By John Schaffner

The Ashford Alliance of Community Associations (AACA) in upper Brookhaven elected a new board Jan. 15 and may have set a new direction for the organization — a commitment to giving Brookhaven an identity and a voice in determining its own future.

The tone was set by Ron Sprinkle, who was elected to the board with eight other neighborhood representatives and who made it clear he would like to serve as president of the alliance if the board is committed to making the alliance more influential within Brookhaven and north DeKalb County.

“Next year is either a make-it or break-it year for us,” Sprinkle told the small group of neighborhood representatives gathered for the annual meeting of the alliance at the Merrill Gardens senior facility on Johnson Ferry Road.

“We are really floating out there between four governments,” he said, referring to Sandy Springs, Chamblee, DeKalb County and the new city of Dunwoody.

Describing himself as headstrong, Sprinkle said he would not only like to be part of a group that “really wants to make things happen,” but would be interested in being president. “I think that we can do good things that will be very helpful for our community. The flip side of that is I think there are some real risks of not having a meaningful organization.”

Sprinkle indicated that thousands of residents don’t know about the organization. “We are really floating. We are out here in no-man’s land. We don’t even have a whole vote on the (county) Board of Commissioners.”

Five of the nine alliance board slots were up for election Jan. 15, and five names were on the ballot. So Ashford Alliance President Jim Moses said “welcome aboard” to the new board members, including Sprinkle, who represents the Westover Woods neighborhood.

The new board will now elect officers to serve for the next two years. Moses indicated he would like to remain active on the board but step back from being president.

In other business, Rebecca Chase Williams presented a Zoning Committee report that included an update on the 17-acre LeCraw company mixed-use development at North Peachtree Road off I-285, which will include residential units, retail space and offices. The development, which is a gateway to the Ashford Alliance area of north Brookhaven, goes to the County Commission on Jan. 27. The alliance board voted to approve changes to the development plan.

It was pointed out the county is considering changes to the stream buffer ordinance and the zoning ordinance.

Another item for discussion was the lack of progress on the sidewalks along Johnson Ferry Road between Ashford-Dunwoody Road and the county line, which was supposed to have been completed months ago.