Friday, July 24, 2015

Millennials Will Not Always Live in Apartments

Lots of cities and counties in metro Atlanta keep talking about millennials and their desire to live beside a MARTA station, ride a bike on the street, and live in a 1,200 square foot apartment, surrounded by other millennials.

Sandy Springs has seen a huge growth in apartments.  Take a drive down near Costco and the Peachtree-Dunwoody Road Publix and you'll see the stick built units, lots of them.  It's almost as though Sandy Springs political folks forgot that today's shiny, new apartment will soon become a not-so-desirable apartment, and the city's high crime area.  it's a repeating cycle.  You can't show me one apartment complex in Atlanta that looks better now than when it was built.  Single family neighbors do improve over time as trees mature and the sense of community grows.  Well, the folks in Sandy Springs are slowing things down a bit.  They now have a moratorium on permits for new apartments in C1 and C2 zoning areas.  Mayor Randy Paul is taking heat from many voters (homeowners) and perhaps this was a factor in the moratorium.  Read about the Sandy Springs issue HERE.

DunwoodyTalk had a post about a year ago on a similar moratorium in 2014, HERE.

The apartment/PCID issue is nothing new.  Here's a piece written in 2011. This post discusses the PCID and its quest for higher density.

PCID Removes Jobs to Housing Ratio from Report

Prior to the incorporation of the City of Dunwoody, developers, DeKalb County, and the PCID took advantage of zoning loopholes and slammed the DeKalb section of the PCID with apartments while the Fulton County (Sandy Springs) grabbed new business tenants.  My vision is for the DeKalb section of the PCID to receive new businesses only - we have enough apartments on the books.  If the PCID wants more multi-family housing, let Sandy Springs have it.  We need jobs in Dunwoody, not apartments.  

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. 

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.
State Farm recently announced they will build offices and bring jobs to Dunwoody, and will not use some of their land for apartments. This news is cheered my most, jeered by a few.  The neighboring High Street project will soon be built, adding 3,000 new housing units (1,500 apartments, 1,500 condos), adding to an existing inventory of multi-family units in the Perimeter area.

And back to those millennials.  Keep in mind that State Farm doesn't hire just millennials. They will hire people Generation X (the doers) and Baby Boomers (the Me gen) as well. 

The millennials will eventually have kids and buy homes.  They will not stay 'cool' forever and will download children (real children).  They will move from the noisy, crowded urban areas and buy a home.  Some (the white ones) may even move to Decatur and try to prolong their coolness another decade or so.  

Dunwoody doesn't need more apartments.  DeKalb County permitted enough back before we were a city.  And for once, it looks like Sandy Springs is following Dunwoody's lead.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Decatur Too White? By Design?

Decatur - The New White Flight 

Decatur is a small city to the south of Dunwoody, here in DeKalb County, GA.  What words come to mind when thinking of Decatur? We asked around and came up with these terms:  liberal, hipster, granola, diverse, wealthy, educated, Democrat.  We're not sure if this list is accurate, but it's a list.  Feel free to make your own.

Turns out, some people in Decatur think it's getting too white, as in too many white people. Some blame so-called gentrification. Latest census figures show Decatur at 73.5% white, and it's getting whiter (Dunwoody is below 70% and becoming less white annually). Decatur is whiter than Johns Creek, Acworth, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, and nearly every other city in Georgia.

Some of the Decatur elite will blame everything but themselves for becoming the whitest city in metro Atlanta, but it is its own tax rates that push poor and minorities away.  As real estate values increase, and with Decatur's high tax rates, many people can't afford to own homes in Decatur. People sell homes as the tax burden is too much, making room for more white people like the AJC's GetSchooled Ms. Maureen.  On a separate note, Maureen opposes new school districts in Georgia.  She has long opposed new independent school districts, and leases out her column space annually to guest writers  opposing new school districts.  Maureen doesn't care that DeKalb School District is corrupt, and doesn't believe people in Chamblee, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Doraville, or other areas should be allowed to escape DeKalb's bad school system. Decatur has their cake (it's own school system), and no one else can have cake.  

Decatur has a great school system and wants to improve it.  That sounds great. Decatur keeps taxes high, forcing out poor and minority families, and keeping poor people from moving in. In October 2000 Decatur schools were 41% white, and in March of 2015 it was up to 61% and looks to increase based on enrollment data in PK and KK classrooms. Maureen will tell you that their (Decatur) schools are better because of smaller classrooms and better management.  We agree 100%.  But she won't tell you that a huge decrease in minorities (historically score lower than whites on standardized tests) has elevated test scores for the district.  

Those opposing independent school districts say that race is the main factor for independence, ignoring minority groups (such as the one in south Cobb) seeking the same.  It's the things Decatur does well (small district, local control, lower teacher student ratio, 70% of teachers with advanced degrees, increased test scores for all races, great administrators, etc.) that people in other cities seek for their school districts.  But the white hippie hypocrite in Decatur tells us to stay with the corrupt DeKalb School System.

Section 8 Apartment Building Damaged, Displacing 169 poor families?
Is there a new method of getting Decatur even whiter?  See HERE. Park Trace apartments is Section 8 housing in Decatur.  169 of 170 units are Section 8.  Decatur builds a new government complex that 'may have' damaged, unintentionally, these Section 8 apartments, according to a lawsuit by the apartment owners. If this building has to be torn down, don't expect to see 169 new Section 8 apartments.  Or will we?

Only in Decatur 
Decatur is giving taxpayer money ($109,000) to a group called The Art of Community to figure out how to stop all these white people moving in to Decatur. Read the story at Decaturish, the best site for everything in Decatur and the greater Decatur area. Decatur was 60% white in 1990, and nearly 74% in 2010.  A Decatur resident Don Denard said, “We have to be open to change. We have to have room in our minds for imagining a different way of being.” Apparently the change to becoming whiter in Decatur is not the change Mr. Denard seeks. It's Mr. Denard who is not open to change.

From the article, 'Mayor Jim Baskett said he was hopeful the plan would provide specific actions the city and its residents can take.' (to become less white).