Thursday, April 29, 2010

Springfield & Dunwoody Real Estate Update

There are currently 179 active listings of single-family detached homes in Dunwoody, zip code 30338. Homes range in price from $155,000 to $1,295,000. The median price is $415,000. To view any of these homes, click on the link below:

There are currently 6 active listings in Springfield ranging in price from $329,900 to $435,000. To view any of these homes, click on the link below:

If you know of anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Atlanta area, specifically Dunwoody, please give me their name and number and I'll be happy to provide them with exceptional service.

Springfield Voluntary Dues

Please don't forget to help keep our neighborhood the best it can be by contributing to the Springfield Neighborhood Association for the up-keep of the front entrance. You can contribute online by clicking on the button on the top right or by sending a check to SNA, 4843 Springfield Dr., Dunwoody, 30338. A sincere thanks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shake Up on the Way in Dunwoody Politics; Springfield Contributions

If you read this week's edition of The Crier, you know that Dunwoody's political landscape will change in the fall. State Senator Dan Weber's announcement that he will not see reelection has candidates jockeying for positions. State Representative Fran Millar wants the bigger stage that the senate offers - he will run for Weber's vacated spot. Meantime Dunwoody city councilman Tom Taylor is throwing his hat in the ring for the position that Millar has held for the last dozen years. It all seems to make sense. It now becomes intriguing to see who runs for Taylor's spot out of the east Dunwoody district. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Doug Thompson throw his hat in the ring. Doug was beaten by Taylor two years ago. I've gotten to know Doug over the last few years; he'd make an outstanding councilman and would likely have my vote (wait a minute, I can't vote in that district)!

Springfield Contributions

Hopefully everyone in Springfield received a flyer this past Sunday from the newly formed Springfield Neighborhood Association asking for contributions for maintenance of the front entrance. The entrance is in dire need of fertilization and weed control. I did mow the grass Tuesday evening, but hopefully we will have the funds to hire a service in the near future. Please mail your contributions to SNA, 4843 Springfield Dr, or click on the Donate button on the right side of the page. Let's make the neighborhood the best that it can be! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at or call me at 404.644.5220.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Celebrating a Birthday; Up Close with the Dunwoody PD

Apparently I wasn't the only one celebrating a monumental birthday this month. Another Springfield resident hit a prodigious number as well, as I found out when I saw the banner above in her yard this morning. Happy Birthday EW!

I got to see the Dunwoody Police Department in action first-hand Thursday evening. I was driving east bound on Meadow Lane Rd. about to cross Ashford Dunwoody when I was rear-ended by a black Volvo SUV. It couldn't have been more than 30 seconds before Lieutenant Oliver Fladrich arrived on the scene. I thought it was pretty much going to be a cut-and-dry situation (it's always the fault of the driver in the rear vehicle), until I heard the young woman driving the SUV tell Lt. Fladrich that it wasn't her fault! I was extremely impressed with Lt. Fladrich's professional demeanor in dealing with the woman, who had somewhat of a Brittany Spears attitude. Hopefully her insurance company will be paying for my bumper to be repainted, sooner than later!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dunwoody Gets Parks

Both the Georgia House and Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that will transfer the parks within the city limits of Dunwoody from Dekalb County to the city. This is a major victory for Dunwoody, as it will soon take possession, and more importantly control, of the parks. For more on the parks, read the latest blog from Councilman John Heneghan.
Below are the updates that went out late last night from Councilmen Denis Shortal and Robert Wittenstein, starting with Robert's thoughts.
Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
I don't usually use my monthly e-mail to distribute news flashes, but today I'm going to make an exception.
Today the Georgia House and the Georgia Senate passed identical bills establishing the conditions under which we can purchase the parks located in Dunwoody from DeKalb County.
The price is $100 per acre which is a token sum that fully recognizes all the years of taxes paid by Dunwoody residents for parks acquisition and capital improvements. The ownership of the parks properties will transfer to the city on the signature of the Governor.

