Sunday, October 31, 2010

City of Dunwoody Receives Golden Shoe Award

The City of Dunwoody is honored to receive a 2010 Golden Shoe Award from the Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS) organization in recognition of efforts to make Dunwoody a pedestrian friendly City. This is the first Golden Shoe Award for Dunwoody and a strong acknowledgement of its dedication to all pedestrian safety and accessibility issues. The City will officially receive the award in a ceremony held on November 10 at Georgia State University.

“Improving Dunwoody’s sidewalk infrastructure is important not only to the City but to the residents,” stated Michael Smith, Director of Public Works. “Receiving this award is validation of our commitment to make Dunwoody more walk-able for the enjoyment of everyone who lives and visits here.”

One of the City’s top priorities is to create an environment where pedestrians can safely navigate in and around Dunwoody. The policies and projects completed this year focused on making Dunwoody known as a City where children can safely walk to school. In the spring of this year, City Council adopted a sidewalk improvement policy that identified future sidewalk projects and outlined a process for prioritizing these initiatives. By approving this policy, Council made it a priority to fund sidewalk projects in school walking zones. The City has already completed a new sidewalk segment at Dunwoody Elementary School and will complete two other projects in school zones by year’s end.

Additionally, the City has completed installation of permanent radar signs that display and record driver’s speeds in each of the City’s elementary school zones. Data gathered from the first signs installed has indicated that average vehicle speeds have decreased by 3 mph in the school zones.

“Speeding in school zones and neighborhoods is a serious and pervasive problem,” stated Dunwoody Councilman, John Heneghan. “I am proud that the City was able to implement the radar signs as an effective and affordable solution of reminding drivers of their responsibilities and making our school zones safer for our children.”

For additional information regarding the Golden Shoe Award or the City’s sidewalk plan please contact Michael Smith, Director of Public Works, at or 678-382-6700. For more information on PEDS please visit their website at

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chick-Fil-A is looking for a double drive thru allowing 22 cars at Mt. Vernon and Dunwoody Club.

Rendering of 22 cars in the proposed double drive thru

This evening I first attended the pre-submittal meeting of Chick-Fil-A possibly requesting a rezoning change at the Blockbuster site at the corner of Mount Vernon and Dunwoody Club.  There were about 30 people in attendance, no formal presentation but there were a few conceptual drawings around the room.  Since a Chick-Fil-A is currently allowed on the site but the current zoning classification for the area does not allow a drive thru; therefore that and possible traffic implications is what I tried to pay attention to when various people were discussing the matter.  I heard both pro and con regarding the drive thru and a number of concerns regarding the locations of the curb cuts and traffic flow.  Rezonings are a long process with this evenings meeting just being step one, it is my job to listen to all sides all the way up to the pubic hearing in front of City Council before I take a formal stand on the issue.  Please weigh in and give me your thoughts.

It appears that Chick-Fil-A is scheduled to present their thoughts at the November 7th meeting of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and i hope to be in attendance listening to the conversation.

Since much of the discussion I was involved in with residents seemed to revolve around the comprehensive land use plan I decided to pull out that document to review that area again (page 17 of 98 in the pdf).

This is what it says about the Jett Ferry area, Neighborhood-scale commercial node focused on providing a unique destination for surrounding residents, creating a pedestrian and bicycle friendly environment through multi-use paths, streetscape, and well-designed parking areas and vehicular access. Cohesive architectural design and streetscaping will define gateways into the City of Dunwoody. A unifying design feature such as way-finding signage or city marker will link the gateway with the rest of the City.

Future Development
• Height: Maximum up to 3 stories
• Form: Jett Ferry node with buildings oriented towards the three major commercial roads (Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody Club Drive and Jett Ferry Road); public functional green space; new development will carefully consider parking; high quality building and landscaping materials; pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets with way-finding signage and/or public art. Transitional buffer zones will appropriately protect any adjacent residential
• Uses: Retail use, neighborhood-scale commercial (no large-scale retail big-box”); mixeduse, allowing residential up to 8 units to the acre

• Land Use and Economic Development
o Establish gateway with features that define “arrival” to City of Dunwoody
o Allow for redevelopment of existing vacancies
o Re-orient site layout to reduce surface parking and create public plaza
o Retain quality materials and landscaping
o Leverage existing restaurants and gourmet food stores to cultivate a unique outdoor dining and café experience
o Public art helps create a sense of place
o Quality materials establish orderliness but not necessarily character or sense of place

Differing opinions on the Dunwoody Homestead Exemption referendum.

The other day Councilman Robert Wittenstein sent an e-mail bast as well as a letter to the editor regarding his opinion of the Dunwoody Homestead Tax Exemption and today I was copied into a reply from Mr. Rob Augustine that went back and forth.  Since some of you may not know Mr. Augustine, he is a past President of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association whom I respect and have known him for a number of years, he is an attorney who worked diligently on the Dunwoody Yes committee and has played an important part in forming this community.  At some point in the back and forth discussion someone said let Heneghan post both items to give both sides an equal airing and see what the comments say.

Robert Wittenstein - Vote No to the Homestead Exemption
Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
There is one Dunwoody city item on the November 2 ballot and I’d like to encourage you to vote NO on it. The item is as follows:
City of Dunwoody Homestead Exemption
"Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from City of Dunwoody ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by eliminating the automatic sunset so that the exemption continues indefinitely?" H.B. 1319 Act 562

This item is well-meaning, but in my opinion, misguided. If passed, it will set up the Dunwoody tax code so that new residents pay more taxes than long-time residents. 

