Thursday, November 13, 2014

Community Council Meeting Tonight (Thursday)

The esteemed Dunwoody Community Council meets tonight.  On the agenda is a change to the hotel project by Wal-Mart (The Spruill Hotel and Retail and Restaurant Retail Center for the Arts Profits).

Also, discussion of changes to zoning and land development, Chapters 16 and 27.


Email me or another community council member with comments, or simply show up tonight at city hall and tell us in person.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Where was Council for Quality Growth in the Late 1990's and early 2000's?

Prior to 2006 building owners in Dunwoody (and all of DeKalb) could easily convert office buildings to five-story apartment buildings without public input.  After 2006 the DeKalb Commissioners (we will give credit to former Commissioner Boyer and Farmer Bob for their work on this issue) required a Special Land use Permit (SLUP) for office buildings to convert to apartments.  Before the 2006 change to this practice, thousands of apartments were permitted, and still today we feel the affects of the conversion technique.  We will still see apartments built in Dunwoody due to grandfathering.  During this time Sandy Springs did not see much of any apartment buildings.  They were securing corporations and building Class A office space.  In summary, during a decade of high growth, Dunwoody got apartments and Sandy Springs got the businesses.  Office buildings were torn down for apartments in Dunwoody.

Where was the Council for Quality Growth when all this was happening?  Where were the letters to DeKalb commissioners?  When were the meetings with the DHA and the Council for Quality Growth (CQG)?  To whom were the emails sent stressing the 'urgent alert' of converting office buildings to apartments?  The CQG has been around for three decades or so.  From their web site:

Council Mission

The Council for Quality Growth is a not-for-profit trade organization promoting balanced and responsible growth in the metro Atlanta region and state by:
  • Promoting long range planning and adequate delivery of government services
  • Serving as a catalyst for consensus on growth issues
  • Providing a forum for discussion of responsible development, and economic or technical expertise as needed

What We Do

Since its inception in 1985, the Council has worked as the development industry’s voice, a clearinghouse for critical information on growth and development policy and a forum for education.  The Council advocates  for its members to ensure that governmental development policy is fair and conducive to balanced and responsible growth.   Through constructive leadership and active participation in resolving growth issues based on real-world experience, the Council is a knowledgeable and informed advocate for you.
The Council’s work on behalf of its members has a direct and profitable result on their bottom line.  Impact fees, development moratoriums, unrealistic code amendments—it only takes one new regulatory layer and your project becomes unfeasible.  The rate of return on your membership investment will prove to be immeasurable as our policy team affects positive change in the political and regulatory web you face daily.

I suppose allowing DeKalb to permit office space to apartments without public input was balanced and responsible growth, due to their non-involvement.

Tonight Dunwoody's city council is discussing an amendment to Chapter 8 of our building code.  This amendment will not make Dunwoody unattractive to developers.  We will still be located off GA 400 in one of the strongest office markets in the USA.  We will still be minutes from Buckhead and downtown, and the growing north Fulton business corridor.  In summary, Dunwoody will still be an attractive location. 

Let Sandy Springs continue their building spree of apartments.  They can fill the housing void, if such a thing exists, in the PCID area. 

The CQG does not have the best interests of Dunwoody homeowners in mind, nor do they claim to care about the residents who live here.  Their goal is to give power to corporations to do as they please, regardless of the input of people who reside in Dunwoody.  Take a look at the CQG web site and you'll find a bunch of Cobb County folks, not people from Dunwoody.  These building owners do pay taxes, and their taxes do keep homeowner taxes lower, no doubt.  Without the PCID we'd be paying higher taxes like the folks in Decatur.  But at least they have their own school district. But the voters and our elected council have a strong say in what can and cannot be done. Some think this will prohibit upgrades to existing apartments. Time will tell.