Included in the arrangement are Brook Run, The Dunwoody Nature Center, The Spruill Center for the Arts/North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, the Donaldson-Chesnut farm at Chamblee-Dunwoody and Vermack, the two baseball fields at Dunwoody Park (Dunwoody Senior Baseball's home) and a number of other smaller properties. We will also assume ownership of the land the fire stations and DeKalb Police precinct sit on and will lease those properties back to the county for a token amount.
The bill passed by the legislature also has provisions that should ensure that the bond money earmarked for Brook Run will be spent at Brook Run. We will probably have to go through a court process with the county before payment, but we should eventually get $6-7 million for capital improvements at Brook Run.

This is a huge victory for the city. I firmly believe that a city cannot thrive while its parks languish.
It is also a major responsibility. We must now work to reverse years of neglect and underfunding. As with the roads, we will want to do more than will be practical in one or two years. A revised master plan for Brook Run that provides lots of opportunity for community input should be high on our to-do list.
A lot of people worked very hard to ensure this outcome. We owe Senator Dan Weber and Representative Fran Millar a tremendous thank you for their efforts. The city staff, the mayor and the members of the city council all played important roles but it would be negligent not to single out Councilman Tom Taylor for the hundreds of hours he put into this effort as our legislative point-person.
This is truly cause for celebration. Congratulations Dunwoody!


Fellow Citizens ... Three items of much interest tonight:

1. Parks ..... There is positive news tonight .... "The mighty Casey did NOT strike out" .... After a long drawn out struggle in our quest to gain control of all of the parks located within Dunwoody and the three fire stations located in Dunwoody we have had success. Our legislation, passing ownership of the above assets to Dunwoody for a nominal price (and in my opinion a fair price), passed the GA Senate earlier today and just passed the GA House at about 9 PM tonight. All that now needs to be done is to have the Governor sign the bill. The price is $100/acre and $5000 / facility ... the exception are the two fire stations that serve Dunwoody and also unincorporated DeKalb County. For those two facilities we will pay a percentage of the assessed value with the percentage being the percentage of use outside the city of Dunwoody. Our thanks tonight goes out to Sen Dan Weber, Councilman Tom Taylor, City Attorney Brian Anderson, Representative Wendell Willard, Representative Fran Millar, our lobbyist team of Sam Choute, Clint Austin and Tony Simon, to the members of our city staff and to all those citizens of Dunwoody who have stood with us with unwavering support through this entire process and I also thank God for leading us with his guiding hand. There is much to be done with gaining control of the parks and facilities ........ but for now lets us all stop and cherish the events of today.

2. Dunwoody Nature Center (DNC) ... A repeat of my last update ... this Saturday - 24 APR - is Earth Day and we will celebrate by having a work session at the DNC from 9 AM to 11 AM. So bring you work gloves, rake, shovel, etc in enhancing what is soon to be YOUR DNC. The response from my earlier update has not been as good as we expected. Remember things won't get done unless you are there ... see you there at 9 AM.

3. Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce (DCC) .... The DCC is also celebrating Earth Day this Sat - 24 APR - from 12 PM to 4 PM at the DCC building on Chamblee Dunwoody RD in the Dunwoody Village. Stop by to say hello!
That is all for tonight as it is well passed my bed time. Please pass this on to your friends and neighbors. My sincere thanks to all of you for your involvement and support in our continuing effort to make Dunwoody a place we are proud to call home.
Denny Shortal, Dunwoody City Councilman, District One, Post-1, Mayor Pro Tem

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Speed Measures in Springfield, For Now

For those of us that live on Springfield Dr. and Summerford Dr. we know, first hand, that speeding is a problem, especially by cut through traffic. And not by more than just a few miles an hour.

Our wonderful neighbor Candy Stirling took up the challenge of contacting the city of Dunwoody to see what could be done concerning traffic-calming devices. The city responded in an expeditious manner by stretching a speed/traffic-measuring hose across Summerford just north of the intersection with Springfield from March 29-March 31 (The city also measured two other areas of our neighborhood).
The results shows that while the average vehicle exceeds the speed limit, the margin was not enough to warrant either consideration for speed tables or stop signs (the chart below is the results from traffic measured on Thursday, March 31. Click on the chart to enlarge).

Nonetheless, a big thank you to Candy for this undertaking. Below is Candy's note to the neighborhood as we continue to look for ways to keep our children safe on our neighborhood streets.

