Tuesday, October 25, 2011

City of Dunwoody moves forward with proposed sports field complex on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard - contingent on parks bond passage.

Dunwoody, Ga. – October 24, 2011 - The City of Dunwoody has concluded negotiations with Cortland Partners, LLC and plans to acquire 42 acres of land for $19,000,000 on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard for the development of a consolidated sports complex. The new sports complex would replace the existing 519 unit Dunwoody Glen apartment complex. In addition to the new sports complex, in the Letter of Intent, Cortland Partners agrees to demolish and redevelop the adjacent 266 unit Lacota Apartments Complex into owner occupied housing in concert with the development of the sports complex. The total site includes 63 acres and over 785 existing apartment units.

 “This purchase sets in motion the accomplishment of many of the goals in our adopted Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan,” said Mayor Ken Wright. “It provides us with adequate space for a much needed sports complex to meet the needs of our youth as well as freeing up Dunwoody Park for the expansion of the Dunwoody Nature Center.”

Mayor Wright continued, saying, “The City regrets the need to displace residents (785 apartment units), however, in a built out environment like Dunwoody, we have found it challenging to locate a sufficient amount of vacant land for the athletic facilities desired by the community. The City will work with Cortland Partners on a transition plan for the current residents, which includes 560 school age children who are in the Dunwoody cluster; all current leases will be honored without the threat of early cancellation.”

This purchase is contingent upon the passage of the Parks Bond for Acquisition (Nov. 2011). If the referendum fails, the City will drop the contract without financial penalty. 

City Manager Warren Hutmacher explained, “Combined with the 19 acres under contract on North Shallowford Road, with this purchase the City has identified for the voters 61 acres of property that will be purchased if the Parks Bond Acquisition referendum passes. This deal provides an assurance to the voters for how over 75% of the bond funds ($25,000,000 out of $33,000,000) will be spent.”

Mr. Hutmacher continued, saying, “The remaining bond funds will likely be spent on some smaller neighborhood parks and the acquisition of land for a ’Town Green’ in Dunwoody Village. This purchase provides transparency for the citizens of Dunwoody; when the voters go to the polls, they will now know what properties will be purchased if they approve the Parks Bond Acquisition referendum.”

For more information please contact City Manager Warren Hutmacher, at 678-382-6700 

Total Project:
  • City Purchase: The price negotiated is $19,000,000 for the 42-acre property (Dunwoody Glen Apartment Complex); approximately $450,000 per acre. 
  • Private Sector Involvement: Convert adjacent existing 21-acre parcel (Lacota Apartments Complex) into owner occupied housing. Total Project: The total site includes 63 acres and over 785 existing apartment units.
  • Bond Vote Transparency: The City has secured 61 acres to be acquired if the bond referendum passes. This purchase identifies how 75% of the bond funds will be spent in advance of the vote. Remaining funds likely will be spent on a Town Green for Dunwoody Village and smaller neighborhood parks.

City Purchase: 42-Acre Property
  • Current: The 519-unit apartment complex is currently over 94% occupied and is not in fiscal distress. The property recently appraised for refinancing for over $22,000,000.
  • Purpose: Development of a sports complex, which may include walking trails, playgrounds, pavilions and restrooms and at a minimum, fields suitable for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and football. This acquisition sets in motion plans to relocate the baseball fields from Dunwoody Park (on Roberts Drive) to this new complex. Dunwoody Park would then be converted to a neighborhood park and allow for the expansion of the Dunwoody Nature Center.
  • Financing: On November 8, 2011, voters will consider a Parks Bond for Acquisition.  This purchase is contingent upon the passage of the Parks Bond for Acquisition. If the referendum fails, the City will drop the contract without financial penalty.
  • City Council Authorization: The City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a Letter of Intent for the property and schedule a Public Hearing for November 14, 2011.
  • Due Diligence: Upon execution of a sales contract the City will commence its due diligence to include at a minimum an environmental assessment, two appraisals, a survey and a title search.
  • Planning: A final site plan for the sports complex will be completed with significant public input in early 2012.
Private Sector Involvement: 21-Acre Property
  • Plan: Cortland Partners, LLC owns a 21-acre parcel adjacent to the Dunwoody Glen site, which includes 266 apartment units. They have agreed to work in partnership with the City of Dunwoody to develop this site into owner occupied housing (# of units not determined at this point) as the 42 acre site is converted into a sports complex.
I have already seen a few news stories on this proposed purchase but most just quote the text above therefore I won't link to them but below are two citizen views on the subject, both of whom give a unique perspective and therefore worth reading.

Game Changer for Parks Bond? - Rick Callihan

It Is About Fairness, Responsibility and Transparency - Bob Lundsten


Tasneem said...

I have to agree with Bob Lundsten's commentary about the sudden announcement of the intent to buy this land on PIB. The Dunwoody City Government is heavily biased against apartment complex residents. There are nearly 2,400 people who will need to move - families with children so that we can have our parks at a whopping cost of nearly $20,000,000. Forget about fairness - this is just not right. When Dunwoody became a city, the writing was on the wall for apartment residents.

waterman said...

I'm shaking my head. This can't be happening. Displacement of so many families and you know there's 560 children in our schools that will be affected? Those are friends of my children. This is cold. Spending (potential) citizen tax dollars to move many citizens out of our City. And it's galling that departing councilors are making this decision for a Mayor and three Councilors that will be seated in January. I was a no vote, now I'm a "hell no" vote.

I agree with Bob on this one. Transparency be damned on this..

GaryRayBetz said...
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Anonymous said...

