Monday, June 29, 2009

New walking / jogging trail at Peachtree Charter Middle School. Want to Help?

New jogging path on Barclay.

In Dunwoody when people see the need to do something, I am proud to say that more times than not those people will personally take action to get things done and improve the circumstances for all involved. Here is an example that I have recently come across.

Two PCMS parents (Kevin Cameron and Don Lancaster), with some help from members of the Dunwoody Cross Country team, are creating a walking/running path around the campus. They had their first community work day on Saturday and made some great progress on Barclay Road, clearing a path and laying wood chips. Barclay is a dangerous road for runners and walkers because of the lack of side walk or adequate space off the road. Although the Barclay section is not complete, you can now walk the entire length of Barclay without going into the street!

Anyone interested in helping lay woods chips is welcome to join them on Saturday, July 11 at 8:00 am. The plan is to finish Barclay Road and begin widening a path along North Peachtree road. Future phases include linking the path to the PCMS track at two locations and cleaning up a section of woods across the street from the Fire Station.

The City has established a volunteer coordinating committee and website headed up by Mr. Bill Tobin to establish a database of resident volunteers so that when there is a community need the call for volunteers can happen far and wide to those interested in serving the community. In fact, I need a representative to assist Mr. Tobin to work on the coordinating committee itself, therefore if you are interested in serving on the committee please let me know. Thanks.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Volunteer Coordinating Committee is to respond to the civic needs of the City of Dunwoody, its residents, businesses and elected officials. We will accomplish our goals by promoting and facilitating volunteer involvement through partnership with nonprofit organizations, local merchants, government, places of worship, schools and individuals for personal and community enrichment.

Imperative to our success is the establishment of a database of volunteers, or at least the identification of other committees with such a data base, acting as conduit through which volunteers are facilitated throughout the City for various event and projects.

Recap of June 24th Dunwoody Comprehensive Land Use Meeting on Transportation.

By: Jennifer Peterson, Community Development Director

Approximately 85 people attended our second community meeting. POND and Company began the evening with an overview of the comprehensive planning process in general and a recap of the June 2nd meeting results.

The majority of the evening focused on various transportation challenges and options available for Dunwoody’s future. There was a substantial discussion about the overall merits and drawbacks to public transportation, as well as discussion about the types, locations, and programming of public transportation that might be good options for our city.

The second part of the evening was a discussion about urban design, most particularly what sorts of heights and scales of development would be appropriate in the areas where we anticipate change to occur. The group then participated in a visual preference survey to further demonstrate what heights and development types would be acceptable and encouraged.

To view the presentation by POND and Company please click here.

The next meeting on July 7th will focus on parks, public facilities, and funding. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My preview of the Dunwoody Butterfly Festival - captured on video.

My preview of the Butterfly Tent - Video

Everyone's favorite day at Dunwoody Nature Center is happening today! Get an up-close look at the colorful world of over 500 butterflies at DNC. This annual event features discovery stations, games, crafts, food, gifts, and a GIANT Greathouse Butterfly Farm tent filled with lively butterflies and beautiful flowers.

Feed butterflies their favorite, Gatorade. Savor hot-off-the-grill hot dogs and cool "larval lemonade." Sing and dance with live music. Enjoy the antics of the Piccadilly Puppets. And explore Dunwoody's many wonders!

Dunwoody Nature Center
5343 Roberts Drive
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Festival Information
Saturday June 27, 2009
General Public: 10:30 am - 2:00 pm
Members: $4 child/$8 adult
Nonmembers: $5 child/$10 adult
Children 2 years and under are free.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Do Dunwoody bloggers want to become Dunwoody politicians?

Mass communications is expensive or at least it was prior to the internet, just as I am told it was once an expensive proposition to run for political office. I think I shocked a few people when I didn't buy a single yard sign or send out expensive political mailers in last years Dunwoody City Council election, yet won my citywide seat by a 66 to 34% percent margin. The use of the internet and my daily blog is believed to have assisted me in getting out my message (though I personally give credit to my wife who seems to know everybody). Now that the City of Dunwoody is entering it's next election season whereby three of the Dunwoody City Council seats are already up for re-election (Shortal, Bonser & Taylor) , it appears that blogging could once again be used to propel future perspective Dunwoody candidates.

From my untrained political eye, it looks like a few Dunwoody related blogs may have been started to possibly assist the writers in a future election bid. Of course this is pure speculation on my part, I have no knowledge of anyone besides Councilman Denis Shortal formally announcing for the November 3rd election.

The first obvious choice of a candidate who may be running is Mr. Bob Fiscella, a resident of the Springfield subdivision in district two who has a neighborhood blog named Springfield in Dunwoody which can be found at Bob ran a nice campaign the first time and has remained active by attending numerous City Council meetings therefore he looks to be a viable candidate who knows the issues if he chooses to run.

The second person who has possibly surfaced to run for a district one seat is Mr. Rick Callihan. Rick is very passionate about education and past zoning choices which have filled our schools to capacity, so much so that the former Austin parent now home schools his children. Rick has started a blog named Dunwoody Charientism giving his personal commentary on Dunwoody civic meetings in which he interjects his personality and humor while attempting to be informative. The blog can be found at

A third blogger who already has her hands in a number of city endeavors is Ms. Pattie Baker, the author of the Sustainable Dunwoody Blog and now chair of the City of Dunwoody Sustainability Committee. I am unsure what district Pattie lives in but if she were to run, she would be a very formidable candidate.

Finally my friend Ms. Donna Cannady Nall, who works for the Dunwoody Nature Center, is Chair of the Executive Council of Peachtree Charter Middle School PTA, knows how to blog and is directly affected by a rezoning being proposed, therefore she may now have a calling to throw her hat into the ring to run?

