Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Huge Georgetown Meeting & future Dunwoody Transportation Planning

Over 250 people filled the Atrium at Georgetown Park to have a discussion of what they wanted the area to be like in 20 years and I am sorry to say that I believe most people were disappointed with the staging and format of the meeting. The speaker system was an afterthought with no microphone for questions, the large number of residents meant that there weren't enough handouts and the order of the discussion seemed to drift off track, following no rhyme or reason.  One resident walked up to me about 20 minutes into the meeting, personally expressed his dissatisfaction and left; therefore to that specific gentleman and anyone else who was disappointed let me personally apologize on behalf of the City as I agree that we can and will do better next time.

The members of the council in the audience are advised to be there to solely listen and not lead the discussions in one way or another; and I know I had a hard time not speaking up from time to time. All of that being said, I believe I took away the overall sentiment of those in attendance which was no more apartments, owner occupied and cluster homes were favored, limited or zero growth unless done so under the conditions beneficial to the community, i.e. Special Land Use Permits which mandated contiguous green space able to be used by the community. Buffer areas and step downs between different densities, pocket parks and a transportation system that fostered walking and biking. All of that being said, myself, members of Council, members of the CLUP Steering Committee and our planning staff listened to what was said and in the end I hope the final plan will be something that the community can support.  Our next land use discussion will be on Tuesday January 12 at 7 pm at the Jewish Community Center.

In semi-related news, I talked to our Public Works Director, Mr. Michael Smith today and provided him the future safety improvements recommended by citizens, a request for a Welcome to Dunwoody sign on Tilly Mill, discussed the huge pot hole repair on North Peachtree Road and other pothole work needed near Chestnut.  We discussed the Transportation Master Plan which should be bid out on the RFP process in late February and the community discussions that will be active by April or May.  We discussed the fact that the laser truck road grading results will be in soon and that the city will need to set policy on which infrastructure improvements to do first.  (Worst first but does a bad highly traveled Chamblee Dunwoody rank higher then a worse culdesac which has limited traffic?  I think so.) Where should the first mile of sidewalk be laid and how do we decide on where this happens?  This evening another resident pulled me aside during the meeting and asked how he could get a sidewalk on his dangerous residential thoroughfare that was missing this much needed improvement and I informed him of the citywide sidewalk needs assessment data and correlated map (zoom in, look for purple) that my committee created prior to the city starting and that he and his neighbors should be active in the transportation planning process.

I can attest that the City of Dunwoody is attempting to provide economical efficient services and that even when public meetings don't seem to go as smooth as one would hope, that our staff and elected officials were there listening and taking notes.  That we monitor many different streams of communication, be it on line service requests, public discussion boards or other modes of communication and that we act accordingly.  Finally I would like to remind everyone that this City Council has set an open public comment period at the very beginning (as well as at the end) of every council meeting for you the residents to personally voice your wishes and concerns to the Council Members that you elected to serve you and your family.  The next meeting is Monday December 11th at 7 pm at City Hall and we welcome all who are interested to voice what ever they were unable to get across tonight.

Below is the PowerPoint presentation given on Tuesday evening.
Dunwoody Georgetown Community Meeting Jan 2010


barb1531 said...

You summarized last night's meeting very well. The only thing left out was the depth of feeling on those matters expressed by the attendees. Something like "not only 'No', but 'H-ll No'". Thanks to you and Messrs Wittenstein and Shortal for showing up. Now if only either or both of the 2nd District Councilpeople had bothered to come to a meeting that so seriously concerned the people in their District!.

Bob said...

Do to previous commitments, I was unable to attend last mights meeting but have heard feed back from many people. I applaud all of you who attended because I know how much your neighborhoods mean to all of you and you thoughts and views need to be part of the process.
With out making specific comments about last night I urge that everyone remember that we are talking about the FUTURE development of our community for the next twenty years of so.
NO growth, while sounding attractive given the current level of traffic may not be the best, as we look for certain areas to redevelop and improve.

