Monday, August 5, 2013

Is Dunwoody ready for legal home-based businesses? Preliminary City committees say Yes, Homeowners say No; City Council discusses it tonight and votes in several weeks.

 What is best for the Dunwoody community?

Is Dunwoody ready for legal home based businesses allowing customer contact?  Piano teachers & tutors add intrinsic value to the residential community but others may not, therefore should we allow the process to move forward as presented or should we create special exemptions for a small class of special businesses?

Should the City Council be allowed to have the ultimate power on all new large scale construction or would it be better to have more community involvement? 

Trees, how much regulation should there be for protection against of clear cutting or removal of large specimen trees or should the city code keep hands off your property rights in this area? 

If your neighbor can't see your boat parked on your property because of a fence, does it matter how close it is to your property line?

What is the harm if someone has more than four fish or houses a pet snake, should code enforcement really be involved in such petty things that will never be enforced? Are "pit bulls" bad or are the trainers of the animal the real issue?  Again, can the proposed zoning code be modified on the fly to "protect" the community from "undesirable" pets while not being overbearing?

Three separate City committee's have reviewed these documents and made suggestions for the next step in the process which takes place tonight at the Special Called City Council meeting at 6pm.  

Last night I attended the Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting and it looks by the news article below that they also have some reservations on the zoning proposals being presented.  Do you?

I have listened to previous hearings, attended meeting and read many emails but please feel free to voice your opinions on the proposed zoning code if you feel strongly one way or another on the proposed changes.

Comments are open and my email address is and the entire Dunwoody City Council can be reached at



DHA board votes to oppose two provisions of Dunwoody’s zoning rewrite

The board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association is opposing two controversial provisions in a proposed rewrite of the city’s zoning and building codes.

Board members on Aug. 4 voted to oppose a proposal to allow the Dunwoody City Council to hear required zoning variances for a project as part of a rezoning package. The variances now are considered by the city Zoning Board of Appeals after the zoning is approved.

The DHA board also sided against a proposal to allow operators of home-based businesses to bring customers to their homes without a Special Land Use Permit.

Dunwoody city officials are considering an extensive revision of the city’s zoning and building codes. Dunwoody’s present codes were copied from DeKalb County when the city was creaed, city staff members say, and the rewrite is intended to make the codes reflect the needs and opinion of Dunwoody residents.
Proposed revisions to the code have been debated by several city commissions and a citizens’ “sounding board.” Dunwoody City Council is scheduled to debate the revisions Aug. 5, in a meeting set to begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 41 Perimeter Center East.  (See more in link above - Dunwoody Reporter)

Zoning Code Rewrite: More Absolute Power for the Council and Businesses in Your Backyard.

The rights and protections of single family homes and our residential neighborhoods out weighs the right for a person to run a business with customer contact in those neighborhoods. The argument about property rights is misplaced as ZONING itself limits ones use of their private property. If you bought or live in a single family home, you have the RIGHT that the neighborhood will stay that way.

The second issue involves a process called variances. Under the current code a landowner get a property rezoned by going through the public process, Community Council, Planning Commission and finally the City Council. Zoning changes what uses that you can develop on your property.

Variance on the other hand, alters the development guidelines for the projects that are being designed and ultimately built on these sights. Currently the City Council rezones and the Board of Appeals grant any variance. Having to Boards, both with some level of judicial powers allows a project to be considered and reviewed by to separate commissions each following different criteria in their respective review.

Without boring everyone, the new code will allow the city council to take over the power of the Board of Appeals.  (See more in link above - Dunwoody Farmer Bob).

Section 27-10.40 Household Pets
No more than 3 household pets may be kept on any lot in a residential zoning district, except that on lots exceeding 2 acres in area, one additional household pet may be kept for each additional acre of lot area in excess of 2 acres, up to a maximum of 10 household pets. Litters of animals of not more than 6 months of age are not counted for the purpose of calculating the total number of household pets on a lot in a residential zoning district.

Household pet means a domestic companion animal that is customarily kept for personal use and enjoyment including domestic dogs, domestic cats, canaries, parrots, parakeets, domestic tropical birds, hamsters and guinea pigs. Household pet does not include livestock, poultry, pot belly pigs, pit bulls, or snakes.


Max said...


Dunwoody needs to define a balanced Zoning approach toward preservation of specimen trees that lies somewhere between clear-cutting and avoiding onerous regulations, limiting property owners rights.

Allowing unrestricted clear-cutting, what we now have, will guarantee that future Dunwoody citizens may never see a 200 year oak tree in DunWOODy.

Unknown said...

Wow. Almost gobstopping, but only almost :)

The boat/fence/setback makes me think CoD really is an overblown HOA, only with ARMED guards. I'm sure there is legalese around the definition of specimen tree that allows us to cut down trashy pines poised to drop "limb-darts" thru the ceiling with the next ice storm. Or perhaps we're better suited by having a CoD arborist to inspect and approve--for a fee of course. On the one hand we might suspect that singling out music teachers for special treatment under home based businesses is somehow unfair or simply violates a "simplicity principle" but then we single out Pit Bulls? So, Petey, the original Petey, not the Pete the Pup, would be banned in Dunwoody? OK.

I know it is a quote of a newspaper article but it is difficult to believe anyone let this into print:

"Dunwoody’s present codes were copied from DeKalb County when the city was creaed, city staff members say, and the rewrite is intended to make the codes reflect the needs and opinion of Dunwoody residents. "

There's not much evidence to support the notion this City's staff is in touch with the Citizens' opinion on much of anything. At least not much that makes it into the Letters To The Editor of the Crier.

John Heneghan said...

In this post, I touched upon some of the possible hot button issues that I saw included in the zoning rewrite. I attempted to lay out the concerns as I saw them and as it was reported by others. In an attempt to equal out the conversation, I offer you the no spin, hype free version of the rewrite from a member of the Zoning Sounding Board who has spent many hours working on these documents.

Zoning Rewrite Hype-Free Zone: What does it really say?

The newly-revised zoning ordinances are easy to read. Yet, so many have no idea what is in them. Or worse - they do know and continue to distribute misinformation about both the words and intent.

Read more at the link above...