Friday, May 29, 2009

Help Determine Dunwoody's Future

The following is straight off the city of Dunwoody's webpage and contains information on the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which, for all intent and purpose, we charter the course of the city. The first public meeting concerning the plan is this coming Tuesday evening. Details are below.

City of Dunwoody Comprehensive Plan

Under the leadership of the Mayor and City Council we have begun the process of writing the first City of Dunwoody Comprehensive Plan. The public meetings to solicit your opinions and visions of the future will happen over the summer and early fall months. The plan is to be the “Community Agenda”, a policy guide that details the community’s visions and goals for the future. This is a plan truly created by the community, for the community. We need to know your thoughts!

How do I participate?
There will be five public meetings, and we highly recommend your attend as many as possible. The meetings will have different themes, exercises, and information.

The dates are:
Tuesday June 2
Tuesday June 23
Tuesday July 7
Monday August 3
Thursday September 24
Dunwoody United Methodist Church
1548 Mount Vernon Road (Click for Map)
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Community Workshops and Meetings
The City of Dunwoody Community Workshops and Meetings for the Comprehensive Plan are organized so that participants:

· learn about the Comprehensive Planning process
· obtain data about their city (prepared in the Community Assessment)
· express preferences and priorities for the future of the City
· engage in city planning

The workshops will include information and education regarding community planning specific to the City of Dunwoody and the Metro-region.

Schedule of Activities:

June 2 Kick-Off
Present Process and Community Assessment Key Findings
Preliminary Issues/Opportunities (whole assembly)
Change/Preserve exercise (break-out working groups)

June 23 Transportation, Gateways and Urban Design
July 7 Parks, Facilities and Funding
August 3 Putting it all together: Vision and Future Development
September 24 Open House – Community Agenda Draft Components
December Public Hearing
A series of official public hearings will provide community members an opportunity to review the draft Community Agenda, comprised of the community Vision, Policies and Implementation plan.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?
The City of Dunwoody has begun the process of creating its first Comprehensive Plan. The Community Development Department leads this effort, but the process will coordinate policy across city departments. A team of consultants facilitates in engaging the community and preparing the components comprising the Comprehensive Plan. Once completed and adopted, the document will serve as a source for key city data and a strategic plan guiding city officials and staff concerning the future development of the city.

The Comprehensive Planning effort contemplates the 2009 - 2030 planning period, and is undertaken per the Rules of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), O.C.G.A. Chapter 110-12-1, effective May 1, 2005. It asserts a long-range vision and commits the city to a short term action plan.

DCA rules state the format of the Comprehensive Planning process consists of three distinct components as follows:

Community Assessment: Summary of existing conditions with supporting data
Community Participation: Program for providing public input opportunities
Community Agenda (link coming soon!): Policy goals and strategies for plan implementation

The Community Assessment provides an analysis of existing conditions, issues, and trends facing the City of Dunwoody and reports detailed data in a Technical Addendum to support key findings. Furthermore, the Assessment identifies unique opportunities and advantages the community has at its disposal. These elements are combined to inform a strategic plan for the municipality over the 20 year Comprehensive Plan horizon. The Assessment contains this Executive Summary, which presents salient data, and is supplemented by an attached Technical Appendix which includes the full data analysis for existing conditions. As a base-line resource from which community members can draw during the development of that Community Agenda, the Community Assessment helps communicate the City’s profile. A primary component of the Assessment is the Character Area map (categorizing areas of the City and their respective character type), from which a future development map will be derived during the creation of the Community Agenda. Additionally, a map identifying Special Areas of Attention, along with a series of Cultural Resource, Natural Resource, Community Facilities and Transportation maps help to graphically visualize the infrastructure, institutional and natural features of the Dunwoody. The Community Assessment should serve government officials and the public as a concise reference document. (click here for the Technical Addendum)

The Community Participation Program details what measures a local government will undertake in order to ensure that community members can participate in the creation of an Agenda for future planning.

This Community Agenda is the heart of the Comprehensive Plan; it articulates the community vision for a 20 year planning period and provides the policy that guides land-use decision making. It also specifies the strategies by which the community intends to pursue its vision, with a five-year action plan detailing implementation of goals and policies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Million Dollar Home Back on the Market

Springfield's only $1 million home is back on the market! The new construction on Summerford Court , which originally went on the market last year for $1.15 million, is now listed for $1.095 million. Market conditions as they are, it will be tough sell. For more details, click on the link:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tragedy Rocks Springfield

Springfield lost one of its own this past week, when Frank Poulos suddenly passed away at the age of 82. I didn't know Frank as well as some of our other neighbors, but he was always quick with a smile and a pleasure to speak with. He is survived by, among others, his wife Mari Ann. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and the rest of his family.

