By Amy Wenk

The Atlanta BeltLine planning process and the guiding organization’s openness to public input were topics of discussion at the Aug. 5 meetings of Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) B and C.

At the NPU-B meeting, Cathy Muzzy, the NPU’s representative on the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board and the BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, accused Atlanta BeltLine Inc. of neither listening to comments from the public about the 22-mile corridor around the inner city nor providing the monthly update reports the organization is required by city ordinance to make available to the public.

She also reported that all the proceeds from the first bond issue will have to be used to fund the 5-mile northeast corridor section of the BeltLine, even though those funds were intended to be allocated equally along the various segments of the project. She said Atlanta BeltLine is reporting none of that information to the public.

NPU-B board member Sally Silver, who also works in the office of City Councilman Howard Shook, said the councilman plans to introduce legislation in the City Council that would force Atlanta BeltLine to provide those monthly public updates and to be more open to public input on BeltLine projects throughout the planning stages.

At the NPU-C meeting, Beverly Mulander announced that on Aug. 19 a scoping meeting for the public will be held regarding the BeltLine Corridor Environmental Study, a two-year process to be completed in spring 2010.

The study is “going to attempt to balance the impact of transit and multitrails with the environment as the BeltLine unfolds,” Mulander said. “One of the reasons the environmental meeting is taking place is because it is a part of the federal requirements for getting federal funding.”

Areas to be analyzed in the study include air quality, historical and archaeological resources, parklands, noise and vibrations, visual elements, energy, land use and zoning, and public services and utilities.

The research will help MARTA, BeltLine and city officials minimize the effects within the BeltLine Corridor and define the rights of way required to build the system of transit and trails. When the project is complete, Atlanta BeltLine could purchase rights of way as funds become available.

The scoping meeting for the north/northwest quadrant will take place Aug. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road. For more information, call 404-524-2070.

The public is invited to attend to learn more about the project and to provide input on the alternatives being considered for the new transit system.