Outstanding work by City Council.

Many parts of Dunwoody are being redeveloped after 20-30 years. It's certainly time that outdated apartment projects are redone. We've seen this with many older office and retail projects already. We will see more of it with redevelopment like this from old apartments to new Parks. There is no way any of this effort is negative. It will enhance our City and provide much needed athletic fields and facilities.

We definitely want to vote YES for the Parks Bonds.

Those opposed to this are certainly far afield from having the citizens of Dunwoody's best interests in mind. The City Council has been working on efforts such as this for quite some time. It's a win-win situation as you can see from the details in the facts about what the City is actually doing.

Those complaining need look no farther than DeKalb County which eliminated the large, old Brookhaven apartment projects on Peachtree Road next to Oglethorpe University where Town Brookhaven is now built. Or the City of Atlanta redoing many apartment projects that had seen better days and were a source of problems for the citizens.

Vote YES FOR PARKS BONDS on November 8th.

Rob Augustine

GaryRayBetz said...

On November 8th, the citizens of Dunwoody will be crossing the Rubicon, and find themselves in the Kafkaesque quandary that they have willingly willed themselves into, that "beyond a certain point there is no return; this point has to be reached" and oh, it shall!

Shall the astute forward-thinking citizens of Dunwoody build a future that resembles an Ann Arbor, Michigan by voting "YES" on the Parks Bond?

Or will the mossbacked Tea Party timidity continue its swirling sway by polluting the city's clean crystalline air with a stink of spurious statistics leveraging a frightened gullible people into a resounding "NO" vote on the Parks Bond bringing their henchmen candidates into office on the coattails of this wedge issue, thus putting Dunwoody well on its way to becoming the next Flint, Michigan?

Hmmm, what will it be and how will it be? Dunwoody's "alea iacta est" moment will occur soon and you will have to live with perhaps your
most consequential life's choice other than that of the spouse that
brought you here.

I do hope you will forgive my hyperbole and realize the criticality of this vote.


Chip said...


Developing a park (non-taxable property) to replace an apartment complex (taxable property) is not REDEVELOPMENT. It's clearly something else.

I read the city statements and John Heneghan's comments, and see the property in question is financially sound, has a 98% occupancy rate, and apparently is not one of the complexes that we often hear so much (unsubstantiated) complaints about. Don't see how anyone can call this a "win-win".

And, Rob, of course it doesn't concern you that the City has made offers on properties to the tune of $25 M dollars, which money they do not have; the first public comment on the deal will be AFTER the bond referendum, and the word "may" is still prominent in all the language about what will be delivered.

Not to mention, the deal for $450K/acre is 150% of the price for any other purchase the City has made.

I guess Rob you just like to spend money, price not being an object. So, VOTE YES! on the park bonds and encourage this type of irresponsible urban renewal masquerading as a huge transfer of public money to the private sector, with almost no citizen input.

That's the Rob Augustine plan for responsible government at the local level. VOTE YES!!

Terence MacSwiney "Remember 1920" said...

Ah, I be years starving for Hibernian heuristics and rhetoric this contentious! A regular bare-knuckled brawl!

Féadfaidh an cath buile!

Anonymous said...


Remember 1920. And GO GREEN!

And yes, VOTE YES for the Parks. It will be a solid investment for City of Dunwoody.

Parks not projects.

See you there, Rob

Chip said...


That whole 1920's thing turned out well, overall, don't you think? We can look forward to 80 years of strife.....

Or do you even know to what Mr. MacSwiney was alluding?

GaryRayBetz said...

I do apologize for my tangential tendencies, but the arcane and abstruse allusion is that in 1920, Terence MacSwiney starved himself to death in a British prison fighting for an independent Ireland and more green space in Dublin, when the English wanted to build sweat shops in Saint Stephen's Green park...

Bob Dial said...

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.


Anonymous said...

Erin Go Bragh, to you Chip.

I know my IRA when I see it.

I think the British passed an Act around that time. Your allusion to that is ludicrous and idiotic. Have you been hangin' with that Leahy fellow?


Bob Lundsten said...

How do you call the eviction of over 2000 people and the potential displacement of 560 school kids a win win for anybody?
Feel ggo that you can play baseball
The comparison to Oglethorpe is just plain stupid.
Old apartments were replaced with newer apartments not ball fields.Rob's own comments shows how twisted the logic is

"It's certainly time that outdated apartment projects are redone."

They are not being redone, they are being ELIMINATED.

Get a clue Rob. How is evicting 2000 people and displacing 560 students in the best interests of the citizens of Dunwoody.
Last time I checked they are citizens of Dunwoody as well.
Maybe in your mind second class citizens and that is exactly my point.
So what is next? Neighborhoods that are in Dunwoody North are not up to the same standards of Dunwoody Club Forest so do we buy them out too?

The City of Atlanta rebuilt housing units as the City of Decatur is doing right now. Don't cloak yourself in the self righteous attitude of we are doing a good thing
You are evicting 2000+ people, putting 560 kids at risk of being removed from their schools and doing nothing to replace it.
You get you wish and get rid of the people that do not fit your holy than thou version of Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

Another extraordinary trivialization at best, Bob Dial.

Dunwoody isn't 1930's Germany, if that's what you mean by your stupid reference to a famous quote from a persecuted and jailed religious leader in Nazi Germany.

Surprising how important things get bandied about as though they have no meaning. Where were you the past 50 or so years?

Rob Augustine

Mom99 said...