Did I miss anyone who blogs on the Dunwoody political scene? Mr. Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell from The Other Dunwoody passed away in his sleep so I don't think he will be running, though I guess he could be resurrected? Mr. DunwoodyPoliceWatch phased out and deleted his blog though I believe I still see him commenting from time to time.

For those wishing to run for Dunwoody political office, the official registration for candidacy starts on August 31st but I am sure that there are several individuals who are already looking very closely at the possibilities of running for office in November.

If anyone needs assistance in creating a personal blog for any reason, please read this and then I will happily answer any questions that you may have. Dunwoody needs more blogs and if I can assist in any way I am happy to do so.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Butterflies and Margaritas followed MudCatz Grand Opening with Firefall

If my bride can find a babysitter, it looks like Friday night will be pretty busy.

Starting off at the Dunwoody Nature Center at 6 pm for the annual Monarchs & Margaritas event followed by the grand opening of Mudcatz new musical venue featuring Firefall. Tickets on sale here and at the door.

If you haven't been to Mudcatz, I highly recommend it for both the food, atmosphere and non-smoking family musical establishment. 5500 Chamblee Dunwoody Road directly behind the Old Hickory House.

Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. is general admission to the Butterfly tent for those not old enough to drink margaritas the night before. If you haven't been, it is a wonderful treat for the children to have numerous butterflies landing on them and flying around.

Please support the Dunwoody Nature Center, we so very lucky to have them in our community.

A Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly Vision for the City of Dunwoody

The Dunwoody Bicycle Taskforce has been meeting for a few months and they have just published their vision for the City of Dunwoody. It is my belief that we are working towards these goals and tonight's comprehensive land use plan discussing transportation clearly showed that fact. Things will not happen overnight but I believe that the will of people as well as that of the City Council are behind this endeavor therefore policies and practices will be put into place to affect change.

Overarching Principles

Transportation Planning should be thought of as a throughput of People, rather than exclusively motorized vehicles.
  • Dunwoody is a “Keystone” City
  • Regional Connectivity
  • Destination for live, work and play
  • We are an active, engaged and healthy community
Facts & Figures
  • In the U.S. more than 25% of all auto trips are less than a mile in length1
  • These short trips offer a terrific opportunity to take to the streets by foot or by bike instead of by car.
  • 1969 appx 50% children in the U.S got to school by walking or bicycling2
  • 2001 only 15%2
  • As much as 20 to 30% of morning traffic is often generated by parents driving their children to schools.2
  • In the US, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14.2
  • Business leaders say traffic is the biggest hindrance to running and expanding their companies.3
Source 1: Georgia Clean Air Campaign
Source 2: US H.CON. RES 305, 2/28/08
Source 3: Sam A. Williams, President, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Joint House/Senate Study Committee on Transportation Funding 7/11/07

Vision & Direction

Prepare a separate, dedicated Bicycle Master Plan for the City

• Coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions and PCID during this process
• Account for both conventional street and “off-road / dirt” bicycle use

Formally Adopt “Complete Streets” Policy

    The safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, freight, and motor vehicle drivers shall be accommodated and balanced in all types of transportation and development projects and through all phases of a project so that even the most vulnerable – children, elderly, and persons with disabilities – can travel safely within the public right of way.” (Alliance for Biking & Walking)
Safe Routes to School (Public & Private)
  • Walking and Bicycling to school as a safe and viable alternative
Appoint a City Staff Member as the Bike/Ped Coordinator

Adopt the Recommendations from the 2007 Atlanta Regional Commission’s Bike/Ped Plan

  • Routine Accommodation
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians provided for when new roadways are constructed and for new and retrofitting existing roadways
  • Complete Streets
  • Re-stripe Candidates
  • Develop and adopt a protocol for roadway re-striping to better accommodate bicyclists on roadway segments where excess pavement width is available.
  • Performed coincidentally with resurfacing projects
  • Improve Crossings (Ped & Bike)
  • End-of-Trip Bicycle Facilities
  • Parking/Racks/Storage, Lockers, Showers
  • Work / Offices, Retail, Schools, Government, etc.
  • Neighborhood Connectivity
  • Cul-de-Sacs / Dead Ends (open up to bike/ped)
Attain Bicycle Friendly Community Status by 2014
  • Engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation
  • Formally declare Dunwoody’s Vision & Objectives
  • Set in place now the policies, people and plans to achieve this
Economic, Environmental, Social & Health Benefits / Quality of Life
  • GA $$ spent on golfing is #2. GA $$ spent on bicycling is #1
  • Home values rise with increased bike/ped opportunities
  • Aging Population / Healthy Alternative
  • Disabled “Ability” to use the Streets, other means of transportation
  • Quality Family Recreation Time Together
Viable & Safe Alternative of Transport

Latent Demand
  • Develop the facilities and people will use them
  • Where the trip origin is near enough to the destination
Open up Opportunities to Varied Users
  • Casual, first-time
  • Commuters
  • Utility / Errands
  • Fitness
  • Social (Dinner)
  • Recreational
  • Family “Quality” Time

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Last Call - Monarchs & Margaritas at the Dunwoody Nature Center - Fri June 26

Friday, June 26
6-8 PM

FEES: Dunwoody Nature Center Members $25, General Public $30

Everyone’s favorite day at Dunwoody Nature Center begins the night before with a grown-ups only sneak-peek at our tent full of over 500 butterflies.

Join us from 6 – 9 pm for yummy Mexican food, Mr. Margarita’s cold margaritas, and a stroll through our enchanted park and butterfly tent. Musicians will entertain guests with an eclectic mix of contemporary compositions. Buy tickets for all your friends, and mingle with the monarchs!

