Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association


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  • Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:43 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)


    June 24, 2014

     

    Mayor Edna Jackson, Aldermen and City Manager Stephanie Cutter:

     

    Across the country cities are dealing with the quality of life issues associated with the rise of short-term rentals.  The issues associated with the increased use of residential properties for tourism related business, are significant.  In a recent Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) membership meeting, residents voiced numerous concerns about trash, noise, disorderly behavior, parking and the inability to enjoy their property because of these issues. 

     

    The DNA is encouraged that the City of Savannah is taking a proactive step in confronting the issues associated with the rise of these properties in Savannah. We support the ordinance as written, with one suggested change: total occupancy should be limited to 8 people.  If a property owner wants to rent to more than 8 people, they should be classified as an Inn and subject to all life safety regulations.  We are requesting that the City complete a full review of this ordinance, and its impact, six months after it has been adopted. In addition, we recommend a moratorium on additional licenses being issued until the completion of that report.   

     

    The DNA believes strongly in the value of owner-occupied property and that it should be encouraged. We recommend exploring a modification to the proposed zoning language and ordinance that provides for either:

    • a.     An expansion of the existing definition of B&B Guest Units to allow for up to three rooms on a property.
    • b.     A separate (fifth) category of lodging use specifically defined for owner-occupied parcels from two to three rooms.

    In either case, this could coincide with a Homestead Exemption. Also, the definition should be by parcel, not by unit, such that if an owner lives on a parcel with a separate carriage house or apartment, that does not count against them. As long as the owner lives on the property and is available to respond to neighbors and any issues that come up, we support allowing more flexibility.

     

    The business use of these residential properties has created parking issues for many residents. Specific relief for parking issues should be undertaken immediately and not wait for the completion of current or future studies. For example, the city needs to work quickly to adjust street sweeping days so that downtown streets are available on the weekends when demand is heaviest.

     

    The DNA encourages the City of Savannah to continue in this proactive and positive step that this ordinance takes to balance tourism with the preservation of the historic and neighborhood fabric of the Landmark District, by developing a Tourism Master Plan. We urge you to develop a plan that looks comprehensively at the nature of tourism in our city and its impact on the City of Savannah and the Landmark Historic District. 

     

    John Buckovich

    President, Downtown Neighborhood Association

     

      

  • Friday, June 13, 2014 8:55 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)


    Short-term Vacation Rentals Public Meetings
    The following documents were presented at the public meeting held on June 12 focusing on short-term residential rentals in Savannah. 

    The next public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 17, 4:00PM at the Metropolitan Planning Commission.


    DNA will host a members only meeting on Wednesday, June 18 at 6 p.m. on this topic at the Coastal Georgia Center.


  • Thursday, June 05, 2014 12:52 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)
    NEWS RELEASE
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Date: June 5, 2014

    Public invited to attend upcoming meetings on short-term residential rentals

    The City of Savannah and Metropolitan Planning Commission will hold two public meetings on short-term residential rentals in order to obtain additional feedback from the community. Both sessions will be held at the MPC at 112 East State Street on the following dates:

    · Thursday, June 12 at 10 a.m.
    · Tuesday, June 17 at 4 p.m.

    These meetings are being held in preparation for a future Council workshop.

    As a popular destination, Savannah attracts visitors from around the world who prefer a home-like setting for their stay. As a result, Savannah has seen an increase in the number of people who wish to operate short-term residential rentals. This has led the City to evaluate how such uses are regulated, specifically addressing issues such as zoning, revenue, life-safety and building code compliance, and maintaining neighborhood quality.

    City of Savannah and MPC staff have been in the process developing a strategy to address the issue of short-term residential units which are defined as the rental of a residence to travelers for less than 30 days. Discussion has also included the rental of individual bedrooms in an owner-occupied residence to travelers for less than 30 days.

    A small group of owners, operators, residents, and tourism officials have joined City and MPC staff to review each of these areas and suggest changes that seek to balance the needs and desires of all interested parties. This process has resulted in a draft ordinance and zoning text amendment, which the City and MPC is now seeking public comment on.
  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:49 AM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)

    Join the Savannah Downtown Business Association for a “party in the streets” during the Blues on Broughton concert with Ruthie Foster, taking place Friday, June 6, 6-9pm as a part of the “Savannah Blues Weekened”. Ruthie Foster will be taking the stage on Broughton St. between Drayton St. and Bull St. with her unique blend of soul, blues, rock, folk, and gospel music.


    Ruthie Foster, who played in the Savannah Music Festival in 2010 and 2012, will be the main act for the Blues on Broughton concert. Broughton Street will be closed between Drayton St. and Bull St. for the concert. Four local Georgia breweries will be available on tap during the event: Monday Night Brewery, Jekyll Brewery, Red Hare Brewery, Eagle Creek Brewery, and Fat Tire will be the featured brands for Blues on Broughton. Experience this free music event with other music lovers in the lively atmosphere of Broughton Street while dining, shopping, and enjoying the thriving downtown business community. You definitely do not want to miss the first Blues on Broughton of the year, brought to you by the SDBA and presented by Southern Eagle Distributors. Blues on Broughton will be a part of Savannah Blues Weekend along with the Savannah Riverfront Association’s “Blues, Jazz, and BBQ” festival, occurring on River Street Friday and Saturday, and City Market’s “Art Blues” on Saturday.

