Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mayor Denis Shortal hosts Dunwoody Town Hall on Thursday at All Saints Catholic Church at 6 PM

  All Saints Catholic Church 
2443 Mount Vernon Road 
Dunwoody, Georgia
Thursday Jan 21st
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Below are the public comments (tied back to an identified person) requesting topics to to be discussed at the Town Hall Meeting being held by Mayor Denny Shortal.   There were other comments raised and I am not sure they will all be discussed, but below are all very interesting perspectives that I thought I would share.  Please come out to the town hall to share your priorities with the new Mayor and other elected officials.  As per one of the suggestions, I am personally unable to live stream from this location but may be able to shoot some video clips as I believe the City will record and post the entire event.

What topics or issues would you like to have discussed at the City of Dunwoody Town Hall 2016 event on January 21?


Ryan Esslinger inside District 2
There are several topics/issues that I would like to mention which I believe are worthy of discussion at Dunwoody's next town hall.   These include, but are not limited to:

1.) Lowering speed limits on several main roads and collector roads from 35 MPH to 25MPH. I don't understand why roads with high density residential are 35MPH (i.e. Womack Rd, Tilly Mill Rd, Mt. Vernon Rd., etc.), whereas other roads such as Ashford Center Pkwy are 25MPH. Speeders are going to speed, so we might as well make it easier for the Dunwoody Police to catch them. Unless there is a reason for keeping the speed limit to 35MPH, Dunwoody should do an impact study on lowering the speed limit for certain city roads.

2.) Several intersections are in need of a serious redesign. These include the intersections of Chamblee Dunwoody Rd & Womack Rd, Chamblee Dunwoody Rd & Mt. Vernon Rd, Tilly Mill & Mt. Vernon/Mt. Vernon Pl, and Chamblee Dunwoody Rd & Peeler Rd, among others. As urbanization and density ultimately spreads from the PCID further East into town, these road intersection improvements become detrimental to alleviating congestion bottlenecks. For example, the lack of a dedicated left turn lane on Womack Rd heading onto Chamblee Dunwoody Rd (Southbound), combined with a poorly designed entrance/exit into/from the Dunwoody Library makes for very dangerous driving conditions.

3.) Raising Dunwoody's current hotel tax (I believe 5%) to the maximum allowable (I believe 8%) is a "low-hanging fruit" opportunity for the city to collect additional tax revenue. The lodging demand is already here and hotel occupancy rates continue to remain high in the area. Essentially, people (or their respective employers) will pay due to demand and location. Barring any major political roadblocks, this is a no-brainer and should be prioritized accordingly.

4.) Revisit any current legislation relating to noise ordinances and related enforcement hours. Several loud vehicles/motorcycles can be heard at late evening/early morning hours as these drivers speed through several neighborhood roads including Chamblee Dunwoody, Vermack, Womack, Tilly Mill, Mt Vernon, Roberts, etc. with their loud motorcycles or modified automobiles.

5.) Continue to explore the feasibility and viability of Dunwoody adopting its own school system (I believe it would require an amendment to the Georgia Constitution).

6.) Prioritizing pedestrian-friendliness/walkability of Dunwoody (no more "sidewalks to nowhere", incorporating paths to parks, shopping, restaurants, etc.)

7.) There was a rumor that Dunwoody was considering painting the Dekalb County water tower at the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Is this still up for consideration?

8.) Really would like to see continued prioritization and progress on the Dunwoody Village master plan. This is the core of our city! Would like to see less emphasis on retail banking (there is an undeniable overabundance of banks) and surface parking lots, and more emphasis on improved green space.

9.) Dunwoody's police force is one of the city's strongest assets. We should continue to fund the department appropriately and add more officers on the streets given the anticipated increasing density due to new commercial, retail and residential development.

10.) Partner and improve the relationship with Georgia Perimeter College (now part of Georgia State University) to make it a mainstay educational institution in the area. Ensure that any future plans the university has incorporates the voice of the city of Dunwoody and its citizens.

Bill Grossman
All the zoning entitlements in the Perimeter Center area from 10 years ago are getting much closer to being financed and built as the economy recovers. Sandy Springs has been collecting millions in impact fees for the thousands of multifamily units they have approved up against Dunwoody’s western border.

Dunwoody will lose several million dollars in fees to support traffic improvements and fund Park land acquisitions near the Mall; if impact fees are not put in place for the Perimeter Center Overlay district before the property owners submit applications to the city for land disturbance permits (to start the building process). Impact fees will not scare off developers; the fees will just help us deal with future growth.

The last Mayor said he loved impact fees when he was running for office; but made sure it never was on the City Council agenda during his years in office. I expect more than lip-service from our new Mayor on this subject.

I have always been ok with the schedule the first city council adopted: to repave all the Dunwoody roads in a 20 year cycle, then start over… I heard a lot this last election about accelerating that paving schedule. Is there a consensus among Mayor and council as to how much more money to throw at paving and how much would it shorten the original 20 year schedule?

I’d like to hear about the Cities current Capital Improvement Plan for the next three to five years. Our infrastructure needs are not limited to more paving. We’ve outgrown the original space leased for City Hall. I do not want to go down the “build a big government complex like Sandy Springs” road. I expect we will continue to rent; but will it be more space at building 41 or a move to somewhere else in Dunwoody?

I would like to see Mayor and Council set up Citizen Stakeholder committees to advise council on issues like a Parks Capital Improvement plan.

