Georgia Power is in the process of erecting a chain-link fence with barbed wire on top in front of their Virginia Avenue office without any input from the community. The community is upset and has placed signs in front of their homes against the fence which they call the “prison fence.”
Neighbors have protested in front of the fence with signs that read “Honk if You Hate the Fence” and “Virginia Highland Shouldn’t Look Like A Prison.” Big sheets were spray-painted with “Georgia Power Penitentiary” and “No Prison Fence” and hung on the fence as passing cars honked in agreement. The next morning all the signs had been removed by a Georgia Power employee.
Several neighbors got a stop-work order and the work stopped on the “prison fence” but soon the work started again. One neighbor stood in the way of the work and refused to move and promised legal action to stop the work.
“We have asked them to reconsider their plans to respect the character of the neighborhood. But in terms of what they can do there are no regulations because they are a utility company. So they can do whatever they want on that property,” a neighbor told the Streets of Atlanta.
This Georgia Power office is located in an established midtown neighborhood with expensive renovated homes and historic bungalow homes. Residents don’t want to look out their window or walk out their front door to see something that looks more like a prison than a utility company.
“We have been longtime residents on Virginia Avenue and, for the most part, Georgia Power has been a good neighbor. But just out of the blue they decided to orchestrate his monstrosity of a fence without seeking any approval from the city permit or reaching out to the neighborhood,” another neighbor told the Streets of Atlanta.
“We asked them why they were building the fence and they said they needed additional parking. We have lived here for over five years and never see more than three vehicles in the parking lot,” a neighbor said.
Another neighbor said some people allow dogs to poop on the grass and don’t clean up after their dog, and occasionally a non- Georgia Power car parks on the property.
The neighborhood wants something more aesthetically pleasing than a barbed wire fence that makes the Georgia Power office look more like a prison in the middle of a beautiful residential neighborhood. Local businesses in that neighborhood are not allowed to build a chain-link fence with barbed wire on top around their property and businesses. So why can Georgia Power do this the community wants to know?
The Virginia Highland neighborhood is a desired place to live and is famous for its bungalows and other historic houses from the 1910s to the 1930s and is close to the Beltline. It is a destination for visitors with its excellent restaurants, trendy shops, annual Tour of Homes, and other events.
In 2011 it was voted by readers of Creative Loafing as “Best Overall Neighborhood” and Southern Living editors named Virginia-Highland #4 on the “The South’s Best Neighborhoods” list.
This beautiful and historic neighborhood deserves more than a barbed wire-type prison fence in the middle of this charming neighborhood.
Currently, work has stopped on the fence. Georgia Power has promised a meeting in a few weeks with the community to hear concerns and hopefully resolve this issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Neighbors are cautiously optimistic a compromise will be reached for a fence that is functional and aesthetically pleasing that is more in harmony with the neighborhood.