Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Checking Dunwoody Property Values & Home Prices

Do you ever drive by a home for sale in Dunwoody and wonder what the price is? Wonder what it looks like inside? Well wonder no more. I have set up a new page on my Keller Williams website that, with a couple of clicks, will give you all of that information as well as pictures.
Go to my Dunwoody webpage and you will see searches available by price range. You may also do an address search for a specific home. Simply click on any price range, click on the new search top left, and then click on address/zip.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Councilman Wittenstein Updates Us on Dunwoody

The following is a letter from Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein. He talks about the city creating a Convention and Visitors Bureau, rolling back city taxes and the next comprehensive land use plan meeting on Tuesday, August 3rd. I will be out of town the next week and unable to attend the meeting, but if you're free that evening it will be worth your time to go. It's your chance to speak up on the future growth of Dunwoody.

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
The City Council is winding up its discussion on how to kickoff a Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB.) This may seem like an odd thing for us to focus on in our first year but it is actually fairly important. Dunwoody’s five hotels have been collecting hotel/motel taxes and state law requires part of those taxes to be spent promoting tourism. In our first year we will collect close to a million dollars that must be spent on tourism. Previously that money went to DeKalb and they used it to promote DeKalb as a tourist destination. The CVB of Dunwoody will be a separate non-profit rather than be part of the city government. It will have a nine-person board with representatives from the hotels, the city, the PCID, the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce and Dunwoody restaurants/retailers.
The public input process for our 20-year comprehensive plan is continuing. The next public forum will be on August 3rd at 7:00pm at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. This particular forum will focus attention on getting input on how Dunwoody residents would like to see several specific areas re-developed. These areas include the vacant hospital site, the Georgetown area, Dunwoody Village and the Winters Chapel/Peeler intersection. All of these are likely to be redeveloped in the next 20 years because of increasing land values in Dunwoody. How would you like to see those areas evolve? Would you be willing to accept taller buildings in exchange for added greenspace? How much taller? Please attend and help us develop our vision.
We completed our mid-year budget review and we are in sound financial shape. We are on-track to end the year with a small surplus. We will start our 2010 budget process soon and I will push for a five percent property tax rollback. To do that, we will have to continue to keep spending to a minimum.
Speaking of property taxes, you have probably gotten your annual property tax bill from the county. My bill was $355 higher than last year. Almost all of that we owe to the state discontinuing the HTRG (Homeowner Tax Relief Grant) credits they had been providing homeowners in previous years. Your Dunwoody city taxes are included on this bill and they replace the line item that used to read “Unincorporated Tax District”.
We are being very cautious about committing to new public works projects but we have approved funds for radar signs to be installed around each school in Dunwoody. These signs display your current speed. Case studies show that they are very effective at getting speeders to slow down. We hope to have them installed before school starts.
Here is an update on the Goddard School’s request for a stream buffer variance as part of their drive to start a new school on Dunwoody Village Parkway. This variance had been opposed by many of the neighboring homes and businesses because of concerns with traffic and noise. The Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals granted the variance request. The school will still need to get city approval for a great many items before construction begins but they have cleared the first hurdle.
Finally, Dunwoody scored a major billboard victory last week. A billboard company had applied to DeKalb County to put 9 large electronic billboards throughout Dunwoody on our day of incorporation last December. DeKalb had rightly rejected them. The billboard company sued both us and DeKalb. Last week the billboard company withdrew their lawsuit. Our legal team did a great job (and our insurance covered the legal expenses.)
Robert Wittenstein
Dunwoody City Council
Home Phone: 770-396-4747

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vanderlyn, Dunwoody Elementary Bus Schedule Announced

The new bus schedule is out for Vanderlyn and Dunwoody Elementary. The schedule is below, and despite all the rumors of pre-6:30 pickups, that is not the case for Springfield and Cambridge. So enjoy that morning cup of coffee!!!

Seq Time Stop Description Students Next
1 6:34 A.M. 4730 VERMACK RDG 1 0.22
2 6:36 A.M. 4769 VERMACK RDG 6 0.23
3 6:37 A.M. 4865 CHAMBLEE DUNWOODY RD 2 0.05
4 6:38 A.M. CHAM DUN RD & CAMBRIDGE DR 3 0.19
5 6:40 A.M. PINE ACRES CT & CHAM DUN 2 0.40
8 6:47 A.M. MILL BROOK DR & CONOVER DR 7 0.33
12 6:52 A.M. CAMBRIDGE DR & WOMACK RD 4 0.36
13 6:53 A.M. LEEDS WAY & CAMBRIDGE DR 7 0.11
14 6:53 A.M. LEEDS CT & LEEDS WAY 7 0.17
15 6:55 A.M. LEEDS CT & PARLIAMENT DR 14 0.41
16 6:56 A.M. PARLIAMENT WAY & BLYTH CT 16 0.72

7:00 A.M. DUNWOODY ELEMENTARY (4th & 5th Grade)->180 - Regular 0
7:10 A.M. VANDERLYN ELEMENTARY->484 - Regular 113
16 Stop(s) 36 Minute(s) 113 Student(s) 5.29 Miles

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Property Taxes; Sanitation; Murphey Candler

