BOC Meeting Agendas and Minutes 
  
Affordable Housing

Earlier today I voted to approve the LDG development near the Kensington MARTA Station in accordance with the conditions recommended by our professional planning staff. In the Community Council the vote was 5-5-1. The Planning Commission voted to approve with conditions by a vote of 6-2-1. The proposal is to build 244 affordable housing units in this area. The intent of the conditions is to help make this development the best that it can be.

As a part of this process I listened carefully to those who are in support of this project and those who are opposed. Reasonable arguments were made on both sides. However, I have lived long enough to know that you cannot please everyone no matter what you do. Accordingly, what follows is not an attempt to convince anyone of anything. It is simply to explain the reasoning behind my decision.

DeKalb County needs a stock of quality affordable housing. I cannot think of a better place for such housing than close proximity to mass transit.

Moreover, DeKalb County needs a comprehensive policy regarding affordable housing. This is something that we intend to decisively engage over time.

Candidly speaking, the term “affordable housing” tends to conjure up negative connotations and stereotypes. This is unfortunate, but true.

What is also true is that people who need affordable housing are also all of the folks we claim to care about like teachers, police officers, firefighters and a myriad of other folks who work hard and by the rules but who can’t necessarily afford market rate housing near their places of work. The same can also be said of the recent college graduate who wants to live somewhere nice without having roommates or without having to live in the suburbs with mom and dad. Maybe the term “affordable housing” should be replaced by the term “workforce housing”, or something else.

Regarding this specific project, there is a need exists for this type of housing stock in this area. With the demolition of the Kensington Manor complex approximately 320 units of affordable housing (average rent of $700 - $800 per month) were destroyed. Meaning all of the people who previously lived there have been displaced. That former complex is being replaced by townhomes and other housing units with a price point starting in the $300k range.

The Avondale Forest complex, also in the area, is set for renovations. This is ostensibly a good thing.  However, while those renovations occur the residents of 373 units of affordable housing (average rent of $700 per month) will be displaced. Moreover, once the renovations are completed the rents will likely be increased to the point where many current residents will not be able to return because they simply will not be able to afford it.

For me this is more than a clinical or academic exercise. Real, live human beings are being negatively impacted. I have looked into their eyes. I have seen the anguish on their faces at the thought of having to leave an area that they want to be in that meets their transportation needs. Like all of the citizens in my district these citizens also need an advocate.

This particular project will not solve the challenge of displacement in the near term. Nor does this project meet everyone’s desires in terms of design and other considerations. However, I think it is a step in the right direction.

Steve

  








 Commissioner Bradshaw's Comments for the 9.11.18 BOC meeting


  
Thank you Mr. Presiding Officer.
Good Morning Everyone.

On September 4th I attended the Deer Creek Community meeting. Deer Creek is one of the great communities in District 4 and the turnout for the meeting was excellent. It is always nice to see citizen engagement and I think we had a very robust dialogue with the community. I would like to thank Patrice Keeter from our Transportation Department for doing an excellent job at the meeting. And I would like to thank Parag Agrawal from our Planning Department for attending as well. I would also like to thank HOA President Jacqui Steele for organizing the meeting and for the invitation. I would also like to commend her for managing the meeting in a very orderly and professional manner.

On September 7th my team and I we able to tour Blackhall Studios. WOW! What an amazing facility. The movie business in Georgia is booming, and DeKalb County has a very firm position in this space. We need to be doing everything possible to make expansion for such enterprises easier, not more difficult. I am committed to that end. I would like to thank Blackhall CEO Ryan Millsap for being such a terrific host and my friend Jay Scott for making it happen.

That evening I attended a networking event hosted by the Georgia Association of Black County Officials (GABCO). It is always a pleasure to interact with other county officials from around the state. And it was a pleasure to see Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who was a student of mine when I taught at Georgia State University. I commend Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr. for organizing the event.

On this coming Saturday, September 15th, we will be hosting a Veterans Resource Expo at the Central DeKalb Senior Center from 10am until 2pm. I would like to thank our collaboration partners in advance for their participation:
The Atlanta VA Healthcare System
The Mission Continues
American Medical Response
AMVETS Post #44
I remain committed to taking tangible steps to assist the veterans in our community, and we are looking forward to a great event. For more information please contact my office.

I think all of us present this morning are old enough to remember where we were 17 years ago today. I will underscore the sentiments that have been conveyed by my colleagues this morning. And I will simply add that we should always be mindful of the fact that freedom is not free.

I would also like to exercise a point of personal privilege by wishing an early happy birthday to my father Mr. Raymond Lewis Bradshaw in my hometown of Savannah. This Friday he will be turning 80 years old. He is a veteran who spent a career in the United States Navy. Then spent a career at the United States Post Office. In my commission office I have a picture of his class from the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, ILL that was taken in 1957, 6 years before I was born. In a class of 56 recruits he was the only African American. I can only imagine what he had to put up with back then. Needless-to-say, I am very proud of him and his service to our county.

As always you may call my office with any questions or concerns at 404-371-4749. And I thank the citizens of District 4 for affording me the opportunity to serve.

Thank you Mr. Presiding Officer.