Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Dunwoody City Hall welcomes the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday.

The newly constructed Dunwoody City Hall, Council Chambers / Court Room appears to be built out with it being used on Thursday, June 4th for the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at 7:00 p.m. I am looking forward to seeing it and hearing the sound system that we have been missing at all city meetings from day one.
Dunwoody City Hall
41 Perimeter Center East - 1st Floor


B. Old Business
ZBA09-031 5020 Winters Chapel Road request for a reduction in parking spaces has been withdrawn without prejudice by the applicant and will not be decided by the ZBA

C. New Business
1. ZBA09-051: Plantation South Atlanta, Inc., of 4594 Barclay Drive Dunwoody GA 30338, d/b/a Plantation South Assisted Living Facility, applicant; represented by Dan Capobianco, requests a variance to the City of Dunwoody Sign Ordinance, section 12(a) and 12(c), to construct a second ground sign on the property. The subject property is the DeKalb County Fire Station located at 4588 Barclay Drive, on the southwest side of the 4500 block of Barclay Drive,
northwest of its intersection with Asbury Commons Drive. The tax parcel number is 18 354 01 008.

2. ZBA09-052: Richard Brown of 1471 Carnaby Court, Dunwoody, Georgia 30338, owner/applicant; requests a variance to the City of Dunwoody Zoning Ordinance, $2C-6, sub-section (e), to decrease a required rear yard setback from forty (40) feet to twenty-four (24) feet, a reduction of 40%, to re-build a deck. The subject property is located at 1471 Camaby Court, Dunwoody, Georgia 30338, at the Western terminus of Carnaby Court. The tax parcel number is 18 375 01 017.

3. ZBA09-053: Dunwoody Village Place, LLC, owner; represented by Rich & Peggy Iceman of 210 Scotney Glen Circle John's Creek , Georgia request the following variances: (1) to the City of Dunwoody Land Development and Environmental Protection Ordinance: $11 of Article 2 to encroach into an undisturbed state waters bufferyard; (2) to $2T-11(k) of the City of Dunwoody Zoning Ordinance, to allow for 39 parking spaces, a variance of approximately 15.2%; (3) to $4-11(b) of the City of Dunwoody Zoning Ordinance to construct an 11,400 square foot Child Day Care play area, a variance of approximately 26%. The subject property is located at 1536 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody Georgia 30338. The tax parcel number is 18 366 06 061.

4. ZBA09-054: Bill Grossman, of 5061 Hidden Branches Drive, Dunwoody GA 30338, owner; requests a variance to $2C-6(c)(4) of the City of Dunwoody Zoning Ordinance, to decrease the minimum front yard setback requirement from 35 feet to 27 feet, a variance of approximately 23%, for a new home addition. The subject property is a single family home site located at 5061 Hidden Branches Drive. The tax parcel number is 18 365 01 237.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Backyard Chickens, should they be allowed in Dunwoody? If yes, we may need to change our laws.

I am aware that chickens are being kept in several Dunwoody backyards and that there is an interpretation by the City which claims that they are not currently allowed. If that is truly the case, I would like to start a public discussion on the matter and then propose to correct this issue so that these residents aren't doing something that could be deemed illegal.

What are your thoughts? Do you have or know someone with chickens in their back yard? What are the Pros & Cons? Do they bother the neighbors? Any safety or health concerns? Please comment on the Blog or write to me directly if so inclined. Thanks.

The video below is regarding the City of Roswell which just legalized backyard chickens and to be fair the coop below is much bigger than the ones I have seen in Dunwoody.

Background information.

Atlanta Chicken Whisperer
AJC - Chicken Stimulus Package
Dorablog - Chicken Workshop at the Dunwoody Nature Center
Georgia Podcast Network - The Chicken Episode
Decatur - Chicks in the City
New Life Journal - People are Flocking to Backyard Coops
Terazod - Interview with the Chicken Whisperer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Important Dunwoody Comprehensive Plan, Community Meeting, Tues June 2nd at 7 p.m., please attend.

If you want input on the Direction of the City...
you need to participate in the process!

Here's the process, now get involved.

Kickoff Meeting
Tuesday, June 2nd
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Dunwoody United Methodist Church
1548 Mount Vernon Road

Dunwoody, GA 30338

Under the leadership of the Mayor and City Council we have begun the process of writing the first City of Dunwoody Comprehensive Plan. The public meetings to solicit your opinions and visions of the future will start Tuesday and continue over the summer and into the early fall months. The plan is to be the “Community Agenda”, a policy guide that details the community’s visions and goals for the future. This is a plan truly created by the community, for the community, therefore we need to know your thoughts!

The City of Dunwoody Community Workshops and Meetings for the Comprehensive Plan are organized so that participants:

• learn about the Comprehensive Planning process
• obtain data about their city (prepared in the Community Assessment - huge file)
• express preferences and priorities for the future of the City
• engage in city planning

The workshops will include information and education regarding community planning specific to the City of Dunwoody and the Metro-region.

How do I participate?