Summerford Neighbors,

Well, everyone can stop holding their breath about the speed bump decision. I talked with the city yesterday and we do not qualify for speed bumps or stop signs. There are studies attached if you are interested in what the survey showed. To sum it up, we had an avg. speed of 30mph each day for 3 days. He agreed with me that this is fast in a residential area, but it does not meet the over 10 mph criteria. One fact I was shocked about, which makes our street seem so bad, was there were between 250-300 cars per day riding up and down Summerford. That is a lot of traffic. So, we have our answer. We will just have to continue with our yelling tactics to get the cars to slow down. Just keep watching your kiddos extra close! I hate to think what one accident could do and we have up to 300 chances per day. Thanks to everyone for helping out and supporting our neighborhood.

There is one thing that we can have done to deter speeding at no cost to us. We can contact the police dept. and get on the list to have the speeding trailer put in someone's yard. If we wanted to have this done a few times this summer I would be willing to contact them to set it up. There just has to be someone willing to park this in their yard or possibly in front of their house. It has to meet criteria for where it is put as far as distance and visibility goes, but much easier to my understanding to make happen. If we are interested I could go ahead and find out and get on the list. This does make me slow down when I pass one. I am up for anything that will help.

Lastly, I wanted to be sure everyone knew how easy the City of Dunwoody was to work with and get in contact with throughout this whole process. I was extremely happy with everything that was done and how personable they were.

Thanks everyone!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dunwoody Police Celebrate with Lunch

The Dunwoody Police Department celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month, and on Monday the Dunwoody Homeowners Association treated DPD to lunch, catered by Carrabba's (Brad - great meal, thanks)! If you're on Facebook, consider adding DPD as a friend:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crawford Lewis is Out as DeKalb Superintendent

First one of his top lieutenants was the subject of a police investigation; then DeKalb County School System superintendent Crawford Lewis became the subject of an investigation himself. Now Lewis is out as head of the county's school system. Lewis and the school board worked out a mutual agreement on Friday (read the entire story by clicking here).

I've got to give Lewis his just due. Considering the circumstances, he did a darn good job in cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor. And he is largely responsible for the creation of Dunwoody Elementary School. While Dunwoody Elementary is not the perfect situation for the children of Springfield, it is a lot better than the first plan devised by DeKalb. However, in Lewis' final year on the job, he created just as messy a situation as predecessor Johnny Brown. Why the school board ever gave him an extension (just this past January) is beyond me. How could the board not see what the rest of us saw!

Crawford Lewis - good luck. The first 32 of your 33 years with DeKalb County Schools is greatly appreciated!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Latest from Councilman Shortal

The following update was provided by Dunwoody City Councilman Denis Shortal late Thursday evening.

Fellow Citizens .... A brief update on our City:

1. Lemonade Days ... The annual Lemonade Days celebrations started today at Brook Run Park and goes thru this Sunday, 18 APR. If you haven't been in the passed years you have missed a great time. It is a family event with fun things to do for all ages. All the profits goes back into our City and thus it is a win/win situation. Go to for complete info. I would like to emphasize the second annual BRAD (Bike Ride Around Dunwoody) starting at Brook Run Park this Saturday ... Registration starts at 9 AM and the ride commences at 10 AM. This is a family oriented event with a two and an eight miles ride. We will be using one of our new bike route within Dunwoody. We will have police escort so everything will be safe. You can register at the above website in advance (preferred) ... advanced registration is $10 and registration at the park that morning will be $15. Everyone dust off the old bike and come ride with your fellow citizens ... non-residence are welcome.

2. Census Forms .... Please ensure you fill out your Census Form as our population number is an important factor when it comes to receiving federal and state funding. The basic rule of thumb is the higher the population the higher the funding received. Meredy did our Census Form it only takes about five minutes to complete. Please ensure you complete and mail this important document ASAP. Thanks3. City Branding Survey .... As you have probably noted we have initiated a "branding process" for the City of Dunwoody. To get your input there is an on-line survey on our city website ... This survey has been open for a while and closes tomorrow night - 16 APR - at midnight. Thus time is short but please go to our website and give us your input. 4. Dunwoody High School ... The major renovation and additions to DHS will start on 25 MAY 2010. In total this is about a $20 million project. I attended most of the public meetings on this subject and I think the consensus of the majority of the citizens attending the meetings is very positive. The money for the project comes from the SPLOSH referendum. The project will take over a year to complete.