I will be voting YES for the park bonds. Thank goodness this will be on a ballot and everyone will get a chance to vote. I wish everyone would stop being so ugly just because someone doesn't agree with them. I have seen too many decisions based on a few loud mouths, this time we all get a chance to vote. My vision for Dunwoody includes parks, greenways, bike trails, etc. and now is the time to do it. It is an investment(yes, paid for by the people) for a better Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

Mom 99 is right of course, but I must state my strong disagreement with Bob L's statements and false categorization of my comments.

First, in all the apartment project redos in the City of Atlanta the original tenants moved. This is part of Renee Glover's program to eliminate once and for all the problems that exist in these apartment projects. From major building code violations to crime, these projects don't work for the residents. Ms. Glover won accolades from around the US for moving people from such a negative environment.

Second, when Sembler did town Brookhaven and eliminated the big apartment project, there was no way that all of those folks relocated to the upscale housing that Sembler constructed.

Third, it is true that apartment renting is not a permanent thing. Most renters are going to move anyway within a year or two. So Bob's trying to make this program sound like the City is ruining lives is way too far fetched.

Fourth, the program described by the city includes an owner- occupied component. This will provide housing to folks who do want to stay. It will be far better than continuing rental status. East Lake in DeKalb is a prime example of this type program.

Fifth, DeKalb County has been on an apartment building spree for decades. It is without limits. County government has approved far more apartment projects than anyone really needs. The County has subsidized apartment projects, provided tax credits, and allowed apartments in office zoned property. Dunwoody's surfeit of apartments are directly tied to this DeKalb policy of allowing and incentivizing apartment projects throughout the County. If anyone thinks that in the last analysis this has been a good, positive policy, I haven't met them.

Sixth, I fail to see how the City's plan is not a win-win situation. It is a positive for the City's future. We add park land, provide an athletic facility in a very convenient location, add to owner-occupied housing, and provide for residential housing around the park whose owners will have a vested interest in the parks success and attractiveness.

For the above reasons and even more I won't mention here, the city is doing exactly what should be done for the benefit of Dunwoody.

Certainly, there will be assistance in relocation for the apartment residents as well. None of this program is really new either. It has been done all over Metro Atlanta, and in other cities. The City Council and city officials deserve our praise for a great effort. All we need to do is vote YES for the Parks Bonds so we can accomplish this worthwhile effort.

Rob Augustine

GaryRayBetz said...

It's all cool Rob, as George Bernard Shaw once utter or wrote -

"All progress depends on the
unreasonable man."

Sight Edman said...


"there will be assistance in relocation for the apartment residents"

Can someone please post a link to an official city document that describes this in detail and explains how it is a legally binding commitment by the city to those displaced? Will their kids get to go to the better schools in east cobb or forsyth?

Anonymous said...

Q.V., Sight Edman:

“This purchase sets in motion the accomplishment of many of the goals in our adopted Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan,” said Mayor Ken Wright. “It provides us with adequate space for a much needed sports complex to meet the needs of our youth as well as freeing up Dunwoody Park for the expansion of the Dunwoody Nature Center.”

Mayor Wright continued, saying, “The City regrets the need to displace residents (785 apartment units), however, in a built out environment like Dunwoody, we have found it challenging to locate a sufficient amount of vacant land for the athletic facilities desired by the community. The City will work with Cortland Partners on a transition plan for the current residents, which includes 560 school age children who are in the Dunwoody cluster; all current leases will be honored without the threat of early cancellation.”

Anonymous said...

An all-white city government(Mr. Shortal excepted)

asks a predominantly all-white voting populace to spend $19 million to buy an apartment complex

to displace 2000 of those "other people" (of course let their leases run out to be fair) and move over 500 of their children from a fairly decent school system cluster to who knows what

so that all of those self-indulgent nice white people can have a couple of ball fails for themselves and their children.

Sounds like a great branding message for Dunwoody.

20 years of peace living in Dunwoody and now it has come to this. I really have some great neighbors. I thought that the country had moved beyond this kind of stuff.

I make the comment that anyone who has moved into Dunwoody within the past 10 years and paid an inflated price for your house knowing that Dunwoody was suffering from a serious park deficiency really can't be all that smart.

Smart People Smart City

a bunch of pretentious prigs.

Jack said...
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Jack said...

Mayor Wright continued, saying, "The City regrets the need to displace residents... challenging to locate a sufficient amount of vacant land for the athletic facilities desired by the community."

How do you know it's "desired by the community"? The issue hasn't been voted upon, yet. No "Wright" sign in my yard.

Chip said...


I didn't make an allusion to the 1920's, Terrence MacSwiney did.

You, in fact, were the one who wrote: "Remember 1920. And GO GREEN!"

Sounds like an endorsement of the sentiment.

I thought the sentiment expressed illustrated the regrettable state of affairs; but I did not comment on its appropriateness.

Just setting the record straight.

Jack said...

The people in favor of the parks referendum might want to take a look at Peachtree City: http://peachtree-city.org/

The difference is that this city planned for the parks before building the city--they didn't try to squeeze parks and ball fields in after the fact. Dunwoody is trying to fit a size 18 into a size 10. It isn't comfortable and the size 18 is in denial.

Kirsten said...

Since this is my backyard, I vote YES! My neighbors and I are sick of the police cars there every night. It will be a significant improvement to our area. My backyard neighbor just built an amazing house and so the area is really changing for the better.

Everyone is suddenly worried about the kids being displaced, but no one cared about them or Hightower when the redistricting was going on. Its funny how the liberals among us use people only when it is convenient to them.

I am concerned that, although Hightower is overcrowded now, that this will really adversely affect the great things they are doing for their students. Will they even be able to exist as a school if so many K-5 kids are displaced, during the interim while the new housing is built?

