Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dunwoody National Night Out Tuesday August 5th at Target

Incident: National Night Out
Date: 08/05/14
Location: Target, 100 Perimeter Center Place, Dunwoody, GA. 30346

The Dunwoody Police Department is partnering with Target for the 31st Annual National Night Out event on August 5th, 2014. “National Night Out is a unique crime and drug prevention program that is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch”. This will be the 6th year that the Dunwoody Police have participated in this program. National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

National Night Out, a year-long community building campaign, is designed to: (1) Heighten crime prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

This year, Target will be handing out free food outside in the parking lot between 6PM-8PM. The Dunwoody Police will also have special equipment on display including patrol car, Segway and SWAT vehicle. DeKalb County Fire along with over 15 local businesses and special interest groups will be on hand with booths. This will be a great opportunity for citizens to interact with members of the department and community.

2010 National Night Out Dunwoody Target


2010 Natl Night Out Dunwoody
2010 Police Car Dunwoody

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sandy Springs Puts The Brakes on Apartments, Temporarily

Last week the city council in Sandy Springs approves a 60-day moratorium on apartments in commercial zones.  See Press release HERE.

SANDY SPRINGS (July 24, 2014) — The Sandy Springs City Council approved a resolution during a special-called meeting on July 23, 2014, to place a 60-day moratorium on apartment permits in commercial zoning areas identified as C1 and C2. The moratorium was enacted to allow city staff time to review current ordinances to determine if changes are needed to ensure development in these areas align with the City’s 2027 Comprehensive Plan, the City Center Master Plan and the Livable Communities Update. The current ordinance allows for apartments to be built on top of and behind retail and office uses in Commercial Zoning Districts.
“The intent of the Comprehensive and City Center Master plans are to bring true mixed-use to this area along Roswell Road. That calls for pedestrian areas, active retail and housing within a walkable environment. We want to make sure our ordinances support these objectives,” said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul.
Any proposed changes will come before the City Council and will include an opportunity for public input.

You can also read a piece on this topic at BizJournals HERE.

Sandy Springs is trying to do a better job of shaping development patterns on Roswell road. It still deals with the consequences of land-use policies years ago that today have left parts of Roswell Road cluttered with a glut of aging apartments.

Regulars here recall a piece we wrote earlier this month where 500 new apartments were approved for Abernathy /Mt Vernon/Peachtree Dunwoody. These 500 are just the latest in apartment growth in Sandy Springs.  Many more were recently built off Peachtree Dunwoody Road and other locations in the Perimeter area. 

The PCID leaders constantly are in the ear of the local mayors, telling them about the huge demand for apartments.  We've written a few pieces on the PCID and apartments. 

Here is one that is relevant, back from July 2011. 

A couple of weeks ago I posted information regarding the MARTA Villages planned for Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.  At the Dunwoody Council meeting two weeks ago, where the PCID plan was briefly discussed, at least one council member mentioned he did not like Jobs to Apartment mix suggested by the PCID.  He attempted to negotiate a better (I suppose better is the word) ratio.  The suggestion was lower than the current 9.25 but higher than the proposed 6.3 in 15 years.
I have an idea for council - how about insisting the PCID KEEP it at the 9.25?
The PCID has taken a different approach.  They've decided to take the Jobs/Apartment ratio out of their LCI update.  Brilliant. 
From July 2011:
By taking out the jobs/apartments ratio, the PCID has achieved its ultimate goal - to plan for more and more and more multifamily apartments for Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.  High density is the name of the game.  So one or two on council suggest a ratio closer to 9.25  than 5.06 so they have some campaign fodder? We have candidates announced for council and mayor, and some up for re-election.  Ask them to ask the PCID to put the jobs/apartments section back in the LCI document and set it at 9.25 going forward (okay, perhaps an '8' will do).  Watch PCID laugh and pull the marionette's strings tighter.

For you Sandy Springs folks, click and read the link below:

An interesting read is the "Perimeter @ The Center - Future Focus - 2011 LCI Update - Final Report" (bought and paid for by the PCID and ARC)

When reading all the documents from ARC and others, keep in mind their goal is High Density Urban District type stuff for Dunwoody And Sandy Springs. It's all about higher density and growth.  Who said the cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have to grow?  Note: Don't be surprised to know that very few ARC and PCID leaders actually own a home in Dunwoody or Sandy Springs.

