Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mayor Ken Wright discusses Dunwoody's purchase of 16 acre failed development.

Dr. Susan Rudnicki of Dunwoody offers Mind and Body balance for all ages.

Dr. Susan Rudnicki and her “Get Fit 4 Girls” class worked up a sweat on Better Mornings Atlanta! The Fitness Fridays segment featured the young ladies live in the CBS News studio doing team workouts. Susan was interviewed about the launch of her Dunwoody class for girls ages 8-12.  (Separate classes for boys too.)

“What I wanted to do is start them when they’re young, so they develop healthy habits over a lifetime. If we don’t do it now, it gets much harder when the get older. We want to start it now, when we can make it fun for them, so they’ll equate exercise with fun.”
Dr. Susan Rudnicki
1705 Mt. Vernon Road, Suite E,
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Thursday, February 24, 2011

City of Dunwoody to purchase 16 acre site in Georgetown for $5 Million - Public Hearing Monday Night

Dunwoody to Purchase 16 Acre Site
Plans include a future park and possible civic or institutional use

Dunwoody Press Release – February 24, 2011 – The City of Dunwoody has concluded negotiations with Wells Fargo Bank and will acquire a 16.18 acre property located at 4000 Dunwoody Park. The City intends to close on the property towards the end of April for a final sales price of $5,000,000. The property has been one of the focal points of the City’s on-going master planning effort for the Georgetown / North Shallowford area.

The property is bounded on the west by Chamblee Dunwoody Road and on the east by North Shallowford Road, a few blocks south of the intersection of the two roads. The property is zoned for a high-density, multi-family development and previous owners planned the development for 280 multi-family residential units.

Through the Georgetown / North Shallowford area master planning effort, and the previous Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the City received extensive feedback and input from the community indicating this area has an overabundance of apartments and this property could better serve the community as a park and civic or institutional use. The City’s purchase of this land ensures future development of the site will not further strain the local schools and road infrastructure with additional residential units.

The City intends to utilize the majority of the land to create a new neighborhood park. The City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, adopted in 2010, notes that the City currently has 3.23 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents. Both the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and ongoing Parks and Recreation Master Plan note that the City of Dunwoody suffers from a significant deficit of parks and open space compared to similar jurisdictions as well as when compared to National Recreation and Parks Association guidelines which suggest at least 6.25 – 10.5 acres per 1,000 residents. This purchase will start to close this gap and provide the Georgetown / North Shallowford area with a catalytic redevelopment opportunity and a signature park.

Mayor Ken Wright is thrilled by the prospect of adding parkland in Dunwoody. “The addition of 16 acres of park land is a watershed moment for Dunwoody and a generational game changer for the Georgetown/North Shallowford community,” said Mayor Wright. “The City Council and I are thrilled to jump start the revitalization of the Georgetown/North Shallowford area of Dunwoody and are relieved that this purchase will head off the inevitable development of the land for more apartments as well as help us move forward in our effort to eliminate our monumental deficit of green space.”

The City Council is expected to authorize the Mayor to execute a sales contract with Wells Fargo for the purchase of the property at the February 28th City Council meeting. The City is in the process of completing the appropriate due diligence for the purchase of this property. The City will hold at least two public hearings and may finalize the purchase of the land in April.

Funding for the $5,000,000 purchase will be made from existing reserves. Due to expense controls and a healthy revenue stream, the City has accumulated well over $8,000,000 in reserves since incorporation in December 2008.

This summer the City Council is expected to approve a call for a bond referendum to be held in November 2011. Voters will have the opportunity to authorize the City to issue $56,000,000 in bonds to invest in the acquisition and development of open space and parkproperties. Funds from a potential bond issuance could be used to develop this raw piece of land into a signature park for Dunwoody.

Agenda for Monday Dunwoody City Council - 911 & 16 acre land purchase

Monday, February 28th
Dunwoody City Hall
41 Perimeter Center East
Dunwoody, GA 30346
Work Session at 6:00 p.m.
Voting Session at 7:00 p.m.
Watch Live at 7 pm maybe 6 pm too?