GaryRayBetz said...

As long as we are on the topic of parks, I wonder if we could revisit the PVC farm area, beginning with a reprint of my pithy Swiftian philippic from a while back?

PVC Farm Land

I guess with me being the dissolute being that I am, that it would be contingent upon me to suggest the most controversial, albeit abundantly beneficial use for the soon to be purchased 16 acre stretch of land colloquially referred to as the "PVC Farm".

My suggestion is that with the State of Nevada now looking to outlaw prostitution, Dunwoody could address this pending privation by developing, if you will - a sort of "pleasure dome" on the "PVC Farm" property.

I would anticipate this proposition to be laden with benefits thrice-fold:

Financially - this enterprise would more than copiously increase the tax base for our fair city.

The Arts - this living menagerie would amply supplant and surpass the stuffy old Georgia "rock & roll" hall-of-fame museum proposal.

Humanitarian - by establishing a business model of this type, we could address the mental health issue of loneliness going hand-in-hand with positions of power, as our politicians would no longer have to feel like they are the only whores in Georgia.

As always, I trust my fellow citizens will consider my recommendation in a most broad-minded manner.

Bob Lundsten said...

It is amazing to me when I read nonsense form smart people. Sometimes one’s passion for a cause clouds their intelligence. I hope and pray that is the case for you Rob.
You analogy to the projects in Atlanta is way out of bounds. What we are talking about in Dunwoody is not a redevelopment project by the city, it is a PARKS project. We have no city policy or plan to deal with the issue we have created for ourselves. We are not moving people from a negative environment we are evicting them.
Your comparison to Sembler is also apples to oranges. Sembler was a private company that cut a deal with an apartment owner to build new residential units and a mixed use project. This is not the case with the city buy out of these complexes. We sought out the land, we negotiated the deal, we have the responsibility for the eviction of these people, plain and simple.
If I am in an apartment for a couple of years, that is my plan and the City comes in and forces me to move then it is a life altering event. How callous and arrogant can you be? I am glad you know what most renters in these units are planning on doing with their lives. Far fetched? I do not think so. People, who struggle to pay the rent each month, can ill afford to cost of a move or the disruption in their lives, no matter how you try to trivialize it.
The owner occupied component is smoke and mirrors. I do not care what they promise; there is NO MONEY to be had to build condos in this market. Banks are requiring pre sales of more that 70% before they will fund a new condo project. In today’s market banks are not standing in line to lend money for townhouses .You stated in your previous rationalization that the tenants of the old Brookhaven site could not afford the new Sembler offerings. How then do you expect that the residents of these complexes will be able to afford new townhouses? Kind of got twisted in your own rationalization.
I find it funny that you find a way to blame everything on DeKalb County. DeKalb was on an apartment building spree? Really? I do not recall DeKalb spending one dollar building anything. Property that was zoned for high-density residential use and could legally be built. I do not remember getting a lot of support from you as DHA President in my quest to close the O/I apartment loop hole. Seems nobody really cared until the type of people that are not DUNWOODY people moved in. East Lake was built in a different time, different environment. Your comparison is ludicrous.
Win – win? Owner occupied housing that may never get built. A high end community located around a new park that current residents will never be able to afford (unless you are advocating some sort or housing authority or work force housing?). How many units of apartments will you have to buy so the new high end residents will feel “safe”?
You want parks, vote yes, but do so with the full and complete knowledge that you are displacing 2500 residents of our city. You may not like apartment people, those second class citizens, but you signed up for it when you voted to become a city. No matter what spin you try and put on this, the whole thing is wrong.
But at least we get to play baseball.

GaryRayBetz said...

My mantra -

"He, in his madness, prays for storms, and dreams that storms will bring him peace."

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov - arguably the greatest Russian poet aside from Pushkin

So, in my delusional mind I ponder then conclude, "Ah, the healing catharsis a heated discussion has for a community!", but perhaps with this particular divisive issue, this will not be the resultant scenario...

Anonymous said...

Despite your protestations, Bob, Town Brookhaven and the East Lake Redevelopments are very similar to the renovations planned by the City of Dunwoody. Indeed, all these projects result in relocation of existing residents, but City of Atlanta has been doing them routinely. As the following FACTS show:

Some Data about the Sembler Town Brookhaven Project:

It replaced the 524-unit Peachtree Gardens Apartments. The project meant that more than 3,000 apartment-dwellers, some of whom had lived there more than 40 years had to relocate.

And about East Lake:

"Cousins established the East Lake Community Foundation to coordinate the East Lake Meadows public housing redevelopment effort...

"Cousins also sold corporate memberships in the golf club to help pay for the renovations. A $32.5 million grant from HUD also helped pay for the renovations.

"In a May 2006 interview in Atlanta'’s Creative Loafing Magazine, Renee Glover said, “It is a misconception that revitalizations displace people,” citing a Georgia Tech economic professor named Dr. Thomas “Danny” Boston.

Boston, a member of Mayor Franklin’s Council of Economic Advisors, found that people affected by demolitions “were much better off” and “enjoyed a higher standard of living.”

"A Research Atlanta report found the demolitions affected 1,211 families in Techwood Homes, Clark Howell Homes, and East Lake Meadow. Of this number 592 received Section 8 Housing Vouchers (almost 49 percent) and 326 relocated to other public housing complexes (27 percent).
Source: Atlanta Progressive News

All of this type of redevelopment and bringing an end to projects that are no longer meeting either code or the needs of their residents is being emulated all over the US.