It's refreshing for Sandy Springs homeowners to see their mayor and council take a step back and consider the future of life in Sandy Springs. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brookhaven Police Chief Suggests Banning Guns at City Meetings

The Brookhaven Post has a piece regarding the Brookhaven police chief suggesting a ban on firearms in parts of Brookhaven where city leaders assemble.  See HERE for original article. Many will see his actions as anti-gun, others will not. Police chiefs opposed to concealed carry are a dime a dozen in the USA.  If your local chief is a proud member of the IACP (Int'l Association of Chiefs of Police) he/she is likely not a huge 2nd Amendment fan.  Not all police chiefs are anti-2nd Amendment and not all police organizations are anti-2nd Amendment.

The IACP is not known for its support of the Second Amendment because most police chiefs are appointed by gun-grabbing politicians.  The IACP wants only the police to have semi-auto rifles. And the IACP believes if you feel threatened that you still need to wait five days to purchase a firearm to protect yourself and family. The IACP annual conference is a great place to see new gear and technology.

For those of you new to Georgia, our state legislators passed HB 60 (Safe Carry Protection Act) last session.  Governor Deal signed it into law earlier this year.  From the Georgia Attorney General's office, an FAQ on the law:

So let's get back to the Brookhaven, GA police chief's alleged attempt to undermine work around GA law. Currently one can walk into a Brookhaven city council meeting or other public meeting at city hall carrying a firearm concealed. There is no metal detector and the law permits this action.  Same for Dunwoody* and other cities.  People have been carrying a concealed firearm to public meetings in Brookhaven and Dunwoody (and other cities) since July 1.  Some would argue the meetings are safer now compared to when only criminals concealed a handgun at a city hall meeting.  Others will say not.

I would recommend screening take place at City Council Meetings and other controversial planning / zoning meetings scheduled." Brookhaven Police Chief

Why does the chief  recommend screening?  Based on the new law, a person with a weapons carry license carrying a firearm cannot enter a Government building when the Government building has security personnel manning a security checkpoint. In other words, everyone attending (council and mayor cannot exempt themselves) a Brookhaven city council meeting (and other 'controversial' city meetings) will go through a metal detector.  Will Mayor Max Bloomberg Davis allow this restriction on visitors to Brookhaven meetings? In theory, you don't need your firearm here because the screening (when done properly) has made the place a gun-free zone, and supposedly a safe place to sit without personal protection.  If Brookhaven feels these controversial meetings are dangerous, then perhaps have an officer attend.  I've seen that in Dunwoody and other places. 

According to the article, "In response to this new gun law and requests from the City Administration to ensure the highest degree of safety at City Hall, Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura gave the council a couple of suggestions for consideration."  Okay all you Brookhaven folks, you may want to file an Open Records Request and see about these requests for the highest degree of safety from city administrators. 

From the article:  to ensure the highest degree of safety at City Hall

Mayor J. Max Davis, you want to ensure the highest degree of safety at city hall?  Require your council members and city administrators to all carry a Glock, and allow citizens with a Weapons Carry License to carry concealed at your meetings. 

If Brookhaven screens for firearms, they should also screen for lighters and matches, thus eliminating the need for fire extinguishers and fire suppressor/sprinkler systems, offsetting the cost of the additional police officer.  And why does Brookhaven even have fire extinguishers?  We do have a fire department in DeKalb.

DeKalb Voters Pull the Strings

Voters turned away from Vernon Jones in his bid to become DeKalb's next sheriff.  Vernon dusted off the old DeKalb political playbook and went to Chapter One, Race Un-Relations.  His attempt to make the sheriff race a black/white race (against an opponent who is not white) was unsuccessful.  Had Jones won, however, the chances of a Bill at the Gold Dome to eliminate DeKalb County increased.  As many have said over the years, one key factor in Dunwoody becoming a city was Vernon Jones.  Sure, lots of Farmhousers put in hundreds of hours and lawmakers put us on the ballot, but it was Vernon's actions that put the grease to the wheel.  No Vernon, probably no Dunwoody. And for creating the atmosphere politically to create a City of Dunwoody, we thank you, Vernon. Congrats to Sheriff Mann.