    ABOUT RUTHIE FOSTER

    Those who have followed RUTHIE FOSTER’S eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. Ruthie’s astonishing voice has taken her on an amazing ride. She came from humble church choir beginnings in rural Texas, followed by a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy Band, and ended up in Austin, Texas. Ruthie's list of achievements include Best Female Vocalist in 2007, 2008 and 2013 from the Austin Music Awards, a  2012 and 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, the 2010 Living Blues Music Award Critic’s Poll for Female Blues Artist of the Year, the 2013 Living Blue Music Award Critic’s Poll for Bluest Artist of the Year (female) and recent Blues Music Award wins for Best Contemporary and Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year. Ruthie’s latest and Grammy-nominated CD, ‘”Let It Burn,” is a deeply intimate recording featuring a smoky mix of original songs coupled with inventive interpretations of an unexpected collection of covers. Ruthie is supported along the way by some very special guests - gospel legends The Blind Boys of Alabama and Stax Records soul man William Bell.

    SAVANNAH BLUES WEEKEND

    Downtown Savannah will be holding a weekend-long blues festival throughout the historic downtown scene. Join the Savannah Riverfront Association for the Second Annual Blues, Jazz, and BBQ Festival on River Street Friday, June 6 through Saturday, June 7 in Rousakis Plaza, 115 E. River Street. Deep Southern Blues, Smooth Jazz, and smoky BBQ will be served up all weekend long during this annual River Street festival. Stop by Broughton Street Friday night, June 6, 6-9pm, for the Spring Blues on Broughton concert with Ruthie Foster. Then head over to City Market courtyard Saturday, June 7, all day, for the inaugural Art & Blues event to enjoy blues music, the work of the City Market artists, live painting demonstrations, and more. Don’t miss this Swingin’ Savannah Blues Weekend as the historic downtown scene is jam-packed with live blues music, food, art, drinks, and fun!

  • Friday, May 23, 2014 9:23 AM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)
    Several downtown streets will be closed to traffic at various times on Saturday as some 650 runners in various categories participate in a one-mile run to support first responders.
     
    The Savannah Mile, a fund-raiser for the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, will travel Drayton Street from Park Avenue to Johnson Square in seven heats beginning at 8 a.m.
     
    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police will begin closing off streets at 6 a.m. in preparation for the run that will stage in the southern end of Forsyth Park. Drayton will be closed from Henry Street to St. Julian Street. Park Avenue also will be closed between Bull and Abercorn streets.
     
    Intersections at Liberty and Drayton streets and at East Oglethorpe Avenue and Drayton will be closed intermittently between the seven heats. Heats will vary from young children to first responders running in full gear for the right to host the Heroes Heat flag for the next year.
     
    The event begins with a static display of first responder and military equipment in the parking lot on the southeast corner of Forsyth Park near Park Avenue and Drayton Street.
     
    The Two Hundred Club is an area non-profit organization of business, law enforcement, judicial, professional, religious and academic leaders that provide immediate financial assistance to families of public safety officials who lost their lives in the line of duty.
  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014 10:23 AM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)


    During the May 15th City Council Meeting, DNA past-President, Hank Reed was presented with a Proclamation from Mayor Edna Jackson and the City of Savannah and Council recognizing the outstanding work he has done in the downtown community.

    Mayor Jackson commended Hank on his ability to always challenge her to understand and think about things from a resident's perspective.

    Among the many accomplishments mentioned, some of them include:

    2011

    Under Hank’s leadership in 2011 DNA worked with City of Savannah, the Savannah Park and Tree Commission and the Historic Savannah Foundation to create a comprehensive plan to improve lighting in downtown Savannah squares.

     

    2012

    Halted a “fast-track” vote on double-decker buses and encouraged city leaders to evaluate tourism traffic issues with the Tourism Advisory Committee.

     

    Developed a strong relationship with the SCMPD Downtown Precinct Commander to keep lines of communication open for residents involving crime and safety.

     

    2013-14

    Formed a partnership with the Savannah Downtown Business Association and the Historic Savannah Foundation agreeing to work together for a common, transparent approach to future development in downtown Savannah.

     

    Historic Savannah Foundation’s Lee & Emma Adler Award for Preservation Advocacy was presented to the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

     

    Created an Economic Impact Committee within DNA to research whether a cruise ship terminal was viable in Savannah and was an instrumental voice for downtown residents in opposing the terminal being built.

     

    Under Reed’s Leadership, a successful Neighborhood Crime Watch Program was been developed and regular alerts are distributed to neighbors. A Block Captain system is in place and active participation and communication from SCMPD has helped the program to grow.

