Editor’s Notes – John F. Schaffner

There was a time when the main organization that Brookhaven had to brag about was the Brookhaven Arts Alliance — envisioned by, started by and nurtured by Gretchen Roberts, its executive director.

The Alliance fell victim to the down economy this past year and had to cancel one of its two yearly events, the Taste of Brookhaven, due to a lack of sponsorships.

We wrote about that problem and the hopes that the organization would not have to cancel its second big annual event, the Brookhaven Arts Festival, again for lack of financial and volunteer support.

Brookhaven business executive Kelly Brantley read the article in the Brookhaven Reporter about the reasons for cancelling the Taste of Brookhaven and decided there was no reason Brookhaven could not come up with enough support to ensure these events survive and thrive.

Brantley’s determination, coupled with Roberts’ passion, led to the formation of the Brookhaven Community Connection, an organization for business owners and residents alike who want to see Brookhaven grow and develop, commercially, culturally and with an enviable lifestyle for all — a community truly connected to promote the best it can offer.

The Brookhaven Community Connection, which meets the second Tuesday of every month at the Hudson Grille on Peachtree Road, continues to grow in number of members and in interest within the community. That is important for Brookhaven.

Even more important at the moment, the Brookhaven Arts Festival is a definite for 2009, set for its sixth year on Oct. 17 and 18 on Apple Valley Road behind the MARTA train station.

In fact, movers and shakers in the community gathered at the Brookhaven Bank on Johnson Ferry Road recently to celebrate the unveiling of the poster and T-shirt artwork that will commemorate this year’s festival. The Brookhaven Bank, incidentally, is the presenting sponsor for the 2009 festival.

Roberts has said last year’s Arts Festival drew about 20,000 visitors. Hopefully, the community can shake off the disappointment of the cancelled Taste of Brookhaven and come in droves to the festival — far exceeding 20,000 people over the two days.

My only disappointment so far is that the commemorative art for the festival is a montage of Atlanta places, not points of interest in Brookhaven. Maybe next year, especially with the renewed community excitement and connections that have been generated in Brookhaven of late.

A matter of trees and law

I was happy to learn that Dist. 2 DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader is willing to personally file criminal charges against Pinnacle Real Estate Partners for illegally chopping down 18 maturing trees in front of the Brookhaven Park Village commercial building at 1441 Dresden Drive.

The 18 specimen oak trees that were cut down June 7 were in the county right-of-way in front of the building, not on the property owned by Pinnacle Real Estate Partners.

As Rader put it, that was pure and simple criminal vandalism of county property.

To not file charges against Pinnacle and its managing director Rajen Sheth, who ordered the trees cut down, would be criminal.

Once that first step has been taken and the legal proceedings are underway, Rader then needs to lead a movement to review and possibly strengthen the county’s tree protection ordinance.

Let’s get this wrong righted now and the trees put back to enhance the environment along Dresden Drive. Then, let’s make sure everyone knows through a strong and clear ordinance that they cannot take actions like Sheth did by cutting down those trees without facing very serious consequences.

PDK is a community fixture

Lee Remmel, director of Peachtree DeKalb Airport, spoke to members and guests of the Brookhaven Community Connection at its Sept. 8 meeting and there were no jeers. For those of us who have been in the Atlanta area media for several years, we are well aware of the long-standing feud between residents near the airport and the airport administration.

Mostly the complaints have been about noise, increased airport activity (meaning flights), the larger sizes of the aircraft based there and the fear that it someday will be a landing spot for commercial-scheduled airline service.

Remmel told those at the meeting the problems are: NOT the size of the aircraft, NOT the weight of the aircraft, NOT big engines and NOT increased number of operations at the airport. The culprit, he said is the old 1964 technology for private jet aircraft that includes noisy engines.

And, unfortunately, a lot of those aircraft stationed at PDK are owned by service firms that do a lot of their work at night, Remmel explained.

Maybe the airport administration has finally convinced the nearby residents it is not all bad and not all their fault.

Furthermore, the airport has been there since World War I, likely a lot longer than most of the resident neighbors have lived there. Surely they knew there was an airport there when they bought their homes. What did they expect?