Must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets available by calling 770-394-3322

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comprehensive Land Use Plan on Transportation Tonight

Comprehensive Plan
Community Meeting: Transportation, Gateways, Urban Design

Dunwoody United Methodist Church – Fellowship Hall
1548 Mount Vernon Road
June 24, 2009
7:00 P.M.

1. Welcome and Introductions 5 min
  • Purpose of Workshop
  • Overview of Workshop
2. Presentation: 10 min
  • Comprehensive Plan Process
  • Results of Community Meeting #1
3. Transportation 45 min
  • Transportation Issues and Assessment
  • Transit (ARCADIS)
  • Technologies
  • Stations
  • Status of ongoing projects
4. Urban Design and Gateways 30 min
  • Transit Oriented Design
  • Areas of Change: identified on map
  • Urban Design- Discussion
5. Next meetings: July 7 + August 3

Monday, June 22, 2009

Audio of USPS Meeting on Closing Dunwoody Village Post Office followed by Dunwoody City Council.

Monday, June 22nd
Dunwoody City Hall
41 Perimeter Center East
Dunwoody, GA 30346

6:00 p.m. U.S. Postal Community Briefing - Closing Village PO (1 hr, 32 MB)

7:00 p.m. Dunwoody Agenda

Start of meeting, public comment

Alcohol Ordinance (approved) & Zoning wing walls (1st read)

Permits for assemblages in Public Places

Construction Board of Appeals & Alcohol License Review Board

Speed signs (deferred to see locations where going.)

End of meeting

The Heart of Dunwoody - a “Gift of Life” from the Citizens of Dunwoody for the Citizens of Dunwoody.

The Heart of Dunwoody
2526 Mount Vernon Rd, STE B
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Vision Statement
To equip all Dunwoody Police vehicles, City Hall and Police Station with Automated External Defibrillators for the protection of all residents, visitors and businesses in Dunwoody.

As a result of two incidents that recently occurred, one in Chamblee and one in Dunwoody, interest in the equipping of our Dunwoody Police force with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) was brought to the forefront of issues within the City.

Of particular interest was the report from Chamblee that a police officer saved a residents life as a direct result of his use of the newly acquired AED that the city had put into each of its patrol cars. The question was raised, “does Dunwoody have these devices?” Sadly the answer was no.

In the hurry to start up the City and fully equip our officers, one critical piece of life saving equipment was inadvertently omitted from the list. No fault here as AEDs are relatively new and only over the last couple of years have the prices for these high tech miracle devices come down to a level where they are no longer cost prohibitive. Now we as a COMMUNITY have the opportunity to rectify that oversight.

What are AEDs?
They are portable devices that restore a heart to its normal rhythm and beat

Why do we need AEDs?
The answer is simple, they save lives.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest claims the lives of over 250,000 people each and every year. That is more victims than die from Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Aids, Hand Guns, and Traffic Accidents… COMBINED!

SCA is not a heart attack; rather it is a cardiac rhythm disturbance, sometimes a result of a freak sports accident or without any warning or trigger. The electrical signals that control the heart go haywire and the heart stops. It is a quiet, unpredictable killer that can claim the lives of young and old, man or woman, athlete or couch potato. Once SCA occurs, only an electrical stimulus or shock to the heart can revive the victim.

• Over 600 victims a day
• 75% occur outside of hospitals
• > 50% occur without prior symptoms
• Chance for successful recovery decrease by 10% each minute
• Victims need to receive a shock from an AED within 5 minutes
• 95% die without very early treatment

What Kind of Investment?
• An investment that shows no return on the dollar
• An investment in a device, if used just one time, that pays for itself over hundreds of lifetimes
• An investment that buys us the most valuable thing known to man, time and life itself
• An investment in equipment that we hope we never have to use

The Plan
Regardless of what organization you work with or neighborhood that you live in, this fundraising event could be the one thing that we all agree on. It benefits us now and in the future. It is one gift that we as citizens can give to each other. It is the gift of life.

What better way to celebrate the anniversary of our City, Christmas or Hanukkah. With that in mind a very aggressive completion date of 12-31-09 has been set. Time is a luxury that we cannot afford.

With an estimated cost of $1,500 per AED (before any volume or negotiated discounts) we would need to raise about $ 75,000. A huge challenge, but one that I believe can be realized through individual, group and corporate donations.

If we collect just one dollar for every person who lives in Dunwoody, we would be half way to our goal. Start to include all the businesses, churches and civic organizations and $75 K is truly attainable.

With the Proclamation that was passed by the City Council, we are ready to move forward towards our goal. We have setup our nonprofit status and are now reaching out to the organizations, clubs, neighborhood associations, and businesses that we want to make presentations to.

We will attend any meeting, no matter how small or large to make a presentation for this cause. We will accept donation in ANY amount, in person or by mail.

We established a bank account at Sun TrustBank that will be handling all of our donations. All funds , minus the set up costs will go directly to the purchase of AEDs and a community wide AED program

To make a donation, please make your checks payable to: “The Heart of Dunwoody”
Donations can be mailed to:
The Heart of Dunwoody
2526 Mount Vernon Rd, STE B
Dunwoody, GA 30338

I am one of the lucky ones; my wife was one of the 5% survivors. The SCA changed her life and my family’s lives forever. My hope is that we raise all this money and no one ever has to go through what my three girls lived through and no one else suffers the loss of a loved one as a result of a SCA.

Thank you all in advance for this incredible opportunity.

Bob Lundsten or

404 358 4147

PowerPoint in pdf
PowerPoint in ppt
Open Letter in pdf
Open Letter in doc

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vanderlyn HVAC, Lighting, Roof & ADA Modifications are out to bid.

