Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting and City Parking proposal

I attended the monthly Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting Sunday night and heard the details of various festivals and charity races coming up as well as listened to various items of interest like code enforcement and the sale and possible redevelopment of apartments on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard (near Winters Chapel).  Instead attempting to give a recap, I will just point to several others who were in the room and have already done so.

Bob Fiscella included an update sent by Councilman Wittenstein last night which discusses a proposed change to the parking requirements within the city and I have replied to many of those who wrote to me today regarding the matter.  I didn't propose the change and am against the measure in theory but I will listen to all points and arguments before taking a firm position on the matter.  This also goes for the proposed sirens since I believe that the cost of the sirens ($300,000) outweighs the benefits.   I have posted the text from Councilman Wittenstein as well as links to the recaps and a few items of interest.

Dunwoody Talk by Rick Callihan
DHA Monthly Meeting Recap

Springfield in Dunwoody by Bob Fiscella
Recap of DHA Meeting; Update from Councilman Wittenstein

Dunwoody apartments get improvements, new owners

AJC but really these stories were outlined here months ago.
DeKalb schools' chief: Conflict of interest is ‘more widespread'
Dunwoody High School starts using Twitter.

City of Dunwoody Update by Robert Wittenstein
Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
A few months ago I posed a question to this mailing list exploring the appropriate boundaries for government regulation. A proposed which falls into this arena will be discussed during our City Council work session on Monday, August 9th at City Hall which starts at 7:00 pm.
A proposed new law has just been submitted to the city council for discussion and consideration. It reads (in part): “In each residentially zoned area, no more than four vehicles, including trailers, per dwelling unit shall be parked, stopped, standing or stored on any parcel of land.”
The proposed ordinance allows vehicles stored in a garage to be exempt from the limit as long as the garage door is kept closed so that the vehicles can’t be seen from the street or from a neighbor’s property. It also offers residents the opportunity to submit an application to the city for a permit for more cars if the resident can prove that they have no more than one vehicle per licensed driver.
I have deep concerns about this proposed new ordinance.
We already have laws that prohibit parking on the grass or on gravel and laws that require all cars to be licensed. This isn’t about safety and it isn’t about upkeep. 
I can only think of two reasons to pass such a law. It could either be about conformity or it could be aimed at specific Dunwoody homeowners. Either way, I think it is ill advised. I looked at several nearby cities and could not find any with similar ordinances.
Homeowner’s associations are the appropriate way to deal with this type of restriction. Residents can choose to sign a contract and comply with the terms or they can choose to buy a house elsewhere. I don’t think we want Dunwoody to become a gigantic citywide homeowner’s association.
The proposed ordinance goes on to provide some common-sense restrictions that require vehicles to be maintained in good working order and prohibits parking in residential areas of “limousines, flatbed trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, transport wreckers, tandem axle trucks, cab-on chassis trucks, tractor trailers, wheeled attachments or trailers, buses, earth moving machinery, semitrailers, and any other vehicle over 23-feet long, seven-feet high, or seven-feet wide.” 
It also proposes to prohibit any kind of watercraft from being parked in a driveway in front of a home.  
I would love for you to share your thoughts in person at Monday’s meeting or by sending an e-mail to me or the entire council. Here are the e-mail addresses for each member of the City Council.
In other news, we continue to discuss taking on responsibility for 911 dispatch, fire service and Emergency Medical Service (EMS). We are conducting research and meeting with DeKalb County and other nearby governments to explore alternatives and estimate expenses. We will discuss Fire and EMS at the same meeting on August 9th. We will also discuss a proposal to spend $200,000 - $300,000 on a citywide emergency siren system and receive our mid-year budget summary from our Finance department.
Don’t forget to vote in the primary runoff on August 10.


GaryRayBetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GaryRayBetz said...

Regarding the following - "A proposed new law has just been submitted to the city council for discussion and consideration. It reads (in part): “In each residentially zoned area, no more than four vehicles, including trailers, per dwelling unit shall be parked, stopped, standing or stored on any parcel of land.”