There will be five public meetings, and we highly recommend your attend as many as possible. The meetings will have different themes, exercises, and information.

June 2 Kick-Off
Present Process and Community Assessment Key Findings Preliminary Issues/Opportunities (whole assembly) Change/Preserve exercise (break-out working groups)

June 23
Transportation, Gateways and Urban Design

July 7
Parks, Facilities and Funding

August 3
Putting it all together: Vision and Future Development

September 24
Open House – Community Agenda Draft Components

A series of official public hearings taking place in December will provide community members an opportunity to review the draft Community Agenda, comprised of the community Vision, Policies and Implementation plan.

The Backlash to "It's not just Speed Enforcement, it's a paradigm shift towards a Safer Community".

Traffic & speed control has been an issue in this community for quite a while and the readers of this blog know that it is one that I and the other members of the Dunwoody City Council take very seriously. As I reported in a blog entry from last week, I see this as a paradigm shift towards a Safer Community, a new reality that Dunwoody is a city where the rules and laws are to be obeyed.

Tonight we are seeing some backlash to the effort to improve our quality of living in a CBS46 news story on the Dunwoody Police Department writing 850 tickets in the month of April. If you do the math, that comes out to about 21 tickets per officer for the month, or less than 1 per day per officer.

These traffic efforts were based on requests from the citizens for enforcement of the law and I am guessing that the city issues hundreds of warnings as well. The newly created Cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek had a similar reaction when they started their PD. When you are used to almost zero traffic enforcement, it makes some people happy to see the Dunwoody PD and some people are not happy that we are now enforcing the traffic laws.

Video News clip for CBS46

Sembler’s Big Brookhaven Bailout by Rep Mike Jacobs

The proposed Sembler tax abatement for its “Town Brookhaven” project needs to be stopped.

One thing you can do to stand in its way is to attend an upcoming community meeting to be held on Monday, June 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Chamblee United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

I have organized this meeting and invited John Woodham, the lawyer who represents the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation in fighting similar transactions in our neighboring county, to discuss possible legal strategies for challenging this latest proposal foisted on the public by Sembler and the non-elected, unaccountable DeKalb County Development Authority. We also will explain the mechanics of the tax abatement at this meeting.

At the May meeting of the Development Authority, Sembler made its pitch for the tax abatement and dismissed the opposition to the proposal as coming from a small handful of discontented citizens. If the e-mails I am receiving from constituents are any indication, I’ll bet what Sembler is dismissing as a small handful of discontents will look a lot more like a packed room of unhappy taxpayers at the June 8th meeting.

Furthermore, attendance at this meeting should not be limited to those who live in the immediate vicinity of the Town Brookhaven project. Citizens across DeKalb County should be concerned about the proposal. Please forward this e-mail message and ask your neighbors to attend. Here’s why:

The deal Sembler is seeking is known as a PILOT bond deal. PILOT is short for “payments in lieu of taxes.” In this deal, Sembler will convey to the Development Authority ownership of large portions of its mixed-use Town Brookhaven project. The Development Authority will float bonds to finish construction of the project. The Development Authority also will lease the project back to Sembler. Under this lease, Sembler will make rent payments to the Authority sufficient to repay the principal and interest on the bonds. Bond funds also could be used to refinance Sembler’s existing loans for the project at a more favorable interest rate.

Development Authority bond deals must be confirmed in DeKalb County Superior Court. Sembler and the Development Authority already have obtained Superior Court approval for a smaller PILOT bond deal. That deal was rushed through the Superior Court at a time the public was unlikely to notice, between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, in 2008. Sembler now wants a bigger tax abatement and is seeking to abandon its earlier, less lucrative deal. As I discussed in this week’s Dunwoody Crier (click for link), the “holiday gift” that the Development Authority gave Sembler last December could furnish a legal basis for challenging Sembler’s new, more costly proposal.

This PILOT bond deal results in a property tax abatement because the Development Authority, a government entity, will own the property and therefore the property cannot be taxed. The value of this tax abatement is estimated to be $51 million over 20 years.

The direct costs of educating the children who will live in Town Brookhaven and providing county services to the project will be borne by families and small businesses across DeKalb, the same families and small businesses who are struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy.

By contrast, Sembler may no longer be subject to the risks of doing business in a tough economy. As a result of Sembler’s proposed PILOT deal with the Development Authority, those risks could be transferred to the public.

The Town Brookhaven project isn’t owned by Sembler the parent company. It’s actually owned by a “bankruptcy-remote” entity known as Sembler Bell Brookhaven, LLC. The sole purpose of Sembler Bell Brookhaven, LLC is to develop and operate Town Brookhaven. It doesn’t own any other property.

If the commercial real estate market remains as bad as it is right now (click for AJC article) and Town Brookhaven flops, Sembler Bell Brookhaven, LLC could file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would afford Sembler Bell Brookhaven, LLC the opportunity to reject its unexpired lease with the Development Authority. That would leave the Development Authority the owner of a failed project and abandon the Authority to sort things out with the bondholders. The deal probably does involve insurance to cover the bondholders’ losses, and could require security to allow the bondholders to make a partial recovery from selling off the project. However, these “safeguards” don’t change the fundamental concern that Sembler is socializing the risks of its project.

