Friday, March 29, 2019

Dunwoody City Council finalizes Brook Run Park Construction for playing fields, bandshell, restrooms, pavilions and improved access. 10 Yr Celebration, Stacey Harris, Spring Break.

Happy Friday !!

After an extensive discussion and reviewing facts, the Dunwoody City Council approved the Brook Run Stream Buffer Variance on Monday finding that satisfactory stream protections were being put into place.  The City has scheduled the groundbreaking for Brook Run Park construction for Tuesday, April 9th at 10 a.m.   Next year at this time the City will have constructed two, lit artificial turf soccer/lacrosse fields, constructed three restroom facilities, a concession stand, a band shell with a great lawn, numerous new parking spaces and a new back entrance to the facility.  Guessing the entertainment at Lemonade Days in 2020 will be moved up a notch when the new band shell will be there.

In other City news, the ribbon cutting for the new Pedestrian Bridge connecting Georgetown to Perimeter Center is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 at 10 a.m. and the ribbon cutting for the new Windwood Hollow Park Restroom Facility is scheduled for Monday, April 15th at 10 a.m.  Mayor Shortal is hosting the 2019 State of the City on Thursday, April 11th at 6:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia.  In recognition of Earth Day, the City is hosting a stream cleanup event on April 13th, starting at 9 a.m. at the new bridge at Georgetown.

The Dunwoody Police Department is also holding an Open House on April 1st to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.   On April 1, 2019, the Dunwoody Police Department will open their doors to the public from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. for a rare “behind-the-scenes” look at many areas otherwise restricted to the public. Visitors will be granted “back-door access” to a self-guided tour through our facilities as various Dunwoody Police and Court staff members will be on hand to answer questions or share a casual chat.

I was happy to see that my friend Stacey Harris will be running to fill the open City Council Seat being vacated by Terry Nall who has announced that he will be running for Mayor.  If you haven't read this week's Crier, I recommend that you do, as I can attest that Stacey is extremely qualified for the position.

Stacey Harris
The City of Brookhaven looks to be throwing a huge party this weekend with the Cherry Blossom Festival providing lot's of free entertainment for young and old.

As it is Friday, All Saint's is still offering their weekly Fish Fry.  All the food is great but the baked salmon, clam chowder, fried shrimp and the hush puppies are my personal favorites. Like alot of people, I'm a regular there but last week a friend came up to me and said that it was the first fish fry without Bob Lundsten being there.  She recieved a big hug and I imagine our loss is only a sliver of what Kathy and the girls are going through.

Several neighbors reached out to me because they have recieved much larger than normal Water / Sewer bills from the County and it just so happened that today we recieved in the mail information on the the mass replacement of defective water meters.  I hope these bills are settled fairly by the County.

DeKalb County School System will be out for Spring Break next week, so if you are going somewhere please drive safe and enjoy the destination.  If you stay local, enjoy the lack of traffic and uncrowded restaurants and other facilities.  If I was home with little ones, I think I might be using this LegoLand Discovery Center discount.

Lemonade Days starts less than four weeks away but it will be here before you know it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

City of Dunwoody - 2018 Annual Report of Crime Statistics and so much more!

Dear Citizens of Dunwoody,

Welcome to the Dunwoody Police Department’s 2018 Annual Report. December 17, 2018, marked my 10-year Anniversary as the first Police Chief for the City of Dunwoody and I could not be more honored to have served such a wonderful community for over a decade. I am exceptionally proud to represent the professional, committed men and women who comprise this department. They serve with pride, compassion, and a willingness to put community before self each and every day.

The mission and vision of the Dunwoody Police Department are rooted in our commitment towards building positive relationships with our community. Our staff resists the pull of status quo and constantly strives for continuous improvement. Throughout the year, our organization has been involved in community events, dialogues, and neighborhood and civic association meetings intended to develop and nurture healthy communications between our department and the people we serve. Through community feedback and ongoing specialized training, our department is evolving to provide the utmost in police service in a modern and rapidly-changing environment.

Although we experienced a slight decrease in Part 1 Crime in 2017, 2018 saw a slight increase of 2.1%. Our biggest percentage increase in crime occurred with Rape (125%) and Armed Robbery (56.5%). The percentage was high, but the number of incidents were low. We also experienced an 11.3% increase in Burglaries. Reducing crime is a major focus of our crime-fighting efforts in 2019.