Yep, exactly the reason that I did NOT vote for the incorporation of the City of Dunwoody - because I knew that small-minded persons would, as the wisest man in the city council infers, implement for the sake of some fatuous conformity or because of their personal malevolence towards specific Dunwoody homeowners these type of inane laws.

Look what happened, folks, when we didn't support the chicken farmers as strongly as we should have - now the high-handed Dunwoody despots are coming for the rest of us!!!

This is truly an infringement of civil liberties, and if this ordinance is invoked, I shall secede from the City of Dunwoody, request that Dekalb County take me back into their good graces, and my property will be that little island of freedom - as West Berlin was during the Cold War and my four teenage children of driving age as well as my wife and I shall park our vehicles outside of "Checkpoint Charlie" unfettered.

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

Oh, I have great full-filling life of working a couple of jobs to make ends meet for my family, and in the occasional hour here or two a week of free time I have, I am a purveyor of well wrought irony - an aspect of my personality that prevented Ms. Lelaina and I from ever hitting it off.

But if I did really give a damn, I would know that the serious crimes of bank robbery and murder are being addressed by the very capable Dunwoody Police Department, they and the Public Works personnel being the greatest bargain we got in becoming a city, but I would also realize that these comparably much more heinous incidents should not abridge my other rights as a citizen - that of after working a hard 18 hour day, being able to park in my own driveway, and sitting down to a good chicken dinner.

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

It will be interesting to see who is offering up this proposal. Is it Community Development staff or a City Council representative?

kathrynch said...

It is my understanding that it is being proposed by two of our city council members.

Chip said...

Well, let's see....Wittenstein says he didn't propose it....Heneghan says that he didn't propose it....Doug Thompson's only been on the Council 1 week, unlikely that he proposed it....Adrian usually aligns with Rob and John, so she's unlikely...that leaves Ross and Shortal...our two dyed-in-the-wool conformists and anti-chicken councilmen who believe that they can do whatever they want.....

kathrynch said...

Chip...I'm not sure who it is exactly although I think your deductions sound pretty reasonable. I would like to get the full story on how this one started and who really is spearheading the effort. I guess we'll have to attend the August 9th meeting to find out.

Bob said...

I wonder if a motorcycle counts as a full "vehicle" or only half a vehicle because it has two wheels.
I do not think this change goes far enough.
I would add that all cars must have a Kelly Blue Book value of at least $25K
If any house in Dunwoody has a car port rather than a garage, the home owner SHALL install a garage door to shield his cars and other stuff from the view of the very discerning Dunwoody public.
All cars must be black, navy blue or silver with the lone exception that would allow little red corvettes and old Mercedes two seaters.
Mustang convertibles are specifically prohibited.
If a home owner chooses to string colored Christmas lights for more than 4 days past Christmas, the homeowner will forfeit the right to park 1 car for the balance of the year.
Homeowners who have less than two cars will be allowed to wash their car in their front yard regardless of the drought restrictions that the State of Georgia has mandated.
John I would like for the City to post who suggested and then authored this stupid bill?
What’s next all mailboxes must be the same brick construction? All trash cans must match? All lawns must be fescue grass and moved twice a week?
For a City that is the republican center of DeKalb, we seem intent on forcing more government into people’s personal lives.
When is the City Council going to really remember that we are a City not a homeowners association and stop embarrassing itself with silly code changes?
I know, the council got HUNDREDS of email fron neighbors demanding this change

kathrynch said...

Hilarious Bob....I especially like the red sports car exception. But don't tempt them. Your comments are right on target and I also want to know exactly who suggested and authored this proposal as well.

Anonymous said...

This proposal is a defining moment.

Once it surfaces who authored and is pushing this proposed law, let's all start working on a great challenger for his or her seat(s). This type of intrusive leadership must be voted out of office in his/her next Dunwoody election.

And if it turns out that our Community Development staff originated it, Council should exercise the cancellation provision of the vendor contract.

Pattie Baker said...

First the chickens, now this. Not to be sensationalist, but I am oddly reminded of this famous quote:

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Listen, folks, the issue of personal liberties on private land can take many forms, one that will eventually matter to you and your family, if these two issues don't. Our City has already started down this slippery slope, but there is still time to stop the slide.