3. City Branding Survey .... As you have probably noted we have initiated a "branding process" for the City of Dunwoody. To get your input there is an on-line survey on our city website ... This survey has been open for a while and closes tomorrow night - 16 APR - at midnight. Thus time is short but please go to our website and give us your input.
4. Dunwoody High School ... The major renovation and additions to DHS will start on 25 MAY 2010. In total this is about a $20 million project. I attended most of the public meetings on this subject and I think the consensus of the majority of the citizens attending the meetings is very positive. The money for the project comes from the SPLOSH referendum. The project will take over a year to complete.

5. Street Paving Plan ... We have completed a 5-year paving plan based on fixing the "worst first" with emphasis on our heavily travelled main roads. About 70-80% of the funds are going to be used for these roads, 10-15% for neighborhood streets and 10-15% for major patching of roads throughout the city. For you viewing this plan is on our Dunwoody website. So far, we have budgeted approx. $730,000 for this years work. Paving should commence mid to late summer. Allocations of funds for future years will be done on a year to year bases with the intent of increasing the funding . The information in the Crier about $2.75 million being allocated for each of the next five years was a miss statement ... however that would be a good number if the budget will allow. All of this is positive for two reasons ... first we have a plan and in the 20+ years prior to cityhood that I have lived here there hasn't been a plan to do anything and secondly when we campaigned for cityhood we told everyone there would not be any funds for paving in the first two years and thus we have exceeded our own expectations.

6. Sidewalk Plan .... We are in the final stages of completing a 5-year sidewalk construction/enhancement plan. Like paving the streets there is more need than the budget will allow. The overall plan is to fix the "worst first" with the initial emphases going to the school routes for our children. This plan is also on our city website ... it was an agenda item on the 12 APR Work Session ... but is not finalist or approved. The "sidewalk policy" will be on the agenda at the 26 APR meeting.

7. Dunwoody Volunteer Coordination Committee (DVCC) ... We have a big project day on Saturday, 24 APR from 9 - 11 AM at the Dunwoody Nature Center (DNC). The DNC is one of the "crown jewels" of Dunwoody so bring your work gloves, shovel, rake, etc. and come out and put your talents to good use with your fellow citizens. For your long range planning there are plenty of project that we need volunteers for so contact Bill Tobin at Pitch in and make your City the best! Speaking of the DVCC, last Saturday I had the privilege of working with 20 + volunteers from the Teen Group and the Young Adult Group from North Atlanta Church of Christ (NACOC). It was impressive to work with these young folks who gave up their Saturday afternoon to enhance the beauty of our City by picking up trash and doing minor repairs. I came to the conclusion that I am not as tough as I used to be as after 2 1/2 hours of using a hammer a large blister appear on my hammering-hand. My thanks to Bill Tobin, Ron Wood and all the members of these two groups that organized and participated in this work project.

That about all for tonight is bed time. Thanks for all your support and involvement in our City. Please pass this to all your friends and neighbors and we will see you at Lemonade Days this weekend and at the DNC on 24 APR. Let me know if you would like to be added to my email list. Denny Shortal, City Councilman, District One, Post-1, Mayor Pro Tem

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Market; Dunwoody High Renovation

Just before lunch time on Wednesday, I made my first trip to the Dunwoody Green Market, which appears 8am-noon every Wednesday morning next to the Post Office. About 20-30 vendors make up the market, selling everything from fresh pizza to bath lotions to jewelry (I couldn't leave without buying a couple of amazing loaves of freshly baked bread)! It's definitely worth a quick trip - a family friendly atmosphere.

Dunwoody High Renovation

While visiting the fresh market, I ran into Paige Olson, who's a member of the task force for the renovation to Dunwoody High School. There was a meeting Tuesday night, which I was not able to attend. However, Paige told me that construction will start almost immediate after the end of the spring semester and that the new, state-of-the-art auditorium will be opened in time for the start of the 2011 spring semester.