If it passes, then over time as your property increases in value you’ll receive a credit on your property taxes equal to the tax on the increase in value.   When you sell your home to a new Dunwoody resident, the credit goes away so they will pay Dunwoody property tax on the full value of the home. The longer you live in your house, the bigger the subsidy.

I am not suggesting this to fatten the city’s treasury. The amount will be so small that it won’t have an impact on the city’s budget. 
For me this is a fairness issue. Two houses side-by-side, worth the same amount of money and receiving the same city services, should pay the same in property taxes. We shouldn’t have the house on the right subsidize the house on the left simply because one of them is a long time resident and one is a newcomer.

If you do vote NO and the item is defeated, then your city property taxes will increase slightly over time as your property gets more valuable. How much? For the average Dunwoody homeowner we are talking about $12 a year.

It is tempting to vote ourselves a benefit that current residents will enjoy at the expense of future residents who aren’t here yet and can’t vote. It is equally tempting to vote for freezing taxes—and if this were freezing taxes for everyone equally, that would certainly be something to consider. But this is not. 

No one wants to pay more taxes but the right thing to do is to recognize that as the value of our homes increase, so will our share of the city property tax burden. For this reason, I encourage you to vote NO on this ballot measure on November 2nd.

In other city news, we have passed our 2011 budget—without the extra four-person traffic unit. The budget allocates considerably more money for repaving and sidewalks projects and forecasts a $1.3 million surplus. 

We continue to look at alternatives for 911 dispatch service. I expect us to make a decision in November between remaining with DeKalb, starting our own 911 center, or contracting with the Sandy Springs/John’s Creek “ChatComm” 911 center.

Finally, this week we also passed our revised Dunwoody sign ordinance. This ordinance has been in the works for 14 months and it attempts to balance the needs of businesses while improving the esthetics of the city. The most notable provision is a city-wide ban on new internally lit signs. Existing signs will be allowed to stay as long as they are maintained in good condition but future signs must be externally lit.


 Rob Augustine - Vote Yes to the Homestead Exemption

Thanks Robert. Very glad to see the externally lit sign requirement in the ordinance. We had this requirement for decades under the DHA, but no power to require it other than persuasion. Overall, this new sign ordinance will improve the look of the City a great deal. I hope to see non-conforming signs brought under this regulation soon.

Good work on repaving and sidewalks as well. I do hope to see a change in 911 service. We know we can do better with the alternatives than by staying with DeKalb.

Finally, I have to disagree with you on the ad valorem taxes. This ordinance is coupled with one for DeKalb County as a whole [see below]. An ordinance which is already in effect. This merely extends what we have now. And we have what we have now because of the inconsistencies, vagaries, and outright unfairness of the tax assessment process. What this ordinance does is lock in the actual home value -- based upon the actual sale/purchase price -- for the base year. This ordinance prevents county tax assessors from jacking up home values way beyond their value. And NEVER, EVER adjusting values downward, even in a market like we have today. Clearly, if you want to talk about unfair, the current tax assessment process is unfair. I'm actually thankful to Fran Millar, Mike Jacobs, and the others who supported this Homestead Exemption legislation to try to right a wrong that has existed ever since we've had property taxes on residences. In the overall scheme of things, it is fairer to have property values based upon actual sale prices, and not on the assessor's whims and the need for DeKalb County to raise revenues, backdoor, through the assessment process.

And, I would also ask you to think of those citizens who have lived in their homes a long time. Why should they bear the brunt of tax increases at the hands of the assessors. Remember a large number of these folks are senior citizens. When they do sell their house the taxes get adjusted, but not every year or so as we have seen in DeKalb these past decades. And for all of us who are trying to budget and plan our expenses, why should we have exorbitant property tax increases at the hands of county officials who are the ones "valuing" our homes. Clearly, having this freeze is a good idea and prevents a boatload of mischief, financial shenanigans, and arbitrariness for our citizens. Why we could eliminate arbitrary tax assessments all together and have something rational for a change -- actual home value at time of sale. This would save money by cutting bureaucracy.

So, I strongly recommend voting YES on this referendum item. By the way, if you don't vote to approve this, your taxes are going up a lot more than $12 a year! VOTE YES ON THE EXTENSION OF THE PROPERTY TAX FREEZE FOR DUNWOODY AND FOR DEKALB AS WELL. [See additional info from Mike Jacobs on this issue below. And note especially how the tax savings of the past 5 years will come due all at once!!!!]

And if you don't think that's unfair, how about this: it is unfair to expect citizens to pay for an ever growing county bureaucracy that is the largest in the state per capita and perhaps the nation with some 7,000 employees. Not to mention the waste, inefficiency, and lack of competence as well as blatant immoral behavior of our county officials. Frankly, I'm tired as hell of subsidizing such behavior and the lawsuits that accompany it.

Sincerely, Rob

From Mike Jacobs newsletter:

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption: “Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the exemption for another five-year period?” SB 544

This is the five-year extension of the Property Tax Assessment Freeze that saves you money on your DeKalb County property taxes. The current freeze is set to expire at the end of the 2011 tax year. This renewal will last through 2016.