We responded to 59,506 calls for service, arrested 2,004 individuals, yet we received only 11 complaints. We had 105 use of force incidents, yet received no complaints of excessive force. The majority of our use of force was due to the display of either a firearm or a Taser. Both of these stats reflect our commitment to excellence and fair and impartial policing.

The top offenses for arrests included Shoplifting, Failure to Appear, Wanted Person Located and Drug Offenses. 86% of the people we arrested were non-residents. The top citation violations were Speeding, Following Too Close, Obedience to Traffic Control Device and Expired Tag.

Sadly, we experienced 19 overdose incidents in 2018; three of which were fatal. Thankfully, our officers deployed Narcan in several cases, resulting in lives saved. In fact, five officers received the Medal of Meritorious Service due to their life-saving efforts with Narcan and CPR. As we continue forward and look to the future, it is with great pleasure that I present this Annual Report to you as a token of our pledge to uphold our core values — Professionalism, Respect, Teamwork, Integrity,
Courage and Service

Your Chief,

Billy Grogan

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dunwoody City Council agenda for Monday March 25, 2019 - Brook Run Stream Buffer Variance for new playfields, Sidewalks. Trees, Playground Resurfacing, Safety of Wood Buildings

Monday, March 25, 2019
Dunwoody City Hall
4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd
Dunwoody, GA 30338


Presentation on Safety of Wood Buildings (Chief Joseph Cox).

MC 19-01: Aaron St. Pierre of Lose Design, on Behalf of the City of Dunwoody, Owners of 4770 N Peachtree Road (“Brook Run Park”) Request a Variance From Chapter 16, Sec. 16-78 to Encroach the City’s 75-Foot Stream Buffer for Construction and Grading. The Tax Parcel ID is 18 354 001 005.

ACTION ITEM: MC 19-01: City of Dunwoody, Owners of 4770 N. Peachtree Road ("Brook Run Park") Request a Variance From Chapter 16, Sec. 17-78 to Encroach the City's 75-Foot Stream Buffer

Contract Award ITB 19-02 Brook Run Park Playground Resurfacing

SECOND READ: Permanent Easement Agreement for Palisades, LLC

SECOND READ: Permanent Easement Agreement for Georgia Power Company along Roberts Drive for New Austin Elementary School

FIRST READ: Text Amendment to Chapter 16 re: Trees.

Resolution Authorizing the Use Of Eminent Domain to Obtain Certain Property Interests Located at 4996 Tilly Mill Road for the Public Use and Public Benefit of Constructing a Public Sidewalk

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Brook Run Park Improvements & Site Plan answers some Dunwoody residents questions on Stream Buffer impacts.

This morning I received an email from a resident asking for updates and or the documents related the improvements proposed to Brook Run Park in relation to the stream buffer variance that will be coming in front of the City Council next Monday.  The City Council has not received the meeting packet yet but I have forwarded the resident questions to our Parks Director, Mr. Brent Walker, and Public Works Director, Mr. Michael Smith who provided me with some documents as well as answers to the questions asked.  I have yet to go through the 97 pages of construction documents with a fine-toothed comb but I do see that a total of 437 trees are listed in the demolition plan, and that there will also be two, lit artificial turf soccer/lacrosse fields constructed along with three restroom facilities, a concession stand, a band shell (set among the trees) with a great lawn, numerous new parking spaces and a new back entrance to the facility. 

Not having the full details for the meeting on Monday, I believe the construction plans already approved by Council is basically irrelevant as the question in front of council as we will not be looking at playing surfaces and various improvements for generations to enjoy but instead will be looking at the stream buffers, stream protection, updated hydrology reports, water quality, and water flow through those buffers if a variance is requested. 

By State mandate, no disturbance is allowed within fifty feet of the stream whereby there is a no disturb policy of 25 feet on each side of the stream.  This also correlates with the deed on the property.  The City of Dunwoody has extended the State protections by putting policy into place protecting the next 50 feet of each side the stream which is known as the 75 ft buffer (25 ft State + 50 ft Dunwoody).  When the City extended the required buffer protections, we also put into place a way for the City to grant variances in order to grant relief to those who can prove that due diligence was being done, whereby furthering protections put into place to compensate for the disturbance near a stream (but not closer than 25 ft).  I look forward to reviewing the full packet of information for Monday's meeting (usually received on Thursday?) and will be looking to protect the community from the requested encroachment into the buffer.   Thanks

Brent / Michael,

Can you please provide me the full site plans as requested below if they exist and explain the status of each item if we are still in the planning stages. 