Work Session Agenda and Full Packet from City

Voting Session Agenda and Full Packet from City

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Day - March 3, 2011

The Georgia Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is sponsoring MS Awareness Day at the State Capital on Thursday March 3rd, and the Dunwoody City Council will be proudly passing the following proclamation on Monday night in support.



WHEREAS, MS is a chronic and disabling disease of the central nervous system in which the progression, severity, and specific symptoms cannot be foreseen; and

WHEREAS, every hour of every day someone new is diagnosed with MS, a disease that can erode a person’s abilities and hopes, halt a career and unravel the fabric of families, and adversely affects the quality of life for all involved; and

WHEREAS, last year in Georgia more than two million dollars were raised to find the cure for MS and develop effective treatments for the disease, as well as provide a wide range of client programs to improve the lives of the estimated 9,000 individuals living with MS in Georgia; and

WHEREAS, this investment is paying off in significant advances in treating MS, such as new medications which may reduce or delay future disability for people with MS; and

WHEREAS, while research advances have brought us closer to find the cure to MS, much remains to be done, and services must continue to be provided to those who live with the disease; and

WHEREAS, there are public and private agencies available to serve the constantly changing needs of those with MS, and their families, living in Dunwoody and Georgia by extending essential services to all who need them; and

WHEREAS, the diligent efforts of individuals working to find a cure for MS and the brave and courageous fight of those living with MS are worthy of recognition and the benefits such awareness may bring.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kenneth Wright, Mayor, City of Dunwoody, State of Georgia, do hereby proclaim March 3, 2011, as “Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Day” in Dunwoody, Georgia, and commend this observance to all our citizens, with special recognition to the Dunwoody based, Georgia Chapter of the National MS Society for its efforts to help “Create a world free of MS”.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jammed Greenway Meeting fills Dunwoody City Council Chambers

A special meeting to discuss proposed greenways took place Monday night at 7:30 at City Hall. My sons fifth grade geometry homework held my attention until the last second then I raced off to attend the meeting. When I arrived promptly at 7:30 the main parking lot was 95% filled whereby I had to hunt for a parking spot which I finally found on the edge of the lot. The line to get into the council chambers wrapped past the elevators and several citizens departed as I entered stating that they couldn't get into the the already packed chambers. After several minutes of waiting, I decided that I needed to be in attendance therefore I asked the Officer working the door if he could let me in the back council entrance, available by way of the police station.

When I entered the room, it was jammed with wall to wall people, many of whom were there to give public comment and were then angry to hear that public oral comment would not be part of the meeting. Warren Hutmacher the City Manager gave a quick presentation as to the 10,000 foot level of the greenway idea that was then interrupted a few times as residents poked fun at the slides or tossed in off hand remarks. Warren handled it well under adverse conditions. Then various maps and poster boards were put up for either red or green stickers to identify the feelings of the community and though I spent most the evening talking to people in the room, I believe Red was the preferred color of the evening.

Above is the photo of the map showing the powerline at Kingsley Lake with the Kingsley Swim Tennis shown at the middle left. The Red properties are homeowners who do not want the greenway to be forcefully placed on their property and/or are against the project coming on their land.

I believe that tonight was a eye opening experience for the Mayor and Dunwoody City Council whereby the public openly voiced their concerns with having a proposed public greenway on private citizens property when the citizens themselves don't want the project to move forward. Based on previous city correspondence, the City Parks Master Plan could be voted up or down on March 28th therefore it would be a Council discussion item scheduled for Monday, March 14th.  My guess is that all greenways affecting private property may be removed prior to final adoption of the Parks Master Plan and that this discussion would take place on the 14th.  There is also a chance that this could be an item for discussion this coming Monday Feb 28th but based on the last marathon work session it already appears that there are quite a few items on this voting agenda. 