So you see, other jurisdictions are doing the same thing Dunwoody is doing. What the City Council has done makes complete sense. It is in line with what City of Atlanta has done. It is a positive step to acquire property for Parks and Green Space.

We should approve the Parks Bonds so this moves forward while the land is affordable and construction costs are low. We willnot have opportunities like this for long.

Rob Augustine

Anonymous said...

Also, Bob, you seem to have your years running together and your facts wrong.

I was president of the DHA in 1994-1995. There was not any apartment loophole being utilized at that time. The "loophole" became an issue ten or so years later in 2004 or so. There's absolutely no way you can implicate me in your "I didn't help you on your quest" about this issue. Get your facts straight before shooting off stuff like this.

And also contrary to your assertion, everyone I knew cared a great deal about DeKalb County's inability to even amend its zoning ordinance at all to prevent O/I from being used to build even more apartments. It took how many years to get this loophole closed? Too many.

Here's the quote from Commissioner Boyer's website about this issue and note the date -- 2006.

"Jun 21, 2006
After two years of debate, the attempt to end the practice of converting office buildings to five-story apartment buildings without public input has been accomplished.

"The DeKalb County Board of Commission passed an ordinance last Tuesday requiring developers to obtain a Special Land Use Permit prior to the conversion of office properties into multi-family developments in zones designated unconditional office and institutional.

"The issue, with 2,200 apartments under construction or planned for Perimeter Center, gave impetus to the drive for incorporation of Dunwoody.

"Around Perimeter Center, older office buildings have been razed for the five-story apartment buildings, adding to overcrowding at Austin and Vanderlyn elementary schools, two of the state's top 10 in most rankings. Near I-285, apartment construction has forced the addition of trailers at Chesnut Elementary.

"Prior to its passage, the ordinance was amended to reflect the definition of a high-rise apartment development to mean "a building or buildings with a minimum of three stories containing multifamily."

So, when I say DeKalb County was on an apartment building spree, I did not refer to the County BUILDING anything. I mean the County has provided all kinds of incentives, financing benefits, and zoning approvals to rampantly allow developers to build apartments throughout the County.

That is why we need to pass the Parks Bonds to help reduce the excessive number of apartments, especially where they may not be code compliant, foster criminal activity, or otherwise be a detriment to the community.

So, again, based on facts, not off the cuff, inaccurate comments, I say Vote Yes for the Parks Bonds on November 8th.

Anonymous said...


Wasn't all Atlanta re-dislocation from City or HUD owned housing projects? The PIB complex sought to be bought by Dunwoody is a privately owned, money making property.

If the Land Acquisition part of the bond proposal passes and the Construction part does not, then Dunwoody will be landlords of the PIB property. Property will pay no taxes and the City can make some money from it. Not a bad deal. lol

Pipe farm looks pretty good cleaned off. Maybe the Council will put up a $199 swing set from a big box store to confirm its intention of making it into a park to satisfy the urgent park need. Could also put the swing set on a flat bed and move it the 0.2 mile to the Medical Center park if the decision is made to sell the pipe farm. Another possible use of the pipe farm is to re-open the old Gold Club on it. Make a great tourist attraction and bring lots of business to Dunwoody.

Bob Lundsten said...

Spin it any way you want. Maybe someday you will understand the difference between private land deals and what amounts to the city condemning a property and forcing out the tenants. What you condemn in the past, you use as justification for your actions now
The arrogance of your position is morally bankrupt.

The facts are simple; we are using public park money to eliminate an element of the City that you don't like. You offer nothing to those you displace other than a ball field. The city has no plan or policy when it comes to the way it handles forced relocation. It has no Development Authority or redevelopment plan.
You can deflect the criticism of your morally reprehensible position by saying others have done it before, but that does not make it right and offers you no absolution.
What saddens me is that in all of the emails I have received over this issue, those in support are less interested in getting baseball fields and more interested in the social engineering we will be undertaking. They speak of eliminating the undesirables and the balls fields are a secondary concern. Spare me anymore of you twisted rationalization.

While we have civil rights issues raising its ugly head in the 50’s and 60’s, we have simply have replaced it today with a new phrase “apartment people”. I will not be surprised when I hear them referred to as "THOSE PEOPLE". That is sad and troubling.

But at least our kids get to play baseball

Colleen O'Casey said...

I'm for parks but not for tossing people out of their homes. But the land which is intended to be purchased to improve a city is affordable. Where else was Dunwoody going to find affordable land to improve the city?

If you rent a house, you don't expect to be able to dictate to the homeowner that he/she can't one day sell it. That is just how capitalism works and an economic system which much more than a majority of people in Dunwoody willing embrace.

But for some Dunwoody people commenting here to express a highhanded hypocritical self-righteous bluster just isn't right by suggesting that the Dunwoody mayor and city council had plotted some morally reprehensible plan of social re-engineering, just ain't right at all. I don't believe anyone has uncovered any evidence that this occurred, and unless there is evidence discovered otherwise, then it's just not right and even hurtful to the community to imply it.

Chip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip said...


Do you think this "deal" was concocted overnight? Isn't it a bit telling that the Master Plan needed about $14M to purchase everything it included, and if you add the $19M for this deal, you come up with the $33M requested? Coincidence? (You shouldn't believe in coincidence!)

Also, $450,000/acre is not exactly a "bargain" given that the average price of a residential lot AND house is $350,000. We could have purchased an entire neighborhood for the same amount!!! (That's a better deal, you know!)

Rob Augustine is blowing smoke; the City's action is duplicitous;the whole Parks bond issue is a distortion of fair process.