(The following is Franks obituary which appears in both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the El Paso Times).
Frank Pete Poulos, 82, formerly of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and currently of Dunwoody, Georgia, passed away on May 19, 2009. Born to Pete Poulos and Mary Avramopoula, of Dayton, Ohio, Frank was a first American descendant of Greek parents. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Georgia Poulos, brothers Bill and George Poulos, and his first wife of 43 years, Martha Satterfield Poulos. He is survived by his sister Mary Farquhar, wife Mary Ann Poulos, both of Atlanta, Georgia, sons Victor Poulos and Gregory Poulos of El Paso, Texas and Santa Teresa, New Mexico and grandchildren Ryan Poulos of Austin, Texas and Sarah Poulos of El Paso, Texas. During WW II Frank served honorably in the U.S. Navy. Upon returning from his military service, he graduated from college and law school in Atlanta, Ga. Frank's love of life and adventure led him to a distinguished career with the United States Department of Justice, where he served first as a US Marshal during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, receiving personal commendations from both Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President John Kennedy. Frank continued his service with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the United States Agency for International Development, serving several years in the Republic of Vietnam assisting the Vietnamese in developing humane prisons for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong prisoners of war. Upon his return to the States after the Vietnam War, he returned to service with the Bureau of Prisons at La Tuna, Texas, where he eventually retired as "Captain". Frank then enjoyed a second career working for Charles Crowder and Santa Teresa Development Corporation where he established and ran the Santa Teresa security program and built and became the first Fire Chief for the Santa Teresa Volunteer Fire Department. Frank's love for life and family and his "can do" attitude will be remembered by all he came into contact with, and his many friends he was blessed with, both in Santa Teresa and Atlanta where he eventually retired with his wife Mary Ann. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made either to the Greek Orthodox Church of Atlanta or the Humane Society of El Paso. Burial of Cremains at Memory Gardens of Santa Teresa, N.M., will be announced.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Field Day at Vanderlyn

Tuesday was Field Day at Vanderlyn, and talk about a smashing success! I can't remember the last time I saw that many smiles at one time. The highlight of Field Day was the teachers vs. students race - won by the students! But give credit to principal Noel Maloof (pictured below), his speed was impressive to say the least.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Listing in Springfield

One of the factors in the declining real estate market is the rise of foreclosed properties. Foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties force other sellers to drop the price of their listings in order to stay competitive.
Springfield now has a bank-owned property on the market on Springfield Dr. It is listed for $279,000. For more information, click on the link below:

(The blurry picture above was taken by the real estate company listing the property)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Solids Not Stripes at Dunwoody Elementary

Dunwoody Elementary Principal Jonathan Clark revealed during a meeting with parents on Thursday night at Dunwoody High that the new school will have a dress code. While students won't be required to wear a uniform, they will be instructed to dress in solid colors only. Stripes, among other designs, will not be acceptable. In explaining the dress code, Mr. Clark said the school does not want clothing to become a distraction. No word if teachers and administrators will be barred from wearing striped shirts or ties.
During the meeting DeKalb County officials gave their final construction update, with Chief Operations Officer Patricia Pope saying, "We are going to finish on time." Officials have scheduled a Grand Opening Celebration August 8 with an open house three days prior.
It was announced that school hours will be 7:45 AM to 2:15 PM. As for school bus schedule, children attending Vanderlyn and Dunwoody will ride the same bus. The bus will drop off at Dunwoody first and then proceed to Vanderlyn. In the afternoon, it will pick up from Dunwoody first and then proceed to Vanderlyn. Bus schedules will be announced on June 1.

