Friday, April 26, 2013

Fulton County Hears Sandy Springs Residents Loud and Clear on School Issue

As predicted the Fulton County school system pulled the idea of relocating a Sandy Springs elementary school to Riverside Drive.  Why?  Because some residents starting some chatter about creating a new Sandy Springs or N Fulton school district.  And the folks at the Fulton central office know the POWER of N Fulton legislators can make it happen.

So with the chit chat of a Sandy Springs school district dampened a bit this afternoon, back to the fight here in north DeKalb.  Looks like we may be in this battle alone.  Maybe.  The Sandy Springs folks, with a quick victory under their belt, will begin to wonder how and why the Fulton school system caved so quickly.  Fulton school officials will blame it on sewer lines or expensive street widening, but we know the real reason.

Here's the link to the updated Patch article HERE.

Hopefully the drive for local control is alive and growing in Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Milton, and Johns Creek. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dunwoody Planning Commision Says YES to Another Driveway on Ashford Dunwoody Road


The main reason for the developer wanting the curb cut is NOT for the hotel, but to increase value of the Ashford Dunwoody Rd frontage.  It has been revealed the #1 goal is to secure the new driveway then divide the land into at least four new parcels then sell these parcels.  The driveway WILL NOT stop the hotel.  The driveway is wanted to increase the value of the land to add four or more new businesses to the front of the property.

We have no issue with increasing the value of a property and making some nice profits, but how about being up front with everyone on the real issue for wanting the driveway?

Planning Commission Votes 4-3 in Favor of Developer

For purposes of maintaining readers, please note we will use the human term of 'driveway' instead of the transportation geek term 'curb cut' today.

Last night the Planning Commission approved two applications for rezoning a property on Ashford Dunwoody Road.  The property is known as Sterling Point and is across from California Pizza Kitchen (not related to Mellow Mushroom Pizza, home to cold Hoegaarden on draft and freshly made hot pizza).

As was the case with one person on the Community Council and the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, everyone likes the plan except the new driveway to the property.  Some people oppose this new driveway.  In the end, the driveway plan gets approved 4-3.  It was touch and go during the meeting, and in the end some board members see shiny new buildings and alleged fancy restaurants as a reason to approve the new driveway.  There is no doubt the driveway makes the property more valuable.  But does adding yet another driveway on Ashford Dunwoody Road make sense?  The property has traffic lights on each side of it, making side access quite easy.

This project has been promoted by the developer as a hotel site, and a few retail features added in.  The developer's spokesman said it is a $28 million project and will bring in tens of millions of $$$ over the next couple of decades.

But this project is more than a hotel.  The rendering will show a Hampton Inn, two restaurants, and two retail stores, all developed jointly in harmony.  But this project will not be developed in that manner.

Yes, the hotel will be built first.  The golden rule of any type of mixed use is to build the beds first.  In this case, beds = hotel.  At the numerous failed mixed use (live, work, play) projects around the country beds = apartments.

Hampton Inn is a nice brand.  Sure beats an extended-stay homeless / Section 8 shelter hotel.  Hampton Inn has many different designs. They have the basic cookie-cutter Interstate Exit model and an in-town version.  I'm sure the hotel will be nice.

But that's where the facts end.  What about the four spaces up front on Ashford Dunwoody Road?  We've heard of a white table cloth restaurant.  Not sure what that could be.  Perhaps a Ruth Chris (the Sandy Springs Ruth Chris is a bad location)?

Here's what will most likely happen - the developer, once it secures the driveway off Ashford Dunwoody, will seek to create four separate lots and sell each lot.  This will not be one big project with one owner.

Back to that driveway.  The property owner says it has a legal right to a driveway, via a 1980 agreement.

"Said curb cuts are to be made at locations in the discretion of the owner"

Did the property owner from 1980 agree to use both curb cuts some point(s) north of Perimeter Center North?

Above are images important to this case.  One is a drawing of a plat of Land Lot 350 with text stating the property owner is permitted two driveways onto Ashford Dunwoody Road for the property on Land Lot 350. Land Lot 350 is no longer owned by one person, so when/if a property is subdivided, to whom goes the alleged driveway access?

driveway (curb cut x 2) on Ashford Dunwoody Road on Land Lot 350
Above is a photo of two curb cuts on Land Lot 350.  The land owner in 1980 was promised two curb cuts, and here they are!

I doubt we will see a white tablecloth restaurant at this site, not in front of a Hampton Inn.  Look for a Panera Bread and either a Waffle House or an IHOP. The retail shops?  Maybe a Verizon phone center and a Walgreen's.  Once those lots are sold (expect four new parcels to be created) and with new zoning in place, who knows what will be built.

The issue here is not the legality of a driveway.  The issue is: Did the property owner knowingly give up the right to the driveway back in 2008 to get the property rezoned?  Is the property owner asking for a second bite at the apple?

Odyssey of the Mind Team at Peachtree Middle School

Thousands of kids have been working hard all year perfecting their solutions
to Odyssey of the Mind problems and competing within their regions and
states. Only a few will advance to World Finals - these teams represent the
best of the best creative minds.

One of those teams is from Dunwoody.  The Peachtree Charter Middle School 
team has earned the right to compete with the best of the best.

Teams from around the world will compete in the 34th Odyssey of the Mind
World Finals. The competition emphasizes creativity and teamwork and has
grown into the largest international creative problem-solving competition

While the competition is fierce, there is also a feeling of camaraderie
among competitors. Many students form life-long friendships that span the
U.S. and the globe. At World Finals, teams have the chance to learn about
other cultures through a common goal . . . to be as creative as they can!

Here is our PCMS Odyssey of Mind Team - State Champions - heading to WorldFinals at Michigan State University!
World Finals. May 22 - May 25, Michigan State University

Virginia Luquire
Ginna Feiman
Kara Christopher
Karen Bass (coach)
Jackson Watson
Patrick Clinch
Maggie Bass
Bebe Franco

We Need Big Sis Sandy Springs to Get What We Want

As Dunwoody parents struggle to gain traction with dual accreditation and questions of influence at the State Capitol surface regarding political pull to get a new school district measure on a State ballot, a glimmer of hope from Sandy Springs.

See the Sandy Springs Patch article HERE.

Mayor Would Side With Potentially Displaced Homeowners' in Fight for New School District

The Fulton County Board of Ed. is considering the relocation of Heards Ferry Elementary to the southern end of Riverside Drive in Sandy Springs. Residents are at risk of eminent domain and neighbors are considering a fight for a new school district.
Seems there is a new elementary school being built in Sandy Springs (SS if part of the Fulton County School District).  Some folks don't like the new location and fear redistricting.  Note: Redistricting of schools is feared in the USA like the Bird Flu is in China.

So what do these Sandy Springs residents threaten if they don't get their way? They will start a movement for a new school district - a north Fulton school district.  It's about time!  This is the key to a Dunwoody school district, as we have mentioned here before.  Dunwoody alone does not have the political power to get it done - we need mad residents in Sandy Springs, Milton, Roswell, and Johns Creek.  These folks have the POWER in Jan, Wendall, etc. 

I expect the Fulton County School District to give these residents what they want - they know the POWER