     

    Recruited new volunteers and formed committees to further strengthen DNA’s impact by researching and working on issues such as VRBOs and fundraising for public safety.


  • Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:01 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)



    CITY COUNCIL MEETING
    THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2PM @ CITY HALL



    How do you feel about 6-story buildings and 4-story buildings along our historic riverfront?  Well, you better start liking them…or come to the City Council meeting on Thursday and tell your Aldermen why you don’t.  While you’re at it, you might also inquire as to how such tall buildings can be allowed without seeingundefinedin contextundefinedwhat they will look like and what they will feel like before they are given approval. 
     
    Imagine yourself walled off from the Savannah River by buildings that block your view of the water on the west end of River Street. Not only can that happen…it can happen with virtually no input from you through the Historic District Board of Review and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  So, take the opportunity to let City Council know how you feel about this.  Ask them: 1) not to amend the Height Map to allow taller buildings along our historic and fragile riverfront and 2) ask them to change the process that allows a short-cut that obviates the opportunity for the HDBR and ZBA to review and recommend before City Council dictates our riverfront’s future. 
     
    This is scheduled to be the 9th item on tomorrow’s City Council agenda, beginning at 2pm. 
     
    ZONING HEARING REQUEST
    Harold Yellin, Petitioner (MPC File No. 14-000709-ZA), requesting a text amendment to Article B (Zoning Districts), Sec. 8-3030 (Historic District), (n) (12) Design Standards, Height to allow a maximum of three stories or 45 feet above Bay Street (approximately six stories) in the northwestern corner of the Savannah Historic District extending approximately 775 feet along the Savannah River to the east and west of the Power Plant Site and to allow a maximum of one story above Bay Street (approximately four stories) extending approximately 375 feet along the Savannah River to the east of the Power Plant Site.

     
    CONTACT YOUR ALDERMAN
  • Wednesday, May 14, 2014 12:44 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)

    Officers and Executive Committee
    John Buckovich                                           President
    Kevin Klinkenberg                                       Vice President and Chair of Parking & VRBO Committees
    Meredith Dulany                                         Secretary & Deputy Events Chair
    Bob Maas                                                     Treasurer & Liaison with West Forsyth Neighborhood Association


    Board of Directors

    Melinda Allen                                              Membership Chair

    Amy Brock                                                   Communications Chair

    Staci Donegan                                             Neighborhood Crime Watch Program Chair

    Reed Dulany                                                Policy Advisor

    Bill Durrence                                                Liaison with Savannah Neighborhood Associations

    Nicholas Henry                                           Ward Captain Chair

    Robert McAlister (“Bob”)                          Liaison with Elected Officials

    Roger Moss, Jr.                                            Liaison with Downtown Business Association

    Tina Peterson                                               Holiday Tour of Homes, Co-Chair

    Bud Rosser                                                   Liaison with Beach Historic Neighborhood

    Hank Reed                                                    Immediate Past President

    Erika Snayd                                                   Events Chair

    Gale Steves                                                   Chair, Development and Holiday Tour of Homes

     

    Ex Officio Board Members (Appointed by authority of the Board)
    Katharine B. Alphin                                     Policy Advisor

    Veronica Buckovich                                     Newsletter Editor

    Lawrence B. Lee                                           Past President and Legal Counsel

    Bill Stuebe                                                     Past President and Chair, Urban Planning and Preservation

    Dr. Kenneth Zapp                                         Economic Impact Committee Chair

  • Monday, May 12, 2014 12:53 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)

    Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association

    Announces 2014 Grant Recipients

     

    The Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) will award $16,000 in community grants to area organizations at their Annual Meeting and Spring Picnic on Tuesday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Davenport House Museum Garden.

     

    This year, DNA invited organizations to apply for grants in one of the following categories: Beautification and improvements in the downtown area; Arts and cultural life; Humanitarian causes.

     

    This year’s recipients include:

    Coastal Heritage Society/ Savannah Children’s Museum

    Davenport House Museum

    Emmaus House

    Empty Stocking Fund

    HUGS-Heads Up Guidance Services

    Inner City Night Shelter

    King-Tisdell Foundation, Inc. Beach Institute Garden Project

    Old Savannah City Mission, Inc.

    Savannah Baptist Center

    Savannah Bicycle Campaign

    Savannah Children's

    Savannah Tree Foundation

    Telfair Museum of Art, Inc

    The Children's School at St. Johns Church

     

    Grants are funded through the monies raised at the Downtown Neighborhood Associations Annual Holiday Tour of Homes held each December.

     

  • Tuesday, May 06, 2014 5:37 PM | DNA ADMIN Communications (Administrator)
    Click here to view the latest from the Elba Island Project

Office Voicemail: 912.236.8362
info@savannahdna.org
facebook.com/SavannahDNA

Downtown Neighborhood Association of Savannah, GA Inc.
P.O. Box 9416
Savannah, GA 31412

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