For those who were unable to make oral public comment tonight, Monday's City Council meeting will have public comment time available on the agenda.

PS, please note that I believe the North South greenway that splits the word Dunwoody in the photo below follows the creek, therefore private property would also affected there, as well as the powerline too.  At the last meeting, the Mayor asked for an inventory of the proposed greenways as it affects private property and I believe this topic will be heavily discussed and considered by council before moving forward.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dunwoody Transportation Meeting tonight 6 PM at Dunwoody Baptist rescheduled for March 1.

No meeting Tonight
Set for March 1st

Date: Monday, February 21, 2011

Time: 6:00 p.m.
Dunwoody Baptist Church
1445 Mount Vernon Road, Dinning Room
Dunwoody, GA

Building on the City’s new Comprehensive Plan, citizens, staff and officials are now preparing the City’s first Transportation Plan. This Comprehensive Transportation Plan will:

• Identify transportation needs and appropriate strategies
• Identify specific actions to implement the goals of the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan
• Define necessary transportation priorities, policies, projects and/or programs

Looking at the presentation, maps and other information from second Comprehensive Transportation Plan Public Meeting-1/25/2011, how would prioritize future spending on Roadway Improvements?  Thoughts?

Dunwoody Greenway Meeting tonight 7:30 pm at City Hall.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Traffic Safety in Dunwoody by Chief Billy Grogan

Grogan's Corner
If you have traveled at all in Dunwoody, you have seen the traffic congestion on many of the roads. Unfortunately, when the roads get congested like this, driver behaviors change. They become careless, distracted, in a hurry and inattentive. These behaviors are not safe for the traveling public.

Instead, these behaviors put other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Our department receives complaints weekly about driver’s speeding, running stop signs, running red lights, cutting through neighborhoods, driving recklessly and the list could go on and on. We take each complaint serious and try and be proactive in our enforcement efforts.

Our goal in writing citations is not to generate revenue. Our goal is to change driver behavior and make the roads in Dunwoody safer for everyone. This is a difficult task given the number of traffic complaints we receive, the volume of traffic and the amount of time we are able to allot for traffic enforcement.

As a result, we have tried other measures to improve driver behavior. Radar signs were installed in our school zones and we deployed a mobile speed trailer as well. The speed trailer had to be replaced due to some mechanical issues. However, we now have it up and running. Of course, we also issue citations and warnings. I was told a long time ago that 50% of the people will think you are doing too much traffic enforcement and 50% will think you are not doing enough. This has certainly proven to be true.

In short, it will take all of us working together to make our roads safer. The police department will work diligently to change driver behaviors. At the same time, the driving public can leave for their appointments earlier, have some patience and treat others in traffic like they want to be treated.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Video of Feb 15th Dunwoody City Council Meeting - Hotel Tax Defeated

The Tuesday night Dunwoody City Council Meeting started at 7 pm and ended past Midnight in what was an exhausting session for all involved. The hotel tax increase earmarked for the Ga Music Hall of Fame was defeated in the voting session and then in the work session Council discussed the Parks plan as well as the Village, Georgetown & Transportation master plans. We discussed 911 and it appears that Council is leaning toward moving away from DeKalb County providing those services. Below are the videos I took from the meeting and since the City rolled out its new video system in council chambers for the first time, expect to links to that as well, if not for this meeting, very soon.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Revised agenda to Tuesday's Dunwoody City Council Meeting & Greenway Meeting announced

Tuesday's Dunwoody City Council agenda has been modified to put the parks discussion and other master plan discussions at the front of the evening's work session instead of at the end.  There has also been a last minute addition by Councilman Wittenstein for a discussion on a "Possible MOST Legislative Request".  MOST is a Municipal Option Sales Tax that could be put in place instead of a bond referendum.