I helped to pass this renewal and strongly recommend a “YES” vote. Otherwise, a property tax increase reflecting any assessment hikes that would have occurred during the preceding five years will be included in your 2012 county tax bill.

Whenever I mention an assessment “freeze,” I receive questions as to whether the assessed value of your home is “frozen” if it declines. The answer is no. The “freeze” only serves as a ceiling on the assessed value of your home, not a floor.

Dunwoody Master Plan Workshop documentation from Thursday Oct 28th

I was late arriving to this meeting because I had the Chick-Fil-A meeting just before this but I walked around to talk to various people who were in attendance and listened in on them working at the various tables. If someone could give me feedback of the meeting I would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thanks.

Chamblee annexation could create tri-cities area in DeKalb

The nicely written article below mentions better police and parks servicesin Chamblee with no City taxes for seniors, local control vs dealing with DeKalb County but it missed one huge factor... The City of Chamblee sucks up every leaf that you bring to the curb.  No bagging of leaves ever!  (I would vote for it.)

Chamblee annexation could create tri-cities area in DeKalb

By April Hunt for the AJC

7:13 p.m. Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chamblee could grow to the size of Decatur -- and DeKalb County could get its first tri-cities region -- under an annexation proposal on Tuesday's ballot.

Political observers expect the plan to expand Chamblee’s borders north to I-285 to pass easily.

It was spearheaded four years ago by residents in Huntley Hills, a subdivision half in Chamblee and half in unincorporated DeKalb. More than 80 percent of homeowners there and in the next subdivision north, Gainsborough East, supported the annexation in community surveys.

If those areas are added to the city, Chamblee, which has a population of about 12,500, will grow to between 17,000 and 19,000 residents. It also will touch Dunwoody and Doraville, creating the first municipal cluster in a county where only a quarter of the residents live in cities.

“If it passes, we’ll be ready, both for delivery to our citizens and to look at opportunities where we can work with the other cities,” Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson said.

Already, there are signs of a new cooperation. Chamblee leaders sit on a Doraville committee overseeing an eight-month study of the former GM plant site and its surrounding area. The committee is reviewing Chamblee’s bike and walking trails for possible connections when the former factory site is redeveloped.

Dunwoody, which recently rejected a proposal to begin using Chamblee’s 911 center, remains interested in joint projects.

Dunwoody’s current look at its recreation needs, for instance, could extend beyond its borders into what could become its neighboring city.

“As opportunities come up, we’ll certainly be chatting more,” said Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright. “I think it will be a natural evolution that we will grow together.”

Dan Weber, the Dunwoody Republican who pushed for the annexation vote in the state Senate, made the same argument. He called the area the “tip of a peninsula” of unincorporated DeKalb wedged between the three cities, saying annexation just makes sense.

A similar argument for three neighborhoods to join Doraville failed last year, though. Residents in Cherokee Hills, Oakcliff Estates and Sequoyah Woods will be in the last sliver of unincorporated DeKalb in the area if the annexation goes through.

What sets the Chamblee annexation apart is the grass-roots push. Residents supporting the move cite the city’s police department and recreation department as two services they are willing to pay more to have.

Nick Guerrero, who lives in the unincorporated Huntley Hills area, has advocated for annexation for years because of both issues. Both of his children are active in youth leagues run by Chamblee's recreation department, and he volunteers as a T-ball coach.

But police protection is an even bigger issue for him and others, given that some residents in Huntley Hills already see Chamblee patrols and residents further north have been watching Dunwoody police roam the area for more than a year now.

High-profile crimes, such as the February shooting death of 11-year old Nicholas Sheffey as he slept in his bed in the unincorporated area, weaken both the community and property values, Guerrero said.

"Yes, my taxes may go up a few hundred a year, worst case scenario, but if my property value drops one percent, I'm losing thousands," said Guerrero, a real estate sales agent and appraiser. He said he thinks the annexation vote will pass primarily because "we want more police protection."

Annexation will likely increase homeowners’ taxes, given Chamblee’s 7.95 millage rate. For someone in a home assessed at $250,000, that increase will be about $220 a year.

But Chamblee residents -- including those in the proposed annexation zone -- will see a .56 mill reduction in their county bill for 2011 because of a recently approved service plan. That cuts about $60 out of any increase. And homeowners 65 and older pay no city taxes in Chamblee.

“The taxes get a little confusing, because for some people it will go up and for some, it will go down,” said Chamblee City Manager Jim Gleason.

Overall, adding the 1,000-plus homes to its borders would increase Chamblee’s annual budget by about $1.7 million, to $17.4 million.

Chamblee expects to break even if annexation passes, since it plans to hire 12 new police officers, including an investigator, four more emergency dispatchers and buy four patrol cars to handle the influx of residents.

If voters approve the annexation, the new borders and the new hires will take effect on Jan. 1.

19th Annual Book Festival of the MJCCA comes to Dunwoody November 6 - 21.

