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Kirkwood Neighbors Organization elects new officers

Crime and public safety Kirkwood and East Lake Trending

Kirkwood Neighbors Organization elects new officers

Kirkwood. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Angela Walker, contributor 

Atlanta, GA — The Kirkwood Neighbors Organization (KNO) met via Zoom on Friday, November 10, at 7 p.m. for its monthly meeting and elected new officers for 2024.

Mathew George, previously the Board Secretary, will now serve as KNO’s next Board President. Former President Megan Owens has served for two consecutive years and is no longer eligible for reelection to a board position. 

Owens was excited to announce the opening of voting for all Board of Directors and Officers positions. During the announcement, Owens mentioned that any KNO member and existing Committee Chairs can be nominated for the open positions. To be eligible for voting, Owens confirmed that a KNO member must have paid their dues, attended at least one of the previous three regular monthly meetings, and be in good standing. 

In addition to electing George as president, the KNO elected Dan Wingate as vice president, and Josh Woiderski. The position of secretary remains open because all the nominees declined to take over the role. 

In other KNO business:

— The Zoning Committee had one variance application, and KNO members voted to accept the Committee’s recommendation. During the Zoning Committee report, Chair Susanne Blam said the variance request was from the owner at 2290 Hosea L Williams Dr. NE. The owner asked for a variance to allow a 6-foot privacy fence in the front, side, and backyard of their existing single-family dwelling.

“It is a situation that we frequently encounter where you have a corner lot where part of their property is their backyard, and the requirements for front yard [fences] are 4 feet.” Blam continued, “The Committee does not recommend that the front yard fence be raised to the owners requested 6 feet.”

But the Committee did approve a 4-foot front yard fence with allowance for a no-see-through fence. 

— KNO members approved next year’s Spring Fling budget. Spring Fling Chair Andrew Feury announced the save the date for next year’s 21st annual event, which will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Feury shared that “next year’s budget of $105,000 is a bit more than last year’s budget because operational expenses continue to get higher and higher every year.” He added, “Hopefully, things start to stabilize.” Stay tuned for more event details in January 2024.

— Atlanta Police Lt. Butler shared that crime is trending down. However, people are still attempting to steal Kia and Hyundai’s but are not as successful. The updates from the manufacturer, anti-theft tools, and school being back in session have all contributed to a decline in vehicle thefts, Butler said. On October 12, APD secured an arrest warrant for a homicide that occurred back in August. The suspect has not been apprehended yet, but Lt. Butler will share updates.

“For the month, there’s only been 15 property crimes in the area and a wire fraud. But other than that, I think the area for Kirkwood is looking good,” said Lt. Butler. 

— Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari’s representative, Patrick Husbands, says that the repaving project in the areas of Warren St. NE, Hosea Williams and Sanders is pushed back until after Thanksgiving, but is still on the schedule. In other news, Husbands said, “The Public Safety Town Hall meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 29 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Turner Monumental AME Church, located at 66 Howard St., NE, Atlanta, GA 30317. The meeting is open to the public and features Atlanta Department of Transportation, Code Enforcement, Office of Planning, Atlanta Fire Rescue, Atlanta E911, and Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum.” For additional information, Husbands can be reached at [email protected] or (404) 330-6048.

Megan Owens asked Husbands if he could assist with finding out about funding sources for the Bessie Branham Park Renewal project. Earl Williamson, Environmental Committee Chair said, “We’ve been trying for a year now to get specific numbers out of [Atlanta] Parks Department for how much funding they’re bringing to the table. It’s making it nearly impossible for us to do fundraising [for Bessie Branham Park] because we can’t tell how much we need.”

— A representative from DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, Larry Johnson’s Office, Florence Coram, shared information about their annual Tree of Love and Turkey Drive. On Saturday, Nov. 18, the Holiday Kick Off begins. There will be turkey giveaways, fresh produce, sides and coat giveaways at the Gallery at South DeKalb Mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

— Transportation Committee Chair Rebecca Serna shared information about residents of Warren Street’s request to look at traffic-calming for the Northeast portion of the street. “This is about reducing excessive speeds so that we can improve safety for everyone,” Serna said. All residents are encouraged to take an online survey by clicking here to express their concerns. Committee recommendations for traffic-calming on Warren Street will be based on survey results.

“We have a couple of transportation engineers and planners on the Committee to help us make a recommendation. Then we bring that recommendation back to the KNO membership for a vote,” Serna said. If KNO members approve the Committee’s recommendation, they will submit a letter to the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Department of Transportation.

— KNO members voted to approve a letter requesting the Atlanta Department of Transportation to re-stripe bike lanes and bike lane symbols on Hosea L. Williams Drive. Serna noted that the bike lanes are “faded, almost to the point of invisibility, in sections.” The letter also identified another request, “to protect the bike lane by moving it to the curb and moving the existing on-street parking to the left of the bike lane.”

— Ken Zeff was elected as the new Board of Education representative for District 3, defeating incumbent Michelle Olympiadis. Two other At-Large seats were on the ballot for District 7 and District 9. In District 7, there will be a run-off election between Tamara Jones and Alfred Brooks on Dec. 5. For District 9, the incumbent, Jessica Johnson, won relection.

— During the Environmental Committee update, KNO members approved a letter to the City of Atlanta outlining a request to improve lighting in the parking lots at Coan Park, specifically at the Recreational Center and at the Pavilion. Williamson, who chairs the committee, said the parking lots have some lighting, but it’s inadequate. The letter requests the City of Atlanta to install Georgia Power 400-watt safety lighting. 

Williamson also encouraged members to make donations to the Bessie Branham Park Renewal project by sponsoring a personalized brick by clicking here. Williamson continued, “we will be starting installation of the refurbished patio on the southwest corner entrance for the park and other elements hopefully within one to three months.” 

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