We should do the same for issues like City wide Broadband, City of Dunwoody school system.
Sandy Springs gets a lot of use out of their police volunteer auxiliaries and it is an alternative to a constantly growing city employee Police force; which takes almost half our city budget now. Why should we not implement something similar to the volunteer auxiliaries? Thanks for consideration

Deric Cadora
Could the Parks division please develop a coherent and long-term plan for Winwood Park? Work on this park has been done piecemeal and with no apparent development objective. Last year, the parking lot was partially dug up and then left as dirt for 6 months before a small section was repaved. The delay forced visitors to walk through an often muddy area to access the sidewalk. In 2014, eight trees were planted within the existing canopy with no apparent aesthetic design. These trees, which likely cost several thousand dollars a piece to purchase and install, are now indistinguishable from the forest.

Last October, the open field was ringed with trees. This is a park that is already 90% forested and the city is plating trees in the only open area. Furthermore, once these trees grow, the view of the children's park will be obscured, making families feel less safe.   Please hire a designer and develop a long-term plan before spending more tax dollars on our park.
Thank you,

John McNeil inside District 2
1. Dunwoody City Schools If the state legislature were to approve a school district in Dunwoody, do we know if the same tax exemption regarding county school taxes for those 62 years of age and older under would still be feasible to maintain in a city school system? 

2. Dunwoody Police Department
Each fiscal year since the city's inception the Dunwoody Police Department's budget and number of personnel has increased. I understand that initially it can be a challenge to determine the appropriate resources for public safety in a newly formed city. I was wondering that now that the city has been operating for a few years if the DPD has developed a strategic plan with initiatives, goals and anticipated needed resources, costs of resources and funding of resources for the next 3-5 years? If so, where is it available? If not, shouldn't one be created?

3. Accelerated Street Improvements
Road maintenance is a somewhat basic service of city government. Understanding that Dunwoody inherited a massive backlog of needed road repairs, are there financial funds available or could funds be re-directed to accelerate the current very extended plan to repave roads in Dunwoody? What % of the annual city budget is held in the reserves? What projects being discussed are not as basic as decent roadways in the city that funds could possibly be re-directed?

4. Employee Recognition
Although much of the city's operations are outsourced, recognition of those who serve the city either internally or externally should be celebrated, rewarded and appreciated in a public manner in which the citizens can be made aware and share their appreciation for their professionalism, dedication, service and commitment to the citizens of the city. Most people observe what is valued, promoted, appreciated, recognized and rewarded by their employer and act accordingly. My 2 cents. Thanks.


SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

I got some great feedback from potential volunteers to live-stream meeting video.
Hard core details later but for tomorrow night - there are free options for live streaming if you have a cell phone:

Meerkat - A free app that will allow video to be streamed and embedded anywhere.

Periscope - Ditto but this is owned by Twitter.

Unlike UStream, these are free for the download. I'm thinking of working out a stream with my company's YouTube channel and assorted volunteer managers but that will take a while, if it's feasible at all.

If someone is going to stream tomorrow's meeting - or any public meeting, please contact me via the blog or website and I will set up a dedicated video page on a responsive website to help get it to where people are.

Joe Seconder said...

FWIT, here's my comments I submitted for review. Too long for a comment on this blog, so please go here to see the narrative:

1. Offer & fund an ACTIVE Parks & Recreation Department

2. Transportation:

a. The number one priority needs to be SAFETY -vs- straightforward repaving.

b. Look at ways to reduce cars on our streets, instead of ways to move them through our city faster.

c. Inform the public where the funds come from to pave our roads, and ask them if this is an appropriate funding level.


3. Open up to the general public the ballfields at Dunwoody Park.

4. Establish a legitimate 501c(3) non-profit "Friends of Dunwoody Parks" (etc.). Use this non-profit to be able to seek out private donations, grants, etc. Donations in kind or cash, etc. for park amenities through this non-profit would then be a tax deduction for donors.

5. Continue to invest in building out a connected multi-use trail / greenway system. Trails are responsible for a 4 to 7 percent increase in property value for homes within one-quarter mile.

6. Outreach to Millennials in city planning. By 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all U.S. workers will be Millennials. What is the city proactively doing to reach out to this population segment to encourage and support Dunwoody as a great place to work, live and play over the next 10-30 years?

7. Adopt Affordable Housing component for new residential developments.

8. Build out the Dunwoody Village Master Plan and make it the true “center” of our city with a public green, and live-work-play destination to compete with Roswell’s Canton Street. Create incentives as necessary.

9. Re-write the Dunwoody Village Overlay District ordinances. It has never been adjusted to reflect the possibility of humans living in the district.

10. Eliminate minimum car parking requirements for developments. Instead, place a maximum on them. There are dozens & dozens of extra acres of paved asphalt in our city that can be repurposed for human-use, creating public greenspaces, parks or live-work-play mixed use. This increases the ROI on a per-acre basis adding additional revenue to the city’s coffers.

11. Add Council vote of development plans, avoiding a repeat of the outcome of the 32-acre Vermack “Desert” development. That land was zoned R-100, was sold to a developer and staff internally approved the development. City Council did not get a chance to review or vote on it, as there were no variances. What happened? Not a single square inch of public space was carved out for that neighborhood of 50+ homes. There is no community green, park or any place for the local residents to congregate. It is a dead-end cul-de-sac neighborhood, putting all of its traffic out onto Vermack. Today’s livable, walkable communities are built on a grid network offering a “sense of place” and options for humans to be able to get out of their cars to be together.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Thanks for being the first to step up and broadcast the town hall tonight.

Couple of questions:
Are 911 call records publicly available? Do they require an ORR? If so, to whom?


John Heneghan said...

Almost everything is subject to open records requests and that would include 911 calls and much, much more.

Check out the site below, complete the form and Sharon Lowery (City Clerk) will over see the process with assistance of individual department head, Chief Grogan in this case.

If I can assist, just reach out.