White and Blacks voted against Vernon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vernon Jones Sticking it to The Mann

Vernon Jones has added some racial humor to the DeKalb Sheriff race.  A flier was mailed in certain parts of DeKalb, but we don't think many made it to the 30338.

See flier here:

The flier depicts appointed (not elected) Sheriff Mann, Jones' opponent, as a puppet of four white guys.  One of those white guys is our very own mayor, Mayor Mike. I know Mike and I don't think he pulls Mann's strings.  

And leave it to Vernon to get in a jab at Dunwoody Crier editor/owner Dick Williams.  I'm sure Mr. Williams wants one of those fliers so he can frame it for his office. DunwoodyTalk will pay $4 to the first person to get us an original flier. We're not sure if the flier helps or hurts The Mann or The Man, but we give Vernon credit for keeping it real. 

If Vernon loses, we hope he applies for DeKalb School Superintendent. We think he'd do better than Thurmond.  He's taller and Vernon is open and transparent on his feelings toward much of Dunwoody.

Vernon should have made a dog park flier and passed them out at Brook Run. 

The sheriff doesn't do much up here in Dunwoody. But if we see a couple more cities added in DeKalb look for a movement to consolidate the DeKalb Police Department under the DeKalb Sheriff umbrella. Georgia law puts the sheriff as the top law enforcement puppet in every county.

Get out and vote today. Jack Kingston needs your vote.  DunwoodyTalk was prepared to endorse Vernon, but we'd ruin his puppet scenerio. Plus, we didn't want Mann putting us on a flier pulling Vernon's strings. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Do Not Vote for Mike Buck for Georgia School Superintendent

The League of Liberal Women Voters, a self-described non-partisan group, held a forum recently with the four candidates for Georgia State School Superintendent.  As expected, the candidates are not up to speed on much of anything.  No matter who wins, don't expect to see any major changes on how Georgia outspends and under-performs when compared to neighboring states.

But one question at the forum should throw up a red flag for those of us in support of local control and breaking up the monster districts like the failed DeKalb School System.

Head over to DeKalb School Watch (but don't go there daily and read all the great stuff because you will either: 1. Move out of DeKalb or 2. Get deeply involved in trying to make change only to get kicked in the face.

A question was posed to the four candidates regarding allowing GA voters to have a chance to vote to change the state constitution to allow new school districts.  Mike Buck shows his total ignorance on the issue.  Do not vote for Mike Buck.

Q) As you might be aware, there’s a movement in Dunwoody, Ga. to create an independent school system. Georgia’s constitution limits the number of school systems. Would you support a constitutional amendment allowing new cities to create their own school systems?
Buck: “That’s a new one on me. Before I would consider a constitutional amendment to do other things to education, I would like for us very much to fully fund the educational systems that we’ve got and improve upon our past performance.”

Mike Buck is a self-described Republican.  Whatever.  The two answers from the Democrats were far worse, but thankfully neither has a chance at winning.


Although his answer was not perfect, it was far better than Mike Buck's (don't vote for Mike Buck Georgia School Superintendent), DunwoodyTalk supports Richard Woods for Georgia State School Superintendent.  Visit Woods' web site and compare him to his opponent.

Vote Tuesday Dunwoody Georgia primary Jack Kingston

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dunwoody High School Swimming Hole Closed, Reopened as Horticulture Class Lab

DeKalb School District official told DT,
"I'll have staff schedule a vendor to address the detention pond in the weeks head."

Dunwoody residents are once again reminded that the DeKalb County School District is full of lies and broken promises.  Forget about the misspent funds, indictments of officials supposedly employed to supervise the education of our children, and the overall corruption of Georgia's $1 Billion Friends and Family program (see a great piece HERE on the Friends and Family program and Stan Jester's brave move to expose it). See WSB story HERE.  A classic black versus white south DeKalb mentality.

Side Note: If the independent school district falls through we really should consider a merger with Decatur, see HERE.

Back in 2010, when Dunwoody High School was remodeled, the school system had a new retention pond built. The site plan called for an open (not covered like at Dunwoody Elem) retention pond at one of the city's busiest residential intersections, the famed WOVER (Vermack at Womack for you newbies) intersection. WOVER is no stranger to controversy so it's somewhat fitting in a cruel way, that the retention pond is here. Some good news for WOVER is HERE - new storm water and paving.  If this project doesn't finish before school starts it will be total chaos at WOVER.