Vote NO! and let's do-over and get it right. Just like the RFP process that was supposedly a "great deal" until citizen input demanded a "do over" and we saved another $400,000/year by doing what we said we were orginally going to do.

Vote NO!! in fairness and in principle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Colleen. For anyone to call this "morally reprehensible" or "duplicitous" is ridiculous. You self-righteous commentators act like things can only be done your way.

Well, we disagree completely. I've made factual reference in these postings to how this buyout, renovation, relocation effort works in City of Atlanta and elsewhere. Note that this includes private-public buyouts as well. I guess if we adopt your position, we just sit here and do nothing. I don't accept that.

Vote Yes for the Parks Bonds on November 8th.

Rob Augustine

GaryRayBetz said...

Yep, I gotta agree with Ms. O'Casey regarding the hypocrisy shown here by some folks displaying their "moral outrage" regarding the displacement of the apartment dwellers.

Come on! The whole creation of the City of Dunwoody was based on a much more "wink-wink" bigoted, duplicitous, and morally reprehensible motive than this action.

So, please halt the hypocrisy and realize that you if you are "in for a penny, then you are in for a pound" or in Southern speak, when you voted for a town of Dunwoody you committed to "going the the whole hog!"

You can though, as I suggested at the commencement of the election season -

"Upon noting that the honorable Ken Wright shall not seek re-election this fall as mayor of Dunwoody and the recent declared candidates are hardly up to snuff for the job, I shall throw my hat into the ring to run for mayor (with or without the support of the local Libertarian and Anarchists' parties) and if the good people of Dunwoody are willing to ignore the many skeletons lurking in my closet and elect me, I promise to serve only one day (long enough to collect my salary – “Thank you!”) and to dissolve the charter of the failed experiment of the City of Dunwoody in order that we may once again live free of a homeowners association by government proxy.

Though please advise me, sooner than later, if this contrivance of mine is so absurd as to not even bother seeking grass roots support, because with the summer months approaching, I, as a bald man, will be needing my hat back."

Write in Gary Ray Betz for Mayor of Dunwoody and assuage your conscience!

Jack said...

I voted NO to the city of Dunwoody. The government is nothing but a bunch of good ole' boys. Now, we're really seeing the result of a very poor decision.

Chip said...


Neither Bob Lundsten nor I have ever said "you have to do it my (our) way, or else it just isn't right!"

What we have said is that the process has not been "open" or "fair" or handled in an open, transparent manner---the hallmark promise of City leadership when Dunwoody came into being.

You're lame position that this is the ONLY WAY, THE BEST WAY, THE ROB-AUGUSTINE APPROVED way, on the other hand speaks volumes!!!

Your arguments about Atlanta, Decatur, DeKalb or wherever you care to mention are "off-point" and do not apply to this situation.

Two years, ago, this property was in foreclosure and Cortland picked it up for a song. Then, Dunwoody insisted they upgrade and bring it up to standards, which they did.

Now Dunwoody is offering to buy an improved, profitable property at a premium to tear down this "success" story and level the ground.

No one in any of the above instances did anything close to that. In all the cases you sited, the properties were improved to come closer to the best use. This can hardly be said about this particular deal.

The questions of morality and fairness are part of the discussion....unfortunately, city leadership decided to short-cut that process.

That's what it comes down to----same situation in the RFP debacle.

Anonymous said...

Well, excuse me, Chip. We certainly don't want to do anything to your "success" story.

I'll have to differ with you on that one. And let others decide on your view of success. What you consider a "best use" seems odd.

And for you to say the process is not open or fair, I think you and I have had that blog discussion once before. I think I said you seem to think we have a foreign government down at city hall. Guess you still do, and always will feel that way.

None of what you say rings true; it doesn't resonant with either experience or facts. So we'll just have to be on opposite sides on all these issues. But thanks for hanging in there and exploring this in depth and allowing me the chance to use some facts and quotes from those who have sought to imporve their cities.

At least here one can provide differing viewpoints and perhaps "intelligently" discuss things. I put that in quotes so you don't come back with commentary about my intelligence or the need to pray for me. I'm assuming, of course, that we will disagree on this point as well!!!

Rob Augustine

Heyward said...

It concerns me that we are focused on pet projects. That is including parks. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before we start doing all the fun stuff and we stop thinking outside the box. We need to focus on the inside of the box and that is our city needs. What about Dunwoody Village Master Plan (11 projects) $36,165,000? What about our Georgetown/Shallowford master plan (15 projects) $38,585,000? What about a municipal complex? What about a New city hall? What about our CIP (Capital Improvement Plan)? I hate to even mention but at some point we are going to need to look at a Fire department which is going to be big bucks. Here is quote from our 2011 Budget "Dunwoody's infrastructure, including streets and traffic control systems continue to be taxed by rising traffic loads resulting in unacceptably worn areas and travel delays. Historical neglect yielded Dunwoody with its present infrastructure and service challenges. Wear and tear on City infrastructure is considerable and demand continues to rise for modernization and refurbishment of the City's infrastructure, including roads and traffic control systems." I personally can go on and on. The reality is that we are new city of 3 years and we do not have our eye on the ball. It seems like we are little kids and we are eating the icing on the cake first. If we really want to be a "smart city" we need to stay focused on our infrastructure. We are not cash rich like Sandy Springs. Our annual budget is $20,645,000. After we are done for paying for all our fixed expenses we are left with $1,700,000. That is not much at all to save or do any other improvements. $66,000,000 of bonds are on the table because our current council saw that the main priority. I see other priorities and those are the basics needs of our infrastructure and capital improvements.

