Saturday, August 24, 2019

Dunwoody resident asks, "Why can't we have nice things like our neighbors?"

Just because it is not easy, doesn't mean we are working towards these goals

Part of the job of serving on the City Council is knowing what the residents of your city want and then trying to fulfill their desires with the resources that you have available, unfortunately, the desires always outweigh resources.  I read everything Dunwoody related that I can get my hands upon and that includes newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, various Blogs, AHA, Letters to the Editor, e-mails directed to Council, Myspace and sometimes I will even read Nextdoor.  If it is Dunwoody related, I read it.  If someone needs assistance I jump in, if it is a general conversation I may just watch the conversation but I rarely jump deep into Facebook conversations as I usually have my own platform for communication and the Open Records laws regarding social media communication for elected officials is murky at best.

Anyway, I saw a conversation on Dunwoody (and specifically Dunwoody Village) being compared to to the new Town Center mixed-use development in Peachtree Corners whereby the city purchased a patch of forest on Peachtree Parkway across from the Forum and turned it into a shopping area with an activated outdoor dining, drinking/recreation area with music events from time to time.

Maybe my heart was still pumping hard from this evenings spin class, or I ate too many treats at the Dunwoody Community Garden 10 year celebration or I was too hyped up from whipping my boys at Foosball; either way, I broke down and commented on a group Facebook post.   My answer was detailed, addressing not only her question but also some of the other comments on the post and figured in the sense of transparency that it was worth me posting here as well.

To loosely recap the question, it was Why can't Dunwoody have nice things like outdoor dining in a pretty park setting and then be able to walk around listening to music as I sip my wine?

My answer was ... I don't think anyone disagrees with you, we would all want that. The City of Dunwoody wishes they could buy a chunk of undeveloped land to do what Peachtree Corners did or be like Sandy Springs and be able to afford to buy out profitable businesses - but neither option is easy for us to do.

Regency owns the Village shopping center and we have made it easier for them to redevelop by unregulating the area including the corner property on Chamblee Dunwoody & Mount Vernon that sits vacant for years. Regency owns much of the property and they and the other owners decide if major changes are desired, not us - but we continue the discussions. If the City moved forward, purchasing a chunk of the parking lot from Regency and made it into a park, would Regency try to redevelop around it or would it be a patch of green surrounded by asphalt? Having the City buy a chunk of land from Regency in order to build a parking lot, what would Regency do with that multi-million dollar amenity?

The City redeveloped the old pipe farm off Chamblee Dunwoody and now has several restaurant parcels abutting open green space and a park available at Shallowford and Perimeter Park yet we can't find a developer willing to move this idea forward. Economics and the number of eyeballs driving by always come into play on developments like this and there are a lot more cars driving by on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners.

Dunwoody with the help of DHA puts forward Food Trucks with bands and the City hosts other events either by itself or partnering with the Dunwoody Nature Center, so you can't say we are not trying.

As far as permanent restaurants in Brook Run, I'm not against it (think Park Tavern or Tavern on the Green) but I am sure food trucks will be involved anytime crowds are expected. When the amphitheater is completed, I am guessing we will be scheduling a regular concert series with tables for purchase via subscription service and free concerts otherwise. I fully expect outside food and beverage service being available if you don't bring your own.

Long story, short - the City is trying to foster the items that you desire and are working towards the future with the funds we have available but when it comes to modifying existing commercial development sometimes it is easier said than done. Just because it is not easy, doesn't mean we are not working towards these goals behind the scenes.


John Heneghan
Dunwoody City Council

PS: Earlier this week the High Street ATL huge development next to Perimeter Mall and the Marta Station which many compare to the Avalon in Alpharetta just dropped their phase 1 plan off at Dunwoody City Hall and this development will include hotel site, retail, office, parking, and about 600 apartments. The zoning on site that was put in many years ago allows up to 1,500 apartments and 1,500 condos and based on recent actions the development that has been on-again / off-again for many years may finally be coming out of the ground. I plan on reviewing and posting the High Street plans as soon as I get my hands on them.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Monday Aug 26 Dunwoody City Council Agenda - Spruill Center expansion / lease, Roberts rezoning - Swancy House withdrawn, grassy knoll hotel.

Monday, August 26, 2019
Dunwoody City Hall
4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Agenda - 5 p.m. - Public Facilities Authority

Facility Usage Agreement with the Spruill Center for the Arts - 40 year lease / 5 year construction plan

 Agenda - 6 p.m -  Regularly Called Meeting

 Recognition of 2018 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards to 18 individuals (6 Silver, 12 Bronze)

 Proclamation - Kingsley Racquet and Swim Club Day

 FIRST READ: RZ 19-02: Alex Brock, Attorney for the Owner, on Behalf of GMC Real Estate Acquisitions, LLC, Owner of 11 Ravinia Parkway, Dunwoody, GA 30346 Seeks the Following, To Rezone the Property From its Current OCR (Office, Commercial, Residential) District Conditional Zoning Classification to an PC-2 (Perimeter Center) District

Approval of an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Sandy Springs for Traffic Control Equipment in Dunwoody Right of Way