Last but not least, there’s the unique ethical dilemma of Dr. Eugene Walker, who serves in dual roles as the Chairman of the Development Authority and a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education. He was first elected to the Board of Education in 2008 with the help of $18,000 in campaign contributions from Sembler executives, employees, and their spouses. You can view Dr. Walker’s campaign contribution disclosure reports here and here (click for links to two separate reports).

In a recent Dunwoody Crier article (click for link), Dr. Walker credited his “platform of economic development” for carrying him to victory in his Board of Education campaign. In the same vein, I suppose he might explain the $18,000 in campaign contributions as Florida-based Sembler’s way of showing special concern for the children of DeKalb County.

You should feel free to e-mail and let Dr. Walker know whether you think he should be involved as Chairman of the Development Authority in making a decision on Sembler’s request for a PILOT tax abatement. Unlike the other members of the Development Authority (click for more information), who get to vote to sock the taxpayers with Sembler’s $51 million tax bill without having been elected to anything, Dr. Walker is now an elected member of the Board of Education who should hear directly from DeKalb citizens.

Other developers are waiting in line behind Sembler to secure their own tax abatements from the Development Authority. If Sembler succeeds, the floodgates will be open. It’s a snowball effect that ultimately will cause county officials to claim they need to raise our property taxes to make up for lost tax revenues.

Somebody will have to pay for the services consumed by the new projects. You and I are those somebodies.

I hope to see you on June 8th.

Background links are below but I believe the best commentary is found in the comments of the DeKalb County School Watch.
Rep Jacobs blog, AJC, DeKalb County School Watch, Decatur Metro,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Disabled Atlanta Officers Mistreated

There is no excuse for this and I pray that these circumstances will never happen in the City of Dunwoody.

As a law enforcement professional, you count on the City to take good care of you and I as a member of the City Council will strive to serve the officers with the same distinction that they serve us the citizens. YouTube Video

Background here.

Calling All Conservation-Friendly Citizens

Do you know an everyday hero who is making great strides today to ensure a greener tomorrow?

WSB-TV Channel 2, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Friday launched Cox Conserves Heroes - Atlanta, a national awards program to honor and celebrate conservation in everyday life.

Cox Conserves Heroes-Atlanta is now accepting nominations at

The Cox Conserves Hero, chosen by online consumer voting, will be awarded $5,000 to donate to the environmental nonprofit of his or her choice.

“The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to conserve land for people to use and enjoy forever, so we are thrilled to partner with Cox to identify and honor people who are making a personal difference in Atlanta,” said TPL’s Executive Director, Helen Tapp. “We’re fortunate to have engaged citizens who want to be actively involved in creating more greenspaces, promoting environmental best practices and enhancing the quality of life in the metro area.”

WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News reporter Justin Farmer will broadcast public service announcements encouraging viewers to nominate people in their community who are helping to create, preserve or enhance places for everyone to enjoy - parks, greenways, gardens, waterways, plazas, streets and public squares. By improving our shared environment, these conservation heroes make Atlanta a better place for everyone to live.

Following the nomination stage, finalists will be selected by the Cox Conserves Judging Circle, a group of local civic leaders. Their stories can be accessed through, so the public can learn more about the finalists before voting. The finalist receiving the most online votes will be named the Cox Conserves Hero.

Cox Conserves Heroes Timeline:

• May 26 – June 19: “Call for Nominations.” The public can visit to nominate an individual;

• August 10 – August 31: “Cast Your Vote.” The public can view videos of the finalists and cast their vote;

• September: “Cox Conserves Hero Announcement.” Following the online voting, Atlanta’s Cox Conserves Hero will be announced in early September.

By showcasing these unsung heroes, WSB-TV and TPL hope to inspire more people to take an active role in neighborhood conservation activities.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created in 2007 through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of WSB-TV. The partnership stems from Cox Enterprises’ national Cox Conserves program designed to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017, and promote eco-friendly behavior among its employees, communities and other corporations. The Cox Conserves Heroes program is active in Seattle and San Diego and will launch in San Francisco and New Orleans this year.

Help Find Pixie a Home

My friend Joseph who runs Dorablog knows a of a good Black Lab that needs a home.

Click here for the full story.

Dunwoody City Council Meeting Audio from May 26th - (School Traffic Update, Dr. Albin, AED, & much more)

Here is the agenda to follow along if you are so inclined.
Beginning until New Business 05262009_audio1.mp3
School Traffic & Road Improvement Update 05262009_audio2.mp3
Comprehensive Plan Presentation 05262009_audio3.mp3
Dr. Robert Albin 05262009_audio4.mp3
Chapter 27 & Community Council 05262009_audio5.mp3
Dunwoody Overlay 05262009_audio6.mp3
AED which was moved to the end of meeting 05262009_audio7.mp3
The Council was given a paper copy of the school traffic / road improvement plan on Tuesday but I have upload the document here.