Gary, I think it was you who wrote a comment that stuck with me during the chicken thing, something about "soon they will be telling me my children's bikes can't be visible from the street."

Just something to think about.

And a quick "green" comment here. There are a whole bunch of mentions about "improved surfaces" on the side and back of the house for allowed excess vehicles. These are described as impervious surfaces. Aren't we trying to move away from that?

I guess I continue to be unsure what we are really standing for as a city. What exactly is our vision? I think if it were clear, then it would be easier to define and support ordinances that help us to achieve that vision.

Lynn said...

Some of the members of our City Council are terribly out of touch with both why people voted to become a city and what people want from a city council.

Like many of the other asinine proposals that have come up in the past year, this one will disappear. However, John before this happens I want the councilperson (people) who initiated this action to stand up and take ownership. If they felt strongly enough to ask city staff to spend the time to prepare the proposal, then they should be honest enough to stand up and say it was me.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Looks as if City Council is having an issue with communicating.

When a proposed ordinance change comes out the following will make it go down a lot easier, even if some (most?) don't agree with it:

1) PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. That's been repeated to death. Enough said.

2) EXPLAIN WHY. Not one of your posts (or Wittenstein's, etc) explain WHY this ordinance is being proposed. What's the problem? What gave rise to it? Did someone just pull it out of thin air so they can do a favor for their little friendsy-wendsies?

I remember seeing posts on the City bulletin board where there were occasional complaints about extended communities taking up an entire single-family home and using the front lawn as a parking lot and they considered it a nuisance. Because I remember those posts, I can connect the dots, but you can't count on that for everyone.

Besides, before coming up with special interest ordinances, focus on the key issues that led to incorporation: fix the *&^$%^ roads; create a multi-family housing code and enforce it down to the very last letter. Do that and then these other ordinance proposals might just slide down a lot easier. Cart first, then horse.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Meant to say "Horse first, then cart." Not enough caffeine this morning.

rebecca said...

This is soooooo classist. If you live in a ranch with a carport, you and your spouse and two kids have vehicles, well, goodbye fishing boat or work truck or old-school mustang that you like to tinker with. If you live in a colonial or McMansion with a two or three car garage, you and your spouse and two kids have vehicles, well, you can keep that ski boat and sporty convertible and fully restored classic. This whole ordinance is senseless and needs to be tossed.

Joe Hirsch said...

(borrowed idea via Patty)

"THEY CAME FIRST for the location of satellite dishes,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a satellite dish.

THEN THEY CAME for the ten inch grass yards,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a ten inch grass yard.

THEN THEY CAME for the chickens,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a chicken.

THEN THEY CAME for the taxi cabs,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a taxi cab.

THEN THEY CAME for the mailbox balloons,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a mailbox balloon.

THEN THEY CAME for the colored string lights,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a colored string light.

THEN THEY CAME for the hand held signs,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a hand held sign.

THEN THEY CAME for the free speech messages on cars,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a free speech message on a car

and by that time no one was left to speak up."


Glory_Jackson said...

Agreed! This is such a classic upper middle-class Republican tactic of oppressing the working middle-class.

The haughty elite that have massive garages to house and hide their BMW's and vintage vehicles or can fly freshly slaughtered chickens to their dinner table don't want the abeyance of their ivory tower illusions when they occasionally veer their eyes up from their texting on their iPhones to peer out their tinted windshields only to be startled by the sight of a middle-class homestead with one too many Chevy's or Fords in their driveway or carport.

kathrynch said...

Glory Jackson - please don't turn this into a partisan issue. It isn't. There are Republicans speaking out AGAINST this proposal on this blog. I think we just have a case of a few bad eggs on our city council. And as a former Dunwoody chicken owner, I can say that - I can recognize a bad egg when I see it. And Joe - I LOVED your post. Exactly!

Glory_Jackson said...

Ms. Kathrynch, "Bob" already made it a partisan issue when he made this statement, "For a City that is the Republican center of DeKalb, we seem intent on forcing more government into people’s personal lives."

