Dunwoody Residents: Are you paying attention? Overlay Concerns, School Overcrowding, Transportation

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

Adrienne Duncan, the current Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association President, and I had coffee a few weeks ago and she encouraged me to attend a DHA meeting.    I think she was surprised that I’ve NEVER been to one.  I decided to take her up on the invitation and attend the 2/9 meeting.  

I’m going to try to be short and sweet and not opinionated while also letting you know that I think the homeowners of Dunwoody should be paying attention….

Following are the highlights…and remember this was my first meeting and these are my personal notes and possibly not 100% accurate since many of the terms were new to me:

Dunwoody Village Overlay

Apartments/Condos/Townhomes as part of the Dunwoody Village Overlay:

  • First let me say that public officials can’t legally deny zoning based on possible impacts to school enrollment.  However, unless you live under a rock you know that the public schools in Dunwoody have exploded outside the buildings and into NUMEROUS portable classrooms WITH MORE TRAILERS ON THE WAY.   I’m not sure of the exact number but Dunwoody High School is approximately 750 students OVER capacity right now.
  • Secondly, the discussion last night led me to understand that the plan will allow for approximately 4 story residential units throughout the footprint.  Retail on the first floor with residential above is the example discussed at the meeting.   I’m not sure if the number of residential units is capped or not.
  • There was some discussion that these don’t have to be owner occupied and I believe they  mentioned many (if not most) can be rental property.  There was discussion about the difficulty of enforcing whether the owners are renting their units.

Boundaries of the Village Overlay:

  • There was discussion that the current overlay plan shows a new road behind the businesses that may be a pedestrian walk but may be a motorized walk.   Residents who live behind Publix and Dunwoody Tavern etc. are concerned about this and want more information.
  • Buffers, berms, and transitional yards were also discussed at length.   The residents bordering “the Village” were very vocal about their concerns of the buffer area between the residential and commercial properties.   Several folks at the meeting offered suggestions and most seemed to agree that it should be proposed that there be more “undisturbed buffer” in the final plan.
  • There are also a few creeks surrounding the outskirts of Dunwoody Village and discussion was had about the requirement for a bigger buffer when it comes to streams.
  • I love rooftop bars.   I seek them out during nice weather.  However, after putting myself in the shoes of the Branches and Vernon North neighbors and listening to their concerns about buffers, I believe it is only fair that the planning for where certain types (and heights) of businesses are placed within the overlay needs to be strategic.

Pedestrian Paths:

  • Residents who live on the border of “the village” have a few private property neighborhood accesses to the commercial area.   Currently there are no public paths between the neighborhoods and “the village”.  Apparently, the overlay plan suggests that public paths be included in the plan but there was much discussion about insurance and private property and parking overflow into the neighborhoods.

The Dunwoody Planning Commission votes on the overlay plan on 2/11.  Their recommendation will then go to City Council for a vote.   The public is invited to attend and there are opportunities to speak at both Planning Commission and City Council.  You can find more information and all the details of the plans on the DHA Website and the City of Dunwoody Website.

Educate Dunwoody

*Update:  The DeKalb Board of Education voted on and approved the following items on 2/10. Plus Stan Jester announced he is not running for election again.

The wonderful women who created Educate Dunwoody also spoke at the meeting to let everyone know that the DeKalb Board of Education will be voting tonight (Monday) about the overcrowding relief.   Big surprises were reported on Friday to the plan.    Go to Educate Dunwoody’s Facebook page for specifics.  The biggest changes (as I understand them) are:

  • Moving the Kittredge Magnet school from the current Nancy Creek location to the old John Lewis Elementary School building.
  • Move the 4th and 5th Graders from DES to the Nancy Creek location
  • Move ESPLOST money that was originally targeted for DHS additions towards funds for another new elementary school in Dunwoody.
  • Hire consultants to create a “comprehensive master plan” which will likely redistrict DeKalb schools so that there are no empty seats anywhere.   This could mean in the future that just because you live in 30338 doesn’t mean you’ll be in the Dunwoody High School district. 

Transportation

Sally Harrell is proposing a new constitutional amendment to allow a portion of the gas tax to be used for public transportation.   Currently the gas tax can only be used for roads and bridges.  Therefore, even if everyone wants a train for public transportation to be built all around the middle of I-285, there’s no money to pay for it.  Hence, roads are built instead.  There was much discussion regarding the unlikelihood that this proposal will pass (rural Georgia gets to vote too).  Harrell is trying, nonetheless.   Meanwhile those who live or work near I-285 and GA-400 are impacted with less and less buffer space.

 

I’ll leave the forum open for people to comment and will approve all civil commentary 🙂

You might need to clear your calendar for the next DHA meeting?   Check out the details for the next meeting and their materials from last night’s meeting on their new website.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Dunwoody Residents: Are you paying attention? Overlay Concerns, School Overcrowding, Transportation

  1. Audra, the Consultant’s plan shows two new roads through Dunwoody Methodist property and that is absurd. Sally’s amendment will not pass because about 15 days left before a bill has to pass a Chamber and that won’t happen. Good publicity but not reality. See you at baseball.

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