Doraville Planning department in trouble or just troubling?

The Doraville planning department is like the gang that can’t shoot strait or maybe just aren’t strait shooters. Mayor Donna Pittman, former Mall guard, fired the city planner and planning commission just days after the former Mayor, Ray Jenkins passed away Feb 2, 2011. A year has passed and absolutely nothing accomplished since. Projects started by Mayor Jenkins are nearing completion but nothing else in the pipeline. The latest offering by the new planner and his boss Pittman is to put a 200 foot cell tower on the main street. Thank god the council voted it down!
The following is a letter from one of the fired planning commission members and a sampling of apparently how the planner, the new planning commission, and mayor pittman conduct city business. So much for open honest government.

Subject: Input from a silenced ex-planning commissioner

I attended the planning commission meeting tonight, February 1, at city hall. The city planner and three of the four planning commissioners were there, which is a quorum. A few disturbing things happened. 1) They reviewed and made changes to the architectural standards that will be presented to City Council. The planning commission made changes tonight to accommodate businesses (Barry Brown’s suggestion) plus they made a few editorial changes concerning palm trees. They then made a motion and voted to approve these changes. Prior to the meeting I had reviewed the proposed architectural standards, made notes, and reviewed standards from other successful cities, so I raised my hand after they voted and asked the chairperson if I could speak. He said, “Make it quick.” I said it was important to have the opinion of the people in attendance there tonight. Mr. Cooley quickly responded that this was a work session and not a public hearing. However, there was a quorum and there was a vote, which makes it a public hearing. With no public comment at a public hearing, the public hearing is invalid. 2) Joe O’Connor raised his hand and brought up the fact that Mr. Cooley had commented that conditional uses go through the planning commission before going to city council. Mr. O’Connor said they could NOT go through the planning commission according to our ordinance. Mr. Cooley stated that by state law they must go through the planning commission and that the city had been wrong – that state law invalidates the city ordinance. Therefore, all previous conditional uses must come BACK through the planning commission and be approved by the city council. 3) I had valid comments to make about the architectural standards, but was unable to make them. The crucial one is that we must set good architectural standards and stick to them. We don’t need a review board; we need Mr. Cooley to do his job, which is to make sure new construction meets our design standards. If an applicant wants something not in the standards, they can apply for a variance. The planning commission that was started to represent the residents and the community is now closed to us. By the way, it appeared that the planning commissioners were uninformed and unprepared for the meeting tonight.

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