Lemonade Days
Don't forget, Lemonade Days, sponsored by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, starts today at Brook Run Park. Click here for the official website, which does contain a $5 coupon. Lemonade Days is DPT's annual fund raising event. Lemonade Days 2010 will again feature the same format of the past few years. This year Lemonade Days plans to continue its extended carnival hours, add rides, diversify more broadly the food choices and add new activities. According to the DPT, this new schedule has been developed based on community feedback to allow families more flexibility in planning their participation.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Masters

The Masters Tournament got started this morning at Augusta National - in my mind the greatest golf tournament in the world. I had the priviledge of covering the tournament on 10 different occasions, and I wouldn't trade those experiences. The first time I stepped on the hallowed grounds at Augusta National was in 1986. I was there to witness Jack Nicklaus make history by winning the Masters for a record 6th time. I returned in 1987 to see Larry Mize's miracle chip-in to win, and the next day got to play the golf course. I played again in 1996 (the proof is in the picture above). I've had the opportunity to interview such legends as Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and yes, Tiger Woods. Needless to say, I will be glued to the television this weekend watching history made.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Odds & Ends

Easter Egg Hunt

This past week, 28 children in the neighborhood got together for an Easter Egg hunt. Not sure who got the most eggs, but everyone left with big smiles!

Update from Councilman Wittenstein

Below is the most recent update from Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein.

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

This month, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Dunwoody was entitled to a small share of the HOST sales tax revenue collected in DeKalb. Most of the $80-100 million collected each year in sales tax in DeKalb is used to reduce our residential property tax. Some is earmarked for capital/infrastructure projects. During the cityhood movement, we asked the state legislature to help ensure that some of that money would be available to Dunwoody and they passed a provision setting aside a small portion for us to direct. The County tried to stop the distribution in state court but lost. That means that Dunwoody will receive from $2-3 million each year for capital projects.
This revenue forms the bulk of the funds we will use to repave our streets. The same week we won the court case, we earmarked funds to work on the first group of streets. Some people may wonder how we picked them. We have agreed as a city council that politics will not play any role in deciding what streets to pave. Getting your street paved in Dunwoody will not be about who you know. It will be dictated by the condition of the road and the amount of traffic that road receives. This year we will complete the following:

We all recognize that this is a modest beginning for streets that have been neglected for many, many years. We are establishing a 5-year paving plan. Below is a link to the map of Dunwoody that shows the streets we expect to improve over the next five years. We will re-look at this plan each year to make sure we are working on the streets in most need of repair.

Dunwoody 5-Year Paving Plan Map
While I am gratified that this is many times more road work than we would have received from DeKalb, I worry that it may not be enough to gain ground on the years of neglect. It costs a lot more to fix roads that are in bad condition than it does to provide lighter repairs to roads in fair condition. In the long term, the most cost-effective way to tackle this would be to invest heavily over the next few years to bring our roads up to a higher standard and then spend our money to keep roads from getting into bad shape. That, however, would either require us to borrow money or raise taxes. I don't know how the rest of the council feels, but I'm loath to support either. So for now, we may have to curb our impatience to do more than we can afford.
As an update from last month, the proposed ordinance to severely restrict, but not prohibit, backyard chicken coops fell one vote short, so it did not pass. The proposal to attempt to tax and regulate taxicabs based elsewhere but coming into Dunwoody to pick up passengers also failed. Thank you to all of you who replied to my e-mail last month; I got over a hundred replies.
On a final note, we are starting to see a little bit of rezoning activity. For the first time since we became a city we have a couple of rezoning requests working their way through the process. I hope this is a sign that our economy is starting to improve.

Springfield Voluntary Dues

In the next few weeks, be on the lookout for a flyer from the newly formed Springfield Neighborhood Association. The SNA is asking for contributions to pay for the yearly expenses to maintain our fabulous-looking front entrance off Chamblee Dunwoody Rd.

In the past, our wonderful neighbor Barbara Beck handled all the finances through her own personal account, this year the SNA relieve Barbara of those duties, at her request. We are asking for $40 per household, but please give what you can. The mission of the SNA is to add value to our neighborhood. We genuinely hope you become an active part of keeping Springfield “a great place to live.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools' Day

Be aware that someone may pull a prank on you today. After all, it is April Fool's Day! But no joke, the mess at the curb of 4899 Springfield has been removed - amazing! I assume all the credit goes to DeKalb County Sanitation. Let's hope we never lose its services.