The story of Dr. Robert Albin & Mr. Jim McNab is quite incredible and I recommend you get the full details from these two news stories as well as the audio from this evening above.

Cheating Death

Cheating Death 2

Georgia Safe Routes to School Grants Announced

Dunwoody submitted our SRTS application just days after incorporation and was a long shot in being awarded the Safe Routes to Schools Grant. That being said, we came together as a community, submitted a decent proposal and will be implementing numerous safety programs to encourage our school age children to walk to school. A second round of funding will be coming in the future and we will be working towards that goal in order to submit another application.

This round the grants were decided by State DOT District with Dunwoody in District 6, competing against all of North Fulton County, our competition was formidable and the grant was given out to the City of Milton for Crabapple Crossing Elem / Northwestern Middle & Summit Hill Elem.

Other grantees were DeKalb County in District 4 for Livsey Elementary, City of Atlanta in District 5 for Morningside Elementary, Douglas County for District 13 for Chapel Hill Elementary and the City of Lawrenceville in District 7 for Lawrenceville Elementary & Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School.

Congratulations to those entities who put forward the best application and were awarded the grant money.

Scripps National Spelling Bee is this week and I am cheering for Ms. Julia Denniss.

I know for a fact that I am not smarter then a sixth grader, nor in anyway qualified for this contest. Are you willing to admit the same?

Click here to take the test to see if you measure up. I dare you.

OK, I Double Dog Dare You? What are you, Chicken? Come on Ralphie...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Help Support Dunwoody's Law Enforcement Torch Run

The Dunwoody Police Department is an ardent supporter of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics Georgia. The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the largest grassroots fundraising program for the cause, began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics.

The idea for the Torch Run was to provide local law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where the officers lived and worked. After three years of successful runs in Kansas, Chief LaMunyon presented his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which endorsed Special Olympics as its official charity through the Torch Run. Today, all 50 states and over 40 countries have their own versions of the Torch Run.

In Georgia, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest annual fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Georgia. This signature event plays a significant role in Special Olympics Georgia's annual budget.

LETR involves more than 1,000 law enforcement officers from over 100 agencies who take part in a 1,000 mile, two week torch relay to pass the Special Olympics Georgia "Flame of Hope" across the State. All of the nine relays converge at Emory University (Atlanta) during the State Summer Games Opening Ceremony.

The Torch Run culminates at the State Summer Games as officers enter the Opening Ceremony with the Olympic Torch - the Flame of Hope. The Torch is passed to a Special Olympics athlete who lights the Olympic cauldron signifying "Let the games begin!"

The LETR program has evolved, over the years, to a year round fundraising effort. LETR merchandise is sold and officers participate in various fundraisers such as COPS on Doughnut Shop, Cuffed for a Cause, Tip a Cop, Golf Tournaments, Motorcycle Rides and many other events.

Chief Grogan is the LETR Director for the State of Georgia. In 2008, officers across Georgia raised over $700,000 for Special Olympics Georgia.

The Dunwoody Police Department has designated Special Olympics Georgia as our charity of choice. Throughout the years, we will participate in various fundraising activities through the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Please check out our website frequently for a list of events.

If you would like to support this cause, please click on the link below to make an online donation.

You can also read more about the LETR at

DeKalb remembers the men and women who've given their lives in service to their country.

Every Memorial Day a service is performed at the DeKalb Veterans Memorial in Brook Run Park to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was a very touching ceremony and I wish I brought my sons to witness the occasion. If you would like to support the DeKalb Veterans or honor a specific DeKalb Veteran, please think about Buying a Brick at the Memorial.

The guest speaker of this years ceremony was Reverend Dr. Robert Certain who was born in Savannah, Georgia in December 1947. An alumnus of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, he attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1969 with a BA degree in History and a commission in the US Air Force. As a combat aviator he flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia in 1971 and 1972. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, five Air Medals, the Prisoner of War Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Following the Vietnam War, he attended the School of Theology, an Episcopal Church seminary in Sewanee, Tennessee, was ordained as a priest in 1976 after he received his Master of Divinity degree. In 1990, he was awarded his Doctor of Ministry degree from the School of Theology. In his capacity as a military chaplain, he served as a chaplain in the Air Force on active duty and in the reserves. As a reservist he served as chaplain to the Air Force in various locations, including basic military training, at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command and Air Mobility Command, and at the Air Force Academy. He also is a graduate of the Air War College. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1999 at the rank of Colonel.

Robert published his autobiography, Unchained Eagle: From Prisoner of War to Prisoner of Christ in 2003, and is the founder and president of the Unchained Eagle Memorial and Benevolent Society, Inc. The Memorial Society helped to build a POW/MIA Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery.

When former President Gerald R. Ford died in late 2006, Father Certain was chosen to lead all the memorial services and to preside at his burial in Michigan.

Free Movies Poolside at Dunwoody W Hotel @ Perimeter

Head out to the W Atlanta-Perimeter for a summer movie series like no other. The hotel will screen movies poolside at their Wet Deck. Admission is free, but you'll probably want to take some cash for cocktails and treats from Savu, the hotel's Asian fusion restaurant.