The DeKalb County School System has placed an RFP out for bids for a major renovation of Vanderlyn Elementary and details can be found at this site. Since prior history tells me that these documents will be removed as soon as the contractor has been decided, I have copied some of the more important documents to my servers as shown down below. The main document to review for the scope of the work is located here.

The project consists of the HVAC, Ceiling and Lighting Replacement, Roof Replacement and ADA Modifications at Vanderlyn Elementary School. Design drawings will begin no later than August 1, 2009 and be complete no later than December 1, 2009. Construction on this scope of work will begin no later than December 15, 2009. The work will be completed in phases. All work must be substantially complete by January 31, 2011.
06202009_Vanderlyn_A-9 Sections and Details.pdf
06202009_Vanderlyn_Design Build Division 01.pdf
06202009_Vanderlyn_Land Survey Dwg 1.pdf
06202009_Vanderlyn_Land Survey Dwg 2.pdf
06202009_Vanderlyn_Owner's Preliminary Program Narrative-1.pdf
06222009_Vanderln_Meeting Minutes.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn _Addendum 01.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn _Pre-Proposal Sign-In Sheet.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn _Request for Clarification 1.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn_Construction Plan.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn_DCSS Guide Specs 030909 M.M. Standards.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn_ICC Thermal Mapping Survey.pdf
06222009_Vanderlyn_Roof Specs 075200.pdf

Saturday, June 20, 2009

U.S. Postal & Dunwoody City Council Meeting on Monday June 22

Monday, June 22nd
Dunwoody City Hall
41 Perimeter Center East
Dunwoody, GA 30346

6:00 p.m. U.S. Postal Community Briefing - Closing Village PO

7:00 p.m. Dunwoody Agenda

Radar Speed Limit Signs may coming to Dunwoody and rumor is the crossing guards are leaving?

Though the City of Dunwoody didn't win the Safe Routes to Schools grant, the City has made it a priority in making it safe for our children to walk to school. Proof of this is on the agenda for Monday as it appears that Dunwoody may be one of the first cities in Atlanta to be installing these specialized speed limit devices.

A little bird told me that the DeKalb County School System is thinking about pulling most if not all crossing guards in the coming year. Can you imagine no crossing guards for our elementary schools? I can't. Check out the video below for the dangers of North Peachtree Road and an example of the signs the City of Dunwoody is thinking of installing near our schools. I have a meeting with Ms. Pat Pope scheduled for next month and I promise that walking safety for those students within the now expanded mile and a half will be one of the first topics of conversation.

YouTube Video of Radarsign demonstration.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dunwoody Police search for rape suspect.

Incident: Sexual Assault
Date: June 6th, 2009
Location: 3 Dunwoody Park South, Dunwoody, GA. 30338

The Dunwoody Police Department is investigating a sexual assault that occurred on 060609 at approximately 0100 hours. The 36 year old victim was working late when a white male knocked on the door. As the victim opened the door, the male forced his way in and tied up the victim. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash and a wedding band after sexually assaulting the victim.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20’s, 6’04”, and approximately 250 pounds. He has a muscular build and a pimply face. He was wearing a black or dark blue navy uniform with a patch on his shoulder. He was wearing a badge that said “security”.

If anyone has information on this case, please contact Detective Bentivegna at (678)382-6911.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Concrete Rodeo & Free Ice Cream at Brook Run Skate Park on Father's Day

The Brook Run Skate Park will be hosting a Concrete Rodeo on Fathers Day for those who skate and it should be a pretty good show for the non-skaters as well.

Q100 & Blue Bell Ice Cream will also be serving free ice cream, so now you have no excuses for not stopping by.

Tennis Court Lights at the Branches, Cheating in School and goodbye Flip-Flops

  • Lighting the tennis courts at the Branches comes to the ZBA on July 2nd.
Today's Dunwoody Crier (the legal organ of the City of Dunwoody) on pages 22 & 23 contain the legal notices for upcoming meetings and proposed zoning changes coming in front of the Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals and the Dunwoody Planning Commission. I quickly reviewed them and saw that the Branches Club would like to add lights to a tennis court and the notice shows that this will be heard by the Dunwoody Board of Zoning Appeals on July 2 at 7 pm at City Hall. On the surface that sounds straight forward but I understand that this is a long standing issue in the community that I heard was even the subject of a prior lawsuit.

Also on the ZBA agenda for July are a few hold over items from the previous meeting, including the Goddered School playground issue in the Dunwoody Village which is mentioned in a letter to the editor in the Crier, but there are also a number of other new items to be heard involving the corner of Ashford Dunwoody & Hammond. (Ravinia expansion?)

I was hoping to find these same legal notices on the City of Dunwoody or the Dunwoody Crier websites so that I could do a copy and paste of the text in order to list all of the items but unfortunately they are nowhere to be found on-line. Since I believe that these public notices need to be available via the web (sooner rather than later, though I do believe that the city will post the agenda and background information about 15 days in advance on a calendar announcement on the Dunwoody website), I will be asking if this information dissemination can be improved. The City Manager, Mr. Warren Hutmacher stated on Monday that the RSS feeds (currently under utilized) could be used for this purpose and I would like to see that happen when rezoning or variance applications are accepted and placed onto the appropriate meeting calendar. As soon as the City schedules a zoning issue, informs the applicant of the hearing date; the residents should also be notified by some basic online notification system or voluntary mailing list subscription.
The CRCT testing scandal has officials considering whether to make it a crime to tamper with standardized test scores. Head of Georgia's Senate Education committee Dan Weber wants educators to know just how serious it is to mess with them.

"If you cheat and change answers... there should be criminal sanctions for that," said Senator Weber(R-Dunwoody), "These people, they're professionals. They're put in a position of trust and these families and our state rely on them to do the right thing or else the kids are cheated."

