Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Special Called Zoning Rewrite Meeting of the Dunwoody City Council - Videos and Recap.

The Dunwoody City Council met for 3 and a half hours for the first read of the zoning rewrite and we only got partially through the task.  We covered primarily the Staff Memo which highlights the recommendations presented by both the Community Council & Planning Commission.

I was too busy flipping through various documents and questioning the various proposals as they were presented so I do not have detailed notes but here are a few of the highlights.

The Tree Ordinance is only applicable for development (construction) when needing a permit therefore the proposed tree ordinance does not affect the individual homeowner who just wants to remove a tree.  On the flip side it still allows an individual to clear his entire lot but it protects us from development who wants to clear the land without taking the trees into consideration.

I believe it was the will of council (no actual votes were taken) to limit Concurrent Variances but to use them as presented under the large scale "Planned Development" projects which would be mixed use and include a housing aspect.  There was an interesting item as to what size of acreage is needed for a "Planned  Development".   If it was 10 acres there might be more of them as they would be easier to do but if the minimum requirement was 25 acres as originally presented then City Council would be deferring more items back to the ZBA (as most intend to do by limiting as the Concurrent Variances in the first place) because the threshold was set high.  Discussion was has that the larger acreage requirement for the "Planned Development" might spur a higher quality development (Large Mall vs Strip Mall) but less of them.  No definitive final answer was determined on that issue but I stated publicly that I wanted a larger area requirement over less as I believed this "Planned Development" zoning class should be very special and not the norm.

The requirements for outside storage of boats and RV's will stay the same whereby you will need to be 20 feet away from your neighbors property line. I was looking for a middle of the road solution to include screening (8 foot fence) but there was little support for the topic.

We had a Stream Buffer item that semi approved an allowance to rebuild the same construction (replacing the deck) up to the 50 ft stream buffer line without going back to ZBA but there is also a chance that this will be reverted back to the 75 ft mark allowing the ZBA more review, as we are still receiving public comment asking us to do so.

Pet limitations (both in numbers and types) was a hot topic and city staff will be going back to the drawing board on that proposed ordinance with the direction to not ban any specific dog breeds.  Icky snakes might be allowed too?  Council asked staff to better define the problem caused by pets and then address the issue head on if needed at all.

The Mayor set the time limit at the start of the meeting and we ran out of time before we got to discuss home occupations and our other misc items, therefore they will be discussed (at least partially) at next Monday's  regularly scheduled meeting.   I am stressing to council and staff that we need to take our time with this review and allow the various items to be fully vetted.  Another Special Called meeting is probably in the works?

A friend and neighbor who served on the Dunwoody Zoning Sounding Board told me that I made misleading statements in my blog post from yesterday where I touched upon some of the possible hot button issues in the zoning rewrite.   In that post, I attempted to lay out the concerns as I saw them and as it was reported by others. In an attempt to equal out the conversation, I offer you the no spin, hype free version of the rewrite from a member of the Zoning Sounding Board who has spent many hours working on these documents.
Zoning Rewrite Hype-Free Zone: What does it really say?

The newly-revised zoning ordinances are easy to read. Yet, so many have no idea what is in them. Or worse - they do know and continue to distribute misinformation about both the words and intent.
Read more at the link above and please weigh on the items we discussed or will discuss as Council is listening.   Thanks.

1 comment:

Robert Wittenstein said...

John, a very small clarification... The stream buffer provisions proposed by the Sounding Board would allow replacement of a deck or porch in the stream buffer without a variance as long as it didn't require a land disturbance permit.

What the Planning Commission proposed was to allow "limited" land disturbance in the stream buffer without requiring ZBA approval or conditions.