So back to the retention pond.  Since Day 1 there have been concerns about the design, including maintenance, mosquitoes, appearance, and effectiveness.  We havent heard of any flooding issues resulting in the pond overflowing, so it seems as that part is okay.

For history of the Pond, see Bob F's blog post HERE (yes, Bob F used to post interesting topics relating to Dunwoody, then he regained fame on TV)

From Bob F's blog, September 2010
Back to the detention pond. Shawn Hamlin of the architectural firm Perkins+Will, which is handling the project, and Matt Tanner of Breedlove Land Planning, an expert in stormwater, did a very nice job of explaining why the current ponds were necessary (the old pond was not up to code and actually flooded neighbors' yards every five years or so) and why this system will work best for Dunwoody High School. Right now the ponds are retaining a large amount of water. But once construction is complete, the large pond (furthest away from Vermack Rd.) mostly will be a dry bed. Ditto for the small pond closest to the intersection of Vermack and Womack Rd. Only the second small pond will retain stormwater on a regular basis.
As for the pond being an eyesore, DCSS plans to plant Magnolia and Holly trees (likely in October) along the side of the ponds that fronts Womack Rd., which should help. But it won't completely hide the hideousness. In the words of Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein, "It's going to be awful!" DCSS seems genuinely concerned with making the ponds as palatable as possible. But again, there's that trust issue.
As you read articles in The Crier and on the once-popular blogs across Dunwoody you'll see time after time that DeKalb County School District promised to maintain the retention pond.  We here at DT are not retention pond experts, but based on what we read it's quite obvious the pond is not being maintained.  

Many will probably say that the overgrown retention pond, with its family of waterfowl, frogs, minnows, manatee (yes, one was airlifted from the Dunwoody North Canal), and various other lifeforms, is more pleasing to the eye than a row of Leyland Cypress around a huge ditch.  Perhaps it is. But one must remember the purpose of the pond.  When the rains come will the pond perform as designed, preventing flooding?  Or, will the new storm water project at WOVER aid in case the pond overflows?  

Cleared or overgrown, the open/exposed retention pond is what all visitors see when approaching Dunwoody High School, a reminder of DeKalb's annual failures.  This retention pond should have been the underground/covered style like at Dunwoody Elem. School.

July 2014

July 2014

July 2014


2010 water testing



South DeKalb's Arabia Mountain High School

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sprouts Farmers Market Opens in Dunwoody

Dunwoody is home to a new Sprouts Farmers Market.  The official opening is July 16, 2014, but we got a sneak peek today.  The place looks great and will provide welcomed competition to other food sellers in the area.

We suggest taking a walk, bike, or drive over to the new store and do some shopping.  This shopping center has taken quite a turn the past few years.  Just a couple of years ago this center was a ghost town; now its action-packed filled with quality tenants providing in-demand goods and services for the people of Dunwoody.  The store is located at 2480 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody, GA  30338.  

I like that one can see across the store, from one side to the other.  No high shelves - you can easily stop anywhere in the store and quickly use visual aids (as in signage or the actual products) to see what you need to buy.  In our unofficial opinion, the store is somewhat of a cross between a Trader Joe's and Fresh Market, and them some.

Of particular interest to me was the nice meat offerings: venison, elk, wild boar, and kangaroo.  DunwoodyTalk staff will be one of very few homes in Dunwoody having kangaroo burgers on the grill tonight, with cold Allagash White beer from Maine.  Life is good.

Sprouts store manager

Dunwoody Bakery goods available at Sprouts, Nice!

Hoegaarden in stock

Allagash White, the new beer of choice for DunwoodyTalk staffers

Random shoppers seen at pre-opening event.  Some folks in Dunwoody really dress up for gettin' groceries

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Apartments and Largest Suburban Skyscraper in USA Planned for Sandy Springs Perimeter

Lots of action next door in Sandy Springs - the city with a short memory when it comes to apartments.  Never a Government to turn down more revenue, even with first-hand knowledge that today's shiny apartments are tomorrow's drain on police resources, Sandy Springs is set to approve yet another 500 apartments.  The 500 new apartments are part of a new project dubbed 'Hines High Rise'. The 500 apartments will be in the Woodland Elementary school attendance zone.

