Friday, June 25, 2010

Candidates Square Off

I was unable to attend last night's candidates forum at St Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church sponsored by The Ashford Alliance Community Association. However, fellow bloggers John Heneghan and Rick Callihan were there and both have great recaps on their blogsites (click on their names to read, or the case of John's site - listen).
All candidates for our state senate seat, being vacated by Dan Weber, and state representative seat, being vacated by Fran Miller, were in attendance, save for Fran.
In his recap, Rick says that this was likely the only chance to hear the candidates speak, since the Dunwoody Homeowners Association has no interest in sponsoring a forum. As a member of the DHA board I will tell you that a forum has not been discussed. However, I will bring it up at the next meeting (albeit, it is likely too late to host one before the primary on July 20). I feel it is important that we, as voters, educate ourselves as much as possible.
Rick brings up the point that the DHA doesn't want a forum because it doesn't work to Fran Millar's benefit. While many members of the board likely back Millar for all his done for the community, and while a forum might not work to his advantage (typically, a forum or debate doesn't help the front-runner as much), Rick's assertion is not correct. At least not to my knowledge. Nonetheless, Rick has a great recap - definitely worth reading.

Tom Taylor
Concerning the race for state representative between Tom Taylor and Tammy Anderson, Tom sent me the email below. I feel Tom has a valid point, but agree with John blogging Tammy's answers.


John Heneghan published a piece on his blog Wednesday morning. It lists Tammy Anderson's responses to the League of Women Voters questionnaire sent to all candidates, where the deadline for answers to policy issues was June 7th, to be published on the 10th. Those of us who answered it, answered all questions without the benefit of seeing our opponents answers and all of those were published at the same time for fairness and so voters could look at candid answers. To be candid, John publishes all of this in a spirit of being an open forum.With Tammy being the only woman in the race, it was disappointing to me that Tammy did not respond to the LWV survey, so that people could compare policy positions in a frank and open way. Tammy never responded to the OFFICIAL LVW survey. Today, with the advantage of having 2 1/2 weeks to study ALL of the of the candidate responses, Tammy submitted an extremely well-crafted response. For those of you in business, would it not be great to have all of your competitors submit bids, have them opened and published...then having 16 more days to submit yours?
If any of my friends and supporters think that this should be pointed out, please say so on John's blog:
Thanks again for your support.


Monday, June 21, 2010

City of Dunwoody Gets Parks

The City of Dunwoody officially now owns and operates all the public parks within its boundaries. Led by Mayor Ken Wright, city officials on Monday toured the 6 major parks that will be managed by the Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department. Combined the 6 parks total more than 156 acres, includes approximately 100 at Brook Run.
What changes can we expect? Probably none right away, as the city still needs to collect nearly $7 million in bonds owed by DeKalb County, which likely will seek legal action to keep from paying it.
Personally, I would love for the city take some of the acreage in the back of Brook Run (pictured below) and turn it into a driving range (which is not likely to happen)! Of course a couple of sports-related fields (baseball and football) wouldn't hurt, as teams at Murphey Candler are always looking for decent fields to practice.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day; Update from Councilman Shortal

