Friday, August 31, 2007

Q&A / GORDON JACKSON, president, Dunwoody Homeowners Association: Perimeter development on front burner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/30/07

By Chandler Brown

A few months ago, Dunwoody Homeowners Association President Chip Franzoni moved out of town.

That signaled a change in leadership in one of metro Atlanta's largest and most powerful homeowners groups. In June, the association's board approved Gordon Jackson —- a longtime board member —- as its president.

"Chip was good at getting developers to sit down and negotiate," said longtime Dunwoody Homeowners Association board member Bob Lundsten.

"What Gordon brings is a new approach," Lundsten said. "He's going back and saying, 'Hey, before we approve another 25-story building in Dunwoody, let's take a step back and see if that's the right thing to do.' That's refreshing."

We asked Jackson, five questions about his new role.

Q: What are the biggest issues you've faced in your first couple of months as head of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association?

A: Zoning and development are always big issues, particularly in the Perimeter area. The DHA board is interested in reviewing the ramifications of the proposed development.

Other current issues include DHA's support for homeowners in the Glaze Drive area dealing with area development, First Baptist Church of Atlanta's proposed additional parking area, the new parking deck under way at Georgia Perimeter College (Dunwoody campus) and, as always, code enforcement and transportation issues.

Q: What unexpected challenges have you faced?

A: Time. DHA is extremely fortunate to have a large board of active individuals who give of their time in dealing with the association's activities. We are, however, volunteers and it is understandably difficult to deal with some issues as timely as we would like, given that most of us work for a living.

Q: Representing 40,000 north DeKalb homeowners, what do you see as the role of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association?

A: The role of DHA remains the same as it has been for years. That means not hesitating to speak out and act to preserve a high quality of life for Dunwoody homeowners. This includes our review of zoning and development matters, code enforcement matters, recreational issues and many other similar issues.

Q: What is the future of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association?

A: I personally see DHA continuing to serve its current role well into the future, whether the local government is DeKalb County, city of Sandy Springs or if there should be a city of Dunwoody.

Q: Do you hope to be elected for another year when your term ends in January?

A: That hasn't even come up on the radar at this point.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home based businesses - DeKalb Zoning Law

Except for the newer neighborhoods with covenants, most of the Dunwoody North Communities' covenants have expired therefore DeKalb County Codes are our only enforceable covenants. In order to preserve everyone’s property rights we would like to remind residents to please be cognizant of the DeKalb zoning regulations. Below are the regulations that residents operating a business out of their home must be following.

Section 27-571 Home occupations. The following provisions shall apply to home occupations:

A. There shall be no exterior evidence of the home occupation.

B. No use shall create noise, dust, vibration, odor, smoke, glare or electrical interference that would be detectable beyond the dwelling unit.

C. The use shall be conducted entirely within the dwelling unit and only persons living in the dwelling unit shall be employed at the location of the home occupation.

D. No more than 25 percent of the dwelling unit and in no case more than 500 square feet, whichever is less, may be used for the conduct of the home occupation.

E. No use shall involve public contact on the property and no article, product or service shall be sold on the premises other than by telephone.

F. No materials or equipment shall be stored on the premises upon which the home occupation is located, except where such materials and equipment are stored entirely within the residence.

G. No vehicle other than a passenger automobile, passenger van, or passenger truck shall be used in the conduct of a home occupation, and no other vehicle shall be parked or stored on such premises.

H. No home occupation shall be operated so as to create or cause a nuisance.

I. Home occupation shall not include the use of a dwelling unit for the purpose of operating any automobile repair establishment, taxi service, van service, limousine service, wrecker service, car wash, or ammunition or firearms sales establishment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

4671 N. Peachtree Rd - Rezoning Request to O & I

Below is a complete history to date of the rezoning request made by Gregory and Elaine Bryan to rezone 4671 N. Peachtree Rd. from R85 to O & I, Office and Industrial.

June 20, 2007

Dear Neighbors,

The Dunwoody North Civic Association was contacted by Gregory and Elaine Bryan about their desire to rezone 4671 N. Peachtree Rd. from R85 to O & I, Office and Industrial. This house is at the corner of N. Peachtree and Kingspoint Dr. in our residential community.

The intended use of the house will serve as an After School Learning Center where students will receive tutoring, homework assistance and college preparation between the hours of 2:00 p.m.--6:30 p.m. The change in land use from Residential to O & I will be detrimental to our neighborhood. We do not want a business operating here. We are against “spot rezoning” and the precedent it would set in our community.

The Bryans are holding a Town Hall Meeting, as required by DeKalb County, on June 26th, 2007 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, 4400 North Peachtree Rd. DNCA is adamantly against this rezoning. As a single family residential community, it is important that we protect our community from this or any other non-single family residential rezonings. We are asking you to please attend this meeting and voice your opposition to this proposed rezoning. Please wear a red shirt. We are also circulating petitions.

If you are interested in taking them around for your neighbors to sign, please go to to print a petition from the message board or call Barbara at (770) 455-0650 and/or Leslie at (770) 455-6290.

Signed petitions can be returned to Barbara Dodds: 2573 Amberly Dr.; Atlanta, GA 30360 and/or Leslie O’Callaghan; 4538 Kingsgate Dr.; Dunwoody, GA 30338.

