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Virginia Highland Civic Association - The Voice

April 5, 2016

  • Register Now for the Morningside Mile!
  • Briarcliff Terrace Apartments
  • Annual City of Atlanta Resident Survey Due by April 15
  • New Pedestrian Signal Light Installed at IMS
  • Intersection of Barnett Street and Virginia Circle Now a 4-Way Stop
  • San Francisco Coffee Hosts Meet and Greet with Artist Jamie Calkin
  • A Community Meeting with Lifeline Animal Project
  • Volunteers Needed for Summerfest 2016 - Sign Up Now!
  • Lionheart Framing Celebrates One Year Anniversary in VaHi
  • Notice of MARTA Bus #36 Route Changes
  • South Fork Conservancy "Creek Rising Party" Fundraiser Set for April 28 
  • February VaHi Safety Report

Register Now for the Morningside Mile!

You can help save Virginia-Highland’s historic Fire Station #19 by registering now to run in the Morningside Mile, set for April 17.

100% of race profits are donated to preserve our treasured fire station and help keep it in service. Thanks to grass roots support of Morningside Mile and other efforts, the station is no longer on the chopping block, but we are still raising funds for the renovations, whose final costs are not yet known. We  need your active support; please register now to run or walk and support our neighborhood fire-fighters and first-responders!

  • 1-mile race
  • Cash prizes
  • Great Swag
  • Block Party

Click here for more information or to register.

Briarcliff Terrace Apartments

By Lola Carlisle, VHCA Board Member and Jack White, VHCA Board President

Briarcliff Terrace Apartments has been a quiet apartment community east of the CVS (and east of Arlington Pl.) since the 1960’s. For the last couple of decades, it has been very stable – mostly Latino, with lots of kids – and (according to anecdotal police observations) very little crime. Its relatively isolated site – accessible only from Briarcliff Place on the south and Rosedale Drive on the north – has been one reason for limited social interaction with neighbors on other streets; there’s also been very little conflict. The children in the community have been a notable and valued presence in both the SPARK and Inman communities.

Over the last half decade, the area has also attracted an increasing amount of attention from builders interested in redeveloping it; there is no other large tract of land remotely similar to it left in VaHi. Most of these inquiries – at least the ones we’ve known about – have not moved forward, but we have recently learned of one that may. A developer is considering purchasing the property and building a large collection of townhomes.

Had a specific proposal been made – if there were anything in writing – we’d share it.  There’s not, but it appears that a change to the NPU’s Comprehensive Development Plan (the CDP) and the land’s zoning may be in the works. Both will get extraordinary scrutiny at the neighborhood and NPU level.

The land is zoned R-4 but has been apartments for years.  Any townhome proposal is likely to propose a decrease in the number of units and a sharp increase in density. The latter, if it occurs, would require the changes noted.

Absent any drawings or details or a site plan, there’s not much more to say at this point.  VHCA’s planner (Aaron Fortner) and land use attorney (Bob Zoeckler) have reviewed what few specifics there are. We expect to hear more in the next month, and we will share it when we do.

GDOT Seeks Input for Briarcliff Road Study

Passing along this notice from the Georgia Department of Transportation:

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is conducting a Road Safety Audit (RSA) for State Route 42 / Briarcliff Road NE, from Ponce de Leon Avenue NE to North Druid Hills Road. An RSA is a formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an interdisciplinary team of transportation professionals. RSAs have been used successfully for a wide variety of locations to identify potential solutions leading to both short-term improvements and longer term efforts including construction projects. RSAs are proactive tools, not solely dependent on crash data, but that use an innovative approach, including firsthand observation, to identify potential safety issues and enhancement opportunities to be considered in improvement projects.

As part of the RSA process for this corridor, the audit team is conducting a survey in order to obtain input from key individuals and groups that have an interest in the study area along the stretch of State Route 42/Briarcliff Road NE between Ponce de Leon Avenue NE and North Druid Hills Road. You are receiving this email because you were identified as a potentially interested party and the audit team would like to gather your thoughts about potential safety concerns and possible solutions to those safety concerns along this corridor.  We invite you to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Please feel free to share this survey with others you think might be interested in taking it.

Click here to read more and find out how you can take the survey.

Annual City of Atlanta Resident Survey Due by April 15

By Jack White, VHCA Board President

The City of Atlanta is conducting an online survey on a number of topics; the press release and link are below. If you find that a potential response you might want to give is not listed, there is sometimes an opportunity to provide your own at the end of a question.

We hope you will spend a few minutes on this survey and let your voice be heard. If you have suggestions or critiques about the survey itself, please include them. Writing a useful survey takes real skill and this one may not be perfect, but knowing how citizens are viewing given issues is obviously very important and can help drive city policy. We will try to share the results in the Voice. Survey responses will be accepted only through April 15.