See the Project Details HERE.

Where is 'Hines Highrise' and will it affect Dunwoody?  Do we really care what is done by Big Sis Sandy Springs?

This new project is at the corner of Peachtree Dunwoody/Abernathy/Mt Vernon.  For a visual, think of the storage facility beside Home Depot and Costco.  Looking out the front door of the storage place (the lower level you'll find hairdressers leasing space) the property is across the street.  If headed south on Peachtree Dunwoody, it is the wooded lot on your right as you cross Abernathy.  Nice piece of land, for sure.
The developer wants to build a 'mixed-use' project. For those of you new to the blog and not familiar with the term 'mixed use', it is defined as apartments first, with the hope that retail follows.  If there is one thing to know about mixed use, know that the apartments WiLL BE BUILT immediately.  If there is money remaining and the apartments get rented for anywhere close to the numbers the developer feeds city council, then some retail shops will be added.  One good thing about this project is that MARTA is not involved and it is not a TOD (Transit Oriented Development).  The MARTA TOD's are the last thing you want in your city.  We've written about MARTA and the TOD before

Aside from 500 apartments (35 units per acre), the new project calls for 250-room hotel, 150,000 sq feet retail, and most importantly 1.5 million sq feet of office space.  I know what you are thinking - how are they getting 1.5 million of office space on 14 acres?  For the answer, look to the sky. 

The applicant for this project seeks to build a 35-story hotel (makes that budget hotel going into the Spruill Center property by Walmart look like a Little Tykes playhouse), 25-story apartment building, six-story parking deck, 25-story office building, and the PCID's tallest structure, a 50-story skyscraper for offices.
Building on right 16 stories higher

There is no rule stating that a city must grow.  Nothing wrong with Dunwoody staying at 50,000 residents and Sandy Springs staying at 100,000 residents.  But we know Government loves to grow.  Interesting that Sandy Springs has double the population but a much larger budget.  The 2015 budget in Sandy Springs is $90 million compared to under $25 million for Dunwoody.  Of course businesses and homeowners pay more taxes in Sandy Springs, and the HOST/LOST funds and tax collection system differs between the two cities.

Traffic in the area will increase.  For those of us in Dunwoody (and Sandy Springs), jumping on GA 400 at Abernathy to head to a Cobb Braves game or to go enjoy a bone-in rib eye at Hal's will become more frustrating.  Traffic on Spalding and Mt Vernon, the two east-west commuter routes in Dunwoody, will increase.  

Home values will may increase as well as new office space means more workers in the area.  More workers puts a demand on single family housing. 

500 new apartments will translate to lower rents in older apartments in the Perimeter area.  How much lower can the rent go at the apartments behind Wal-Mart?  Will demand continue to increase with supply for apartments?  

The 250-room hotel is interesting.  In perspective, the crown Plaza has 495 rooms. the Le Meridien has 275 rooms, the Courtyard on P-tree Dunwoody has 147 rooms.  At 250 rooms the hotel will most likely be a full-service hotel (bar, restaurant, etc.).  Just a couple of months ago Dunwoody approved a 124-room Residence Inn for the Spruill Gallery property.  For those of you travel rookies, a Residence Inn hotel is not a full service hotel, but is a nice place to stay.  At the community council hearing for this hotel I asked why a Residence in and why not a full-service hotel?  The developer said the area could not support another full-service hotel.  We think full-service hotels are better as they attract conventions and more tax revenue. 

Brookhaven just welcomed a new Hyatt, looks like a new full-service hotel for Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody welcomes a Residence Inn.  The CVB folks are foaming at the mouth.

Have an opinion on the new Sandy Springs project and its impact?  Now is the time to be heard.  The Sandy Springs council is set to approve this development  in a few days.  Usually a council member has their mind made on the vote prior to the meeting.  Now is the time to your city council member

Here at DunwoodyTalk we usually stay out of Sandy Springs issues as Funwoody Dunwoody has enough topics to keep us entertained, but this project affects Dunwoody residents just as much, if not more, than those living in Sandy Springs.