Friday, October 19, 2012

Audio of the Dunwoody Village Design Review Advisory Committee as they discuss the Parkway.

Below is my shorthand notes from listening to the audio of the Dunwoody Village Design Review Advisory Committee where they discussed a few proposed design changes in the overlay and then reviewed the plans approved by the City Council to rework the Dunwoody Village Parkway 

The complete audio of the meeting is embedded down below and if you have interest in this project I would recommend that you listen to the discussion.  As embedded items do not work well in an email version, please visit the main page to listen to the file found at the bottom of this page.

At the start of the Parkway discussion, (a couple of minutes in) Mr. Bill Grant, Chairman of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce discusses the proposed change and he seems favorable to the approved plans.  High quality trees and flowers will be included along with a watering system to keep it nice.

As background information, Mr. Grant, speaking for the Chamber endorsed this project to council the night it was approved as did the Shopping Center Regency and the owner of Village Burger.  Former Mayor Ken Wright also spoke to council the same evening whereby he stated that the DHA has been pushing this project forward for years and that the current plan was acceptable to that groups membership in the past.

Back in the DRAC meeting, Crosswalk plans were discussed by Mr. Bill Robinson and Mrs. Bev Wingate.

Mr. Michael Smith, Dunwoody Public Works Director discusses the fact that if a median in a road has trees in Georgia DOT project then they require a minimum of a 12 foot median.  The current median is well below and can not be grandfathered.

Left hand turn lanes were discussed, Mr. Bill Grossman, President of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association asks to see if trees are possible in medians at the ends?  Determined that the space is needed for the actual turn lanes.

The planned bike lanes allow the trees to be closer to the street because there is a minimum safety distance between the the tree trunk and the travel lane.  Without the bike lanes, the trees would be pushed further away from the street.

Current plan is possible without the purchase of right a way and to keep the median it would cost over 1 Million Dollars which would take away from businesses like Mellow Mushroom.  Right of Way is rarely donated as the city must offer full value for the land.

Post Office future, could right of way be obtained from Federal Government?  DRAC saw it as problematic.

Public comments by Gordon Elkins, Norb Leahy, Judy Ford, Joe Hirsh, Janette Smith, Joan Klineman and Jim Dixson.

Bev Wingate in council comment, quotes the letter in the Crier by Mr. Doug van Veelen and asks if the City has proof that they own the Parkway as it was built as a private street?  City will research.

No vote was taken by committee but it appears that the committee by their own admission is finding it very difficult to offer any alternative to what council approved or to keep the median. 


Joe Seconder said...

Point #1: It appears as if this meeting was a violation of the Georgia Open Meetings Act. It isn't posted on the city Calendar. Had it been, I was at least hoping that my "Google Alert" would have been triggered and I would have found out about it.

Point #2: With construction not scheduled to begin until July 5, 2013 there was no need to have a Special Called Meeting (which I'm assuming it was). Per Open Meetings Act, this would have to be declared a "special circumstance [to] occur". Please explain what was the Special Circumstance.

For an open, transparent and inclusive government, this meeting should have been placed on the City Calendar well in advance, and a notice placed in the local newspaper. Again, per the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

GA Code 50-14-1, (d)

Max said...

Joe, I concur 100%, Point #1 & #2.

We probably differ on the project scope: "This project need not be built," is my opinion, after studying this project thoroughly, being involved with more than a few of the folks present, and discussing the roadway with neighbors, business owners, and planners.

I was not there.
I wish I knew about the meeting.
I will now devote extra diligence to making sure I do not miss future meetings.

Bob Lundsten said...

John was there any official notice of this meeting?
If these folks are oppointed by the City to serve they should be required to adhere to the Open Meetings Act as they are "officials"?
I believe that ALL city committee meeting should not only be fully advertised and posted but open to the public. That includes budget meetings

GaryRayBetz said...

Atlanta Veteran Job Fair - this October 25th

John Heneghan said...

Joe, thanks for the link to the 2012 law in your comment, it was helpful. Please allow me to shed some light on what I believe is happening.

The Dunwoody Village Design Review Advisory Committee reviews proposed changes in the Village overlay district and makes recommendations to Council (and Staff) if the proposed changes meet the requirements of the overlay. They do not meet on a regular basis and only meet when there are items to be reviewed.

I believe every meeting of this committee is a "special called meeting" which is then noticed on the web at least 24 hours in advance and I believe the other news services are informed. I am also guessing that the meeting of the 17th was held for the design items and that the Parkway item was a tack on.

If you read my post, I take it for granted that you clicked the
link of the agenda as that document is clearly identified on the City Agenda & Meeting page.

This was the public notice on the website that the city has set up and it was used as I believe was required, though the 2012 law may have tweaked the requirements of Special meetings therefore I will recommend that the city attorney review the processes of this and all sitting committees. In reviewing this agenda document closely I note that the address of the meeting was missing and there is no notice of it being a special called meeting which may also be required therefore I will inform the staff of these items.

This meeting announcement did catch the eye of one Dunwoody resident who tweeted about it therefore I am surprised your Google alert failed to catch this.

This meeting was attended by at least six residents who were not on the committee and the press was in the room also. The Asst City Clerk in attendance and it was audio recorded to assist with the development of the minutes. I asked for a copy of the recording "an open records request" and posted it to the web in order to bring this subject into the light.

Bob, all Dunwoody meetings are open to the public including the Budget Committee. If you look on the past city agendas for September 28th you will find the budget announcement and I can tell you we had two different newspapers in the room along with us during the meeting.

I know the city could improve some of its processes to be more customer friendly but I do not believe there was any intent to skirt the requirements, that being said I will ask for legal review. Thanks.

Hire_A_Veteran said...

Today I am writing the Dunwoody Crier to stop depositing their trash on my driveway.

It is bad enough that I have to suffer through their right-wing columnists, slanted news articles, and the often fanatical John Birch Society type Tea Party letters to the editor, which paranoidly claim that everything the city council or mayor attempts to do for the good of the city is a "global left-wing conspiracy" in order to find the few neighborhood news items, but this morning when I glanced over the just delivered Crier I astoundingly view this screamer headline -

"Blacks Sue on New Cities"

What are we back in the 1950's segregationist era? What kind of "them against us" journalism is this?!

Yes, when you are a local community newspaper you can go ahead and be far right of center, that's your right, but it is not very responsible or ethical journalism to alienate members of that community because of their skin color.

GaryRayBetz said...

Atlanta Veteran Job Fair - just a reminder to those whom this is applicable, this Thursday, October 25th

GaryRayBetz said...

Atlanta Veteran Job Fair @ Georgia International Convention Center - just a reminder to those whom this is applicable, tomorrow - Thursday, October 25th

Bob Turner said...

My goodness does the town's Walter Winchell / Matt Drudge have it out for the good councilwoman in his latest blog entries - even to his posting of her most unflattering photograph.

Stick to farming buddy boy, enmity might become you, but it sure don't look good on you, just remember you're the one who started all this with your wont of gossip.