From history to mystery, fiction to fact, politics to religion, and humor to political satire, the 19th annual Book Festival of the MJCCA has something to satisfy every age and interest. The Book Festival is a place where distinguished authors come to speak, fascinating panel discussions engage audiences, and the PJ Library Storytelling Festival delights kids of all ages. This popular event brings together an exciting lineup of the year’s most prominent and emerging authors. Examples include Pat Conroy, Jessica Seinfeld (wife of Jerry), Gene Wilder, Adam Richman, (Travel Chanel, Man vs. Food guy) and many, many others. Check out the entire Festival Schedule.
  • Tickets on sale now! Get your tickets today >
  • 2010 Festival Chairs: Beth Arogeti & Julie Kleinman
  • For more information contact 678.812.4005

Tonight is Youth Night at Dunwoody HS Football vs Chamblee at North DeKalb Stadium

"Red Out" example from Last Year

By the way….this year it’s a  BLACK OUT so wear BLACK!

Youth Night at DHS Football Game

Friday, October 29, at the North DeKalb Stadium

Dunwoody vs. Chamblee 7:30pm Kick-Off

Elementary students come out and show your school pride at the DHS football game on Friday, October 29 at 7:30.  Students from Austin, Chesnut, Kingsley, Hightower, Dunwoody Elementary, Vanderlyn, and Peachtree Middle School will be there!  All DHS feeder school kids are invited to join in the fun and be recognized at half-time.  Cheer as loud as you can when your school is announced!

Buy Fruit to support the Dunwoody High School Band Program

Orange you glad it's time for the annual DHS Band Fruit Sale? Order boxes of oranges, tangelos, grapefruit and apples through band students or online at FRUITORDER.COM. Click on the "Order Now" button on the website and follow the instructions. DHS school ID is 698888. Place orders through November 8 for delivery to your door during the second week of December. Fruit ordered online may be shipped nationwide for holiday gifting. Thanks for supporting the DHS Band program!

Also, congratulations to the  DHS Marching Wildcats for their Superior performance at the DeKalb Marching Festival on Tuesday night. The Percussion, Auxiliary and Band scored Superior in all fields. Please congratulate these students for all their hard work and wish them luck at their next big competition on Oct. 30th at the Lafayette Marching Classic Competition. Go Marching Wildcats!

From what I've been told, Mr. Henderson, Band Director has done such a fantastic job,  more students want to be a part of the band program and now more instruments are needed!!! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Atlanta Business Radio spotlights Dunwoody businesses Village Burger, Sips n Strokes, Dunwoody Tavern and the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce

The Atlanta Business Radio had a special show Wednesday morning focusing on the City of Dunwoody Business Community, targeting mainly on the Dunwoody Village area.  I can personally attest that each of the businesses highlighted on the show enhance and add charm to our community and that it is my distinct pleasure to share this with you.

The show opened with Ricardo Gonzalo with Village Burger, Dunwoody's newest family restaurant. This great new restaurant is located in the old Bruster's building. Village Burger serves burgers, hot dogs and frozen custard. Check them out at   My good friend and Dunwoody web designer Jay Kapp of Kapp Koncepts was also mentioned in the show and received kudos from both the guest as well as the host, Ms. Amy Otto.

Next up Stacy Abston with Sips n Strokes by Wendy Lovoy came on to discuss her art studio for the non-artist. She has classes where non artists come in and paint while hanging out with their friends and/or co-workers. You can bring your own drinks and snacks to make the class that much more fun. To learn more please go to

Next up Monet Diamante came on to discuss the Dunwoody Restaurant Group. This restaurant group owns a bunch of pubs and restaurants around town, but she wanted to mention that the Dunwoody Tavern is now non-smoking. Monet said that each restaurant has their own Facebook page with specials and you can find them all on their website

We closed the show with Debbie Fuse, who is with the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce. Debbie explained the benefits of joining the chamber - she talked about the Chamber's involvement with the Music Festival as well as all the help the Chamber provides its members in helping them navigate the maze of city government zoning and sign procurement. To learn more please go to

Would you like to provide input on the redistricting of our schools? School Board Candidate Forum Today and future Public Charrettes Scheduled.

Candidate Forum Today - Noon - Dunwoody Libarary

If you would like to provide personal input on the future of the DeKalb County School System as well as know where your local school board member stands on redistricting, I highly recommend that you visit the Dunwoody Library today (Thursday) at noon where the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents' Council will be hosting a Candidates Forum for just BOE District 1.

As shown in the photo below (click to enlarge) the school system has already scheduled several charrette meetings to get your feedback on the issue of redistricting and the Dunwoody School Daze blog is also reporting that the DCSS has added an two additional Public Charrettes. One of these will be held at Peachtree Charter Middle School on Tuesday, November 30th at 6:30 pm. (Mark your Calendars.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dunwoody Convention & Visitors Bureau introduces the Launch of the Brand Video

Just 10 minutes north of Atlanta, the city of Dunwoody is a fusion of culture, entertainment and business. Dunwoody's key word: location! Whether shopping and dining at Atlanta's premier Perimeter Mall or enjoying local favorites in the Dunwoody Village, you'll recognize our small town feel with big city appeal. Convenient to all of Atlanta's favorite attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke and Stone Mountain Park, this northwest suburb of DeKalb County is accessible by Highway 400, Interstate 285 and three MARTA transit stations.

As background information, I ran across the document below on the branding research conducted by Sky Design that people may be interested in seeing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Busy week of Dunwoody events and meetings all tracked on Google calendar.

