is seeking “impact fee” funding for the construction of the roundabout, and we understand we are in a “competitive” position for that, especially since the design work is already funded and in progress. ADOT is planning to build our speed tables inhouse with ADOT funding, and that work will likely be completed this year.
- We are getting other road work and safety projects done.
We put the repaving of all of Blackland Road on Mayor Dickens’ “quick fixes” list, and it was approved. We anticipate that Blackland will be repaved this spring, perhaps as early as later this month. We also sought ADOT’s help in improving safety at the Habersham/Valley intersection after a pedestrian was hit and terribly injured there. As a result of our walkabout with Commissioner Rowan and his team, ADOT cut back vegetation to improve the sightline of this crosswalk. They will also be relocating the crosswalk to the other side of Valley Road to further improve the sightline, adding signage on both sides of the intersection to put drivers on notice of the pedestrian crossing, and installing a flashing beacon pedestrians can activate for safter passage. Except for the flashing beacon (which may take as long as a year), this work is scheduled to be completed in July. In addition, ADOT is working with Georgia Power to have more street lamps installed on Habersham (between Roswell and West Paces Ferry), as well as along West Paces Ferry Road, to improve both pedestrian and vehicular safety.
- We are working to reduce Tuxedo Park flooding.
We have significant flooding issues on both Valley Road and Blackland Road, and we are actively looking to find solutions wherever and whenever we can. We know, for example, that the stormwater culvert on Habersham (which carries runoff from the central Buckhead business district to Wolf Creek) is dilapidated and undersized, so we have sought its redesign and reconstruction as part of the roundabout project. Kimley Horn (the roundabout design firm) will be coordinating with the Department of Watershed Management on that effort since it since is a prerequisite to the roundabout construction. We are also in active talks with a potential developer of 10 Blackland to capture additional runoff from adjacent properties to store and treat onsite as part of its development proposal. In addition, we regularly seek stop work orders against developers who unlawfully cut down trees or who violate stream buffer rules—since such code violations contribute to our flooding problems.
- We are working to reduce the inconveniences of filmmaking in Tuxedo Park.
Tuxedo Park is a popular location for filmmakers, and there have been fourteen film productions in our neighborhood this last year, with two more scheduled or in process. While hobnobbing with celebrities and seeing Tuxedo Park on television or the “big screen” can be exciting, filmmaking places an enormous burden on our neighborhood and especially on neighboring homeowners. TPCA has two film liaisons who put in long hours with each production—dealing with communications, parking of production and crew vehicles, street or lane closures, overnight filming and special production issues (such as the use of guns, fireworks, emergency vehicles or situations that could be mistaken for real emergencies)—in order to try to maintain the quality of life in our neighborhood. We also seek donations to TPCA from the various film studios for the neighborhood inconvenience their filmmaking causes, and we are using those monies for neighborhood projects such as the purchase of a pan/tilt/zoom security camera for the corner of West Paces Ferry and Northside Drive.
- We continue to provide best-in-class security.
Security has always been a top priority for TPCA, and we continue to provide 24/7 security patrols, with a combination of off-duty police (ODP) officers and private security officers. Over the last ten months, our ODP officers took over 460 calls, including both emergency calls and nonemergency ones. During the same time period, our private security officers took over 930 calls, including emergency and nonemergency calls and calls for concierge services.
WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN US
- We offer our members best-in-class security.
We are the only Atlanta neighborhood to provide 24/7 security patrols, with off-duty police officers as well as private security officers. Members are provided access to dedicated phone numbers for our security officers so they can reach the respective officer on duty at any time of the day or night. This enables members to get help often before a 911 responder can arrive. We also provide concierge security services, including home security assessment and house checks, mail/newspaper/package pickup and garbage bin return while residents are out of town. Our officers can also meet you at your home to allay any security concerns, if for example you arrive home late at night.
- We advocate to protect the integrity of Tuxedo Park and the health and safety of our residents.
We stay alert to actions by the City, developers and others that affect our neighborhood, and we weigh in wherever we can to protect the interests of our neighborhood and our residents. We have been a leader in advocating on behalf of the interests of single-family neighborhoods, especially those with historic assets, and we have helped form coalitions of Neighborhood Planning Units all over the city to put the power of numbers behind our advocacy efforts.
- We are proactive in preserving the quality of life of our neighborhood.
We actively try to solve our neighborhood’s problems—from traffic to flooding to the multitude of inconveniences of filmmaking—and we work to establish and maintain relationships with City officials and others we can call on for help.
- We keep you posted on things that matter to our neighborhood.
We regularly send out email blasts alerting members of security issues and other matters affecting the integrity of our neighborhood or the interests of our residents.
TPCA Annual Meeting, May 19, 7:00 to 8:30, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Room 2301. Speakers include APD Major Andrew Senzer, APD Captain Jeff Baxter (who manages TPCA’s ODP patrol), District 8 Councilmember Mary Norwood, and Denise Starling, Executive Director of Livable Buckhead—and, of course, your TPCA leadership team.
Ice cream social for ALL Tuxedo Park families, in June at the Noell's on Knollwood. Time/date TBA.
A Fall Cocktail party will be held for TPCA members. Invitation to follow. If you are not a TPCA member, please join now.
**TPCA is not a 501(c)(3) organization, and no membership fee, contribution or gift is deductible as a charitable donation. **