Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dunwoody Schools Better With Option A

Many years ago DeKalb wanted to build a small elementary school at the site of the now closed school on Chamblee Dunwoody Road (at Shallowford).  The school board rep at that time (pre Jester, pre Jim) thought it was not a good site.  Years later we instead went to the mega-school size we see at DES.  It was a missed opportunity.  The main school building at this site is gone, but a small gymnasium is still there.  The City of Dunwoody could have purchased this lot, but has decided not to purchase it.  This is another missed opportunity.  Many city staff/officials believe we don't need more green space because we have two parks across the street(s) from this lot.  Too much green space?  Really?  Ask your favorite mayor/council member why the city didn't purchase this acreage.  It's a great spot for a lacrosse/soccer practice field.  Again, a missed opportunity.

Another opportunity is before us.  DeKalb is asking for community input on realignment of the northern regions of the school system.  There's lots of details and lots of bad information being passed around.

The school system has put forth Option A, Option B, Option C

In summary, Option A decreases the attendance zone for Dunwoody High and doesn't have split feeders (kids stay together at elem, middle, high).  That's all you need to know.

Under Option B, we are likely to see larger increases in student growth.  

Dunwoody's campus is the smallest in the entire district.  We don't have room for more kids or more brick and mortar.  Under Option A, we have less students.

No split feeders means that kids from Dunwoody North going to Chesnut will be at PCMS and at DHS.  Don't believe the rumors of kids from Dunwoody North being moved to Chamblee.  Kids from Georgetown will be at DHS.

Some are talking about the $21 million carrot for DHS on Option B.  The truth is, Dunwoody can/will get improvements, even without e-splost funds.  Every year the district spends millions on improvements based on the Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) and the FEAA. Don't believe the rumors that Dunwoody will never get a new gym or new locker rooms, or a drama classroom.  Do you want a new gym and 600-900 more students, or keep the old gym and have a smaller school?

The Dunwoody School Council will be soon writing a letter indicating their (our) opinion on this issue. If you know any of the council members, mention your opinion on this important issue.  Let's make the right choice and support Option A

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dunwoody High School Parking Problems

Dunwoody High School does not have enough parking.  It's a supply/demand issue, and also a civics lesson as well.  Perhaps the Academy of Finance or AP Psych can take on this case.

In summary, the school has more students, teachers/staff, volunteers, and visitors than previous years.  And the number of parking spaces is less than prior to the school's remodeling a couple years ago.  As a result, DHS students are parking on residential streets (legally, and sometimes illegally), irritating some homeowners.

Vanderlyn parents have nowhere to park, nor do many visitors to DHS.  We've heard that some Vandy moms are no longer taking hot lunches to their kids at lunch time, and instead packing a lunch in a brown sack.  Things are tough.  

The DHS students have the same right to park on Vanderlyn Drive as the Vanderlyn parents, and students seem willing to arrive 45-60 minutes before school starts, preempting the Vandy mini-van / Volvo crowd.

And DHS resource officers/staff cannot/should not tell students they can't park legally on residential streets. On a side note, the guy 'directing' traffic at Vanderlyn Drive and Vermack needs a refresher course in traffic control. Reminds us of Mt Vernon by All Saints on  Sundays). Too bad that guy who used to direct traffic at Austin (the guy with all the stickers on his old SUV) isn't around to take over traffic by Vandy. 

Homeowners on at least one Dunwoody residential street have routinely been placing 'do not park on our street' notes on students' cars.  Sorry, they don't own the street.  If I owned one of those houses I wouldn't be super excited about students parking on the street either, but it's one of those risks when you buy a house a half block from two schools.  It reminds us a bit of the folks living near Brook Run who complain about hearing children play.  It also reminds us of the folks who live by the baseball fields on Roberts.  They oppose a school going in there.  Like the Brook Run floodplain posse, they believe the ball fields park is their private oasis. 

The local residents near DHS should know that the students really don't want to park on side streets.  They'd much rather park in a lot.  

Ride the bus?  I'm sure our seasoned citizens and Farmhouzers alike will remind us of the good old days when they walked uphill, both ways, for miles, to hitch a ride on old yeller. They rode the bus, and liked it. (some of our DPT members rode ole Buck or Dinkey, not a bus). But back when Mrs. Redfield-Spruill-Donaldson operated the old one-room Dunwoody grammar school, kids simply wrote on a slab of slate with chalk hand-mined from the earth, then went to work.  Back then we had no AP classes.  AP meant All Present, at work!  Kids as young as six months old worked on the family farm, or at the BrookRunner Stained Glass Window factory, or wiped tables at Mellow Mushroom, home to Hoeegarden on draft and fresh pizza made with spring-water pizza dough.  