With back to back meetings (a voting session on the funding of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, followed by a work session with numerous interesting topics), the public will have several public comment segments to choose from.  The Music Hall comes up first therefore if you would like to comment publicly please be there early for the first public comment section but if you would like to discuss the Greenway Plan, the Village Master Plan, impact fees, 911 or any of the other topics; you have the choice of either the Voting session or the Work session to have your comments heard.  City Council members are also available via e-mail and I can tell you that I have gotten more than usual in the last few days therefore if you would like to do that here is a good place to start

The city will be testing out the new video equipment for the first time on Tuesday but a live feed will not be offered until the bugs are worked out, so as usual please feel free to watch the meeting here if you would like to watch on the web. 

The City also announced a special meeting for next Monday to discuss the Greenway plans.

Chesnut's Position on Redistricting

I am a proud Chesnut Charter Elementary parent who attempted to stay on the sidelines for much of the redistricting discussions, that being said please indulge this post from the Chesnut community that is about funding equity based on enrollment in order to allow all Dunwoody schools the ability to offer music and art.

Chesnut's Issue: With redistricting, the estimated enrollment at Chesnut was 487. HOWEVER, this included 40 Pre-K students. Pre-K Students don't count as far as FTE funding. That leaves Chesnut at 447 - below the 450 needed for FTE funding.

Below is the letter that the Chesnut ES School Council sent to Ms. Tyson and Dan Drake, cc:Nancy Jester and Pamela Speaks, which outlines Chesnut's suggestions on redistricting. Last night I witnessed several of the signers of the letter talking to Nancy Jester regarding the issue at the DHA meeting and during Nancy's presentation she stated that there is still the possibility for Ms. Tyson to make changes to the proposal that will be up for a vote on March 7th. 

In case anyone wants to give personal feedback other than email, Ms. Tyson will be in the Dunwoody area on Thursday February 17th giving the "State of the DeKalb School System address" and there are two public meetings in early March also.

Click on the pages below to enlarge or check out Dunwoody School Daze where I first read the letter.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 State of the City of Dunwoody Video

1st half of Mayor Ken Wright's State of the City Address    

2nd half of Mayor Ken Wright's State of the City Address

To my readers via e-mail, please note that embedded videos do not usually work in your email program therefore please click the link below to return to the main blog post to see the video.  



Friday, February 11, 2011

DHA Meeting on Sunday welcomes Nancy Jester and discusses Chick-fil-A Survey

Dunwoody Homeowners Association
Board Meeting - (Open to the Public)
Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ 7:30 P.M.
North DeKalb Arts Center, Room 4
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, 30338

Dunwoody Schools redistricting - Nancy Jester

Chick-fil-A online membership survey results (310 responses)

Dunwoody Garden Club needs your support at Feb 22nd event.

Hurry! Monday, February 14 is the final day to purchase a ticket for "Come Play with Us" sponsored by the Dunwoody Garden Club. Come play bridge if you like, or simply enjoy shopping the Silent Auction, lunching with friends and enjoying the fashion show by Dillard's. Over 100 local businesses have donated items and gift certificates for the silent auction, including original artwork and a show stopper diamond necklace and earrings from Lee Brandt Jewelers in Perimeter Place. Amazing bargains from Dunwoody restaurants, hotels, retail and grocery stores are waiting to be snapped up by smart bidders. A successful bidder can easily recover the price of the $20 ticket to the event. Be sure to bring your checkbook so you don't miss out! Dillard's Perimeter Mall store has contracted with Catwalk Productions to provide eight professional models, including a male model, to show off their spring clothing and accessories. Each guest will receive a printed program that includes coupons from local merchants. Dunwoody Garden Club is a non-profit organization. Proceeds of this event are used to beautify the Dunwoody community. The club is currently donating trees for the new landscape at Dunwoody High School around the retention pond.

Artistic Affair benefiting the Spruill Center for the Arts - March 5th

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday's Dunwoody City Council Meeting has Music Hall, Impact Fees, 911 and Four Masterplans on agenda.

