Sunday, January 30, 2011

City of Dunwoody update by Councilman Robert Wittenstein

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

There is a lot going on in Dunwoody right now but none of it is more important than the parks master plan that was just released in draft form. This plan aims to be a blueprint for parks development in Dunwoody—which up until now has been a virtual parks desert.

The conceptual drawings can be viewed at Parks and Green Space Master Plan.

One of the most exciting elements of the plan is the proposal to build a greenway along the high tension power lines that run through Dunwoody from Sandy Springs to Gwinnett.  The greenway could connect our parks into a network of paths for walkers, runners and bicyclers.   Also outlined are potential ‘makeover’ plans for each of our parks with an emphasis on transforming Brook Run from a “diamond in the rough” to a jewel.

The plan is still in draft form. If you have feedback, please post it on the newly opened discussion board Dunwoody Parks Plan Discussion Board.

Not in the plan, but something we should all keep in mind, is that this would be an ideal time to acquire property for parks in those areas of Dunwoody where we don’t have park properties today. Buying new properties would require an investment but with land prices lower than they have been in years, it would be a shame not to take advantage of what is sure to be a limited window with depressed prices.

In other news, we have received revised proposals for 911 service from both DeKalb County and ChatComm. As an illustration of the value of competition, ChatComm has lowered their price and DeKalb has offered to improve their service level. The ChatComm proposal is now very close in cost to the DeKalb proposal and ChatComm is still offering a substantially higher level of service. I think this makes what was a difficult decision (to spend more to get more) an easier decision. DeKalb’s 911 service is our weakest link in the public safety response chain and I’m looking forward to our increasing our ability to respond more quickly and more consistently.




  1. The big topic of Thursday's park meeting was not the release of the proposed park drawings but instead the anger shown by the residents who own the property where the greenways are proposed.

    Ideas on paper are not always implemented but for the good of the community all ideas should be fully vetted, explored and carefully considered. I see the greenway under the power lines being an extreme long shot at going forward but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be discussed openly to air all the facts and consider every available option (within reason).

  2. I think we need to acquire as much land as possible, can we do this without a bond.

    About the 911 issues. When a company has to keep lowering the price to get a customer that customer always comes after the full price customers.
    Let's stick it out with Dekalb. The response time doesn't really matter when the police and fireman fail to respond to calls for service.

    I don't think response time would have stopped one of the deaths we are all thinking about.

  3. Personally the word "exciting" is far from the truth when talking about the greenway! This would run through property owner's backyards. Backyards that are NOT for sale! Backyards that councilman Thompson said he would sue for and take! (if the property owners didn't want to donate or sell to have bikers and joggers passing by where their kids currently play and have privacy and security in their own backyards) NOT EXCITING! Actually TERRIFYING to think about!

  4. John--

    "Ideas on paper are not always implemented but for the good of the community all ideas should be fully vetted, explored and carefully considered."

    Words mean things. If this were only in the "discussion phase" your colleague Mr. Thompson would do well to not throw around highly-charged terms like "eminent domain". That phrase is like a red flag in front of a bull and I think you know it.

    If you're "carefully" considering what kind of plan to implemnt, then "carefully" choose your words when you talk about it.

    Lesson learned.

  5. As a big believer in sidewalk, I have to say we all need to be open to the ideas of the trails. I am a proud member of the PATH foundation which has helped build over 160 miles of trails throughout metro Atlanta. Who wins with trails, we all do. The land owner will usually see that there property value become more valuable due to the trails and accessibility. The citizens are more healthy and at the same time the city has made assets in there community which make us more connected. All I would like to suggest is that we be open minded about the "trails". Its a long way from coming to reality. Take a look at the PATH foundation website here:

  6. My Heyward,
    With all due respect, I will ask a question- Would this path go through your yard?! It would go through mine. I have 3 small children, and do not want others to freely travel through my yard on a trail. This would compromise a secure and private back yard that I now have, and that I purchased. I am supportive of trails,(and sidewalks, which we lack on this side of Dunwoody), but not when it would go through homeowner's backyards; and not when the homeowners do not want this. Especially NOT when their land would be TAKEN! (against their will and desires, since they do not want to donate or sell)

  7. “Many people consider the things which government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism.”
    Earl Warren

    Ah, associated with the greenway walking trail, Dunwoody finds itself in quite a "Scylla and Charybdis" dilemma!

    I can fully understand how a young mother would not want a trail passing her backyard where she allows her small children to play.

    Then again if there were not an angary process of eminent domain available to local governments, then we would possibly not have school buildings to educate our children in.

    When my children were young I would have been in full agreement with the young mother, but now that I am an old hippie, I believe I might quite like having a public path through my backyard, where I could invite thirsty trailblazers to join me in a Guinness Stout round my fire pit.

    But ultimately I do not have an answer for this issue - but this is exactly why I voted for the sagacious and Solomonic John Heneghan. I can only ponder and spiel, but Mr. Heneghan very thoughtfully considers then consummates.

  8. GRB,

    LOL, LOL, LOL. The image in my mind of you sitting by a fire pit sippin' suds chatting with walkers from east Cobb and Dultuh is too funny. Best of luck and I hope you can obtain a piece of property on this magic walkway under the power-lines to perfect your craft of entertaining 21st century hobos.

    With chickens long gone and the school stuff soon to pass us by, Dunwoody needs another battle to divide us all - welcome to the trail partner.

  9. Mr Betz, I like your response! I too voted for John Heneghan, and am glad I did. I am sorry I didn't convince my husband to run against the unopposed Doug Thompson though when we had a special election for that position.
    My husband was all about having chickens too! Of course, we would then have a concern with others stealing our eggs along a greenway through our backyard ;)

  10. Hi Sara,

    Please see John's posting from this morning. It includes a presentation on Multi-Use trails.

    FYI, as the PATH Foundation study from 2000 found, the right-of-way is presently up to 200 feet wide. Installing a trail could take as few as 20 feet. That would mean 10 feet from the center on either side.


    Joe Seconder

  11. If the county can put a sidewalk in the front of your home without getting your permission, can they use the same easement to put a sidewalk in the back of your house?

  12. Thanks Joe, I did read your presentation. My husband is currently responding on that post, so I will leave it to him there :)

  13. Dunwoody, to answer your question:

    Difference between the powerline easement pathway and a sidewalk is simple.
    The power line land is owned by the home owner and GA Power has an easment (the right) to access that land to service the its towers and wires.
    The side walks are built in the RIGHT OF WAY which is owned by the city or County.It is their land,check you plat and survey, so the city can build a sidewalk without even asking if they so decided
    Hope that helps