The Heneghan family use to have a huge wall calendar where all of the family events were listed and as the boys got older and our schedules more complex, I decided to create a separate Google calendar for each member of the family (with Dunwoody events also getting it's own) and maintain it electronically.  Since all of the calenders overlay each other in different colors, it works nicely with my not so tech savvy wife handling it with ease.

All of the calendar entries are fully synced on the web, my blackberry, my work, home and wife's Outlook programs therefore if you are looking for a different way of tracking various calendars, this way works well for us.  (Various Articles on Google Calendar - 1, 2, 3, 4)

The Dunwoody Calendar is shown on the right side column of my blog and can also be found here. Since there are a number of events and meetings this week I thought I would bring them to your attention.  Please take a minute and check them out.  I would like to point out one event in particular, the Candidate Forum on Tuesday should be very informational regarding the two Dunwoody Georgia Legislative seats and the three way race for the District one seat on the DeKalb School Board.

Monday, October 25
7:00am Advance Voting Available in Chamblee
6:00pm City Council Work Session
7:00pm City Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 26
7:00am Advance Voting Available in Chamblee
10:00am Mommy & Me & Nature Make Three at Dunwoody Nature Center
11:15am Preschooler Park Patrol at Dunwoody Nature Center
7:00pm Candidate Forum - Dunwoody Homeowners Assoc.
Wednesday, October 27
7:00am Advance Voting Available in Chamblee
Thursday, October 28
7:00am Advance Voting Available in Chamblee
10:00am Dunwoody Police Dept. & GA Drugs and Narcotics Agency: COMBATING PRESCRIPTION FRAUD
12:00pm Dunwoody Chamblee Parents' Council BOE District 1 Candidates Forum
6:30pm Dunwoody Police Department: Situational Awareness & Safety Class
6:30pm Chick-fil-A pre-submittal rezoning meeting for Drive-Thru
7:00pm Dunwoody Village Master Planning 2nd Meeting
Friday, October 29
7:00am Advance Voting Available in Chamblee
10:00am Mommy & Me & Nature Make Three at Dunwoody Nature Center
11:15am Preschooler Park Patrol at Dunwoody Nature Center
7:30pm Dunwoody HS Football vs Chamblee at North DeKalb Stadium

Battle of the Bands winner - Moondogs

The Moondogs won the battle of the bands and studio recording time.

Is PDK Airport up for an expansion of allowing larger aircraft? DeKalb BOC votes Tuesday and PDK Watch wants your involvement.

PDK Expansion of allowing Larger Aircraft?
I received the following message about possible PDK Airport expansion from the PDK Watch group asking that I forward the information. I am happy to do so even though I am not up on the specific details but maybe our DeKalb representative Ms. Kathie Gannon will fill us in on the details? 


Dear Community Leaders,

I am taking the liberty of sending you a very time-sensitive ACTION ALERT about an upcoming vote on Tuesday morning by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners that could expand size of jets allowed to use PDK Airport.  If this is a concern to you or to others in your neighborhood associations, I would welcome your sharing this information to your e-mail lists or otherwise circulating as widely as you can.

My apologies for the lateness of this message. Not until early Saturday afternoon did I become aware that our efforts to work with the Board of Commissioners to amend the  proposed 2010 PDK Airport Layout Plan had apparently reached a dead end.

Thank you for your consideration considering this information and making it as widely available as possible to concerned community members.

Larry Foster
Communications Director
PDK Watch Inc.  on behalf of Open DeKalb Inc.

October 24, 2010
Dear Citizens Concerned about PDK Airport Expansion,

Your help is urgently needed to try to avoid approval of a document that--if not amended--could be used to support significant expansion of PDK Airport.  I've indicated below what the problem is, why it is important, and what you can do to help.

In brief, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners is set to vote on Tuesday, October 26, on the proposed 2010 PDK Airport Layout Plan, which incorrectly claims the weight-bearing capacity of the main runway is 75,000 rather than the currently-indicated 66,000 lbs.  If the Airport Layout Plan is not amended back to 66,000 lbs., the size of the jets allowed to use PDK would increase. To convince the Commissioners to support this important amendment, your brief e-mail messages to the Commissioners within the next two days are crucial (see full details below).


Since Spring 2010, a proposed new 2010 PDK Airport Layout Plan (ALP) has been under consideration.  The PDK Airport Administration--now led by PDK Airport's Acting Director Mike Van Wie--has stated that the the proposed 2010 ALP merely "describes" the state of PDK Airport at this time--that it is not a projection for future PDK development and expansion. Yet a crucial change has been unobtrusively slipped into this 200-page document that would, in fact, support further PDK Airport expansion.  A final vote on the proposed 2010 ALP is scheduled at the DeKalb Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday morning, October 26, 2010, just two days from now.

The key change in the proposed 2010 ALP that we feel must be amended, indicates that the weight-bearing capacity PDK  Airport's main runway has an engineered capacity of 75,000 lbs., rather than the 66,000 lbs. that previous ALP's have indicated.  A careful engineering assessment of the proposed change by a professional structural engineer who designs airport runways indicates that there is no engineering basis that can justify such a change and that saying that the runway is engineered to a 75,000 lb. capacity would be "fraudulent."