Given the cost of development and redevelopment, some increase in density will have to take place. If not, areas such as Georgetown will stagnate and decline.

The Comp Plan is our way to dictate SMART GROWTH for our community. Mixed use, low rise and midrise mixed use buildings, connectivity via sidewalks and bike paths and even Councilman Wittenstein's golf carts.

It also gives us the oppotunity to plan where we want our growth to take place so we can help the school board with it future plans for new schools and/or redistricting.

Without growth the tax burden for running the city will continue to increase with increase property taxes to the homeowners as the only way to make up the difference.
So my only suggestion is ,consider smart controlled growth, before you default to a no growth mindset
I urge you all to attend the next meetings and continue voicing your opinions, but keep the future in mind.

Bob Lundsten
Planning Commissioner

Bob said...


Dunwoody Mom said...

Bob, the Georgetown area has been stagnant and on the decline for some time now. I'm sure how much worse that area could get. The Georgetown Kroger is known as pickpocket heaven. Does anyone remember when Old Springhouse Lane contained only houses? I do. Office parks, apartments, unattractive retails establishments, etc., have overtaken that area. It does not surprise me there were 250 extremely upset people.

Bob said...

Does not surprise me that there are upset people at all. Teh Center is disgusting and I know dozens of people who wil not shop there under any conditions.
It is also why the DHA help the neighborhood defeat the proposed apartments that are owned by the same people.
I never use scare tactics, but in answer to your question of "how worse could it get" you need look no father than the old Friday's Plaza ,with closed restaurants and the threat of nightclubs filling vacant space.

So I agree they are upset and should be, the question is how do we fix it in the future with a plan that we as citizens have a role in creating.

Southie said...

Barb - Adrian Bonser was also there for almost all of the meeting, and I'm surprised to see this misinformation published with no correction yet. Also, I spoke with Tom Taylor earlier in the day, and he told me he was attending the Dekalb County planning mtg, which is also important to follow. No clue as to Danny Ross's whereabouts, but I'm sure he has a reasonable explanation for not being there.

Southie said...

Hey Bob - have one comment about your comment. Guess it's all a matter of perspective....I did not hear that people have "defaulted to a no-growth" attitude, rather we don't want more growth that harms our way of life, i.e. bloody apartments. Controlled, planned, green growth executed well will be welcomed. I'm sure I missed some comments - the acoustics (and lack of mics in the beginning) made it impossible to hear much of what was being said.

GaryRayBetz said...

For the past seven years my wife has painstakingly and diligently worked as a cashier at the Georgetown Kroger, and aside from her four children and I who love and admire her dearly for all her efforts, she actually has many “courageous” Dunwoody neighbors with professions, in addition to working class folks like our family, that regularly venture into this store who don’t look down on her and truly believe that the Georgetown Kroger is the optimum spot in Dunwoody for all their marketing needs and that my wife represents the apogee of customer service.

My wife is not alone in her perseverance and industry. There are many other workers at that Kroger that ride two or three buses or the train and a bus to daily arrive on time to perform their jobs of which they are very proud and these are good taxpaying people that work hard to support families and most have selflessly served in our nation’s military.

I would think that before one paints an area and associated enterprises as disgusting and crime riddled, one needs to present comparable statistics to support this imputation and personally know the people being besmirched.

I pray that our goal as a city should be to make it a better place to live for all its citizens, and not an institutional instrument through which less-privileged humanity is culled from its borders.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...

Gary, I know that your wonderful wife works at the Georgetown Kroger and I am sure her co-workers are good people as well. However, there is definite pickpocket issue at that store. My mother had her wallet stolen twice. Each time when my sisters and I attempted to work with store officials we were met with "well, I'm sorry, but there is nothing we can do" attitude. The store had to even go as far as posting signs on the front doors to remind shoppers to watch their purses. This has been a problem for years and I don't see that the Kroger management has done much to address this. Since this last incident with my mother, I drive the extra miles to do my weekly shopping at the Orchard Park Kroger.