Tell Georgia Power to stop bulldozing 4th Ward homes

Tell Georgia Power to stop bulldozing 4th Ward homes

May 8, 2022
Signatures: 440Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Samuel Shapero

Tell Georgia Power to Stop Bulldozing Homes and Evicting Families in the Old Fourth Ward!

What's happening?

Georgia Power is trying to expand the footprint of the Boulevard power substation in the Old 4th Ward. Unfortunately, they are doing so in a way that's cruel and destructive, bulldozing family homes and evicting our neighbors, while stonewalling questions from concerned neighbors and the neighborhood association. To make things worse, its unnecessary - there's plenty of nearby vacant land along the Boulevard transmission line corridor, and there's modern technology that Georgia Power could use to actually reduce the overall footprint.

Georgia Power has already bulldozed two houses and evicted their residents. Further, they  are trying to coerce five additional families into selling their homes, threatening to seize the homes under Eminent Domain if the families don't buckle under.

The substation expansion would also be bad for the rest of the neighborhood, destroying the streetscape of Angier Place to the east, creating a major eyesore, attracting crime, and reducing property values. The current substation consists of massive steel towers situated at a high elevation in the neighborhood. The view is largely blocked by adjacent trees, but these would be cut down in the expansion, exposing the transformers to a substantial part of the neighborhood.

Because the substation is unattended at night, it attracts both petty and major crime. In 2021 alone, the street and properties immediately adjacent to the current substation saw 4 aggravated assaults, 2 vehicle thefts, a homicide (!), and numerous arrests for narcotics, and 2022 is on track for the same numbers. The substation expansion would replace the current crime-free street frontage with an unattended black hole where crime can flourish.

What can we do?

  1. Write the Georgia Public Service Commission! While Georgia Power does have the ability to seize family homes under its powers of Eminent Domain, they are governed by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), a democratically elected body. Contact the chair of the Commission, Trica Pridemore (, the Commissioner for our district, Fitz Johnson (, or Commissioner Tim Echols (, up for reelection this year) and let them know you oppose Georgia Power's Boulevard substation expansion. Feel free to copy some of the arguments in this petition, or use your own words.
  2. Sign the petition. That will help us keep track of who is interested in this issue, and will help us organize additional activities.
  3. Spread the word. Share this petition on social media (or your medium of choice) with your friends and neighbors, and ask them to write our Public Service Commissioners as well.
  4. Come and meet us! We will try and have an in-person meeting later in May. Time and location TBD.

What are our demands?

  1. Georgia Power must immediately stop purchasing or attempting to purchase properties along Wabash Avenue and Angier Place. For any properties already purchased, Georgia Power must halt all evictions. For any properties already vacated, Georgia Power must leave them standing and offer them to the most recent renters. Georgia Power should immediately communicate these steps to the residents of the relevant properties.
  2. Georgia Power should communicate, in writing, their intentions for the Boulevard Substation and its expansion to neighborhood representatives, including affected residents on Wabash Avenue and Angier Place, and leadership of the Fourth Ward Alliance and Fourth Ward West neighborhood associations.
  3. Representatives of Georgia Power should meet with neighborhood representatives, including: affected residents on Wabash Avenue and Angier Place; leadership of the Fourth Ward Alliance and Fourth Ward West neighborhood associations; the office of Atlanta Councilmember Amir Farokhi; and a resident of the Old Fourth Ward who is also a subject matter expert in electric power systems.
  4. Georgia Power must work with neighborhood representatives to ensure that the Boulevard Substation and any potential renovations can meet both the needs of Georgia Power's customers and the needs of the Old Fourth Ward's family and neighbors.

What else should I know?

  1. Our demands are reasonable. Georgia Power has been willing to work with neighborhoods in the past, and modify their footprint and plans to accommodate neighborhood needs. See here where they accommodated the Morningside neighborhood and several others. There's no reason the Old Fourth Ward should be treated differently.
  2. The technology exists to actually shrink the Boulevard substation footprint. The Boulevard substation was built in the 1960s using Air-Insulated Switchgear technology. Georgia Power started using the far more compact Gas-Insulated Switchgear over a decade ago, and could likely install significant extra capacity on the adjacent single residential lot they have already cleared.
  3. There is a lot of empty, non-residential land nearby. There are empty lots of comparable size to the existing substation, both one and two blocks south on the same Boulevard transmission corridor.
  4. There is a 25 foot dropoff between the existing substation and the proposed expansion. Since substations must be flat, this would require a massive construction project, resulting in a very large concrete structure projecting 100 feet east of the current substation. Unlike the relatively innocuous view on Boulevard, the resulting view from the East would be a massive eyesore, especially since there would no longer be any trees on that side.
  5. This is valuable land. Atlanta has a housing affordability crisis, and Georgia Power is already sitting on four empty residential lots, and working to clear five more. A reduced footprint would allow Georgia Power to sell these lots for a tidy sum. If Georgia Power could acquire one of the nearby lots and build a smaller footrprint station there, they could likely replace there entire existing station with high density housing, potentially allowing dozens of families to join the neighborhood.
  6. Georgia Power is destroying historic family homes. Many of the homes in this neighborhood are over a hundred years old, including most of the ones Georgia Power wants to tear down.
  7. This issue is in the news.
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Signatures: 440Next Goal: 500
Support now