SECOND READ: Ordinance Amending Chapter 26 of the City of Dunwoody Code of Ordinances by Revising Underground Utility Marking Regulations

SECOND READ: RZ19-01: J. Ethan Underwood, Attorney for RRR 2018, LLC, Owner of 5318 and 5328 Roberts Drive, Seeks to Rezone the Property From its Current R-100 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District Zoning Classification to an R-50 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District (Applicant Requests Withdrawal) 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

City of Dunwoody Mayoral and Council Election Slate Finalized - John Heneghan is unopposed and elected to a four year term. #gapol

To the residents of Dunwoody, I am truly honored that I can continue my service to the community as it is a privilege I take very seriously.  I will strive to represent and work hard on your behalf as I believe I have done for the last eleven years, doing so humbly yet diligently with passion while ensuring that the City of Dunwoody operates transparently and fairly for all involved.   Thank you,   John Heneghan 

Lynn Deutsch
Terry Nall

Stacey Harris
Robert Miller

Joe Seconder
Heyward Wescott

John Heneghan (Incumbent)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

City of Dunwoody KPI report for Q2 2019, Brook Run Park Deed Restrictions for Greenspace and the 2020 Mayor's Budget


A couple of items crossed my desk today that I thought I would share.

First is the quarterly report of key performance indicators of city operations.   The data is interesting, like the fact that the number of open records requests for city documents has risen; traffic citations are up; review of construction plans are down; new business licenses are down; applications for employment are up, but we also advertised a few more jobs; the calls to the police department are up; and alarms are down.

The one area that really jumped out to the Council was the number and quality of our communication outreach.  The numbers over last year for Facebook & Twitter have skyrocketed, and the quality of the outreach is also unsurpassed with today's 360-degree photo of the construction at Brook Run Park being just one example. 

This is due to the new team of Jennifer Boettcher & Kathy Florence - well-done ladies!!

The Assistant City Manager, Mr. Jay Vinicki, stated that "staff is looking at revamping this report starting next quarter. We welcome your input back to the city for any information already in this report that is “must keep” and information lacking in it that is “must add.”"  Transparency is the key and therefore what relavent statistics should be reported to ensure appropriate city services are on track?  Thanks.

The second item that I thought was worth sharing was a question that is raised from time to time regarding the deed restrictions on the original Brook Run Park land that was bought from the State in 2001.  One of the restrictions is that no less than 70% of the property shall be used as urban green space and the city has already calculated that even after all of the future artificial turf, new driveways, hardscapes and parking lots were installed; that Brook Run Park would still have 78.4% urban greenspace.  Here is the documentation provided by the City on the green space percentage.

Finally, I am anticipating the Mayor's 2020 budget for the City will be released by the end of the week, and the budget committee will be taking the first crack at reviewing and then proposing changes.  Once I get it I will post the proposed budget and ask for comments or suggestions.   Thanks

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dunwoody Gridiron Club is hosting a ladies round robin tennis tournament this Friday

CALLING ALL TENNIS LADIES for the 2nd Annual Wildcat Tennis Round Robin

August 23, 2019 (this Friday)
9am – 1 pm
Sandy Springs Tennis Center

Dunwoody Gridiron Club is hosting a round robin tennis tournament and luncheon to support the DHS Wildcat football teams. Run by the Sandy Springs Tennis Center with lunch, prizes and raffle to follow. Come join the fun!

Entry: $100
To Register:

All proceeds support Dunwoody High School Football

City of Milton Implementing Voluntary Surveillance Camera Registration - Should Dunwoody be Next?

Milton Police are asking residents and businesses to register the location of security cameras to potentially help solve more crimes.   City of Dunwoody is exploring the idea.

Register the location of your security cameras

Do you own a security camera at your home or business that records video footage? If so, the Milton Police Department is asking you to register the location of those cameras to potentially help solve crimes. The Milton Police Department will not have access to online camera feed and camera access will be requested on a case-by-case basis.

Registration is entirely voluntary and all personal information gathered is for official use only and will not be released to any member of the general public.

This police/community partnership operates on a strictly voluntary basis. It is not intended for active surveillance, and Milton Police will not have direct access to cameras. Those who register a camera may be contacted if a crime occurs near that camera, but releasing the footage to police is completely voluntary.

 To register the location of your surveillance cameras, please click HERE*. (Note: this link does not work on Microsoft Edge. Please cut and paste link into another browser to open.)

 *By registering the location of your security camera(s), you understand that you may be contacted in the future by the Milton Police Department. This does NOT give MPD access to any of your hardware - it is the location of the devices ONLY.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dunwoody Preservation Trust hosts Flick 'N Chick at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm - Saturday Night

The directors of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) along with the City of Dunwoody are pleased to announce “Flick ‘N Chick On The Farm,” a free outdoor event featuring a showing of “Toy Story” on a jumbo screen with Chick-fil-A meals and King of Pops ice pops for purchase. The event will be held on Saturday, August 17, at the 1870s Donaldson-Bannister Farm Park and Special Event Venue in Dunwoody.  
Gates will open at 6:00 pm, and the free outdoor movie on the large screen will begin at 8:00 pm. More than just a movie and a meal, the event will feature an appearance of the Chick-fil-A cows for photos, a best Toy Story costume contest with prizes and tours of the farm. Chick-fil-A meals will be available for purchase on site for $10.00, with a portion of the sales going to local schools. Popcorn and drinks will also be available for purchase.  
Seating will be on the lawn and patrons are asked to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. Parking is available nearby at Dunwoody Place North formerly known as Independence Square. 
For basic information about Flick ‘N Chick On The Farm, please go to . For more information, contact Hope Follmer at 404-617-0433.  