Since late spring, board members from Open DeKalb Inc., including Norma Herd, Susan Gouinlock, and myself, have been addressing these issues with the Board of Commissioners and--with the aid of Commissioners Jeff Rader, Connie Stokes, and Elaine Boyer--we have attempted to get the proposed 2010 ALP amended so that it accurately describes the weight-bearing capacity of the main runway as 66,000 lbs.  

As a result of these efforts, a vote on the ALP has been deferred three times during the past three months  The vote on the ALP this Tuesday, however, will be the final one.  At the very end of this past week, we heard the bad news from Commissioner Rader that he does not believe he has the necessary votes to amend the ALP.  The other key commissioner who represents our area, Kathie Gannon, is expected to support describing the main runway as 75,000 lbs.--even though the runway is not engineered to that capacity--and a majority of the Commissioners are expected to follow her lead.

For the Board of Commissioners to vote for a document incorrectly indicating that the engineered weight-bearing capacity of PDK Airport's main runway is 75,000 rather than 66,000 lbs. would, in effect, be to approve a major policy change authorizing the expansion of PDK Airport without a full and open discussion of the crucial issues involved. To take such action would undercut recent efforts by concerned community members during the past year to work out more mutually advantageous arrangements between the PDK Airport and concerned community members.  Such an action might also derail the ongoing negotiations with the highest levels of DeKalb County government to seek an approach other than legal action to try to resolve community disagreements with PDK Airport actions.


The most immediate need is for concerned citizens to send an outpouring of brief e-mail messages today and tomorrow the to all the members of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, urging them to amend the proposed 2010 PDK Airport Layout Plan back to the existing 66,000 lb. engineered weight limit.  

Your messages should include just a few brief sentences identifying yourself and expressing your concern politely.   

Each message must be directed to an individual commissioner (see names and e-mail addresses below), since messages to all the commissioners are blocked by anti-spamming devices.  

Many messages, not lengthy or argumentative ones, are likely to be most effective.  Some of the commissioners evidently do not believe that more than a handful of individuals are concerned about PDK Airport noise and operations.  Please let them know that is not the case.

Here are the names and e-mail addresses of the DeKalb County commissioners, in order of their districts.  Please send your messages NOW:

1.  Elaine Boyer
2.  Jeff Rader
3.  Larry Johnson
4.  Sharon Barnes Sutton
5.  Lee May
6.  Kathie Gannon
7.  Connie Stokes

Please write NOW, and also further circulate this message to your friends and neighbors.   We face an uphill battle at this point, but if you don't act, we can't be successful.

Thanks for your attention to this important message, and, hopefully, for your prompt action.

Larry Foster
Communications Director
PDK Watch Inc. on behalf of Open DeKalb Inc.

P.S.  If anyone would like to attend the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, October 26, to personally show your concern, here is the information you will need.  Note that what is most needed at this time, however, is your e-mail messages to the commissioners.

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meets at the Maloof Auditorium 1300 Commerce Drive in Decatur.  Street parking is cheapest, requiring numerous quarters, or you can park in the high-rise parking across the street for a flat $6 fee (up from $2 previously).

The Commission meeting begins at 9 a.m.  During that first hour there is a half-hour public comment period, at which several of us will attempt to address the problems with the ALP.  The meeting proper is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., and the PDK Airport Layout Plan is at the top of the agenda, so even given a worst-case scenario, the vote will have been taken  by 10:30 a.m. or so.

Let me emphasize, however, that your immediate e-mail messages to the commissioners is what is most needed right now.

In case anyone would like to read a more detailed summary of the arguments, I have attached a more detailed discussion of the issue here for your reference

New logo and tag line for the City of Dunwoody (Smart people - Smart place)

Dunwoody - Smart people / Smart place

Dunwoody – September 28, 2010 – On the evening of Saturday, October 23 at Brook Run Park Dunwoody Mayor, Ken Wright, will be joined by the City’s branding partners, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Dunwoody (CVBD), and the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce to officially unveil the new unified Dunwoody brand. The unveiling will take place at the Dunwoody Music Festival main stage at 6:30 p.m. followed by a fireworks display.

“Creating a brand for Dunwoody has been a collaborative process with area residents, and our partner organizations representing businesses and local tourism,” said Warren Hutmacher, Dunwoody City Manager. “This year-long process has enabled us to create a cohesive brand strategy that also catered to each partner organization’s unique mission.”

The project began in January of this year with the selection of Sky Design, to work with the City and each partner organization. The end result is Dunwoody’s first comprehensive brand strategy, developed based on extensive quantitative and qualitative research, and creative development. The unified brand is designed to evoke the recognizable and distinctive qualities belonging to Dunwoody to appeal emotionally to the City’s target audiences: residents, business owners, family and business travelers, and Metro-Atlanta visitors.

“The new brand is a representation of Dunwoody as a forward-thinking, passionate, caring, and fun community,” said Edie Damann, Dunwoody Marketing and PR Manager. “A unified brand strategy provides each of our organizations with the tools to deliver more impactful, stronger, longer-lasting messages while reducing confusion as to who is delivering the messages.”

As part of the promotion for the brand launch and the Dunwoody Music Festival, the City is raffling off a 2010 SMART Car. Tickets are $25 each and all proceeds will be going to Brook Run Park. Tickets can be purchased at City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce building, located in Dunwoody Village at 5518 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

The City also worked with the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs) as a partner in brand development. In 2011, the City and PCIDs will work together to implement branded gateway, way finding, and street signage. Following the launch, the City of Dunwoody, Convention and Visitors Bureau of Dunwoody, and Chamber of Commerce will reveal updated website designs. As the need arises to replace infrastructure, documents, and publications each organization will incorporate the new brand.