The latest Revision of site plans which Council approved seem not available to the public, and maybe to Council?
Still missing site plans, if they were approved, are the following (as I mentioned in my original attached email.)
1. Pavillion and Parking (across the street from the new Great Lawn, buffer violation ?), Attached images
2. Disc Golf (along a stream, possible buffer violation ?), There will be no land disturbance done within the buffer for disc golf.
3. Maintenance Facility changes (new access driveway on Peeler Rd.), This is shown in the master plan but there is no current construction timeline
4. Zip Line area - storage area ?  We have a small storage yard for public works and parks at the dead end past Treetop Quest.  The master plan calls for a future pavilion there.  Once the construction time line is established for the renovations of the maintenance facility we will move the storage area to the maintenance yard.
5. New sidewalk off Peeler Rd near the Zip Line ? ( the 10' length at the Marta stop to the trail at Cherring is needed)  Once the sidewalk is completed along Peeler Rd we will connect a new sidewalk entrance into the park at that location.



Legislative Town Hall tonight at Dunwoody City Hall, 6 p.m. for Sally Harrell Georgia Senate District 40 and Mike Wilensky - State House Representative, HD 79

Town Hall Meeting Dunwoody

Hosted by Sally Harrell Georgia Senate District 40 and Mike Wilensky - State House Representative, HD 79

Tonight - Tuesday March 19th
6 PM – 8 PM 

Dunwoody City Hall
4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE,
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Friday, March 15, 2019

Video recap of DeKalb School Supt. Dr. Green answering questions at Dunwoody High

Thank you to Dr. Green for speaking to the auditorium filled with concerned parents and teachers. A special thank you to all who spoke up, asked questions or attended.  In my opinion, no earth-shattering news was revealed Thursday night. Dr. Green says he is underfunded and wants more money but also says the system is not too big nor to bloated to function properly. 

Dunwoody High might get a slightly larger addition in the future, DHS baseball field should be repaired over the summer, there are 157 open maintaince problems open in Dunwoody schools with some issues open for an extended time as reported by DCSS, cell phones will remain to be allowed in the classroom, arts and specialty classes need larger spaces but not available now - worse with more students, students need to keep the school clean but mopping up sewer spills are not taught in Home Ec, graduation ceremony will not be local to Dunwoody in 2019, trailers are just temporary but the definition of temporary is up for discussion, recess - we would give you more but we would need to extend the school day, Dunwoody High School is safe even if overcrowded, Dunwoody City Council is offering up old Austin Elemenetary to be used by school system but DCSS hasn't mentioned how it might be used to alleviate student space issues, overcrowding will be reduced by new larger Austin but even after redistricting of elementary seats there will still be 500 Dunwoody students looking for a proper class room.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DeKalb County School District Superintendent, Dr. Green to address Dunwoody Cluster - Thursday March 14 7 p.m. at Dunwoody High

Attention Neighbors:

There is a renewed conversation in the Dunwoody High School cluster to alleviate the overcrowding situation at Dunwoody HS with community members suggesting through various channels, potential solutions.  Thursday night there will be an opportunity for you to add your voice to this important conversation.

With the new expanded Austin Elementary coming online in 2020 there will be community discussions in the Fall of 2019 on the redistricting of the elementary schools to alleviate some overcrowding at that level, but that elementary redistricting will not affect the numbers at Peachtree Middle or Dunwoody High without other more aggressive changes. The School System's construction mechanism for construction funding is bonds that have already been allocated to other projects and even those are possibly way behind schedule and over budget

I expect Dr. Green to be questioned on the appropriateness of the planned Dunwoody High $17.7 million dollar expansion which currently includes a two-story, 29-classroom addition expected to be completed in 2022.  One of the issues being raised is that even after the expansion of the high school with primarily just classrooms, the other facilities like the cafeteria, gyms, band rooms and athletic facilities are then woefully undersized. 