Today's student takes classes at the local college part of the day, and needs a car to commute to and fro. Some students are taking classes at Fernbank and at DHS, needing a car.  Some kids play a sport or have an after-school club, and their parent(s) work.  There are many reasons why students drive to school.  But, there are some kids who drive simply because they want to drive, and could ride the bus.  

Carpool?  Many of the cars have more than one student.  And with graduated drivers licenses, some kids cannot have peers in the car.

Not all streets near DHS and Vandy are affected by parking.  At some point, prior to becoming a city, 'no parking' signs were installed on both sides of Hensley Drive.  I'm not sure who lives on that street, but they may have some connections.  After asking the Dunwoody police chief about opening parking on one side of that street, he said it's not going to happen.  Looking at a list of streets in DeKalb that have restricted parking, we do not find Hensley Drive  (see HERE for official streets).  Looks like a win for Hensley Drive residents. We'd like to see a traffic study that prohibits parking on Hensley, as stated in Section 30-104 of Dunwoody's Code of Ordinances (Comp. Ords. 2008, ch. 17, art. 4, § 3).  Section 30-111 discusses no parking on narrow roadways, but Hensley is much wider than 20 feet, as described in our code. 

But the parking issue is not from Hensley Drive and our police department (the police make regular visits to DHS to ticket illegally parked cars, so make sure your kid knows the rule.  If a No Parking sign is on the street, then no parking for that block, on that side of the street). 

current and future view of parking lot at Dunwoody High School

The solution is easy, and can be completely quickly.  All students, parents, visitors, Vandy spelling bee winners, and residents in the DHS/Vandy Education District need to contact our elected officials and school district staff (and may as well get city council involved).  The solution is to cover the retention pond and convert it into parking.  We realize the Wildcat swim team uses that pond, as does the Lady Wildcat ice-skating team (weather permitting), but we can always find another see-ment pond for swimming.

Look HERE and click on the Champion Jeep Dealership study for an example of what can be done to solve this issue.  Working together, this problem can be solved in a month.

Whom should you contact?  We are not sure who will make this decision, but we suggest contacting:

(be kind, state the issue and the solution)
school principal
school board member for District 1
regional superintendent for District 1
Chief Operations officer
DeKalb Super
mayor and city council (not their land, but they could help get this done, if they care)
And finally, to preserve the sanity of our readers, please no bike/bike lane/theater/floodplain/DHA comments.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vote Option A for Dunwoody Cluster

It's a no-brainer folks - Option A is the best option for Dunwoody, Chamblee, and the county as a whole.  DunwoodyTalk staff has years of redistricting experience in this area.  Take the survey online, vote Option A.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Opiod Heroin Discussion

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please join us as we present the documentary Chasing the Dragon, a film produced by the FBI and DEA.  The video is suitable for parents, students, educators, law enforcement, coroners, and others who have an interest in or are affected by the opioid./heroin problem.

The showing will be on Saturday, August 21, 2016 at 1:00pm, followed by a discussion among a panel of experts on the topic of heroin and opioid abuse and addiction, and a community question and answer session.  This panel will be moderated by Mark Winne, Investigative Reporter, WSB-TV.

Attendance is free, but space is limited to 200 people and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please register each person attending (including children) at:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dunwoody Swim Season 2016

Every Tuesday (sometimes Thursday) in June, pools across Dunwoody are packed with swimmers and parents.  Kids are anxious to see friends from other neighborhoods, as are the parents.  It's a great time for all.

This week's swim report brought to you by:

Village Burger - the best burger in Dunwoody

Summer swimmers range in skill.  At the top end, you have the Dynamo swimmers.  These kids swim year-round, and are the kids who rarely lose an event.  They lap your kid in the IM.  They may even lap your kid in a 50-free.  They wear a swim cap (from their club or high school) and don't loan their goggles to a newbie. They won't miss any of their events and they probably won't use a Sharpie to write 'Eat My Bubbles' on their shoulder. You'll see a huge difference in swim talent at the 11-12 and up age level.  

In the 9-10 age group and younger, an athletic kid, who doesn't swim often, can usually compete with a year-round swimmer in most events, especially free style events.  

And there are the kids just there for fun.  They want to hang out, swim a few events, see some friends, and be part of the team.  These kids may not have a swim cap, will go through 12 pair of goggles in June, and will leave their new flip flops and your 30A beach towel at Wynterhall. And they will miss at least one event during the night because they are on the playground or in line for a sno-cone. The great part about summer swim team is that all skill levels are welcome and able to participate.  You may be in heat 4, but you're in the event.  
Spoiler Alert: Only Heat#1 counts toward the team score.  The other Heats are exhibition, but don't tell your kids.