From the Office of the Mayor’s website:

Each year, the City of Atlanta conducts a survey to learn what residents think about their city government and the services it provides, and you are invited to participate this year! The purpose of this survey is to gather valuable feedback from the perspective of Atlanta’s most important asset – its residents. Your response to this survey is critical because it will be used to understand your satisfaction with city services and help us determine how best to prioritize future improvements.

New Pedestrian Signal Light Installed at Inman Middle School

By Jack White, VHCA Board President

The installation of the (solar-powered) Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) at Inman Middle School on the corner of Virginia and Arcadia in almost complete. The city reports that the vendor failed to ship one needed piece; it is on the way.

This signal is an RRFB, not a HAWK, for those who are fans. A nearby example of an RRFB is the signal located across from the Midtown MARTA Station on 10th Street. That one is pole-mounted; Inman’s is overhead.

We appreciate the efforts of CoA Technical Project Manager Daniel Ephraim and his Public Works colleagues on this effort, which was quietly and effectively supported (as so many outcomes are in VaHi) by Councilman Alex Wan. VaHi resident and parent Mary Stouffer was a critical part of the process that led to both this light and the one at Spark; we salute her for her impressive and persistent work.

We hope this signal will make the crossing safer for everyone, an outcome we can promote by rigorously following the speed limit there and elsewhere.

Photography by John Becker

Intersection of Barnett Street and Virginia Circle Now a 4-Way Stop

The city has installed stop signs for north and southbound traffic on Barnett. Previously, only motorists going in either direction on Virginia Circle were required to stop at the intersection.

Nearby resident Anurag Sahu had witnessed a few accidents and numerous near misses at the intersection over the years and reached out to VHCA to see what could be done. City Councilmember Alex Wan asked the city’s Office of Transportation to examine the situation.

Stop signs are not a cure for many traffic challenges.  Transportation engineers have a set of specific criteria - volume of traffic, signage on nearby roads, speed, and visibility among them - by which they make such decisions. It makes sense because the impacts can be widely distributed. This decision was not clear-cut, but after considerable input from neighbors and VHCA Safety Committee members Peggy Berg and Jenifer Keenan, the city decided to install the signs.

As always, we appreciate Councilmember Wan’s willingness to initiate and support the study, and we hope this change will reduce accidents and improve safety at the intersection.

Photography by Peggy Berg

San Francisco Coffee Hosts Meet and Greet with Artist Jamie Calkin

Editor's Note: Unfortunately we were not able to publish the Voice prior to Jamie's Friday Meet and Greet but we wanted to include the article anyway to encourage folks to stop by his month-long exhibit at the coffee shop. Images taken from Jamie Calkin's website.

Athens-based artist Jamie Calkin is kicking off a month-long exhibit at San Francisco Coffee, 1192 N. Highland Ave. in VaHi, with a meet and greet at the cafe on Friday, April 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jamie is a science teacher turned full-time artist who paints with ink and watercolor in the plein air style. Jamie loves to paint street scenes and buildings, and one of his most notable pieces is a 64-foot long mural in the University of Georgia’s student center.

Jamie regularly produces commissions, prints, murals, and other forms of art for his clients, both in Athens and elsewhere. Recently, he completed a series of Atlanta paintings which will be on display at San Francisco Coffee Roasting Co. in April. He hopes you’ll stop by to check out his work.

To learn more about Jamie and to view his work, visit and

A Community Meeting with Lifeline Animal Project

By Kay Stephenson

Several months ago on a Sunday morning, VaHi resident Elizabeth Baker (who operates a local dog walking business) found two loose dogs on her front porch. She was able to get them leashed and checked (unsuccessfully) for microchips.  It was the start of a challenging journey that lasted well into the night, when the dogs were finally taken into the Fulton County Animal Shelter.

Once the dogs were safe (and happily reunited with their owner a couple of days later), Elizabeth and I had some conversation about how difficult it can be for private citizens to know how to help loose dogs that we encounter around the neighborhood. Virginia-Highland is a dog and cat loving community and almost daily we hear about or are directly involved with cats and dogs that need help or are lost.

Many are reunited with owners after a quick post on our neighborhood bulletin boards. Others are taken in and eventually re-homed through rescue groups and individuals. However, when those solutions are not an option, most of us don’t know where to turn. In the past, many of us avoided contacting the county shelter for fear that a healthy animal would not fare well in that environment.

Enter LifeLine Animal Project. Both the Fulton County and DeKalb County animal shelters are now operated by Lifeline Animal Project. Anisa Telwar-Kaicker, Founder & CEO of Anisa International and Board Chair of Lifeline Animal Project is also a Virginia-Highland resident and committed pet lover. Over the past several months Anisa and I have continued the conversation started with Elizabeth back in October.

To read more, click here.

Kay Stephenson is a long-time Virginia-Highland resident and serves as a volunteer for the Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Watch. 

Volunteers Needed for Summerfest 2016 - Sign Up Now!

By John Becker, 2016 Summerfest Co-Chair
In 1983, MASH ended an 11-year, 251-episode TV run, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American to be crowned Miss America and McDonalds introduced the McNugget.