Chip said...

Again with the rhetorical gambits. Now you'd like to paint me as a religious fanatic, too? I've never attacked you for lacking intelligence, Rob, only for failing to use it.

Here are some "facts" Rob that you think are unimportant or not-relevant....

This property was sold, under foreclosure, in 2009 for $13,750,000. Now, less than 2 years later, the City of Dunwoody has agreed to pay $19,000,000. That's an increase of 38% over a time-frame in which residential real estate values have fallen as much as 20%, and commercial real estate has been even softer.

The City of Dunwoody is willing to give a 38% premium for this property, only to clear it and spend approximately $7M more to build your park.

If Dunwoody would like to buy my house, I'll sell it at 138% of what I paid for it in 2004, and be darn happy. By the way, it has a creek and is heavily wooded. Nice little pocket-park potential. Don't worry what state the house is in, it will be torn down.

How do I get in on this deal, Rob?

Anonymous said...

Chip, I never said you were a religious fanatic. Just that someone said they were praying.

Hey, can we use your property for athletic fields? What, badminton?
[Had to look up the spelling on that one.]

I think you miss the point here: limited land available in an acceptable location. This land can be purchased and is large enough for athletic fields and park for the City of Dunwoody. In a place which works for access, surroundings, etc. It's just not the horrible thing you and Bob and others try to paint it as.

Please read Mayor Ken Wright's statement explaining why this is the best course of action. Please do not ignore facts. Thanks.

BTW - Are you sure you and Heyward didn't swap pictures and nom de plumes? Or is that nom de guerre? And who is that guy leaning on a pitchfork anyway? Just wondering. Maybe I need one of those jpg's. I like Gary Ray's with his PBR?!

Rob Augustine

Anon said...

Hey Jack B

There is at least one candidate this cycle who is definitely not a good old boy...

Just saying

Sandra Jackson said...

Mom99! Are you serious! You think people are acting ugly because they don't want to be put out in place of a PARK. I say that's ugly, how can any human being put other people out for "A PARK, BIKE TRAIL, GREENWAY," that's hideous! Just thinking about it is UGLY. so if the shoe fits, wear it! I would have a lot more respect for you and others like you (the real ugly) if you would just come out and ask the minorities (blacks, hispanics, etc..) to leave the area you live in instead of coming up with a BS PLAN to replace where they live with park and sports arena. ugly, HA, now that's ugly! And this is for everyone thinking its ok to just feel the need to exterminate..

Sandra Jackson said...

Rob Augustine. Are you serious! "PARK NOT PROJECT". Come on! Where do you think your ancestors settled when they came! check your history Rob, it was known as the projects of today. You and everyone like you that feels its totally ok to exterminate the minority like roaches just so you can have your green lawn! Why don't you knock down your house and put a couple of benches and a tire swing for the kids (your kids of course) and a nice bike trail thru your lawn and call it a day! People can not just be replaced! Who raised you people, Christopher Columbus! Why not take over Chamblee or Sandy Springs why you are at it. You people (who is for PARK NOT PROJECT) are the real ugly!

Jack said...

Well said Heyward.

Chip said...


It's you who misses the point if you think that commercial property in this market selling for 140% of 2009 prices is "a good deal."

If you're willing to purchase property at $450K per acre to bulldoze it for a park, there are plenty of Dunwoody properties beside one of the more improved and successful apartment complexes in that particular neighborhood.

I guess you were surprised when you got some of the "details" on the terms that the City is agreeing to, again without citizen input or discussion.

The issue is not about parks, Rob. It's about fairness, openness, and transparency in government. It's about having discussions before someone (read:The City Manager) decides to put $25MM of OUR money at risk, even before we vote on it.

It's about using money for parks as a veiled means to practice late- 60's "urban renewal" in a more modern guise.

The program is being mis-handled; trust is being lost. Better to abandon this failed and misguided business, step back, and do it right the 2nd time.

And Heyward, we must have been sending responses in about the same time, so I didn't get to tell you that I really appreciate your comments! Well said.

DunwoodyLeaks said...

Free Susan Loraine Weidman!

Foreclosed Homes for Homeless People!

Socialism reigns!

Gary Ray Betz for Mayor!

Anonymous said...


The only thing that surprises me is your irrational opposition to a great Parks plan from the City of Dunwoody.

A plan that will improve and increase Green Space and Parks. We need more Parks and not development projects from developers. We have plenty of office, retail and apartments throughout Dunwoody. Parks are in short supply.

Passing the Parks Bond will improve our city and provide benefit to all its citizens.

Rob Augustine

Anonymous said...


The only thing that surprises me is your irrational opposition to a great Parks plan from the City of Dunwoody.

A plan that will improve and increase Green Space and Parks. We need more Parks and not development projects. We have plenty of office, apartment, and retail projects throughout Dunwoody. Parks are in short supply.

Passing the Parks Bond will improve our city and provide benefit to all its citizens.

Rob Augustine

Chip said...


Please re-read the quote from my previous post.

"The issue is not about parks, Rob. It's about fairness, openness, and transparency in government. It's about having discussions before someone (read:The City Manager) decides to put $25MM of OUR money at risk, even before we vote on it."

That's not "irrational opposition", it's insisting on following the principles of good, reponsible government.

In your unbridled and thoroughly non-critical boosterism for all-things that Dunwoody does, you're just not upholding the very principles and rationale you touted so strongly when the city was being proposed.

That's the "irrational" aspect of all of this.


Repeal_Georgia_HB87 said...

