Page 6 of 7
My first strategy in making sure the BeltLine vision is fulfilled – one that I have already discussed directly with new president Paul Morris – is to accelerate the process of making outstanding land use and zoning changes consistent with the BeltLine vision to further minimize future conflicts from proposed developments. Another strategy is to further strengthen the zoning variance process such that neighborhoods and other stakeholders retain as strong a say as possible in proposed projects that don't match the underlying zoning.
Boyle: My experience with the beltline has been superb. I'd say they've over-delivered on their vision so far. I am a regular user. On a good day I'll drop my long board under foot and roll over to Piedmont Park, play some hoops, and shoot back home. It's a great experience. A few years ago I helped Atlanta artist Gregory Turk install an earthworks exhibit along the east side trail. Really, I just moved a bunch of dirt for him, but he made it into something special.
My concerns would be on the financial side – do the folks who run and control Atlanta Beltline Inc (ABI) now have the best interest of Atlanta taxpayers at heart? Do they have proper cost controls in place? How much debt do they expect to issue to support this buildout? It's only anecdotal but when I look at the work histories of the executive at ABI, there are several who worked on the notorious Big Dig in Boston. This $15B project was rife with cost overruns and other problems. The Beltline project thus requires closer financial oversight and more scrutiny.
One other note in terms of keeping the vision on track—young people—the way they view work and play and commuting, with a preference toward bicycling and with a built-in environmental ethos—they need to be a part of steering this project because I really believe they have insights that perhaps some of us (yes, I include myself) might not have. Let's make sure students and young graduates are involved in this planning and roll-out, not just folks who built an expensive tunnel in Boston.
Austin: One of the biggest goals of the beltline is create and retain more green space throughout the city, and walkable and "bikable" trails. Limits on retail, development and other measures that impede upon the walkability and bikability of the beltline must by enacted. Continued public engagement and input throughout the process will be key. A process for transparency in decisions must be maintained.
What's your favorite part of the district you want to represent? What's your least favorite part that you hope to change?
Wan: District 6 has a unique and carefully preserved balance between its commercial, single and multi-family residential, and green space that truly drives the quality of life in our community. From the commercial corridors of Virginia-Highland to Cheshire Bridge Road, from the single family homes in Morningside-Lenox Park to the condominium high rises in Midtown, and from Gotham Park in Piedmont Heights to Piedmont Park, it is this thoughtful combination that is my favorite part of the district.
I look forward to continuing my work with all community stakeholders to help strengthen a couple of struggling commercial corridors within the District. These areas, once thriving with successful small shops and boutiques, are now sprinkled with vacancies and businesses barely making it by. Hopefully, as the city's revenues rebound, we will have the financial resources to begin investing in such commercial corridors to help accelerate their recovery.
Boyle: Did not respond.
Austin: My favorite part of the city is Piedmont Park. It offers a centralized location for many of the neighborhoods in my district to meet, residents to interact, and for us to serve and host others from all over the country and the world.
My least favorite is Cheshire Bridge Road because it is lacking a collective effort toward beautification and economic development despite presenting a great opportunity for improvement. I hope to encourage the business owners of Cheshire Bridge to participate in a formal process toward business improvements and efforts toward safety. A collaborative approach between business owners and the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods to doing so should be adopted.
How would you feel about Atlanta's current ethics and transparency practices? What, if anything, would you do to improve the current rules? If nothing, why?
Wan: The City of Atlanta has strong ethics and transparency guidelines that were enacted by the previous City Council and administration. In fact, these policies are stricter than the ones followed by our state legislators. In the four years I have served on Council, I have had no compliance issues with our rules, and I am comfortable with their continuing forward.
@ Mark from Atlanta I was speechless when you identified Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity etc. as…
"The GA Dome has been used by hundreds of sporting organizations, concert promoters, event promoters,…
The die was cast in 2010 when the hotel tax was re-dedicated to the Falcons…
It takes practice, using proper site alignment and trigger control for accuracy. These hoods hold…
It takes an intelligent person to properly maintain and accurately shoot a firearm. I guess…