W Atlanta - Perimeter
111 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, Ga 30346

When: Tuesdays @ 8 p.m. (ends September 22)
Price: Free.
Reservations recommended.
Event Phone Number: 770-396-6800

Film schedule:
May 19: "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
May 26: "Nacho Libre"
June 2: "Grease"
June 9: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
June 16: "Transformers"
June 23: "Revolutionary Road"
June 30: "Top Gun"
July 7: "Galaxy Quest"
July 14: "The Duchess"
July 21: "Dreamgirls"
July 28: "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Aug. 4: "Tropic Thunder"
Aug. 11: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Aug. 18: "School of Rock"
Aug. 25: "Coming to America"
Sept. 1: "Iron Man"
Sept. 8: "Defiance"
Sept. 15: "Eagle Eye"
Sept. 22: "Babel"

Dunwoody named by Business Week, Georgia's most expensive suburb but I am really waiting for the 2010 Money Magazine, best places to live survey.

I don't give this specific ranking much value as it just repeats the stats from last year but as a member of the Dunwoody City Council I do strive to improve our ranking on Money Magazines best places to live survey. With now accurate crime statistics based only on the City of Dunwoody and not DeKalb County as a whole, I believe our ranking there will rise tremendously.

In case you are not aware, in 2006 Money Magazine stated that Dunwoody had a very high crime rate and with the proper information they changed the way they interpreted our data. The 2008 crime data was still from DeKalb County therefore I am not expecting an improved ranking from Money Magazine until the April 2010 survey is released.

Guiding a city takes patience and vision to plan for the long term but I am very happy to say that our Dunwoody Police Department is making great strides to get us to where we want to be.

Audio of the May 18th Dunwoody City Council Meeting.

While I was away Councilman Robert Wittenstein recorded the three hour meeting of May 18th and I have converted and uploaded it for your (and my) listening pleasure. Thank you, Robert.


Dunwoody announces Public Hearings on 2009 Tax Rates - No Tax Rate Increase!

The Mayor and the City Council were elected to fulfill the promises they made when they ran for office, namely to start a city from scratch while providing the same or improved levels of service from DeKalb County and to do so without raising property taxes. The City will be announcing three public hearings to review the Council's proposal to keep the 2009 taxes at the exact same level in which it started the City, which is the 2.740 millage rate.

There is a quirk in the taxation public notice law which states that since the City of Dunwoody didn't set a millage rate in 2008 and the City is levying a millage rate of 2.740 in 2009, therefore this initial tax rate being set is a tax increase over last year and must be publicized as such.

As you will note in the photo above, the Unic TaxDist (Unincorporated Tax District) has a tax rate of 2.74 Mills and this tax will be completely removed in 2009 and replaced by a City of Dunwoody Tax District rate of 2.74 Mills instead.

The link at the top of the page, as well as again here, are the Public Hearing notices that will be published in the Dunwoody Crier as well as the required "Notice of Property Tax Increase" needed to satisfy State law.

Large Black Dog with Red collar found at Tilly Mill & Peeler

Please call 770-451-7705 to claim the pooch.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dunwoody / DeKalb Memorial Day Service, Brook Run Park, Monday at 9:00 am

Monday 9 am
Callanwolde Concert Band
DeKalb County Veterans Memorial
Brook Run Park
4770 North Peachtree Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

PS: 18,000 veterans were honored this morning with a flag placement performed by Scouts at Marietta National Cemetery. Dunwoody was well represented. Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend and remember all of those that have carried the torch of liberty in the past, and those that are doing so today.

An Evening with Larry King - May 31 at the MJCCA

A Page from the Book Festival of the MJCCA is Proud to Present
An Evening with Larry King
May 31 • 7:00 PM
MJCCA – Zaban Park
5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338

Book Signing to Follow

Rep. Johnson to hold Career Expo & Job Fair - Thursday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) is holding his 2009 Career Expo, a re-entering the workforce job fair on Thursday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at DeKalb Technical College in Clarkston.

More than 35 representatives from federal and local agencies and private industry will be filling hundreds of available positions. There will also be counselors on hand to help with résumé writing, tips on how to start a small business and how to do business with local governments.

Some participating agencies include – but are not limited to – AT&T, Gwinnett County Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, EPA, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Census Bureau, IRS, Veterans Affairs, FAA, Primerico Conyers and DeKalb Workforce Development.

Learn About:
  • Job openings from employers
  • How to write résumés
  • How to do business with local governments
What to expect:
  • Federal, local agencies hiring for job openings, including police officer posts
  • Counselors on hand for résumé writing 101
  • How to prepare for an interview
What to bring: If you or someone you know needs to find a job or launch a career.
  • Dress for success
  • Multiple copies of your résumé
  • A good attitude
  • Listening skills
More information, call 770-987-2291.

Dunwoody City Council Meeting Agenda for Tuesday May 26, 2009

Dunwoody United Methodist Church
1548 Mt. Vernon Road, 30338
Tuesday May 26th
7 p.m.