Dunwoody Nature Center hosts annual Butterfly Festival - Saturday August 17th (Buy your tickets in advance.)

Join the Dunwoody Nature Center and Cox Enterprises for the annual Butterfly Festival this Saturday, August 17th beginning at 10:00 a.m. This year's event will feature two butterfly tents each filled with hundreds of live butterflies and activities including a 'Birds of Prey' show, live animal encounters, games, educational booths, crafts, music, food and more.

Butterfly Festival tickets are now on sale! Pre-purchasing tickets is the only way to guarantee entry to the butterfly tents at a time that is convenient for you. Visit the events page to plan your trip and purchase tickets:


Day of Admissions:
• $10.00-Adults
• $ 5.00-Child (ages 4-12)
• Free – Children 3 and younger

Park at N. Atlanta Church of Christ
(5676 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody, GA 30338)

Shuttles will run continuously throughout the day. Plan enough time to park, take the shuttle, pay your admission, and proceed to the “Tickets Purchased Today” Tent Entry wristband area. Purchases that are made on the day of the festival include entry to the butterfly tents on a first come, first served basis until we reach capacity. Please note: there is no parking at the Nature Center; plan enough time to park, take the shuttle and get your hand stamp and your Tent Entry wristband at the Tent Entry wristband area. We recommend a 30 min. lead time prior to your tent entry. Come early! There is plenty to enjoy throughout the day, both before and after your butterfly encounter, and you won’t want to miss a minute of the fun. Concessions? Of course! Have lunch, a cold drink, and some frozen treats with us—concessions are cash only. Also, don’t miss a variety of Games, Crafts, Live Music, Magic, Birds-of-Prey Show and Animal Encounters.

This is a Rain or Shine Event

• Park at N. Atlanta Church of Christ (5676 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody, GA 30338)
• Shuttles will run continuously throughout the day.
• Please note: there is no parking at the Nature Center;
• Concessions? Of course! Have lunch, a cold drink, and some frozen treats with us—concessions are cash only.
• Games, Crafts, Live Music, Magic, Birds-of-Prey, Reptiles and Butterflies. We’ve got it covered! See you Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tickets purchased the day of the festival will be admitted to the Butterfly Tents on a first come, first served basis. Please note that in the event that the Butterfly Tents reach capacity, we will no longer allow entry to the tents, although you can still come to the festival to participate in our games, crafts, and other activities.

Today (Thursday) is the last day to buy a scheduled time slot for the Butterfly Festival as some slots are already full and others are filling up quickly.  Link to Tickets below.

Entertainment Schedule

All performances take place on the stage area in front of the fireplace.
Time Performer
10:00 AM -10:45 AM Keith Magic Man
11:15 AM -11:45 AM Birds of Prey show
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM Dunwoody Idol winner
12:45 PM – 1:15 PM Jason’s Music Party
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Birds of Prey show
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM Hula Performance
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Nature Center Battle of the Bands winner
3:45 PM Dunwoody High School Marching Band

From 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM the Bubbleman will be entertaining visitors throughout the park.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dunwoody High FCA Student Ministries invites parents to dinner on Sun Aug 25th to see what exciting things are planned for the coming year. @DunwoodyFCA @DunwoodyHS

In spite of concerns over space issues, one thing that parents need to be keanly aware of is that Dunwoody High School is full of dedicated teachers, coaches and staff that are looking to educate and enrich the lives of the children we entrust in their care.  Besides the formal classes being offered, there is also a bond among the students via the special classes/clubs, activities, and service organizations within the school.  Parents please encourage your students to participate fully in all that Dunwoody HS has to offer.

One of the special activities at DHS happens on Friday mornings at 7 am in the auditorium where the Fellowship of Christian Athletes invites all students to grab a quick sandwich, listen to music being offered by students and then an inspirational youth pastor from one of the many churches in the area gives a short talk.

Mr. Steven Fortenberry, a long-time (passionate & inspirational) teacher at Dunwoody High School has been organizing this function for many years, and it is events like this that fosters an attitude of caring and acceptance among all the students.  With FCA fostering a sense of community, the students are nicer to one another, and when that happens, almost anything is possible.

On Sunday, August 25th, there is a short fundraising dinner for any Dunwoody High School parents who like to support this worthwhile activity.  FCA also puts on a number of special events throughout the year including several post-football game social events and other activities for the entire school to attend.

My wife Kristin & I plan to be in attendance, and hopefully, we may see some of you there as well. Thanks.

Please register here.