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Concorde Fire Soccer Plan Continues to Draw Criticism

A Meeting at the Coward Family/Ashford Dunwoody YMCA brought dozens of concerned residents out

Despite the pristine weather Sunday afternoon outside, dozens packed a room inside the to express concerns over a proposed $1.5 million soccer complex planned for undeveloped land off South Johnson Ferry Road.

The plan introduced by the Concorde Fire Soccer Association to build two practice fields and one regulation soccer field, a 4,376-square-foot clubhouse, and about 150 parking spaces on 12 acres of land zoned residential, outraged hundreds of residents in communities adjacent to the Johnson Ferry Road and Ashford Dunwoody corridors and prompted a group to create a website and collect hundreds of names on a petition opposing the move.

The meeting Sunday afternoon included a presentation from Corcorde’s attorney Kathy Zickert, who attempted to answer questions and dispel what she referred to as 'common misconceptions' of those who oppose the field. Chief among those concerns are traffic, environmental implications and noise.

“We’re not going to have much more than 80 people at a time,” Zickert said at yesterday’s meeting. Zickert said the organization has conducted a traffic study which shows minimal traffic impact to the already congested roadway.

Neighbors like Fay Ann Sherris, however, said she is skeptical. Sherris, who lives in Fielding Park Court, and her neighborhood's representative of the Stop Concorde Fire Soccer Complex in Brookhaven committee said she is highly concerned about the traffic and the safety of the children slated to use the complex.

“We absolutely want them to have soccer fields. We absolutely want them to have what their original plan was for, but they’ve picked the wrong location,” Sherris said. 

Sherris said the trees provide seclusion and privacy, as well as a buffer of much of the noise created by nearby traffic.

“I can walk around in my pajamas in my kitchen, but once the trees are gone, I can’t enjoy my own home anymore,” Ferris said.

The group's website sites as its chief environmental concern is that the proposed complex sits in a flood zone on the banks of Nancy Creek. "This entire proposed complex was under five or more feet of water not once, but twice last year. Homes and businesses downstream were also flooded and damaged," the site states.

A document released by Concord at yesterday's meeting indicates that the club must obtain all applicable permits per the Erosion Control Act and the Georgia Storm Water Quality Act.

"Concorde Fire shall have a qualified engineer prepare a comprehensive stormwater management plan and floodplain demarcation report, as well as a qualified consultant to prepare a wetlands delineation," according to the document.

Conversely, Elaine Moore, said many of the residents concerns are unfounded.

“Will it impact? Some. But it’s not going to impact as much as what [the opposition] imagine it will be. I think the apartment complexes being built near Publix will be a much bigger deal that this. I can’t believe there’s going to be even 100 cars, to tell you the truth.”

Moore said the positive impact of the soccer club ‘far outweighs’ what may be minor inconveniences that come with such a project.

"[The Concorde Fire Soccer Association] isn't gaining anything from any of this. They're just good people who want to give our children a place to play and have fun."

The group's special land use permit is scheduled to go before the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on July 26. Zickert said the association has requested a deferral so that the group can continue to meet with area residents to quell any concerns and answer questions.

