Sunday, August 17, 2008

Candidates' Information Forum

Talk about having your head spin! I, along with all of the candidates for council positions for the new City of Dunwoody, spent more than eight hours on Saturday listening to the reports of the different task forces for our new city. Without getting into all of the minutia of the meeting, the most interesting reports were filed by Bob Lundsten (Zoning and Land Use) and by Larry Echikson (Police).

Bob's report was a real eye opener. While most all of the residents of single family detached homes in Dunwoody want to end all construction of apartment complexes (in many cases immediately), Bob says that cannot happen. We simply cannot get the necessary zoning changes. The courts will not allow it. Why? Because developers who already own said properties will sue the new city claiming their rights as landowners were violated. The developers will argue that they purchased the property knowing that the zoning allowed for multi-family apartments. And that by changing the zoning, they will lose, potentially, millions of dollars. Bob says the courts have and will rule in favor of the developers every time. He says the new city, much like the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, must try to work with the developers to come up with the best solutions for ALL parties involved. Stay tuned.

The police report presented by Larry and his committee recommended that the police department number 44 sworn officers - up from 28 recommended by the Carl Vinson Institute study. That's the good news. Of course the downside - the increase in officers will swell the projected police budget from 2.7 million to 4.4 million. However, the task force says that the police department easily will generate more than twice the revenue suggested by the Carl Vinson Institute (the CVI study projected police revenue at just under $1,000,000). If the new city council follows the recommendations of the task force our neighborhoods undoubtedly would become much safer.

1 comment:

Bob Lundsten said...

I am not very good at this blogging stuff and apparently was not very good at presenting the Zoning and Land Use report yesterday.

The point that I was trying to make was that the new Mayor and City Council are going to have to BALANCE the wants of the community, the rights of proerty owners and the future sucess of the city when it comes to seting new policy when it come to Zoning and Land Use.
New zoning codes cannot be absolute restrictions nor can the be arbitrary and unreasonable.
You can not just say no more apratments becasue you do not want any more apartments, Nor can you restrict a land owner from building a high rise office building when he is in the middle of a high rise office district.
It is not as easy as it appears. I just did not want any of the candidates to go into offoce thinking that they could stop development simply by passing a new code. EVERY code that you adopt will be scrutinized by the best land use lawyers in the state.
WE can and will do better than DeKalb, not doubt about that but we are going to need smart growth in our commercial sectors to insure the continued sucess of our city