CBS Better Mornings Live in Dunwoody, New Listing in Springfield

Channel 46's early morning program CBS Better Mornings broadcast live Thursday morning from the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce railroad house on Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. The live segments featured some of Dunwoody's restaurants and businesses, not to mention the new city itself. For clips of their broadcast, click on this link: CBS Better Mornings

There is a new listing in Springfield at 4859 Springfield Dr. It's a wonderful renovation. For more details, click on the link: Buyer Brief Page If you'd like to be alerted anytime a home comes on the market in our neighborhood (or for that matter, any neighborhood), please send me an email at and I'll set you up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Season Over for Dunwoody Baseball

With Springfield's own Hudson Randall and Adam Jones playing major roles on the Dunwoody High School baseball team, we've kept a close eye on the Wildcats this year. Unfortunately, their season came to a premature ending this past weekend, as they were knocked out of the state playoffs by Carrollton.
Nonetheless, it was a tremendous season for both Hudson, who's headed to the University of Florida on a baseball scholarship, and Adam. We wish them all the best next year!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

State of the City of Dunwoody

Below is a letter from City Councilman Denis Shortal to the citizens of Dunwoody. It is interesting to get his thoughts on the farmers' market.

Fellow Citizens of Dunwoody, Just a quick update on a few issues:
1. New City Hall ... As you know the Dunwwoody Police have been occupying their space in the new city hall since the third week in March. This weekend the rest of our city offices / officials will be leaving our temporary office at 400 Nothridge, starting at 6:00 PM on Friday, and moving into our new city hall at 41 Perimeter Center East.
The new offices will be open for business at 7:30 AM on Monday, 11 May. To get to our new location go Ashford Dunwoody Rd to Perimeter Center East (the Bank America branch bank is on the corner) proceed east until you see the signs on your right for 41 Perimeter Center East ... our offices are on the first two floors. Give everybody a week or so to get settled in and then come over to see your new City Hall.
2. Meetings ... Current plans are for most of the meetings .. City Council, Planning Commission, etc .. to be held in their previous venues until 1 JUN. Our first nightly City Council meeting in the new offices is scheduled for 8 Jun at the regular time of 7 PM.
3. Tragedy ... As you may have noted a 22 month old little girl was run over and killed in an apartment parking lot last night. I would ask you to keep her, her family and those city officials that responded to this case in your thoughts and prayers. For those of you you saw Det Gobley's interview of television I think you will agree that she did a very professional job under extreme trying conditions.
The investigation in ongoing.
4. Police ... From the top on down I think our police officers are doing very professional work. I assure you we are not trying fill our city bank account through fines but, we are enforcing the law to bring protection and peace of mind for our citizens. To give you an idea of some of the speeding problems around town ... we put a speed reading sign by Chestnut School last Thursday. While the sign was operational
- a car apparently lost control and ran over the sign two days after it was up - we had several cars go through at 50+ MPH and one car came through at 67 MPH ... the speed limit in that area is 35 MPH.
5. Roads ... The wet weather continues to hamper pot-hole repair. It is warm enough now to use "hot-mix" (that is the good stuff) and I am sure many of you saw our crews out working yesterday during the sunny portion of the day. Since we have to buy a certain amount of this mix at a time it is much more economical to have full days of good sunny warn weather to fix ht pot holes around the city. I assure this is one of our top priorities.
6. Parks ... Negotiations with DeKalb County continue to move very slowly. We received a counter-proposal from the County last week and while there was a little movement on their position we are still fall apart in reaching a solution. We are still in mediation with the County on the parks. Stayed tuned.
7. Farmer's Market ... I am in favor of having a farmer's market in Dunwoody but with proper guidelines. Some of the guidelines are: hours of operation, what can be sold, traffic control, etc. I think the main issue is that the market should be located in a non-residential zoned area .. preferably in a commercially zoned or some other suitability zoned area. As most of you know I was raised on a farm and I am sympathetic to farmers as I still own a farm in Missouri ... but I want the farmer's market done right to the benefit of the farmers and all of our citizens.
8. Dunwoody Volunteer Coordination Committee ... We are looking for volunteers for the Dunwoody Volunteer Coordination Committee (DVCC).
The idea is to create a master list of talents across the spectrum of our citizens. Please contact Bill Tobin at
I thank you for your continued input and support of our City. As usual please pass this on to all your friends and neighbors. If anyone would like to be added to my email list just contact me.
Denny Shortal, Dunwoody City Council District One, Post One, Mayor Pro Tem

The Farmer's Market Debate and How it Affects Springfield

Should the City of Dunwoody allow a for-profit farmers' market to operate on the grounds of St. Patrick's Church off North Peachtree Rd. It's a very touchy subject currently before our City Council. A lot of Dunwoody residents say they want it, but an equal number say if we allow it, what's next? Would we be opening Pandora's Box to For-Profit operations on all 37 church properties in Dunwoody?
I'm not against a for-profit farmers' market in Dunwoody, but I am against a farmer's market on a church property zoned residential. What if the two churches on Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. behind Springfield decided they wanted farmers' markets? Or some-type of flea markets?
I think it's a bad idea. Let the farmers' markets operate in commercial areas. I have no problem with that.
Below is a letter that Councilman Robert Wittenstein wrote to his constituents in favor of the market. In paragraph five he says it's a not-for-profit Green Market. While that is technically correct, bottom line, those that sell produce on the grounds are doing so to make money.