Community members have floated various ideas to their school council leaders to alleviate the numbers slated for Dunwoody High and here are some of the ideas that I have heard in conversations or social media but I am unsure of the direction of the school system on this important topic.  None of the topics below are easy fixes and I am sure that my list is only a small subset of the many options that could be on the table, therefore, I am interested in the community conversations to be had on Thursday on possible solutions.  Possible ideas I have heard are ...
Besides the Dunwoody High overcrowding, I expect Dr. Green to be questioned on facility maintenance like the now unuseable baseball fields as well as a number of other topics but guessing that overcrowding will be spotlighted.

Community invited to share thoughts at the "On The Scene with Dr. Green" event

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA. - The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green invites all students, parents, staff, and stakeholders to the sixth "On The Scene with Dr. Green" event of the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

The event will begin promptly at 7 p.m. at Dunwoody High School, located at 5035 Vermack Road in Dunwoody. Dr. Green will give a brief statement about the state of DCSD before answering questions from the audience.

"On The Scene with Dr. Green" is an opportunity to learn more about your schools and to have your concerns addressed. Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Dr. Green will visit seven total locations.

To learn more, visit
WHAT: "On the Scene with Dr. Green" community conversation event
WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, March 14, 2019
WHERE: Dunwoody High School
5035 Vermack Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Friday, March 8, 2019

Saturday Night dining suggestion - Marlow's Dunwoody benefiting Dunwoody Baseball - Fix the Field Fundraiser

A combination of rain, broken drainage pipes and 14” deep sinkholes threaten to make the Dunwoody High baseball field unplayable this season for safety reasons.

Dick Williams retiring from ‘The Georgia Gang’ on Fox 5 after nearly 40 years

Dick Williams, Editor of "The Dunwoody Crier", past executive editor of the AJC, longtime columnist with the Atlanta Business Chronicle, author of a book on a possible future Presidential candidate, longtime high school basketball referee, Grand Marshal of the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade, former first-husband of the City of Brookhaven, father to two wonderful girls, and longtime TV Personality / Moderator of the Georgia Gang on Fox 5 will be filming his final appearance on the Georgia Gang today because of unspecified health issues.

Dick Williams has left an indelible mark on Atlanta Journalism & Politics over the last 40 years.  As a political junkie, I never miss a showing but I use to watch the Georgia Gang on Sunday morning with a phone in my hand watching the live Twitter feed initiated by early social media mavens and websites like Peach Pundit.  Now with no one watching anything in real time, the live Twitter feed has died out but I am guessing that I will be watching this Sunday's show live for old times sake.

Everything comes to an end or changes and I hope that Dick is walking away from the endless hours of Thursday evening prep time and Friday filming to focus on his health.  He and Rebeccca have served this community and their home of Brookhaven well and I wish them much happiness in what looks to be a slowing down and a semi-retirement for Dick.

On the Georgia Gang, one of the highlights of the show is the list of Winners and Losers for the week presented by each panel member as the show is wrapping up.  Dick Williams, let me be the first to say that you will be listed as a winner.   Thank you.

City of Dunwoody announces that Vermack Road is scheduled to be closed on Friday

The City of Dunwoody's contractor needs to close Vermack Road one more time in order to complete utility backfill that was suspended by last Sunday’s rain. Weather permitting, the north end of Vermack Road (between Dunwoody Square and Mount Vernon Road) will be closed at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 8th. DeKalb County Schools are closed on Friday, which will help reduce the impact of this closure. Detour signage will be in place to redirect traffic. 

The work is subject to favorable weather conditions. We will keep you posted if the schedule changes. This is part of the Intersection Improvement Project at Mount Vernon Road and Vermack Road/Manhasset Drive. We appreciate your patience as we make progress on this project.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Do you have a question for Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan?

Have you ever wanted to ask the Chief of Police a question but just didn't know how? Well here's your opportunity! Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan invites YOU to an A.M.A (Ask Me Anything) Facebook LIVE session on Wednesday, March 6th at 3:00 PM. This is a rare opportunity to hear from the Chief of Police and get all of your questions answered! You don't want to miss this!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

In a deadly shooting, the Binkley family from Dunwoody finds a mission. Maura's Voice rally at the Georgia Capital on Monday to effect change & honoring memory of Maura Binkley.

