Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dunwoody City Council - long meeting / short update

Dunwoody City Council work session started at 7 and executive session ended around 11:15, so it was a long evening.

Key updates - upset to learn that my video failed about 50 minutes into the recording but here is the start of the meeting. I do know that people (including Chris Pike the City Finance Director) were watching online for some if not all of the session.  I am really looking forward to someday having the City take over the recording and streaming video of all meetings with a possible replay on Comcast.  (I'm told that day is coming but it can't get here fast enough for me.)  I would also love to have the streaming video of all Community Council, Planning Commission and ZBA meetings but we will wait to see what the city staff recommends.

Doug Thompson qualified on Monday for the district three City Council seat and I'm interested in seeing if anyone else will step forward.  Someone said I scared off anyone who was semi-interested with my blog from yesterday and my reply was if they were only semi-interested then they shouldn't be applying.

Was told that Gov Sonny Perdue signed HB203 into law on Friday allowing the transfer of parks and bond money to Dunwoody. Expect conversations between the city and residents regarding Dunwoody's park and recreation priorities to begin soon.  Expect a fight with the County over the funds promised to Brook Run.  My first priority for the parks is the safety of the facilities and I was reassured that this is also a priority of the staff once we take over.

Was told that our Safe Routes to Schools grant application that the City and Kingsley Charter Elementary School submitted when the city was less than 30 days old was just approved and it may mean up to $460,000 in capital improvements around the school; i.e. sidewalks.  Look at our original application.

In other Safe Routes to Schools news, the next time you drive down Peachford near Peachtree Charter Middle School; take a look at the new ADA ramps that now line the street.  Perfect for strollers, little kids on bikes, wheelchairs and those who can't deal with the curbs.

The city's first quarter financial statement looks good and on track.

Improved 911 services could cost the city up to an additional $500,000 to switch to a flat fee service offered by John's Creek and Sandy Springs.  Starting our own, could cost even more?

The Dunwoody Comprehensive Land Use Plan was to be discussed but there wasn't the time available to do it justice therefore Council will have a special called meeting for next Monday to discuss just that.

Maybe it's just me but I don't understand the passion that some members of the community have over signs.  I missed last meeting where the issue was discussed for two hours and will need to listen to that prior to next meeting where I will be voting on the issue.  Tonight's discussion regarding the Art Festival Signs seemed silly to me and would have been completely mute if we the City Co-Sponsored the event as I now believe we should have.  That being said, I am interested in hearing from the business community adjacent to the festival as to their personal financial success at the event.  Everything I saw and heard from the event was positive but am looking forward to a full analysis.  I do know that my family really enjoyed the event.


Back to said...

Just received this by email. I hope you are not going to vote in favor of more development when Dunwoody was incorporated AGAINST more development.

On a sadder note, politics as usual, just like forming the feel-good, do-nothing GPC Committee, it looks like the Dunwoody City Council is going to forget all the reasons we formed a city and all the campaign promises and ignore the homeowner citizen comments and approve the new developer-delight Master Plan which calls for increased density development of retail, commercial and multi-family. Say what/!? Yep, the vote slated for Monday night. It’s actually still not too late to call and jump on the mayor or your council person if you’re against it. Dunwoody wasn’t formed in a progressive move to build anything. It was formed in a defensive move to STOP the increased density development and the constant relaxation of zoning standards and to keep our taxes for basic services spent here at home. Now our Council folks all know better than all of us, just like Washington, doing what they think best instead of what they promised and what we asked for. Well, at least we have a great police department. Looks like we’re being sold down the river by the politicians like usual on the roll-back-the-college promises and promises of stopping the developers from ruining the suburban character that we all moved here for. Want to complain? 678-382-6700 or www.dunwoodyga.gov. Dunwoody, the Developer’s Dream: where no student nor their car & boom box is turned away from our neighborhoods, streets and homes. Let our homes be the doormat for future development for all, let our taxes grease the skids for ….


Bob Fiscella said...

Back to,
Interesting comments. I actually thought the move for cityhood was because we wanted local control. But unfortunately, local control doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want. Or even whatever the majority wants.

Concerning density - it's not that simply to just say we choose to re-zone lower density. A developer would slap the city with a lawsuit so fast it would make your head spin! And the developer would win the suit! It's that simply.

So council, to a large extent, has its hands tied and has to be very careful.

John Heneghan said...

Back, I am very familiar with Ric's e-mails, thanks for sharing.

First, I recommend that you read the proposed master plan for yourself, it can be found by clicking here.

Second, remember that this is a 20 year plan for possible changes in the commercial areas with the densities listed in there being rather low and by the time we are done, they may yet be lower in specific circumstances. Your typical Dunwoody apartment complex has a density of about 30 to 40 units per acre yet some of the newer developments far exceed that. The typical number for density in the comp plan for the Georgetown commercial area is listed at about 18 units per acre which forces those units to be more expensive and greatly limits the overall scope of development. Look at page 16 of the report for Georgetown, do you see apartments? Condos, town homes and a little extra density for only senior communities.

Are you aware that we cut the density of the suburban neighborhood from 8 units per acre which DeKalb has on the books to now only 4? At 8 units, developers would be taring down your next door neighbors house and putting up two in its place.

The City Council is only discussing the comp plan on Monday and will probably be voting on it the week later, so please do read the plan for yourself and then attend the meeting.

I can tell you that the entire City Council is striving to protect the individual homeowner while planning for the long term viability and redevelopment of our commercial areas. Thanks.