Proclamation: “Dunwoody United Methodist Church
Proclamation: “Dr. Robert Albin
Proclamation: “Automated External Defibrillators

Minutes from the April 20, 2009 City Council Work Session.

PRESENTATION Dr. Kevin Harris, Dunwoody High School Principal.

Resolution adopting a license fee for door-to-door salesmen and solicitors in the City of Dunwoody.

Resolution adopting Lights Off/Power Down policy.

Ordinance to Amend Chapter 2: Administration

Status Report on New School Traffic - Richard Meehan, Dir of Public Works.

Resolution to transmit the Comprehensive Plan Community Assessment and Community Participation Plan to the Atlanta Regional Commission and State Department of Community Affairs.

Ordinance to amend Chapter 27: Zoning - An amendment to the text of the Zoning Ordinance to clean-up certain language, reinstate certain provisions, and amend certain requirements.

Ordinance to amend the text of the Zoning Ordinance, specifically Section 3C, the “Dunwoody Village Overlay District”.

Ordinance to rezone the Dunwoody United Methodist Church property to remove it from the Dunwoody Village Overlay District Designation”.

EXECUTIVE SESSION for the purposes of legal, real estate, and personnel discussions.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Random updates

The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:00 P.M. at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. Full agenda should be out by Friday evening.

At some point I will be voting on the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mr. Bob Dallas, representing the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce provided the outline of his public comments as to why the City should not form it's own Authority. The AJC also wrote a short article. Please give me your comments.

The Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce is hosting a special night with the Stage Door Players on Thursday May 28th and they are inviting the community to join in the fun.

The Dunwoody Library will be closed for a month, June 2 - July 5.

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan - Draft Community Assessment Document is a great read to learn about the City of Dunwoody, I highly recommend it. (8 MB) Any mistakes or things that need to be addressed prior to our Tuesday meeting?

No news on the Safe Routes to School Grant? Not sure of the status.

My house is still for sale but we had someone come back for a second look, which sounds positive.

Who in Dunwoody, Twitters? I want to follow you so please let me know you exist, I'm @DunwoodyNorth

Today is the last day of school in DeKalb, Congratulations to all the Graduates and their parents who got them there.

My neighborhood pool opens today and I'm looking forward to hanging out with my boys. Have a Safe Holiday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's not just Speed Enforcement, it's a paradigm shift towards a Safer Community.

If you have followed this site for any time you know that speeding drivers, especially near residential communties is one of the quality of life and public safety issues that I am pushing to improve.

Last week a middle school student was hit by a car on Chamblee Dunwoody whereby the boy needed brain surgery to save his life and his leg was broken in 36 places requiring many additional hours of surgery. This week I have had conversations with four parents from the area of the incident that want more done regarding the problem of speeding since they are extremely worried for their children's safety.

They want more speed enforcement, improved crosswalks, additional traffic lights, radar signs and one resident even mentioned that she wanted video cameras on school buses to levy tickets against drivers who routinely go around stopped school buses with the STOP sign out. With school soon to be let out we know that the volume of traffic goes down but the average speed then goes up and it is no longer a concern of allowing your child to walk to school but now a concern that your child can not safety drive his bike to the neighborhood swimming pool.

I believe that we as a City are doing everything we can with the resources available but to at least one person I talked to, we are not moving fast enough to change the mindset of the drivers. The real issue is that there are no easy solutions and nothing can be done over night to assure the safety of our residents, but trust me; we are seriously working on it from several angles.

Later today I am anticipating an announcement from GDOT regarding our application for the $500,000 Safe Routes to Schools Grant to improve pedestrian safety and we are keeping our fingers crossed for positive news. No matter the final outcome, I am proud of the package that the newly formed City put togetharer with a group of dedicated parents representing every Dunwoody public school, along with assistance from the DeKalb County School System we submitted for our first official grant application. Long term safety improvements will come from the citywide analysis conducted by the team and I look forward to seeing the capital improvement requests that the Dunwoody School Cluster (through the DCPC) will be putting forth to improve walking conditions for all students in the community.

The City just completed a successful demonstration project on fixed radar speed limit signs and now the Council needs to determine the feasibility of obtaining these devices, their placement and finally their funding. The long term safety effects of these devices have been proven and now we just need to find a way implement. Besides the fixed sign research that the city has been conducting, the Dunwoody Police Department has purchased and deployed a new speed trailer to also combat neighborhood speeding.

Finally we all know that change happens slow and there will be some who will fight the process, complain of the enforcement even when they are admittedly guilty by their own account of the facts. I saw one such complaint this week regarding a speeding ticket where the person admitted that he was going 25 mph over the speed limit on Womack (doing 60 in a 35) but thought the fine of $400.00 was too high a penalty.

Guess what, the fine wasn't too high as the Judge sets the fine level based on the fine structure approved by the City Council, which was based off of comparisons with other communities. What really happened was that the driver wasn't aware of the paradigm shift, the new reality that Dunwoody is a city where the rules and laws are to be obeyed.