Tuesday, February 15th
Dunwoody City Hall
41 Perimeter Center East
Dunwoody, GA 30346
7:00 p.m.
Voting Session followed by Work Session
Watch Live

Voting Agenda and Full Packet from City
Work Session Agenda and Full Packet from City

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Are City of Dunwoody residents willing to raise their own taxes for park acquisition and development?

Discussions are starting on the possibility of asking the residents of Dunwoody if they should be able to vote in November on a parks bond referendum that if passed would raise the citizens property taxes to have those funds directed to the purchase and development of Dunwoody's park system.

Talks at the City Retreat were very preliminary and will continue at upcoming city council meetings as the Parks Master Plan is presented and vetted. In order for a bond referendum to be presented in November, there is much work to be done prior to Council setting the parameters and the amount of such a bond therefore nothing will be decided overnight but now is a good time to start being involved if you have strong feelings one way or another on what should be going forward.

I personally see both "Opportunities" and "Challenges" in the idea of a bond referendum but Council's job in the next few months will be to determine the needs of the community, set the funding amount to meet those needs and then step back to allow the residents to vote it up or down.

Opportunities: The funds collected would be spent locally within Dunwoody and done so rather quickly whereby the residents will be able to enjoy the long term park infrastructure improvements even though they will be funded over the next 20 years. The funds could be used to acquire green space in the Village and Georgetown areas that could possibly fuel developments that might be favorable and in line with the proposed long range development plans.  Property prices are at their lowest levels in years, large development tracts that are currently in foreclosure could be purchased for quarters on the dollar over prices of just several years ago. This bond could be looked at as a long term investment in the community to remove future residential development tracts in areas that are already over saturated with excess housing, thereby converting the land to uses for the residents who already live within the community.  Park development is a long term, quality of life investment in our community which if done properly will provide value in serving the residents recreation and social needs as well as adding long term economic value to the community.

Challenges: The economy is very tough for many residents who may not be able to afford much of an increase for parks, let alone the possibility of tax increases by the County and the School System. Questions will arise as the specific amount of the bond as well as the specific uses that it will be intended to be directed toward. Though I believe residents would have faith in the city leaders to follow through on the speedy implementation of the bond improvements, we unfortunately will need to overcome past DeKalb County history and citizen biases against bond referendums because all we have seen in past years by the county are promises made and promises unfulfilled.

Council may be in the starting stages of framing the discussion, but in the end; the residents will be making the final decision on this matter.  Please stay involved in the parks process and below are several articles on the subject posted by the Crier and the Patch.  The next City Council meeting is Tuesday February 15th at 7 pm.

Dunwoody Crier Article - Dunwoody Patch Article


Dunwoody Day Care Killing Suspect Indicted

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Proposed Dunwoody ES Attendance Map

Reposted from Dunwoody School Daze

All Dunwoody students stay in Dunwoody Cluster, Click map to enlarge:

Click here for the Powerpoint Presentation.

Click here for new School Enrollment Numbers.

Click here for # of students/miles from each elementary school.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

DeKalb County Budget Meeting to discuss 2.32 mil tax increase - Tues Feb 15th at Montgomery Elem

Budget Meeting Announcement

Tuesday, February 15th—7:00 PM until 8:30 PM
Montgomery Elementary School
3995 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
Hosted by: Commissioner Boyer & Commissioner Gannon

Read the Proposed 2011 Budget - increase of 2.32 mils

Listen to CEO Burrell Ellis

What others say: The Crier, Dunwoody Patch, AJC, Champion, South DeKalb

DeKalb County Speed Enforcement

RIP Ray Jenkins, Mayor of Doraville

Mayor Jenkins was elected to the Council from District Two in 1974. He was elected Mayor in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. A native of Doraville, Mr. Jenkins attended the old Doraville School for several years. He graduated from Chamblee High School.

He worked for an Atlanta motion picture distributor after high school until he joined the U.S. Navy in 1950. He went to boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois, then was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va. He served two tours of duty during the Korean Conflict and received an honorable discharged in 1954.