Help Georgia agriculture and the state’s economy by repealing Georgia House Bill 87!

Georgia produce and fruit is laying scorned on the ground, falling rotten from the trees, has started fermenting on the vines, and come spring the fields shall remain fallow with no one to seed them!

HB-87 was similar to George W Bush’s foray in Iraq – with neither forethought as to the lasting ruinous ramifications of sectarian violence nor an endgame.

Yes, elect Gary Ray Betz for mayor!

GaryRayBetz said...

Well, you all may write me in for mayor if you like as I am not on the ballot, and as compensation, I do claim to being the only aspirant wise enough to appreciate the tax revenue that could be accrued to propose an ordinance to legalize marijuana, which will also allow the standing police force to concentrate their resources on violent crimes. Thereby knocking two birds out of the bush with one stoned man!

Anonymous said...

That's exactly it Chip. Completely irrational to quote you:

"The issue is not about parks, Rob. It's about fairness, openness, and transparency in government. It's about having discussions before someone (read:The City Manager) decides to put $25MM of OUR money at risk, even before we vote on it."

NO MONEY IS AT RISK. THE CITY COUNCIL IS OPEN, FAIR, AND TRANSPARENT. WE ARE GOING TO VOTE ON IT. You are completely irrational on this issue. You don't like something, but the issue isn't about Parks. Wow, I cannot figure out what you are so worried about. And I'm not even going to try anymore.

Chip said...

Rob, before you leave us, please do me the courtesy of debunking at least one of my assertions that you continue to gloss over.

You may choose from:

1) Putting the proposed agreement for a $19M purchase as the last, surprise item on the Oct.24 council meeting, giving it 10 minutes of discussion, and then approving it unopposed and without public comment is "good, transparent, fair" government."

2) The Council is supposedly prohibited from speaking "for" or "against" the referenda; but they're not reluctant to propose the "October surprise" with less than two weeks to go before the election, obviously trying to "sway" the vote in favor. Is this duplicitous, or not?

3)(Note: I may have erred in my earlier quotation of the price paid for Dunwoody Glen. It was more likely $10.5M not the $13.8 I quoted). The City is so anxious to buy land and to rid us of apartments that they are willing to pay the owners of Dunwoody Glen what is now 190% appreciation on their property at a time when commercial property is in a growth period that is essentially flat or negative. This is "smart government?"

4) By acquiring the Shallowford property and the Dunwoody Glen property, the City has the PVC park free-and-clear. Despite initial statements by Ken Wright that it would become a park, it's clearly never going to become one. Instead, the City has taken on the role of "land bank" or "potential developer" of commercial property. Where is that written in the Dunwoody charter?

If you can stay on point to refute (not rebut, refute!) any of these points, you may go in peace!

Anonymous said...

I hope Rob stays. The more he rants and bullies for the parks bonds, the more he inspires a NO vote by readers.

Bob Turner said...

FYI - one of the persons commenting here is being a real knucklehead and displaying as their identity their canonical notation thus allowing unfettered access to their router's MAC address. They might want to delete their post, edit, and

Anonymous said...

I end with this quote from Chip Bagman on a blog post from July regarding our Parks Bond:

"As to the parks issue, I'm in your camp about voting "Yes" for item 1, acquisition of land for future parks, not so much for item 2 developing the parks."

Chip was responding to some blog line a few months ago as he likes to do. Suffice it to say that he held the correct view on the Bonds Acquistion at one time.

Rob Augustine

Glory_Jackson said...

Oh, my! Just when I thought the posts on this blog couldn't get any more curious, someone turns out to be a bag-man!

Well I certainly enjoyed these exchanges ladies and gentlemen. It was almost like a virtual Lincoln-Douglas debate. I learned a lot, too. thank-you!

Chip said...


Guess my point is conceded, then? You didn't try to refute any of my points (because you really can't without bluster and bluff) so you tried to throw sand in my eyes with an old quote.

I admit that the quote is genuine. I also admit that I felt, at that time, that I was for acquiring land for parks (as undefined as the process was at that time, it was a "feel-good" response). I was concerned about the language in the referendum concerning improvements, as it was too open-ended.

As I have stated, I'm for the parks, but against the process. My earlier quote simply shows I'm consistent and sincere in that position.

As I learn more and more about how the City will manage these bonds, I have less and less confidence in this process being the "right" one. I'm for a "do-over."

Good night, Rob!

Jack said...

Which knucklehead is it?

Bob Turner said...

The exposed identity name should be pretty obvious and appears to have been intentional, but I don't want to spell it out as an even bigger knucklehead would probably access it; however, don't worry, it's not yours, oh adroit and dexterous one!

Bob Turner said...

One more thing.


Jack said...

Thanks, Bob. I wouldn't know how to tell who is exposed and who isn't, but thanks for putting my mind at ease. Very hard to break into a Mac, however. ;-)

Bob Turner said...

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was referring to the acronym MAC address (Media Access Control) not a Mac.

Jack said...

Thanks for clarifying, Bob. Very nice gesture for you to put the warning out there so that people can protect their privacy.

Colleen O'Casey said...

Good gosh! I just got home from a day of sharp elbows and fake smiles and I'm certainly not going to spend my Friday night reading all this!

Terence MacSwiney "Remember 1920" said...

Lá iontach in Éirinn!

"Michael D. Higgins, a veteran left-wing politician, poet and human rights activist, was declared the winner Saturday of Ireland's presidential election with nearly 57 percent of votes, and pledged to lift the spirits of a struggling nation."

Perhaps Dunwoody should pick a poet to lead!