Neighborhood Associations and Related Groups
“BCN” Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods
With over 80,000 residents, Buckhead consists of 43 officially designated neighborhoods spread over five NPU districts and four City Council districts. Over half of those neighborhoods, including Pine Hills, are members of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods (the “BCN”).
A voluntary collaboration of neighborhood groups, the BCN describes its role as providing “a forum for sharing information across NPU and city council district lines; for the discussion of issues affecting multiple Buckhead neighborhoods and for collaboration on solutions; and for unified communication with government officials.” Committees formed within the membership study various issues in depth and their findings often serve as the basis for BCN resolutions and letters to government departments and officials setting out the neighborhoods’ position on issues and requesting specific actions.
The BCN typically meets monthly. Member representatives, government officials and outside subject matter experts often speak at varying length on topics of interest, including education, transportation, traffic, community development, safety, crime, taxes, and government services. Detailed meeting minutes are available online and provide a good way to stay informed on certain issues affecting our area and the City at large.
Former Atlanta City Council Member and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood is the current BCN Chairperson. Ed Archer is currently Pine Hills’ Representative on the BCN, with Marie Tvaroch, Jan Weyhenmeyer, and Jean Cooper serving as alternates.
For more information about the BCN and its activities, please visit its website at buckheadcouncil.org
NPU-B –Neighborhood Planning Unit – B
Established in 1974 by the City of Atlanta, the 25 Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs) are citizen advisory councils that make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on various issues. Originally established to provide an opportunity for citizens to participate actively in the Comprehensive Development Plan, which is the City’s vision for the next 5, 10, and 15 years, the NPUs continue to make recommendations on zoning, land-use, licensing, and other city planning issues affecting their geographical areas while also facilitating communication between residents, their representatives and various city departments on more general municipal matters such as crime and delivery of city services. Along with 14 other Buckhead neighborhood organizations, Pine Hills is in NPU-B and has long been active and influential in that Unit. It has direct input through the Pine Hills Zoning Committee and Nancy Bliwise, a past Pine Hills president, has been its representative on NPU-B for many years and currently serves as its Chair.
All citizens are also welcomed at all NPU-B meetings. You can find meetings dates and agendas on the NPU-B website: https://npu-b.com/
Atlanta Neighborhoods Security Coalition
In Fall 2019, Pine Hills Neighborhood Association joined with four nearby Neighborhood Associations to form the Atlanta Neighborhoods Security Coalition (the “Coalition”) for the purpose of addressing the safety and security concerns arising from the numerous urban camps located in areas to the south of Buford Highway and Sidney Marcus and to support the actions of the social assistance groups such as HOPE that are helping to provide the homeless camp occupants with food and appropriate shelter in other locations. These camps are illegal and subsequent smaller fires in the area call to mind the major disruption caused by the 2017 I-85 collapse and underscore the safety and security threat the camps continue to pose.
Why have these illegal camps been allowed to exist? The Atlanta Police Department’s position is, in part, that it can do nothing about trespassing without the owners of the property being present. The South Park Conservancy owns considerable land in the area, including the trails, and it worked out an arrangement with the police giving them the right to act on their own initiative. The Georgia Department of Transportation (“GDOT”) is another major landowner. To date, it has failed to work out a similar arrangement and that has been a major stumbling block. Other property owners are non-residents and difficult to reach.
In November 2019, the Coalition group sent a letter to thirty government officials and entities outlining the issues and demanding action, such as GDOT working out an arrangement with the City of Atlanta whereby the police can take camp related action on their own initiative without GDOT being present. There have since been positive results. Major Andrew Senzer, the APD Zone 2 Commander, recently advised that he and GDOT officials have been meeting on this topic and that GDOT agreed in concept to give the APD the authority it needs to act on its own as GDOT’s agent with respect to trespassing violations. A written Memorandum of Understanding between the parties is reportedly being drafted. PHNA representatives will stay involved and abreast of this initiative.