Parents vary in knowledge, and participation.  At one end, you have the Dynamo parents.  They bring a chair, a cooler, and usually snag a heat sheet.  They usually won't stand at the end of a lane screaming for their kid to kick harder or to swim faster.  The newbie parent will be overwhelmed with the new terminology (heat, event, IM, medley, bullpen) and is not the best person to work the bullpen.  In general, the parents all seem to enjoy the meets.  Occasionally, you'll have the helicopter mom, making sure their kid is in Heat 1 of four races, making sure the other team doesn't make any  lineup errors (perhaps counting the number of events of the other team's aces) and raising hell if anything goes wrong.  And they will scream at a coach, protesting a thunder or rain delay.  Every team has one.

Your team's schedule is based on team size and overall record for the past couple of seasons.  And you'll notice certain teams won't swim against each other.  Some folks take this way too seriously.  We won't name names, but a team had/has a legendary swim dad who didn't play well in the sandbox.  Know what I mean?  Well, his team and and another team won't be paired up until that dad's kid is above swim age. Swim teams range in size from 50 to over 300 kids.  The average for Dunwoody seems to be about 100 kids.

Once in a while you will see a tie.  A tie is sometimes really a tie.  Other times a tie score means the event ended early.  And sometimes, a tie is the compromise when one team cheats makes a line-up error but the evidence is not quite 100%.  Yes, teams make errors.  Some teams just throw kids in the pool when a kid misses a heat.  No big deal in most meets (but against the rules), in our opinion, for the summer league.  Other teams (coaches) will intentionally manipulate their lineup for the sole purpose of winning.  They will have kids swim more events than permitted, have kids swim in different age groups, and do whatever it takes to win.  DunwoodyTalk takes partial blame as teams covet the Dunwoody Cup, the six foot tall, gold-plated trophy, awarded annually to our top-ranked team.

Email your swim photos and tidbits to dunwoodyparent@gmail.com
Week #1
Chastain 506                 Georgetown 287
Redfield 404                 Deerebrooke Waters 347
Fontainebleau 355        Byrnwyck 355
Vermack 533                 Deerfield Spalding Lake 233
Dunwoody North 457   Zaban 307
Village Mill 390           Mill Glen 390*
Roxboro 426                 Dunwoody CC 352
Kingsley 392                Wynterhall 352
The Branches 406        Gainesborough 389 

Dunwoody North 400  Huntley Hill 396
The Branches 487        Mill Glen 303
Redfield 446                Deerfield Spalding Lake 312
Roxboro 419                Kingsley 343
Vermack 474                Dunwoody CC 304
Georgetown 404          Village Mill 388
Wynterhall 501            Deerbrooke Waters 254
Fontainebleau 415       Zaban 340

Byrnwyck 493             Zaban 241
Fontainebleau 458       Huntcliff 326
Georgetown 504          Brittany Club 283
Kingsley 417               Dunwoody North 379
Princeton Sq 439         Mill Glen 360
Redfield 404                Wynterhall 389
Vermack 395                Roxboro 395
Garden Hills 433         Village Mill 354
The Branches 448        Hammond Hills 347
 Dunwoody Rankings
#1 Vermack  2-0-1
#2 The Branches 3-0
#3 Kingsley 2-1
#4 Georgetown 2-1
#5 Fontainebleau 3-0

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Apartments Risky Business, Even in Dunwoody

A developer recently withdrew a zoning change request for land in the Perimeter area.  The developer wanted to put in apartments.

We know that High Street (new project in Dunwoody) is bringing at least 1,500 apartments, and as many condos.  The 3,000 units total will make a huge impact in the area.  Of course you should expect to see the apartments built first, as that's the way 'mixed use' folks roll.  

Take a look here at a story on Bisnow.

Developers tell us all the time how the apartments will be high end and rents will be at the top end.  The latest developer said publicly a 1,000 sq foot unit would rent for $3,000 a month in Perimeter.  That is simply not happening.  Not even Avalon, the best mixed-use in Georgia, gets that rate.

Here are highlight of the Bisnow article:

Rent growth is slowing

"We can't sustain this level of growth"

even in hot submarkets like Midtown or Buckhead, there's little chance every new development will hit the coveted $2.50/SF to $2.75/SF range. Most will be around $2.10/SF.

forget gateway cities. Investors are flocking to small American markets in a chase for better returns

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dunwoody's King John POV

City councilman John Heneghan has been writing a blog for over a decade.  His posts are neatly archived, allowing newcomers and Farmhousers alike to look back in time.

Being the King of blogging, John has rightfully earned the nickname of King John.

Here are a few links worthy of a re-read for many, especially as city folks discuss zoning, apartments, and parks. Thanks, John.  Keep putting it out there for all to see.  John used to be a tad bit more aggressive on the blog prior to becoming an elected official, but we do like both old and new posts.

What if?

 Did Dunwoody set is borders too far to the southeast?

 A quote from the old Farmer Bob

 Seven years later and it still looks the same

Déjà vu

Déjà vu again

And finally, for those new to da' Wood, stop by and read a few months worth of nuggets at The Other Dunwoody blog