Did you get your tax bill for 2009? Is it higher than 2008 despite the declining real estate market? If you answered yes to both questions, you are not alone. No, the new City of Dunwoody is not the reason for the increased tax bill, instead it's the state of Georgia. Our taxes are higher because the state did not renew its portion of the homestead exemption. Of course it doesn't help that Dekalb County is facing a budget crisis. Hopefully city officials don't deem it necessary to raise its taxes anytime soon.
Are you pleased with your trash pickup? There's little argument that DeKalb County does a great job with sanitation, coming four times a week: twice for trash, once for recycling and once for "natural" pickup. There's also little doubt that the county is completely inefficient (I have no numbers to back this up, but I'm fairly certain the county is not making money on trash pickup, a service that cost each household $265 per year - included in our tax bill).
With all that said, I was at the Dunwoody City Council meeting this past Monday night, and it appears that the city will send out an RFP (request for proposal) to ascertain if private sanitation companies might make more sense. When I was running for city council last year, Waste Management offered the city $3 million up front (which represents about 20% percent of our current budget) and approximately a $20 discount per household to provide the same services over a ten-year period. Sounds like a great deal, right? The problem is - what if WM, or any company for that matter, starts to slide on their services? What recourse would we have? Certainly DeKalb County would have little interest in taking us back. It's a sticky situation, and in the end I believe the council will choose to stay with DeKalb. I applaud the council for exploring alternatives.
Now with all that said, do we need twice-a-week pickup for our trash? I know our household could get along quite nicely with once-a-week!
Did you read the article in this week's Dunwoody Crier about DeKalb County possible charging $100 per day per field to recreational leagues to use it's facilities? I spoke with current Murphey Candler Little League President Dave Wynn who said this is "devastating if true." If true, it could cost MCLL an additional $50,000-$100,000 a year in operating costs - money that MLCC does not have. Officials for Atlanta Colts Football, which also use the fields at Murphey Candler, are scheduled to meet with county officials next week.
Stay tuned.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40th Anniversary of Moon Landing; Free Pastry at Starbucks

It's hard for me to believe it's been 40 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I can recall that evening in 1969, sitting next to my Dad on the most uncomfortable bench you can imagine, in our small TV room, watching as history was made, fulfilling the bold statement by President Kennedy 8 years earlier that America would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. (to watch the moon landing, click on the photo. Narration by the late, great Walter Cronkite).
Are you a lover of Starbucks coffee? If so, click on the attached coupon and print it out to receive a free pastry (with the purchase of a cup of coffee) tomorrow morning (July 21). Personally, I'm not a lover of Starbucks coffee. It's okay, but if you gave me the choice of Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts coffee, I'd take Dunkin' Donuts every time!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Radar Signs; Thumbs Up for Taken; School Dedication

This past Monday, the Dunwoody City Council approved the purchase of 10 permanent radar signs (presumably like the once pictured) to help slow traffic on the city's main thoroughfares, particularly near our schools. If you click on the picture, you will see a report that says when the signs are turned on, the number of speeders decreased from 5 in 10, to 1 in 10. If that's the case, I agree with the council's vote to spend the $50,000 on this project. The current signs on Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody certainly have made me more cognisant of my speed. -
This week I saw the film Taken starring Liam Neeson. I gave it two thumbs up, although the heroics of Liam are unrealistic and the film is riddled with violence. I highly recommend it for parents. To watch the trailer, click on the photo.
In the mail yesterday I received an invitation to attend the dedication ceremony for the new Dunwoody Elementary School. The ceremony will take place Saturday, August 8 at 11 am. I assume all parents received a similar invitation. Here's hoping the new building is complete for the first day of school on August 10.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summerford Court is Under Contract

Good news - the $1,075,000 listing on Summerford Court is now under contract. Why is this good news? Two reasons. 1. It will raise the average price of home sales in Springfield (I am half serious). 2. Hopefully it will bring us some great neighbors!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Progress at Dunwoody Elementary

Wondering how the new Dunwoody Elementary school for Springfield's 4th and 5th graders is coming along? Thanks to the handiwork of councilman John Heneghan (touring the school with Mayor Ken Wright), we now have an inside peek. John shot the video above (click on the picture to watch). And no making fun of John's video skills!

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Parade Photos, Suspicious Man

An FYI - the information below was provided by Officer Patrick Krieg of the Dunwoody Police Department.
A black male in his late thirties wearing a cream colored jacket with tan writing stating
REPAIRMAN parked his vehicle in the driveway of home on Laurelwood Rd. and knocked on the door. He spoke with the home owner stating he was a there to do repairs on her home but when she ask the name of the person he was supposed to do repairs for the male gave a random name. This male had a medium complexion , was 601 in height, about 195 pounds, a low fade hair cut, and he had green eyes. Also he was driving a newer bright yellow 2 door Chevrolet truck that said Chevrolet on the tailgate. Ms. Blahnik did not call a repair and this man was looking around her home before he knocked on her door. Eventually he left in his truck when the owner refused to let him in. The male headed down Stonehenge PL but i was unable to locate him at this time. Please keep a look out for this vehicle he could be a burglary suspect.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zoning Board Meets, Independence Day

The City of Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals will meet 7 p.m. tonight at Dunwoody City Hall. Among the hot-button items on the agenda: the Branches asking for a variance to add lights to a tennis court and the Goddard School asking for a variance to cut into a buffer zone to build a playground behind its proposed location at 1536 Dunwoody Village Parkway (click on photo to enlarge).
Here's my two cents worth, as I understand the proposals. The Branches should be allowed to add lights to its tennis court. The lights would be deflected as to only shine on the court, and from what I understand would be turned off by 9 pm. As for the Goddard School (which is waiting to sign a lease on the property in question), I empathize with the neighbors behind the school's location. Zoning calls for a 75-foot buffer zone, and I see no reason why that buffer zone should be compromised. Neighbors are not only concerned with the potential noise that the new playground would bring, but more importantly the encroachment into the stream that separates their properties from the commercial buildings in Dunwoody Village. It should be an intriguing meeting.
The 4th of July is just two days away and makes me think of the song Independence Day by Martina McBride. The song has nothing to do with the 4th of July, but is still on my playlist! (Click on photo to play video).