For more information, please contact Edie Damann with the City of Dunwoody at 678-382-6712 or Additional information will also be available following the brand launch at,, and

Great local music at the Dunwoody Music Fest - Sunday more of the same.

Dunwoody resident Mr. Jimmy Anderson jammin out on the Dunwoody Music Festival.  Below is Dunwoody resident Mr. Scott Pugmire of Blind Crush.

Please check out the Dunwoody Music Festival at Brook Run on Sunday, it is truly a great family event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Music lineup and times for Dunwoody Music Festival this Sat & Sun at Brook Run

October 23, 2010

StageTimeActType of MusicWebsite
Down the
9:45 to 10AMDunwoody High School
Marching Band
10:00 AMOctaveWomen's A Capella - Contemporary
11:00 AMModern ParanoiaIndie
12:00 PMBlind CrushClassic
1:00 PMAshley HarrisInspirational
2:00 PMMike
3:30 PM-6:30 PMBanks and ShaneBluegrass, Beach, R&B,
3:00Jack SchneiderFolk Guitar
Peachtree Field Stage10:15 AMThe Well RedsClassic
11:15 AMCalvaryContempoary
11:45 AMSyl Spann and the IsotopesJazz
12:45 PMRelixClassic Rock 'n Roll
1:45 PMThose Two Guys50's - 60's Pop and
2:45 PM50 Million FablesPower
3:45 PMOlde DogCountry
Brook Run
10:00 AMPeachtree Middle Jazz BandJazz
10:30 AMThe Bad Neighbors80's Rock
11:30 AMNorthside Choral
12:30 PMFull CircleRock, Pop, Folk / 60's -
1:30 PM - 3:30 PMAtlanta Bluenotes18-piece Big
10:00 AMVibrations in PlaceBass and Percussion
10:45 AMPeachtree Middle Drum CorpsDrums
11:15 AM Vibrations in PlaceBass and Percussion
1:00 PMRock AndiYoung Dancers
2:30 PMTBA
10:00 AMHannah ThomasVocal
NoonMary PetersonAcoustic Rock/Vocal
2:00 PMMidnight MemoriesAcoustical

 October 24, 2010

StageTimeActType of MusicWebsites
12:00 PMShaken Not StirredRythym & Blues/Classic
1:00 PMDerek RedmondCountry
2:00 PMEffie
3:00 PMNick EdelsteinBlues
4:00 PMChris McCartyAcoustic
5:00 PMJulie
Brook Run
NoonHousebrokenClassic Rock, 90'
1:20 PMAlready TakenEclectic
1:40 PMNacho BrothersBattle of the Bands
2:00 PMWatch Out MeteorBattle of the Bands
2:20 PMMoondogsBattle of the Bands
2:40 PMPajamasBattle of the Bands
3:00 PMBarney's BulletBattle of the Bands
3:20 PM"404 Band"Battle of the Bands
3:40 PMSkittle BiscuitBattle of the Bands
4:00 PMThe 49 SoundBattle of the Bands
5:00 PMBOTB Winner Performance Battle of the Bands
Peachtree Field
12:15 PMDavid DisharoonAcoustic - Pop, Soul,
1:15 PMWondering ShepardsBlue Grass/Gospel
2:15 PMHeidi and the HushpuppiesFolk
4:15 PMOld Men in the BasementClassic
5:15 PMKalveras QingProgressive
Front VignetteNoonTBA
2:00 PMSuzuki Talent Ed. Prog - Young StringsViolin and Cello
3:00 PMTBA
Middle VignetteNoonClaudia KellyVocal
1:00 PMSamatha SueCountry - Acoustic
3:00 PMClaudia KellyVocal
4:00 PMTBA

Dunwoody Music Festival proves little town is growing up - AJC

Blind Crush - Local Dunwoody Band
By Bo Emerson of the AJC

Look at Dunwoody, only two years old, and growing up fast.

Having acquired all the trappings of a modern urban center, now Dunwoody is stepping up to give Atlanta a run for its money.

So, you miss the Midtown Music Festival, which disappeared five years ago? Come to the Dunwoody Music Festival, a two-day smorgasbord of musical acts playing country, rock and roll, jazz, a capella vocals, bluegrass, beach music, folk, opera, flute choir, big band, percussion and pretty much every musical form except polka. The festival begins Saturday, from 10 a.m. to dusk, and continues Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Organizers expect up to 20,000 visitors to Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park, also known as Liane Levetan Park, with events also staged at Georgia Perimeter College and some churches.

They describe the festival as a good way to grow the community. But there is also the suggestion that Dunwoody will jump in if Atlanta offers an opening.

The absence of the Midtown Music Festival, "is a void that we have in the metropolitan area," said city councilman Danny Ross. "And we’re filling that void."

Ross met with the organizers of the 17-day Savannah Music Festival for advice about Dunwoody's efforts, and hopes to grow his own two-day event "incrementally" each year to resemble that city's extravaganza.

Of course, Dunwoody still has a way to go to catch up with Savannah. The budget for Dunwoody's festival is small, and much of the production is being accomplished through donated labor.