Chip Douglas July 18, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Thank you for this heartwarming article. Soccer is an amazing game and very popular in the area. Hey guess what! So is swimming, grilling out on a nice day, and sitting around with friends and family. But alas! We don't come to your backyard and expect you to allow us to do those things at your house. Why are you wanting to play soccer in ours? In a flood plain. Right next to a main sewer vent. On top of a gas line. C'mon guys. Just simply take the project to another place and maybe the residents of thius area will pony up the $1300.00 to be members of your PRIVATE soccer club.
Also a neighbor July 19, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Where would you suggest Concorde move the project? Let me guess, just somewhere not near your house, right? Why would you be so selfish? If I lived in "a flood plain, main sewer vent, and on top of a gas line", and someone was offering to clean it up, I think I would let them. Maybe you should start thinking about the kids, and not yourself. What is the world coming to..........
Tom Reilly July 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM
I said in the TV interview: "The location is wrong. Soccer is great. Kids are wonderful." Even if the neighbors largely wanted this project, it wouldn't be plausible because of the environmental legislation and impact applicable here. Isn't floodplain is a lot cheaper than other types of acreage??!!--Tom Reilly
Chip Douglas July 19, 2011 at 04:17 PM
How bout closer to your house? And just FYI, we DONT LIVE IN A FLOOD PLAIN. But kids would be running around playing on fields that would be, and breathing sewer exhaust, and on top of a gas line. We don't live in a floodplain BECAUSE YOU CANNOT BUILD IN A FLOOD PLAIN. Do you let your kids play on or around a sewer? Do you let your kids play on or around a gas pipeline? Do you let your kids play in or around a creek that during heavy rains contains fecal matter? This site has all of these attributes. There are safety and health concerns that are present here that go far and beyond the debate of whether or not soccer fields come here. Do your homework.
KPL July 19, 2011 at 05:16 PM
To Also a Neighbor: Generally, one's home is their most valuable asset. Our house was purchased over 11 years ago next to the site which is zoned residential (R-100). I do not think it is selfish to expect the R-100 zoning classification to be honored. Most homeowners would not want to live 35 feet from a private clubhouse with latrines, tractor storage, offices and a snack bar. Most homeowners would not want to live next to 167 parking places, an Olympic-sized soccer field and two additional soccer fields. Most homeowmers would not enjoy the noise, lights and increased traffic next door. I do think about kids, I have young children of my own. They would not be allowed on the private property. Children who enjoy soccer in the area have access to acres of soccer fields within a 2-mile radius of the proposed site at Ashford Dunwoody, Windsor Parkway/Peachtree Dunwoody, Blackburn Park, Keswick Park, etc. Selfish? Really?
William E Moore July 20, 2011 at 02:39 AM
I wonder why no one has suggested that earthquakes, famine and locusts are sure to increase if the soccer park is completed. Surely it will kill us all, if the sewer and gas fumes don't get us first. This is another example of misinformation, just like the web site. You're attempting to mislead others with the reference to "private". Concorde is private the same way every volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, (insert your sport here) club in the entire country is private (as is every YMCA, by the way). It's their tax status - they are all tax exempt entities that you pay to use. That's it. Anyone can join any of these clubs, or a YMCA, anywhere they wish. How is that private in the context you suggest? Your attempt to mislead, to misrepresent, to single out Concorde is shameful. Additionally, the fields Concorde plays on now are all rented - they are owned by someone else, either the YMCA or the county (except for Georgia Soccer Park). I tire of all the falsehoods, negative speculation, and Chicken Little tactics of the anti-Concorde crowd. They have blown the entire situation out of proportion with scare tactics. It’s embarrassing. They are not credible. They should do better and get the facts first.
Chip Douglas July 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Hi Bill. Please provide your contact information to the hundreds of people who live on Nancy Creek so that the next time it floods, you can go help them with the clean up. The creek will flood, and it will be adversely affected by this development. You are obviously not educated enough to realize the overarching effects of this complex being placed here will have. Not just the traffic, or the noise, or the lights, etc., but the ecology, environment, and the property value declines this will cause - not to mention the talks about widening Johnson Ferry to Peachtree from Peachtree Dunwoody, Ashford Dunwoody to Peachtree Rd... These are all part and parcel to each other. What should embarrass you more is supporting an effort to crap on your neighbors. This is about personal agendas, not collective agendas. If it were about the collective agenda that respects the hundreds of your neighbors, this would not have gone even this far. Thanks Bill for your time and for the others who read this. If you need to borrow a red shirt, just let me know and show support FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS. THE PEOPLE YOU SEE EVERYDAY AND LIVE NEXT TO.
Chip Douglas July 20, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Oh my. I just had a thought. Maybe now that there is a DeKalb County Senior Housing project being built on Johnson Ferry, it would give you a chance to organize a Seniors Concorde Soccer team. But, dangit. As good as this idea is, they're too old to join. And so are you. Maybe if this was a park, you too could use it. FOR FREE. Or am I being obtuse.
Chip Douglas July 20, 2011 at 02:20 PM
P.S. Look at this video. Recognize the bridge? It's the one they replaced on Peachtree Dunwoody just downstream of this proposed complex. The raging waters you see here is Nancy Creek. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=175uxWZixR8
Chip Douglas July 20, 2011 at 02:24 PM
And heres a few more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERjmsPV7khI&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRtUfNbhxXY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiIT3rJG9IM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGkCwZZvNxY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Dg3aCrL0Gk&feature=related
William E Moore July 24, 2011 at 02:28 AM
The "Stop Concorde" group cite the large numbers of responses from their web site that are against the soccer club's proposal, but there is a problem with those numbers. Those expressions of dissatisfaction are based on misleading, false or inaccurate speculations on that site. This technique, and the web site, is a classic example of attempting to stuff the ballot box. It's easy to vote against the fields based on the negative speculation currently on the site. A casual observer might actually believe the web sites speculation is true and vote accordingly. However, since the site is biased, based on fear, false and misleading info and has no mechanism for a reader to show support for the fields, then the distorted results should be discounted, if not ignored. You need to be aware that those negative expressions from the “Stop Concorde” web site can't possibly reflect an accurate assessment of the neighbors feelings because the actual Concorde proposal facts are not on the “Stop Concorde” web site. Readers are not “voting” based on facts but on propaganda. The number of neighbors who oppose the fields should be ignored based on misrepresentation alone. The results are based on deception and should not be an influence. William Moore
Chip Douglas July 24, 2011 at 05:51 PM
If Concorde didn't have anything to hide then perhaps it would be plastered all over their website. There is nothing there. And if you think that the members and supporters have all of the facts from the council and owner of Concorde Fire then you are sadly uninformed. Oh and just a reminder to let everyone who lives on or around Nancy Creek have your contact info so that the next time the creek floods, you can go help them with the clean up. Remember the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have others do unto to you. Don't force your apparent desire to have a sports complex in your backyard on your neighbors. Certainly they would not do this to you. It's not your call what goes in their backyards. It's theirs.
Chip Douglas July 27, 2011 at 10:56 PM
How soon we forget. Here is excerpt from an article quoting Gregg Blasingame regarding Marist's proposal to put practice fields in his backyard on West Nancy Creek from a 2009 Crier. “Those fields are used by thousands of kids each year, and they are our first concern,” said Gregg Blasingame, executive director and head coach of the nationally-ranked Concorde Fire soccer club, which shares the fields with the YMCA. “Trying to move through this particular maze quickly is asking too much. Further complicating matters are Marist’s negotiations with neighbors, who prefer the trees buffering their back yards to the athletic fields and parking in the long-range plans. Blasingame, whose home on West Nancy Creek backs up to the area designated for a future athletic practice field, sees the issue from both sides north of the creek. He doesn’t object to having practice fields where he currently enjoys trees, but questions how Marist will protect his home from noise and light pollution. Will there be a public address system? If the school cuts down trees, what will they replace them with to provide a buffer for property."

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