According to the AJC the DeKalb County principal found at the center of this controversy resigned quickly. (I wonder if he gets to keep his credentials to teach elsewhere and shouldn't he have been retained, investigated & then fired.)
Of course the Charter schools in Dunwoody set their own dress code and the 4 / 5 Dunwoody Elementary will also have a dress code based on the catch phrase of "Plain is Perfect, and Spirit Wear is Super!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dunwoody Meeting Audio from June 15, 2009

11:45 am Agenda & Audio of Millage Rate Hearing

6:30 pm Agenda & Audio of Hearing & vote passing the rate.

7:00 pm Agenda & Audio files below

Start of meeting, Boyken Proclamation, Approval of Agenda.

Public Comment ZBA process Change, better signs, rezoning of village prop, 90 day moratorium on rezonings due to errors, DCVB 503C6, Radar Signs requested with no school match.

Boyken Status Report

May Financial Report

Discussion of Dunwoody Conversion & Visitors Bureau
White Paper presented by Councilman Ross recommending an Authority CVB.

Alcohol Ordinance Change & Construction Board

Alcohol Review Board, Radar Sign Results & funding of Radar Signs

Pothole repair process & Update.

Health Insurance for City Officers & Municode

Community Council Discussion

Applicant attendance & Public Notice on rezoning

Special Event Policies to end

Today was a Vacation Day - at least from the full time paying gig.

There is no typical day of serving on the Dunwoody City Council but since I still have about an hour to go in uploading the audio from today's three meetings; let me tell you about my day.

8 a.m. Awake, quick breakfast, shower, my wife drives the older boys to a local one week summer camp and I hang out with Declan, my 3 yr old until Mommy is able to get back home.

9:20 a.m. Declan sees Daddy in a suit and becomes mad because he knows Daddy can't hang out and play all day. If it was a Daddy play day, shorts would have been involved and there are no shorts in sight. Unfortunately Daddy left anyway to do things that had to be done.

9:40 a.m. Met with a mortgage broker at a local Dunwoody bank. Blackberry from work never stops, I read most things and respond when needed.

10:30 a.m. City Hall meeting with IT regarding services and then reviewing documents for this evening.

11:30 a.m. First "Official" Meeting of the Day - Public Hearing on Millage Rate.

12:30 p.m. Working Lunch with City Attorney and two other members of the City Council.

12:45 p.m. Fourth member of City Council joins us for lunch which makes a quorum therefore all conversations of city business stops and we talk about cars, sports & kids. (Better conversations anyway.)

1:30 p.m. Joined the City Attorney for a phone call to a resident.

1:40 p.m. Talked to the City Code Enforcement Officer about items of interest.

2:00 p.m. Walked through the entire Police Department build out and personally congratulated a Detective for breaking up a $50,000 dollar shoplifting sting at Perimeter Mall.

2:30 p.m. Meeting with the Police Chief and City Management for an incident briefing and to discuss Police policies & procedures.

4:00 p.m. Blackberry time for the real job, few phone calls. (It never stops.)

4:30 p.m. Popped my head in the Community Development Director's Office to discuss an item on the agenda. Thirty minutes later, I am fully briefed, understand the issues but still unsure if a proposed possible ordinance will have unintended consequences?

5:00 p.m. Drove over to Mudcatz Bar & Grill to meet with the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce get their thoughts on the Dunwoody Convention & Visitors & Bureau. Decided to go to this instead of seeing my family since I rarely find time to meet with the Chamber when I am hurrying home from work.

5:15 p.m. Find resident who may have the unintended consequences from the 4:30 meeting and bend her ear looking for options.

5:45 p.m. I see Shari O’Halloran, Owner of Mudcatz who gives me a tour of the new music facility they are creating next door. Really impressive - can't wait to see the acts rolling through.

6:00 p.m. Talking to Sheri's husband Mike who discusses the building inspector process, gives both praise and well as suggestions for improvements. Kudos to the Dunwoody inspector Phil who came out today, your service was really appreciated by these good people.

6:15 p.m. I wanted to go back and talk to a few other members of the Dunwoody Chamber but was forced to race (drive carefully in bumper to bumper traffic) over to City Hall for the next meeting.

6:16 p.m. Call home to talk to my bride and Declan gets on the phone and says "I love you Daddy", so I guess he has forgiven me for not making it a play day.

6:30 p.m. Second meeting of the day - Public Hearing and Vote on Millage Rate.

7:00 p.m. City Council Work Session with over 16 items on the agenda. I was prepped on the issues and read everything involved in order to be prepared. Like everyone else, I want to make my points where needed, affect change by interjecting both statements and questions that I feel are relevant. I decided on the fly to question the budget report to position a point on a subject that may be yet hours away on the agenda. (Games, strategy or just kabuki theater without memorized lines? You decide.)

I try to be effective without saying so much that my voice gets lost in the background noise of the meeting. Three and a half hours later, you come out believing it was a good meeting, you think you affected some positive change somewhere but to be honest in work sessions you're never sure what got accomplished since no votes were taken.

10:40 p.m. Executive Session of the Council to discuss pending legal actions & lawsuits.

11:15 p.m. Wendy's drive thru window, tried to eat healthy?

11:30 p.m. Download 3.5 hours of wav files from a device, converted the 14 files to the smaller mp3 file format and start the process of uploading to the server.

11:40 p.m. Type overview of the meeting in order to post links of the meeting audio, once the files are completely uploaded in an hour or two.

12:00 a.m. Figured that I had at least an another hour to upload all the audio files therefore decided to give an update of my "Vacation Day" spent representing you.

It's now well after midnight, I have saved the final version of these blog posts and manipulated the post times to only be a minute after midnight so that I don't look like a freak working on a computer at 2 a.m.