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

There must be a law somewhere that says that if no controversy exists, one will be created for a city. It appears that nature really does abhor a vacuum.
Here is the background.
For several years now, on Wednesday mornings, a small group of local farmers has operated a growers-only Green Market on property next to the Spruill Arts Center on Ashford Dunwoody Road. This has always been a violation of DeKalb County code, but the county ignored the market. The market has a base of local customers who cherish the ability to get (mostly organic) local produce during the growing season.
The Spruill Arts Center expects to break ground this year on a mixed-use development and they notified the market organizers that they would have to find a new location this year. Several months ago they began looking for a new home. They evaluated several locations and finally settled on St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church on North Peachtree. The Church has generously offered to open their building to provide bathrooms, a playground for the children, and water and electricity as part of their community outreach. In return, the growers are prepared to offer the church fresh produce for the church’s Malachi ministry to feed the hungry.
Now comes the controversy. The not-for-profit Green Market discovered that we had adopted DeKalb’s code en mass and that there was no legal location for such a market in Dunwoody. With the encouragement of several members of the city council, a text amendment to our zoning code was drafted that allows a temporary farmers market (up to 40 time per year) to be classified as an ‘incidental use’ for a church or other religious institution. The definition of Farmers Market was crafted very tightly to restrict the participants to actual local growers to prevent a flea market from taking advantage of the provision.
The Dunwoody Community Council voted unanimously in favor of the zoning change. The Dunwoody Planning Commission had a spirited discussion and a public hearing where a dozen Green Market supports spoke. They voted 4-3 in favor of the changes.
Meanwhile, an opposition group has formed. Several Dunwoody residents object to allowing this type of activity at a church site that is zoned Residential. They are concerned that this sets a dangerous precedent and that it will lead to a slippery slope of commercial development in residential areas. As written, this zoning amendment would allow a group of local farmers to sell their produce at any or all churches and synagogues in Dunwoody, provided the church or synagogue invited them.
Two new wrinkles now complicate the issue.
First, a group of supporters suggested to the Green Market that they relocate to the unused paved area next to (and overlooking) the Dunwoody Post Office in Dunwoody Village. This is US Government owned land and not subject to our zoning ordinances. If the Post Office will allow the use, that would solve the need to modify our zoning codes. The Post Office site has the advantage of being in a commercial area
but it lacks bathrooms, shade and a playground, but it would be better than losing the market all together.
Second, a re-reading of our zoning code by Brian Anderson, our City Attorney, confirms that our current code allows for an applicant to receive a temporary, 90-day, permit from the city for a seasonal sale. This doesn’t require a change in the zoning ordinance but it also doesn’t provide any assurance to the market that they will be able to stay in the same spot for the whole growing season. They would have to get a new 90-day permit in August (or move to the Post Office site).
Meanwhile, several other nearby cities (including Sandy Springs) have encouraged the market to abandon an obviously unsupportive Dunwoody for greener pastures (yes, pun intended) while the market’s local fans and customers fight to keep it here. One of the supporters has dubbed this “the battle for the legal local tomato.”
It all comes to a head this week.
At some level, this is a silly argument that will be little remembered in the life of a city even if it gets publicity this week and this month. At another level, this is what being a city is all about. This dispute is raging in Dunwoody, not in Decatur. This is the first opportunity for the city to start to define what is important to it. On the one hand we have folks who have fought commercial development in residential areas for years; on the other hand we have folks who want to be able to walk from their neighborhood to a local farmers market.
What is important to you? Please let me know what you think.
If the temporary permit is issued this week, the zoning amendment probably won’t come up for a vote at our meeting on Monday, May 11.
Finally, on a different topic, I am so tremendously proud of our new Dunwoody Police Department. They are doing a super job and I am very impressed with their dedication and professionalism. The department’s command leadership has done a wonderful job.

Robert Wittenstein
City Council, City of Dunwoody
Home: 770-396-4747