Whatever you want to call it, but what is accurate is that it is the Dunwoody privileged wealthy and upper middle-class forcing this on the working middle-class.

Throughout history the wealthy and upper middle-class have always found some unscrupulous populous demagogue to do their bidding. Back in 1930's Germany the Krupps found Hitler to fill this role, and in 21st century America the oil companies, health insurance firms, and gun manufacturer corporations have their Sarah Palin.

But yes, the essential issue is that astute Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents such as I must come together and say "No!" to this obvious move to further establish a plutocracy in Dunwoody.

Chip said...

To Kathrynch:

Glory Jackson purports to be a typical person, but I believe she's some sort of agent-provocateur eliciting both partisan and class/culture aspects of every issue she cares to comment on.

Most of the other comments on this blog are "authentic" in the sense they have transparent agendas, myself included.


Glory_Jackson said...

How close-minded you are! Just when you don't agree with me, and you feel that twinge in realizing that I speak the truth, you say that my words aren't authentic!?

What? You don't care for insightful intelligent women?

What type of paranoia dreams up labeling me as an "agent-provocateur"? Good old "Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy" the director of the Red Scare modern Witch Trials?

Rick said...


Nice to see you commenting again.

Chip said...

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much". William Shakespeare

Actually I wouldn't quote Joe McCarthy to you, preferring instead the editorial sign-off of that great American Stan Lee "Nuff Said!"

But I will say this for you, you do have a knack for a desultory pastiche of phrases!!! But that being said, it's also why you have no credibility...you're all over the place in no particular order or direction.

Oh, and by the way, your "slip" is showing since you write in a most obvious, masculine style...not that your gender has anything to do with your silliness!

We all enjoy a good show, Glory, keep on truckin'...

kathrynch said...

Ok guys....back to the issue at hand please.

Glory_Jackson said...

Trust me gentlemen, if my slip were showing, it'd be the most fervid eyeful yawl ever experienced!

It was so sweet and heartening that yawl missed me, but as "agent-provocateur" for both the right and the left, I have other sites that yearn for my universal utterances as well, so I will leave yawl to your parochial issues.


Bob said...

I’m not making it a political partisan issue at all. I find it Ironic that a city filled with Republicans (I am one), that claim smaller government out of our lives is even thinking about putting this up as an issue.
I have no idea who Glory is so I have no bone to pick here.
I just find it weird, that Joe H, Gerri Penn and I agree that this is just plain STUPID. I think I am accurate when I say that the three of us do not share the same political views.
This is ISSUE based, not political in my mind
Council members who back this should pack up their houses and move to a community or town that has covenants in place before your buy.
If you want to live that life style, go live in Country Club of The South, hide behind the gate and let only those people with the double secret password inside.
We are a city of 40+ thousand and have over 150 K here on a daily basis.
Despite the beliefs of some of the council, we are not all retired, living on big government pensions topped by retiree benefits from a major corporation. We are not all making 6 figures and have antique car collections. Did you know that over 100 families a week have to go to the Food Bank at St Pats? Hunger in Dunwoody !!!! That is OK as long as they do not live in your neighborhood. Because you think we live still live next store to Wally and Beaver Cleaver does not mean we all want to
Despite what you think this is not a planned Walt Disney community and is most definitely not Mayberry
People may not want to admit it, but we are a City of many of races, cultures economic stature, political and religious beliefs, young and old
Stop trying to "protect us from ourselves” and do the jobs you were elected to do, govern. Fix my roads, protect my property and provide me a safe place to live and work. Do not try to be my parent or tell me what is best for me. That is not why you were elected. Please don’t tell us again that you are responding to hundreds of emails demanding this change. Don’t insult my intelligence. I do not want to do another Open Record Request and count the emails again.
Telling the residents how many cars they can park on their property is not an issue to waste any time over.
I have submitted an open records request seeking information from the City retreat where this STUPID idea came from. The council could make it easy on us all by having the councilman or men stand up and stand behind this Stupid idea. (Do you get the idea that I think this is STUPID?)
Will let everyone know what I get back

Glory_Jackson said...

"Bob" _ very eloquently and fluently articulated!