After his discharge, he returned home to Doraville and began a career with the U.S. Postal Service, retiring in 1986. Jenkins is married the former Louella Brown of Hayesville, N.C. The couple have three children (Beverly, Karen and Douglas) in addition to four grandchildren (Willie and Brandy Jenkins and Emily and Phillip Evans).

As a councilman, Jenkins was instrumental in setting the City's millage rate at a point at when most homeowners paid no city taxes on their residences. He has also been a key supporter of the Doraville parks program and founded the City's Animal Control Service.

Since 1974, Mr. Jenkins has represented Doraville on the DeKalb and Georgia Municipal Associations (GMA). He is a past president of the DeKalb Municipal Association (DMA) and the GMA's Fourth District, Georgia Municipal Association.

Dunwoody City Council Special Called Meeting & Planning Retreat on Friday at W Hotel

W Atlanta Perimeter
111 Perimeter Center West
Dunwoody, GA 30346
7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Agenda and documents.

FIRST READ: Ordinance to Amend Chapter 28, Taxation, Article III re Hotel Motel Tax
Increase. (Danny Ross)

Resolution Requesting the Georgia General Assembly to Enact Local Legislation to Authorize the City of Dunwoody to Exercise Authority Under the Georgia Redevelopment Powers Law.  (Warren Hutmacher)

Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations.

City Manager Presentation
1. Accomplishments and Review of 2010 Retreat Results
Listing and Prioritizing of Items Identified by Staff, Mayor and Council.
1. Re-write of the Zoning Code for Dunwoody
2. Accreditation - Police
3. Manpower - Police
4. Parks / Transportation bond discussion
5. Open check register
6. Service metrics of all departments
7. Economic Development strategy
8. Ordinance change to require 2 members of Council to add an Agenda item
9. Contract services discussion
10. Reserved and Unreserved Fund Balance Discussion
11. Discussion regarding the use of consultants
Discussion of Priority Issues and Goal Setting - Part 1.

WORKING LUNCH - 12:00 p.m.

Presentations by Consultants: (12:15 - 3:00 p.m.)
1. Arcadis US - Transportation Master Plan - 45 mins.
2. Lose & Associates - Parks Master Plan - 45 mins.
3. Urban Collage - Dunwoody Village Master Plan / Georgetown Master Plan - 1 hour

Discussion of Priority Issues and Goal Setting - Part 2.M. Summarize Agreements, Wrap Up, and Evaluation.

1. For the Purposes of Legal, Real Estate, and Personnel Discussions.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Multi-Use Trail research presented by Dunwoody resident Joe Seconder

also posted at a second place if problems.

If you hang around city hall for any time you will have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Joe Seconder who is usually commenting on ways to make Dunwoody a friendlier place for bikes as well as fighting to improve the quality of life for all citizens.  Joe was last featured on this blog with his push to make Dunwoody the Roundabout capital of the South.  Today if you look at the transportation plan, something tells me Joe was heavily involved.

Joe asked that I post this document to the web which describes the benefits of a muti-use path as well as the fact that the idea of a path under the Dunwoody power lines is not new.   Joe is very interested where this discussion will lead so please give Joe a comment or two if you have something to say.

In fact I'll start, Joe I love the completing the short connections that could tie neighborhoods to schools and shopping where it it possible to do so but unlike your example of the railroad bed in CA and the Silver Comet Trail here in GA, the land where this path is planned is currently owned by the people who live on the power line.  Check out my city map tool and look at the tax plats, my research tells me that Georgia Power only has an air easement and can not change the easement type at this stage in the game. 

An equivalent example would be to plan a bike path through every back yard of every house on the east side of North Peachtree Road.  Just because it would make a great N/S travel route doesn't mean that those residents should be forced to have the path installed in their backyard against their wishes.  Maybe I am off base but that is the way I see this scenario on the Power Line?   It is all about property rights and the residents are holding all the cards except for the long shot possibly of a Royal Flush known as eminent domain.