For some, change happens too slow and for others the change happens faster then they drive.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gaining perspective from the back row of a Dunwoody City Council Meeting.

For the last eight months I have sat at the front table of every Dunwoody City Council meeting, been in on every conversation, recorded and even published audio of these meetings for those who were unable to attend. I missed the Monday night work session meeting and therefore am in the dark as to what occurred, what conversations took place, who was for, or against, the various items that will be voted upon come next Monday night.

Yesterday I asked for comments from those who were in attendance and I received two replies. Let me share with you the perspective of those sitting in the back row of the audience, those who may have a slightly different perspective from the front row had I been there, since their back row (everyman) perspectives are just as (or more so) valid, informative and even entertaining then what I would perceived took place.

The first reply I received was from Mr. Max Lehmann who provided me the text of his public comment to the council from Monday night where he requested improvements of public notice regarding zoning matters to maximize community awareness of land use and development. He even pointed to the statements that I made in my blog regarding the lack of public notice in our first step of our rezoning process which is the Community Council.
From Fri May 15 blog, It was discovered that the City, unlike DeKalb County, does not require rezoning signs nor notice to neighbors prior to these Community Council meetings therefore the odds of the community actually showing up to fight or support the application is very minimal. I will be looking to have these policies reviewed and changed thereby allowing the community more notice of what is going on.

The other item is that the City website should be making the complete packet of information which is given to the various committee members available on the internet for review to everyone. What appears to be happening now is that just the agenda is being provided on the web and that doesn't have the same detail as the full committee receives.
I haven't had the time to discuss this with other Members of the City Council or Community Development, but these conversations will happen soon. I will be recommending that changes take place to make the rezoning process more transparent in order to give the neighbors more notice when a rezoning is proposed near them; as well as recommend changes to make the Community Council more relevant in bringing about a public discussion of the zoning issues in an informal, open discussion of the interested community.

The second response I received was from Mr. Rick Callahan, a regular at our meetings, who also stood up at the public comment section of Monday's meeting to voice his opinion regarding something on the agenda. He spoke out against City committee members being chosen from outside the City of Dunwoody and I am told that two hours later, he was the only man in the room who wasn't being paid to be there. Rick provided a complete recap of the meeting (except for the short period where he may have fell asleep) from his back row seat. The recap is straight forward, irreverent, opinionated and gives his unique perspective of what he saw. Is it completely accurate? No. I see some flaws in his reporting (the signs on Ashford Dunwoody were a directional sign pointing to the new City Hall & Police Station.) but then again he was sitting in the back row and missed the paper being passed across the front row.

I appreciate the fact that residents like Mr. Lehmann and Mr. Callihan, as well as a few other regular attendees, take the time away from Jack Bower on Monday nights to help guide the City with their insightful & heartfelt public comments. I would like to thank Mr. Rick Callihan for submitting his recap and I look forward to seeing him sitting in the back row again real soon.

If you haven't been to a Dunwoody City Council meeting yet, I highly recommend it to know what is going on in this great City and please do take advantage of the public comment section at the beginning of the meeting.

It was put there just for you. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dunwoody Police starts Bike Patrol and Explorer Post

Lieutenant David Barnes and Sargent Mike Carlson.

The Dunwoody Police Department is in the process of organizing a Dunwoody Police Department Explorer Post. The Dunwoody Explorers will meet on a weekly basis at police headquarters to train in different aspects of law enforcement. Law Enforcement Exploring is a worksite-based program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are 14 years of age, or are 15 years of age but have not yet reached their 21st birthday. Exploring is governed by Learning for Life which is a division of the Boy Scouts of America. Application

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Heneghan's have decided to move.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, we have already found another house here in the Dunwoody North subdivision, I will still live in district three and will remain on the Dunwoody City Council. Kristin & I purchased this home in 1997 prior to knowing that we would someday have three, soon to be six foot six, 250 lb football playing boys that will be eating us out of house & home. We seriously considered putting an addition on the home but decided to upgrade instead.

Our home is a beautiful two story traditional, four bedroom, two and half bath, four sided brick home with a basement which sits on a level wooded lot on a cul-de-sac just off North Peachtree Road and is just a half mile outside I-285. The location allows walking to Chesnut Charter Elementary (1 block away), Peachtree Charter Middle School (1/2 block away), Swim Tennis (1/2 block away), Brook Run Park (2 blocks away) and the Marta bus stop is even at the corner. The house has been well maintained and the site includes a huge workshop & storage shed. home listing & Zillow home listing

We love this neighborhood and the sense of community that it provides so much that we are only moving a block or two over and would like to see this home go to a nice family. The street only has 13 houses and is a fun group of neighbors where you know everyone's name and our kids play together in the street at the end of the cul-de-sac.