"People who just love music and love Dunwoody are doing this, and that’s what’s made Dunwoody what it is," Ross said.

Among the volunteers: the musicians. "They're not even paying gas money," said one musician.

As a consequence, the inaugural festival will offer no national acts, and the offerings will include avocational groups, including church choirs. Yet the festival has had no trouble attracting participants, and began turning away musicians when the list grew above 55 acts.

While many of the musicians come from as far afield as Mississippi and Florida, more are from close to home.

“We are blessed with truly an amazing amount of talent,” said festival director M.J. Thomas.

One homegrown performer, singer-songwriter Julie Gribble, grew up in Dunwoody, moved to Los Angeles, but has been back and forth between the two cities, snapping up movie roles and music gigs. She recently acted in the filmed-in-Georgia "Quarantine 2″ and sang one of her songs on the "Late Late Show" with Craig Ferguson.

One thing she’s noticed about the new Dunwoody is the traffic. No surprise. Another change: the nightlife.

“There’s a cool bar, a tavern that the old people and the young people can hang out at, and there’s a music venue here ... with a nice stage and a good sound system,” Gribble said.

In short, she said, Dunwoody is acting like a real town. About playing for free, Gribble has no quibbles. "It's fine with me, I don’t care. You've got a built-in crowd, which is worth every minute. Please somebody show up."

Dunwoody has cultivated outdoor events, including Lemonade Days and Light up Dunwoody, and Ross sees much bigger things in the city's future. He'd like to have a music festival with events all over the city, stretching over two weeks.

"We've got 5.5 million people within a 30-minute drive of Dunwoody," he said. The festival is "evidence of Dunwoody becoming a city and being able to have local control and being able to control our own destiny."

“It says a lot” about Dunwoody’s maturity that it’s putting on a music festival, said Debbie Fuse, deputy director of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce. Visitors will “see what Dunwoody has to offer.”

The Dunwoody Music Festival

Saturday, 10 a.m. to dusk; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; tickets: $10 to $50; Brook Run Park; 4770 North Peachtree Road, 30338. Information: 678-244-9700.

Run Dunwoody Race this Sunday to benefit our community's Fire, Police & Emergency Response Teams

 Benefiting Our Community's Fire, Police
and Emergency Response Teams

Sunday, October 24, 2010
Perimeter Place Shopping Center
8 a.m.

This Dunwoody Rotary event includes a 5K (8 a.m.), a one-mile fun run (8:45 a.m.) and a Tot Trot for kids age 2-5 (9:00 a.m.). The cost is $20 until October 14, and $25 after that. The 5K route for this begins and ends in the Perimeter Place Shopping Center across from Perimeter Mall and near the Super Target.

Register Now: Georgia Runner : : The Premiere Source for Running in Georgia

If you have questions, contact or Race Director Kelly Hundley at 404-378-7417.

Dunwoody HS Girls Country Cross Team Captures County Title

The DeKalb County Schools Cross Country Championship was held last week at Arabia Mountain High School. The Dunwoody Girls Team captured the 2010 DeKalb County Schools Cross Country Title while the boy’s team captured second place behind the Lakeside Vikings. This was the Dunwoody Girl’s Team 3rd and second consecutive, title.

Dunwoody freshman Alex Cameron ran a course record of 20:16.37 for the individual girls’ title. Dunwoody sophomore Erin Berger proved to be the difference in the 38-39 victory by the Lady Wildcats as she finished 12th in 22:48.49.

Other Top 10 Dunwoody finishers included junior Katie Martin (22:05.25) in sixth, Dunwoody senior Becky Lynn (22:34.06) and Dunwoody sophomore Kenzie Johnson (22:38.55) in 10th.

Something tells me these ladies may be honored at the High 5 Pep Rally on Thursday in preparation for the Regionals on Saturday, therefore look for them on Fox 5.

Wednesday Night Wine Stroll in Dunwoody makes for a great Girls Night Out

Tonight, October 20 (6PM - 10PM)
Park Place @ Perimeter Mall:
Eclipse De Luna, Cafe Intermezzo & Sage Wood Fire Tavern

Register @ Cafe Intermezzo - (6PM - 9PM)
4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd, Dunwoody, 30346

Stroll between participating restaurants offering great wines from different regions & countries along with delicious food specials. Free raffle for  $150 gift basket from Pur Minerals.  Perfect your look with Pur Minerals award winning Mineral Makeup.  Get Quick, easy, flawless results in minutes!  
Portion of proceeds benefits Small Dog Rescue.

Food & Wine Offerings
Eclipse De Luna:  $6 Glasses of Wine -  Whites:  Con Class- Verdejo, Spain, Routas- Rose, Spain, Burgans- Albarino, Spain /  Reds:  Castillo se Monseran- Garnacha, Spain, Campo Viejo- Tempranillo, Spain & Casa Silva- Carmenere, Chile
$3 Food Specials - Costillas Espanolas- Spanish Style Ribs & Patatas Bravas- Spiced Potatoes with Romesco
Cafe Intermezzo:  $5.00 glass wines & half price appetizers
Sage Wood Fire Tavern:  $2 2oz wine tasters. 1/2 price bottles of wine. not including reserve list.   6-7pm Complimentary apps in bar area.