As long as the day was, I enjoyed every minute of it but I am now looking forward to tomorrow (today) so I can put on those shorts so Declan and I can have some quality time at the swim meet where his brothers are competing.

So what do you do on your days off?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sembler + Tax Abatement = Taxpayers Lose, by Rep. Mike Jacobs

After spending some time crunching the numbers this weekend, this simple equation sums up the conclusion I have reached. And I'm not the only one reaching this conclusion.

The DeKalb Development Authority will meet this Thursday, June 18, at 8:00 a.m. at 150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 400, in Downtown Decatur.
The meeting time and location isn't posted anywhere on the Internet. You have to call the county to get it.

The Sembler tax abatement proposal is on the agenda. There is no word yet as to whether a final vote on the tax abatement will occur at this meeting. At a minimum, it will be discussed.

Thank you to everyone who attended last Monday's community meeting about the tax abatement. It is estimated that more than 250 people attended. I also want to thank State Rep. Fran Millar for serving as the on-the-spot emcee for the meeting, Commissioner Jeff Rader for his thoughtful remarks and for his efforts to draw the DeKalb County Commission's attention to the shortcomings of the tax abatement, and Jeff Fuqua of the Sembler Company for taking the time to explain his company's position to a skeptical public.

I believe the public is right to be skeptical. I have reviewed the KPMG analysis of the 20-year tax "benefit" that Sembler and the Development Authority are claiming the county government and the school system will receive if the 20-year tax abatement is granted. Courtesy of Jim Walls' "Atlanta Unfiltered" blog (more on Atlanta Unfiltered below), you can review the document containing the KPMG analysis here (click for link).

The KPMG numbers indicate to me that the proposed Sembler tax abatement will REDUCE the county government's and school system's operating funds,
if you subtract from the padded totals (1) the revenue that the county government and school system will receive whether or not the tax abatement is approved, and (2) the revenue that doesn't defray any county or school operating costs. Please take a look at the somewhat difficult-to-read page 3 of the KPMG document, and I'll show you what I mean.

First, the analysis counts one revenue source that doesn't go toward operational (instructional) costs of the school system, but instead goes only toward school construction:

ESPLOST Revenue = $4,098,287

Also, the analysis counts one revenue source that doesn't go to the county government or school system at all, but instead goes to MARTA:

MARTA Sales Tax = $40,982,873

In addition, the analysis counts two revenue sources that will go to the county government and school system whether or not the tax abatement is approved, because the buildings that would generate these revenues are at or near completion:

Property Tax on Non-Abated Buildings = $45,594,544

Property Tax on Personal Property of Renters = $5,761,440

None of the above sources should be counted as part of the tax "benefit" to county government and school system operations.
The following sources, however, should be counted:

HOST Revenue = $36,024,362

Property Tax on Personal Property of Retailers = $5,817,997
Business Licenses = $3,185,756

When you add these three numbers together, the total of the actual tax "benefit" is $45,028,115. From that amount, the following three amounts must be subtracted:

Value of the Tax Abatement = ($51,699,253)

Cost of County Services = ($11,321,760)
Cost to Educate Children Living in the Project = ($10,990,000)

The result is a NET LOSS to the county government and school system of $28,982,898 over the 20-year life of the tax abatement.
Worse yet, this doesn't account for Commissioner Rader's point at last Monday's meeting that many of the "new" tax revenues claimed in the analysis are actually existing tax revenues that are being shifted to the Town Brookhaven project from elsewhere in DeKalb County.

Granting this tax abatement is bad policy. It will place upward pressure on your property taxes. That problem will be amplified the more often the Development Authority decides to give away the shop to developers whose projects are victims of the real estate market.

Don't just take my word for it. Jim Walls, a former AJC investigative reporter who now runs his own blog, Atlanta Unfiltered, did his own math and wrote an article reaching a similar conclusion, albeit with a lower price tag. You can read Jim's analysis here (click for link).

If you're available this Thursday at 8:00 a.m., I encourage you to join your neighbors at the Development Authority meeting.
It is crucial to show the non-elected, unaccountable Development Authority that the public is watching.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dunwoody Boy Scouts may have been exposed to swine flu

Alexis Stevens for the AJC
Saturday, June 13, 2009

At least a dozen Boy Scouts, all members of a Dunwoody troop, have suspected cases of the H1N1 virus — more commonly known as swine flu — after a week at summer camp, according to an assistant scout leader. Troop 434 from All Saints Catholic Church, including 32 boys and four adults, arrived at Camp Daniel Boone last Sunday.

The Atlanta scouts were among 700 campers planning to spend the week in the North Carolina mountains. But on Monday, several scouts from a south Florida troop were running temperatures in the low 100s, and experiencing mild flu-like symptoms. “I believe that they were sick when they left home,” said Dan Rogers, camp director. “But they weren’t showing outward signs. There were no symptoms of them having an illness until they got to camp.”

As more boys got sick, Rogers enlisted the help of the Haywood County Health Department in nearby Waynesville. Nearly two dozen campers showed flu-like symptoms, but only two have been confirmed as being H1N1, according to Rogers.

Camp Daniel Boone has a statement on the virus on its website and a commenter to the notice states that "Our one Georgia troop is now up to 13 out of 32 having tested positive or showing all signs for Swine Flu." therefore it may appear that the swine flu has indeed affected the Dunwoody scouts.

Dunwoody Open House, Sunday 2 to 5 p.m.