The last couple of weeks we have had done painting, minor carpentry work, landscaping, pressure washing, chimney cleaning and the house is finally ready to show. Our first open house is today, Sunday, May 17th from 2 until 5 pm. Please stop by or if you would like a showing at another time, please contact our agent (and Dunwoody North resident) Rawson Grobety of Keller Williams at 770-845-4097.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Agenda for the May 18th Dunwoody City Council Work Session

Dunwoody City Council
Work Session (No votes.)
Dunwoody United Methodist Church
Monday May 18th @ 7 pm

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dunwoody Elementary School Update & lack of public notice for Community Council Meetings

This evening after a busy day at work, I rushed over Dunwoody High School to listen to the final update of the new Dunwoody Elementary School that was given by Principal Jonathan Clark, Ms. Pat Pope, Dir. of Operations / Construction, Ms. Robin Burch of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association who was also representing the City of Dunwoody to obtain several building and landscaping changes, and the head of transportation / busing, (I missed his name).

Below is the recording of the meeting which lasted about 53 minutes.


Here are a few highlights from memory, so I encourage you to listen to the meeting instead of quoting me if you are going to rely on the information. The school will open on time with about 750 - 800 students and the capacity of the school is about 950. Most of the teachers are from the three feeder schools (Austin, Chesnut & Vanderlyn) and the school website will be updated the first week in June providing the names. Dress code is plain solid colors (Jeans & shorts are OK, collared shirts preferred.) or school spirit wear (either Dunwoody Elem School or from any other school in the cluster including DHS). Start time is 7:45 until 2:15 pm with the students from Austin riding in separate buses and the children from Chesnut & Vanderlyn sharing the buses with their local school. The shared buses will pickup at the house bused students from the Elementary school (greater than 1.5 miles walking miles from local ES) and bused students to DES (greater than 1.5 miles from DES) and then drop off at the DES before bringing the younger students back to the lower elementary school. In the afternoon it is reversed, picked up at DES, head to the lower elem and then drive home. A number of complaints and suggestions were provided on the tentative transportation plan but it will not be final until June so things can still change. Landscaping is much improved near Windhaven Court, nicer fence lines. The school health clinic has been reconfigured, doubled in size. The playground equipment is age appropriate but the speakers couldn't describe it. There will be after school care available and the list of activities will be released prior to the start of school.

As far as the complaints of environmental damage highlighted in an AJC article and stop work orders, Ms. Pope dismissed both claims and stated that the school was in full compliance.

Over all I was happy with the presentation, I like Mr. Clark, I know and trust the leaders of the PTO and am looking forward to being a Dunwoody Elementary School parent for the next four years.

Immediately after that meeting I headed over to the Community Council to listen to a presentation on a Special Land Uses application for transitional housing in an existing apartment complex behind Peachtree Middle School. The Community Council is the first step of the rezoning process which is then followed by the Planning Commission and then the City Council. I mentioned the CC meeting on the blog but there were only seven residents in the audience and four of us were either Planning Commission or City Council Members and are not allowed to ask questions nor influence the conversations.

It was discovered that the City, unlike DeKalb County, does not require rezoning signs nor notice to neighbors prior to these Community Council meetings therefore the odds of the community actually showing up to fight or support the application is very minimal. I will be looking to have these policies reviewed and changed thereby allowing the community more notice of what is going on. The other item is that the City website should be making the complete packet of information which is given to the various committee members available on the internet for review to everyone. What appears to be happening now is that just the agenda is being provided on the web and that doesn't have the same detail as the full committee receives.

Before that meeting was fully over, I left to catch the last couple of innings of my son's playoff game at Murphy Candler, which was then followed with my boys and I viewing of the Ivy Riders Classic Cars and the Dunwoody Police Soap Box Derby Car.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New transit line proposed to cut through a Dunwoody Neighborhood, GDOT presentation on Thursday May 21st.

This evening I received an e-mail inviting me to attend an Ashford Alliance Meeting (think Dunwoody Homeowners Assoc but inside 285) for a special presentation from the Georgia Dept. of Transportation to discuss the proposed new transit line and stations which will be part of the Revive 285 project.

When: Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 Pm
Where: St. Martins Church 3110 Ashford Dun Rd, 30319 - Behind Gable Hall

I have attended a number of the Revive 285 meetings and was aware of the plans to add a transit line through Dunwoody connecting the Doraville & Dunwoody train stations, but tonight was the first time I observed two of the options going directly though a Dunwoody Swim Tennis facility and wanted to make the community aware of the circumstances.

There are maps linked below showing some of the options for Dunwoody but the maps that concern me are the Ravinia North & Ravinia South options both of which would immediately impact the Georgetown Swim Tennis.

Perimeter Mall Option
Ravinia North Option
Ravinia South Option
Chamblee Dunwoody Option
Doraville Option

Station Area Information Sheets

Next Steps and Status Update.

Another interesting issue is that the proposed Shallowford Rd. transit station seems to have been taken off the table and the information is no longer available on line?

I will not be able to attend this meeting because of a previous appointment but will be requesting that the Dunwoody Public Works Director be in attendance and report back to the Council & Community as to its status. The e-mail I received from the Ashford Alliance stated that questions can be asked in advance by submitting them ahead of time via email to or