Eloise Foltz and her 13-month-old son Oliver and husband Michael reviewed maps at the July 15 meeting of the North Buckhead Civic Association at St. James United Methodist Church. The association is developing a master plan for its community.

Eloise Foltz knew right off what sort of changes she wants to see in North Buckhead.

“We’d like more parks and more playgrounds, more sidewalks,” Foltz said. “In certain areas, we’ve tried to walk, and we need the crosswalks to work better. It’s tricky to get to the Target.”

She said she and her husband, Michael, used to live in San Antonio, Texas, and had seen how that city had used trails to tie different areas together. Now, as North Buckhead residents, they eagerly await development of the PATH400 trail along Ga. 400 and the new Mountain Way Commons Park.

“We’ve been excited by what Atlanta’s trying to do,” she said.

So on July 15, the Foltzes and their 13-month-old son Oliver joined several of their neighbors as the North Buckhead Civic Association launched an effort to create a master development plan for their neighborhood.

The plan, which will be turned over to Atlanta city officials for official adoption once completed, will incorporate proposals on how the city and neighborhood should deal with traffic, land use, parks, quality of life and other issues. More than 60 residents attended the July 15 kickoff for the planning process, which is being drawn up by consultants working for the association.

The goal, said consultant Caleb P. Racicot, senior planner with planning and architecture company TSW, is to complete the North Buckhead plan by December and present it to Atlanta city officials for adoption next year. Racicot said the finished plan should provide “a long-term vision for growth” in the area.

“We want you to think about what North Buckhead is today and what you want North Buckhead to be 25, 50 years in the future,” Racicot said.

A community workshop to develop ideas for the plan is scheduled for Aug. 16, he said. The meeting is scheduled for Sarah Smith Elementary, 4141 Wieuca Road, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “This is the meeting where we’re going to ask everyone to brainstorm,” he said.

The planners intend to publish a draft of the plan in September, he said, and then present the final plan to the association Dec. 4.

Racicot said planners would seek contributions to the plan from residents, property owners and business owners in the area. The association has posted a survey online to collect comments. The survey may be found at www.nbca.org/plan. The North Buckhead association represents one of the largest neighborhoods in the city of Atlanta, association president Gordon Certain told the group gathered at St. James United Methodist Church.

The neighborhood stretches from the Atlanta city limits in the north to Peachtree and Piedmont roads on the south and from Peachtree Dunwoody on the east to Roswell Road on the west. The area takes in more than 8,000 residents, roughly twice the population of Jonesboro, and covers about 4 square miles, roughly the same area as the city of Decatur, Certain and Racicot said.

“We would be a city, if Atlanta wasn’t around us,” Certain said. “We have city-type problems … We need city help, we need city planning, and the strength of the city to help us out.”

After the presentations, residents Mary Holmes and Liz Bair examined a large map on an easel that showed the locations of parks and trails in the community. Both seemed eager for the planning to begin.

“For me personally, I’m interested in sidewalks,” Holmes said. “I love to walk.”

Bair said she wanted to see added protection for the homes in North Buckhead. She didn’t want to see businesses intruding into the residential areas.

“I live in an historic house,” she said. “This is for the future, and I’m looking forward to that. I don’t want that house to be destroyed.”

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