Our home is a beautiful two story traditional, four bedroom, two and half bath, four sided brick home with a basement which sits on a level wooded lot on a cul-de-sac just off North Peachtree Road and is just a half mile outside I-285. The location allows walking to Chesnut Charter Elementary (1 block away), Peachtree Charter Middle School (1/2 block away), Swim Tennis (1/2 block away), Brook Run Park (2 blocks away) and the Marta bus stop is even at the corner. The house has been well maintained and the site includes a huge workshop & storage shed. home listing & Zillow home listing

We love this neighborhood and the sense of community that it provides so much that we are only moving a block or two over and would like to see this home go to a nice family. The street only has 13 houses and is a fun group of neighbors where you know everyone's name and our kids play together in the street at the end of the cul-de-sac. There is even news of a new baby arriving down the street in six months.

We received our first offer on the house yesterday but it is below our asking price, so we are still accepting all offers. We had another perspective showing on Saturday and our second open house today, Sunday, June 14th from 2 until 5 pm. Please stop by or if you would like a showing at another time, please contact our agent (and Dunwoody North resident) Rawson Grobety of Keller Williams at 770-845-4097.

To my everyday readers who are not interested in my house, please excuse the shameless plug as I am trying to keep these to a minimum. Thanks, John

Two Millage Rate Public Meetings & a long agenda to wrap up a Monday evening in Dunwoody.

Monday, June 15th
Dunwoody City Hall

41 Perimeter Center East
Dunwoody, GA 30346

11:45 am Agenda & Public Hearing on Millage Rate

6:30 pm Agenda & Public Hearing on Millage Rate
Amend DeKalb CVB Agreement - minor correction

7:00 pm Agenda

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monday - Two Public Hearings on setting the City of Dunwoody Tax Rate

On Monday the City Council is holding two public hearings and as I discussed previously the Council intends to keep the tax rate locked into last years rate of 2.74 mills or $2.74 for every $1,000 of the assessed value of property (about 40% of the fair market value.)

Special Called Meetings
Monday June 15th

11:45 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

A Regular City Council Work Session will also be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday with the agenda being available Friday evening. I heard it will be a long agenda.

School of Rock plays the Dunwoody Nature Center on Saturday at 6 pm

Athieno Ngowe plays electric bass and guitar with the Paul Green School of Rock Music. The 11-year-old granddaughter of 29-year Dunwoody residents Barry and Judi Kanne, will be part of the entertainment on June 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dunwoody Nature Center’s “Concerts in the Park” with the School of Rock Show Band. The kids (ranging in age from 7 to 18) perform some classic and current rock songs for all ages.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Paul Green School of Rock Music
321 Pharr Road Atlanta, Ga. 30305
(404) 218-3105

Nice article on the Atlanta music school.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

$7,500 dollar reward offered for information on hate crimes.

AJC by Alexis Stevens

Days after swastikas were painted on three homes, the police chiefs in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody made one thing clear: they aren’t going to tolerate it.

“This is not just toilet-papering a house,” said Sandy Springs Chief Terry Sult. “We’re investigating this as a hate crime.”

Three incidences within a 24-hour period is extraordinary, according to Bill Nigut, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League. A rabbi of one of the families whose house was vandalized contacted Nigut after the Saturday night incidents.

The two police departments and the ADL have each offered $2,500 rewards, for a total of $7,500, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the vandalization.

Georgia is one of five states that doesn’t have laws against hate crimes, Nigut said. If and when those responsible are caught, they will face vandalism charges, but that’s not enough, he said. (Do we need a hate crime ordinance in Dunwoody for higher fines than just the $655.00 fine for vandalism? see top of page 20).

“When it comes to anti-Semitism and hatred like this, there’s no such thing as a fun prank,” Nigut said after a press conference Wednesday. “These families feel vulnerable and exposed.”

The painted swastikas are minor compared to Wednesday’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum involving an elderly man suspected of being a white supremacist.

“Obviously, there’s no connection,” Nigut said. “But emotionally, this is the sort of thing that leads many Jewish people to feel that we are the object of hatred.”

Dunwoody Post Office closing hits the news.

Full Dunwoody Crier Article

The Dunwoody Post Office. Love it or hate it, but are we willing to say goodbye to it? According to a press release issued by the U.S. Postal Service, a hearing will be held on June 22 to “ brief the leaders and citizens of Dunwoody on USPS’ plan to relocate postal retail operations from the Dunwoody Branch to the Carrier Annex and dispose of the Dunwoody Branch property through a public sale.”

The Carrier Annex, located on North Shallowford Road south of Dunwoody Park Drive, is a sorting and storage facility, but does not function as a customer service location. If the consolidation takes place, it would be converted to such a use.

The briefing will be held at 6 p.m. at the Dunwoody City Council Chamber at 41 Perimeter Center East. “USPS representatives will present the various options the Postal Service is considering and outline the process and procedure,” the release said. “Questions and comments will be welcomed.”

Full Dunwoody Neighbor Article

The U.S. Postal Service has scheduled a June 22 “community briefing” on the proposed move of postal retail operations from the decades-old post office on Dunwoody Village Parkway to the agency’s Dunwoody carrier annex on Shallowford Road at Interstate 285.

Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright said last week he did not favor the move for a variety of reasons, including inadequate access at the proposed new location and the loss of postal services from a central location.

“From my standpoint, I think it’s a terrible idea,” he said. “For the majority of Dunwoody residents, the [Shallowford] location is bad. Getting in and out of it is going to be very difficult.”

Dunwoody City Council Monday night voted 5-0 for a resolution telling the postal service it opposed the move.

High school student interested in becoming a member of the Dunwoody Police Department? Start towards that goal Tonight!

Dunwoody Police Explorers meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m at the Dunwoody Police Station. Attached is an informational powerpoint presentation and the explorer application but if you need more information please feel free to contact Officer William Furman at 678-382-6913.

Law Enforcement Exploring is a worksite-based program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are 14 years of age, or are 15 years of age but have not yet reached their 21st birthday.