We appreciate your participation in this crucial issue that could have a very negative impact on our community. Thank you, your DNCA Board Members.

June 26, 2007

Last night well over 100 red-shirted residents attended a meeting held by homeowner Elaine Bryan. The intent of the meeting was to satisfy the DeKalb County requirement of notification to the community of her intentions as to the use of the property located at 4671 North Peachtree Road. Several noted co-workers spoke highly as to the credentials of Ms. Bryan and to her idea of tutoring children from 2 to 6 daily in the home. Ms. Bryan has been the homeowner since 1992 but now uses the home as rental property and she herself no longer lives in the Dunwoody area. During the introduction period the meeting was interrupted with someone explaining that Ms. Bryan’s credentials and intent, the use of the home for teaching after school tutoring programs, was not the issue, only the fact that it was to be rezoned from residential to O & I (office and institution). Gerri Penn, Zoning Chairman of the Dunwoody North Civic Association spoke as did John Heneghan, President of the Dunwoody North Civic Association in opposition to what Ms. Bryan wants to do with the property. During Ms. Penn’s speech she asked for a show of hands of those in opposition of the proposal. Due to the number of people in opposition the request was changed to who was in favor of the proposal. Of the 100 plus community members in attendance, not one resident approved of the rezoning. Mr. Heneghan explained that once a corner house is zoned O & I then the house across the street is automatically up for rezoning which starts the domino effect of changing a residential street into commercial. Additionally, based on the O & I zoning she will have requirements for certain number of parking spaces, specific amount of square footage and buffers, none of which she has currently.

The floor was open for questions and various residents spoke as to their concerns of the rezoning, i.e. should she sell the house later anyone could come in and put something undesirable there and the community would have no legal means of preventing it. Mr. Bill Grossman, Mr. Al Tiede, and Mr. Bob Lundsten, past president of DHA and currently works in zoning all spoke as to the specific reasons why this zoning must not be allowed and the lengths that they would be willing to go in order to see that it not happen. Mr. Lundsten explained to the group the timeframe for the county and the various meetings that would be held should Ms. Bryan decide to go forth with the rezoning application. He also gave background information as to the efforts that have gone into keeping Chamblee Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon residential streets and that North Peachtree would be given the same protection. And given the County Commissioners who represent this area, and their past support in protecting residential areas from going commercial, the likelihood of rezoning taking place were slim at best. Several residents tried to offer viable resolutions such as space in the church, using other rental space in the immediate area to which Ms. Bryan tried to again express her desire to help children and that because of certain grants she has been awarded towards that end, she has to use those grants while in property she owns and could not be used if she rented office space.

The last question directed at Ms. Bryan was whether she was a real estate agent; she answered yes, she was a consultant. Her husband was asked the same question, was he a real estate agent but he denied being an agent. After being asked again as to whether she was a real estate agent Ms. Bryan spoke up that she was a consultant and then finally that she was an investor. The meeting disbanded after this last disclosure.

It has come to light that in addition to her use of the property from 2 to 6 daily to instruct children, she had considered using the house for an office to conduct her real estate business.

June 26, 2007

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bryan,

We appreciate that you contacted the Dunwoody North Civic Association about your required Town Hall Meeting on June 26, 2007 for your requested O&I rezoning. I am sure that you were not expecting such a turnout and it was a bit overwheming for both of you.

As you now know, you do not have community support. There were approximately 150 people in attendance last night in opposition. What you intend to do in your former residence has a negative impact on our whole community and all of Dunwoody. It would set a very bad precedent. I wanted to let you know that you have an option in Dekalb County to withdraw your application without prejudice. This has been done in the past with residential rezonings that did not have our support because it was not responsible development.

We would appreciate it, if you let us know what you intend to do. Thank you.

Gerri Penn, DNCA, Vice President of Zoning"

August 21, 2007

A few members of the Dunwoody North Civic Association attended the District 1 Community Council meeting on August 21st to see if the Bryans would appear for the rezoning request even though not on the agenda. There was no rezoning request for 4671 N. Peachtree Rd. If the Bryans choose to pursue the rezoning, they will have to apply, go through a lottery and be chosen, have another community meeting for all homes within a half mile of their property, and go before DHA and Community Council.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stop Neighborhood Speeding - Video

Neighborhood speeding is a serious and pervasive problem. Our neighborhood streets -- where people walk and kids play -- are becoming speedways. Too many drivers still think it's okay to drive 5, 10 or 15 mph over the neighborhood limit, unaware that they won't be able to stop in time to avoid a tragedy. Slow down in neighborhoods, and keep it under 25.

•Metro Atlanta drivers hit 4 pedestrians every day.
•Pedestrians account for 1 of every 6 traffic fatalities in metro Atlanta.
•In an average year, 1,000 pedestrians are injured by drivers in metro Atlanta and another 80 pedestrians are killed.

PEDS is metro Atlanta's pedestrian advocacy organization.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Free "Slow Down" Signs Available

With more children walking the neighborhood to school, the Dunwoody North Civic Association is happy to provide free Slow Down signs for those who want them.

If you are a resident of the Dunwoody North Communities and are interested in obtaining a sign, please e-mail me at with your address and one will be delivered.

Please remember that these signs should not be placed in the county right of way.