Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dunwoody Council 1.2

We've all seen the "Dunwoody 2.0" references to the new city council, but is it really version 2.0?  Take a read here then come on back.  So, the original Council was version 1.0.  Thompson added to make it 1.1, now we have version 1.2, right?

It's been a while since I posted, and I am not typing to simply plug T.O.D.  I need also to call your attention to Farmer Bob's blog, seen HERE. Farmer Bob brings out the latest rumor of adding high density cluster homes to an area now vacant of residential housing, on land many in Dunwoody thought was going to be green space (at least partially).

For those of you too lazy to click over to Farmer Bob's blog, the rumor is that the city's mayor, staff, and council is considering an offer from a developer that would have the city sell the city's recently acquired PVC land (Council 1.1) and add townhouses.  Townhouses?  But I thought people turned out to vote against adding housing to certain areas of Dunwoody?  But wait, the rumor is these townhouses would sell for $350,000.  Really?  You can buy a 4,000 sq foot  ranch in Mill Glenn for $350,000.  Will people really buy a townhouse in Dunwoody for that amount?  Ask BloggerBob, he knows real estate.

And how do you ensure the developer does not tell you "yes, we will build $350,000+ homes", then turn around and say the market does not support that, and "we're going to offer slightly less expensive housing" in that location? New single family homes in that location?  John Wieland has built many homes and should know the market, so maybe I am wrong in thinking it will be a tough sell for a few more years.  But then again, maybe the developer wants to buy the land now, promise single family homes later, but build the high-density cluster homes now. Or maybe the city sells the land to Developer A, with a promise of finely built brick homes, but then Developer A flips the property to Developer B, who then decides to build the apartments that Council 1.1 saved us from witnessing.

Is it a good idea for the city to unload this property? I think the city paid around $5 million.  Are we selling ten acres for $5 million and getting a 'free' park on the other six acres? Are we selling then entire chunk for $6 million?  What will the city do with the $6 million?  I'm just guessing here as I was not contacted by the ethically challenged person who leaked the information.  Will the property become mixed use with a promise of cluster homes, a park, a Chick Fil A, a steam car wash, a Goodwill, and a Starbucks?

We've seen that mixed use scenario play out all around the country in "mixed use" plans.  In a mixed use development, the apartments ALWAYS go in first, then the developer may get around to all those other amenities like office space and retail space.  (This is what will happen at High Street if the city drags its feet on the zoning re-write.  Are there people among us wanting the zoning process to drag out until AFTER High Street begins building 3,000 new apartments? ).

Headed into last November's election we were told the city needs lots of green space, more parks.  Now the city is considering selling off the land many thought was bought for green space?  Did we buy this land with the intent to resell it, to build a park on part of it, to hold for a future city hall/city admin building? 

All this "PVC land for sale" rumor stuff came from an executive session meeting held last week.  As FarmerBob noted, this information was leaked, big time.  This is not good.  So why the leak on the possible sale of the PVC farm for allegedly building high-density cluster homes?  What is the motivation to leak the information?

1.  The leaker(s) wanted to gain favor with local media, and told a member of the media about the deal first, gaining the support (for future use perhaps) of said media member.

2.  The leaker(s) do not want this deal to go through, but feel they will be out voted on it.  In an attempt to gain opposition to the sale, someone leaked the information, hoping it would then make it to the local blogs, newspapers, and/or other media (Patch).

3.  The leaker(s) wanted to impress a friend or two of their powerful position on council.

4.  The leaker(s) feel the public will be behind the sale of this property and they want to gain support for the sale of a piece of property many thought the city should not have purchased (making a wrong into a right?).

No matter the reason, discussing things talked about in executive session is a violation of ethics (as Farmer Bob points out).  But if rules are not enforced, then people will continue to break them.

So two big issues come from last week's Executive session: a breach of the city's ethics policy, and the possible sale (without bid) of a large chunk of city real estate.

Speaking of the zoning rewrite, this needs to be completed sooner than later.  As the economy turns, we need to be ready.

The mayor and city manager may have to review the ethics policy and explain it to all those attending executive session.  This may hurt the feelings of media darlings and FarmHousers galore, but it's the law.  you want to know what goes on in executive session?  Earn a spot on council and earn the privilege.


Sight Edman said...

I think we're supposed to have version 2.0, but if the proof is in the performance, we'll have to wait to make the determination. It's probably safe to assume we're at 1.2 until their actions convince otherwise.

Clio said...

How does an average citizen request an investigation of a possible leak? I want Chief Grogan to open an investigation. Can I do that or does it need initiated by the mayor or city legal staffers?

dpgroupie said...

In the end, isn't it BETTER to know? At least we have a chance to comment before it's a done deal.