Law Enforcement Explorer posts help youth to gain insight into a variety of programs that offer hands-on career activities. For young men and women who are interested in careers in the field of law enforcement, Exploring offers experiential learning with lots of fun-filled, hands-on activities that promote the growth and development of adolescent youth.

Join Today.

Atlanta - creative, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious and a tough place for a girl to find a boy to date?

The newest city in the United States is the City of Dunwoody, GA; a close in suburb of Atlanta that is already going though a Comprehensive Land Use Plan to figure out what type of city we want to be just 30 years from now. Today I found an excerpt from the book, The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida which made me question what Dunwoody can do in our 30 year plan to attract the kind of people that will help us grow and compete in the Atlanta economy by attracting young, bright talent that will want to not only work but also live in the City of Dunwoody? It appears the Mr. Florida has the answer of what Dunwoody needs to provide and on the surface it looks as if we are headed in the right direction with the city's aesthetics, values, leadership, basic services and we are working on improving economic opportunities.

After reviewing his website, I discovered that his new box, "Who's your City" has classified the Atlanta region (Char-Lanta) the eighth largest economic mega region in the world with the highest concentration of residents aged 25 and 34 in the United States thereby predicting great things for the region if we can just attract and maintain those in the creative class that the author sees as so desirable.

Mr. Florida also mentions that personality types are not spread evenly across the country, instead they cluster around like minded individuals and on his website he has described Char-lanta as being creative, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious and a tough place for a girl to find a boy to date?

I am not completely sold on Mr. Florida's theories but I like what he says enough to actually go out and read the books.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 8th meeting recap & audio of the Dunwoody City Council

Agenda & Meeting Audio (1h 32 min)
Highlights below as per my perspective and memory.

Denny Shortal announced his campaign for re-election to a four year term on the Dunwoody City Council. Also up for re-election this year if they choose to run again is Dr. Adrian Bonser & Mr. Tom Taylor with the "At Large" members of Wittenstein, Ross and Heneghan serving another two years until their terms are up.

Cleanup of Chapter 27 on Zoning policies and the Community Council passed but look for another revision to this same chapter soon thereby allowing more public notice and more participation in the Community Council process.

Dunwoody United Methodist Church was removed from the Dunwoody Village Overlay.

Perimeter CID gave a nice update on the $2.5 million dollar, Ashford Dunwoody & Mt. Vernon Rd. intersection which is scheduled to be completed in October of 2009. I'm not happy with the design of the non-stop, right hand turn lane onto Mt. Vernon and for pedestrian safety the city may need to install a signalized crosswalk at this location. We also heard a comment that east bound bike traffic would be dangerous due to merging traffic from Ashford Dunwoody. Click here for the full set of drawings. I also asked about the construction traffic on Perimeter Center West which I have heard was adversely affecting restaurant receipts and Mr. Tony Peters admitted that the lane closure policies have been adjusted to improve traffic flow and that night time construction will have to be explored on the next project of this scope.

We had our first of three public hearings on the 2009 Millage Rate - there were a couple of public commenter's looking for us to roll back the taxes vs. keeping them steady. In a year where our financial numbers are not 100% proven (there is no definitive history on City revenues nor expenses), I believe that a roll back of any amount would most likely be a gesture without any real substance, but I can say that this subject will be reviewed seriously by the council. In other news, DeKalb County has announced a 3.73% tax increase from last year.

We set the street light fee which is a line item on your real estate tax bill to be the same as last year (most of the city council promised no new taxes) even though we know that the price charged to the city by Georgia Power for street lights will be going up by some unknown amount in the coming months. Some could say that this is a tax decrease but as I stated previously our financial numbers are not 100% proven (there is no definitive history on revenues, nor expenses), though we are working hard on both ends to make the City work and believe that we are financially sound.

We moved the location of all City Council Meetings to our brand new, very nice City Hall Council Chambers at 41 Perimeter Center East, 30338.

A last minute addition to the agenda was a resolution asking the U.S. Postal System to keep the Dunwoody Village Post Office open. Resident Brian Sims made a nice suggestion that to maintain the Dunwoody Village Post Office we need to expand the 30338 zip code to encompass the Dunwoody portion of the 30360 zip code which is currently served by the Doraville post office on the other side of Buford Highway. We also need to update to the current Dunwoody Zip Codes in order to change the City Designation to Dunwoody for all addresses currently inside the city limits of Dunwoody. I have discussed this in the past and the city is now drafting the documentation needed to make the zip code change request. If you are affected by your zip code being designated as Doraville or Atlanta instead of Dunwoody, now and/or the public meeting of June 22nd might be a good time to voice your opinion.

Finally as I was announcing the upcoming meetings for the week, the City Manager announced that the Special Land Use Permit for the Curry Center, a transitional housing center for alcoholics, has withdrawn their request, therefore it will not be heard at this evenings Planning Commission meeting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My little guy is going off to camp and he will have the time of his life.

"One, you're going to make something cool. Two, you'll play a game. Three, you'll have a snack. Four, you'll play in the creek and get all wet and messy. Five, Dad will come back!"

I love the Dunwoody Nature Center because they love what they do.

Comprehensive Land Use Plan meeting on Transportation moved to Wednesday, June 24th

Breaking News - I will not have to miss a Swim Meet.

From: Jennifer Peterson
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 9:49 AM
To: Council Members
Subject: RE: Comprehensive Plan Meetings

Dear Council,

As requested by some Council and members of the community, the second public outreach meeting date has been changed to Wednesday June 24th.

If you could assist me in spreading that message, I would greatly appreciate it.


Jennifer A. Peterson
Community Development Director

City of Dunwoody

P.O. Box 888074
Dunwoody, GA 30356
Office: 678.382.6700/ Fax: 678.382.6701