 Ideas before ideology. Research before rhetoric. Policy before politics.

Full AJC Article honoring Maura & outlining the lack of research funding over the causes of gun violence.

"Maura Binkley grew up as part of a generation scarred by mass shootings.  Days after a gunman killed 17 students and staffers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year in Parkland, Fla., Binkley joined thousands at Florida’s Capitol for a rally. The Florida State University senior and Dunwoody native, who wanted to be a diplomat, felt compelled to find a way to stop gun violence, friends and her father said.

Less than nine months later, Binkley’s life was cut short by the same gun violence she had pledged to fight. A man who police said hated women positioned himself behind Binkley during a class at a Tallahassee yoga studio, pulled a pistol and shot and killed Binkley and 61-year-old Dr. Nancy Van Vessem. The gunman wounded five others before killing himself in a spasm of violence that shook Tallahassee.

On Monday, on what would have been Binkley’s 22nd birthday, her parents, Jeff and Margaret Binkley, friends and Florida State administrators and students will unveil a nonprofit dedicated to understanding the causes of gun violence and funding research to inform policy and other responses to reduce gun deaths.

Jeff Binkley said Maura’s Voice Research Fund will fill a gap where state, federal and nonprofit dollars currently don’t go, and back research to better understand the connections between mental illness, hate and violence and how it all affects public safety.

Maura’s Voice also will delve into issues of violence against women.

Binkley sums up the nonpartisan group’s mission as “Ideas before ideology. Research before rhetoric. Policy before politics.”

 Mon, March 4, 2019 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

Location - Liberty Plaza of Georgia Capital - Capitol Ave SW Atlanta, GA 30334 

Maura's Voice Research Fund (Maura's Voice) will serve to realize the vision of deepening the scientific understanding of and effective responses to the epidemic of gun violence in America. Maura's Voice will champion a unique and robust focus on researching and responding to the complex causes and effects of firearm violence. The Fund will develop knowledge for and test innovative approaches to forensic evaluation, management, treatment, and prevention strategies, as well as for sound policy development and implementation.

The FSU College of Social Work is committed to developing and testing "real world" approaches that change lives and communities through effective practices and policy reforms. Maura's Voice will synergize and build upon the College of Social Work and Florida State University's current research initiatives with a targeted focus on firearm violence, particularly the interacting phenomena of gun violence and behavioral health.

Dunwoody community stalworth., Mr. Jim Redovian named to MARTA Board by DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond


DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has nominated Jim Redovian to serve on the MARTA board of directors representing the North DeKalb MARTA district post.

Jim is the Board Chair for the Cowart Family/Ashford Dunwoody YMCA, and is a past member of the Executive Board of the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association.  Jim is the Chair of the Deacons at Dunwoody Baptist Church and enjoys teaching Sunday School to its 10th-grade boys. Jim is a past president of Dunwoody Stage Door Players, a past member of the DeKalb County School Board and a retired Georgia District 9 Administrator of Little League Baseball.  He is also a great guy and will represent us well on the MARTA Board.  Thank you Jim for stepping up to the plate once again!!

City of Peachtree Coners hosting a Community Meeting on Monday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Gwinnett County Transit Referendum

Peachtree Coners is hosting a Community Meeting on Monday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the upcoming Gwinnett County Transit Referendum. The meeting will be held at the Winters Chapel United Methodist Church, 5105 Winters Chapel Road, Peachtree Corners, GA. The keynote speaker for this meeting is State Senator Brandon Beach, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Senator Beach was vital in the creation of the Atlanta-Region Transit Authority (ATL), which helps direct regional transit growth, as well as provides funding to Metro-Atlanta transit. The bill that set up the ATL is the same as the one that facilitated the upcoming Gwinnett County Referendum. If passed it will expand public transportation in Gwinnett.

“It is important that citizens are educated about Gwinnett’s proposed solutions for improving traffic, so they can make an informed vote about the Transit Referendum,” said Councilmember Phil Sadd.  “This meeting will help prepare voters to decide if Gwinnett's transit system and services should expand based on its plan and contract with MARTA through a one-cent tax.”

The meeting is open to the public and will include an open Q&A session giving citizens an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions about this very important topic.