Did you know ‘83 was also the year a group of Virginia-Highland merchants – led by late Atkins Park owner Warren Bruno – got together and threw a block party that would eventually become Summerfest?

Yes, it really has been 33 years since the first Summerfest, and organizers are hard at work planning this year’s festival. Featuring a 5K Road Race and Tot Trot, one of the largest juried artist markets in the southeastern U.S. and a variety of local, regional and national acts performing on the music stage, Summerfest has become one of Atlanta’s most eagerly anticipated seasonal festivals.

The only way to get more out of your Summerfest experience than simply attending the event is to volunteer. Volunteer shifts are generally 2-3 hours long and you can choose to help with:

Click here to learn more about volunteering at Summerfest and for a link to site where you can review shifts and register for any that you like!

Lionheart Framing Celebrates One Year Anniversary in VaHi

Article and photography by VHCA Board Member Robin Ragland

We’re only a week away from the annual Dogwood Festival, but there’s an even more local art event to put on your calendar to attend first. Lionheart Framing is celebrating their one year anniversary in Virginia-Highland by showing works by local artists from April 7 – 30. It all kicks off with an opening reception on April 8 at 7:00 p.m. There’s no cost for entry.

The artists featured include:  Johnny Warren, Trek Matthews, Vasili Vasilev, R Land, Alex Kerr, Austin Yapp, Brent Walker, Bjoern Arthurs, Chris Veal, Kurt Aquino, Henry Samuels, BWT Clothing, Jeffrey McDonald, Stefen Sornpao, Nate Tavel, Sam Pritie, Chris Hall, Rose Barron, Elyse Defoor, Lindy Lane, Josh Wallman, Kyle Brooks, Maddy Barreto, Anastacia Howley, and our very own Lionheart Framing Alton Baker.

The first image above shows Lionheart Framing folks Austin Yapp, left, and Alton Baker. Painting by Jeffrey McDonald. The second image shows a piece by Rose M. Barron.

Lionheart Framing is located at 804 N Highland Ave. Please stop by and congratulate them on their anniversary, and enjoy the show!

Notice of MARTA Bus #36 Route Change

Thanks to Courtenay Dr. resident Cary Aiken, MARTA will be extending the hours of operation for Bus Route #36 (No. Decatur Rd./Virginia-Highland) from the current 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., effective April 18.

Aiken noticed that when MARTA Route #’s 45 and 36 were combined a while back, connectivity to either Emory or Midtown was lost after 9 p.m. This caused problems in terms of getting home late at night from events he chose to attend in either of those areas.

Aiken brought the issue to the attention of MARTA Service Planner II Andrew McBurney in January and McBurney advised in late February that Bus #36 service would indeed be extended to 11 p.m.

McBurney additionally advised that starting in April Bus #36 will be re-routed to end at Decatur Station due to a transit-oriented development construction project at Avondale Station, where the bus currently terminates. The re-route is expected to be in place for approximately 18 months.

South Fork Conservancy "Creek Rising Party" Fundraiser Set for April 28

Passing along the following from our friends at South Fork Conservancy. Image courtesy of the conservancy website.

The South Fork Conservancy invites you to its annual ‘Creek Rising Party’ at the new Zonolite Park and Trail, 5 PM to 8 PM, on April 28. The event features live music, food, beer & wine, and a special “Bog Water” cocktail for attendees. Proceeds will help the Conservancy build a bridge across Peachtree Creek to connect its Confluence Trail, near the intersection of the creek and Lindbergh Drive, with the planned PATH 400 and Atlanta Beltline trails. Tickets for the event are available online at

In its eight-year history the Conservancy has worked to restore and conserve the natural habitats and biodiversity of native flora and fauna along the south fork of Peachtree Creek; to build a network of trails and bridges to connect parks and people in the heart of the city; and to involve the larger community in the work of the Conservancy through public outreach, education and advocacy. It has secured over $4 million to build four trails along the creek, to create a new DeKalb County park, and managed thousands of volunteer hours to maintain the trails and to restore habitats for native flora and fauna.

February VaHi Safety Report

By Peggy Berg, VHCA Board Member and Safety Committee Chair

Click here for key crime statistics for the month ending February 29, 2016.

Reports for prior months are available here.

Seen in Virginia-Highland

Spring has sprung in VaHi! 

Photo by John Becker


April 6 
VHCA Monthly Planning Meeting

April 8
Lionheart Framing Celebrates One Year Anniversary in VaHi

April 9
Monthly Recycling and Disposal Event

April 11
VHCA Monthly Board and General Meeting

April 17
Morningside Mile 

April 18
NPU-F Meeting
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The Voice is a publication of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA), which promotes the furtherance of the common good, general welfare and interests of residents of Virginia-Highland, reporting to the City of Atlanta through Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU)-F. Unless otherwise bylined, all articles are written by Voice editor John Becker.
Editorial/Business Contact: John Becker - or
Copyright © 2016 Virginia-Highland Civic Association, All rights reserved.

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