Update From Councilman Shortal

Fellow Citizens of Dunwoody;
The following are some update items for our City:
1. Parks ... URGENT due to short notice ... On June 21st ... that is this Monday from 9 AM to 12 PM ... we will conduct a tour of all the Dunwoody Parks followed by a press conference to discuss the Parks and unveil new park signage. There will also be lunch served after the press conference courtesy of Roadworx. All citizens are invited and encouraged to attend as we announce the official turnover of the Dunwoody Parks from DeKalb County to our City. We urge you all to attend this gala event. The following is a schedule of the times when we will be at each individual Park:
Brook Run .... 4770 N. Peachtree Road ... Meet at 8:45 AM and ceremony at 9 AM.
Windwood Hollow Park .. Lakeside Dr right off Peeler Road (across from the DC Water Works) ... Ceremony at 9:15 AM
Perimeter Center East Park ... Off Perimeter Center East across the street from City Hall ... Ceremony at 9:30 AM
Dunwoody Park ... Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields and Dunwoody Nature Center .. 5321 Roberts Dr ... Ceremony at 9:40 AM
Vernon Oaks Park ... Corner of Vernon Oaks Dr and Vernon Springs Dr ..... Ceremony at 10 AM
Donaldson (Chestnut) Bannister Farm ... 4831 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd ... Ceremony at 10:25 Am
Brook Run ... 4770 N. Peachtree Rd .... Press conference at 10:50 AM followed by lunch.
2. Parks .. More Info ... As you know Fire Station # 12 (located on Roberts Dr) was included in the initial parks/facilities purchase request. The total purchase price for the parks noted in # 1 above and Fire Station # 12 is approx. $20,000. The purchase of Fire Stations #18 and 21 plus the Spruill Arts Center (among others this houses the Dunwoody Stage Players and the Dunwoody Library) is still is progress due to the complexity of the procedure of purchasing these three facilities.
3. Voting ... July 20th is the Primary Election Day. As you know you must select either a Republican or a Democrat ballot .. you can not cross party lines in the Primary Election. We are very fortunate in our Nation to have the right to select, by our vote, those who will govern us. This right to vote has been won for us at an extremely high price ... the supreme sacrifice of thousands of our fellow American who have fought the foes of our Nation throughout our history. Please keep faith with all of these American, who have given their all, by exercising your right to vote. While I believe there are some candidates that can better serve us than others ... the important point is that each of us VOTE! The following are some voting timelines:
Voter Registration ... Last day to register to vote in the Primary Election in Monday, June 21st .. You can only do this in person(due to the timeline) @ the DeKalb County Voters Registration & Election Office (DCVR&EO) , 4380 Memorial Dr (right off I-285), Decatur, GA 30032 from 8 AM - 5PM. Absentee Voting .. Opened June 7th thru July 16th. You can get a ballot application by calling the DCVR&EO @ 404-298-4020 or go to their website fill out the ballot application and fax it to #404-298-4038. The ballot will be mailed to you and you will fill out the ballot and mail it back to the DCVR&EO ... recommend you leave plenty of time for the mailing process. You can also vote Absentee in person at the DCVR&EO from 8 AM - 5 PM on normal working days thru JUL 16th. Advanced Voting ... From JUL 12th thru July 16th from 7 AM to 7 PM at the following locations:
Chamblee Civi Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341
DeKalb County Fire Headquarters Training Room, 1950 W Exchange Place, Tucker, GA 30084, or DCVR&EO, 4380 Memorial Dr, Decatur, GA 30032
Regular Voting Day ... JUL 20th from 7 AM to 7 PM at your normal vote polling location.
4. Census .... It is not too late to fill out your US Census Form if you haven't already sent in your census form ... it only takes five (5) minutes to fill out this form. Remember the population is one of the key items in determining the share of federal and/or state funds that come to our City. Thus, this directly effects programs within our City ... please fill out your census form and encourage you family, friends and neighbors to send in their form.
5. Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) ... Your City Council passed the long discussed CLUP at last Monday's meeting. Overall, I believe it is a good CLUP with one exception. That exception is the height of the structures allowed in Dunwoody Village (DV). As stated ... "Up to 3 stories, but allow the potentially up to 5 stories at intersections if and only if a unique project is proposed with architecturally distinct features, innovative parking solutions (covered decks, underground parking or alternative) and spaces for public use. A 5 story building would only be considered at the core of the Village; the boundary properties of the Dunwoody Character Area will not be appropriate if greater than 2 stories." Although there are some safe guards included I offered an amendment to change the wording "Up to 2 stories but allow the potential up to 3 stories ... etc." .. this amendment failed due to the lack of a second. This issue will be revisited during the DV Renovation Master Plan process ... this process will start in the next couple of months. The CLUP will now be sent to the ARC and DCA (state agencies) for their approval which could take up to 60 days.
6. Special Meeting .... Due to three of the Council Members being at a state convention the regular scheduled meeting for JUN 28th has been rescheduled for this Monday ... JUN 21st at 7 PM at the City Hall. There are some major items of interest to all citizens to be discussed and voted on at this meeting: .. Awarding of the contract for our Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) ... This is a critical plan to enhance all modes of transportation within our City .... including vehicles, bicycles, alternative transportation modes and pedestrian travel.
.. 2010 Road Paving Contract Award ... Our staff has recommended Allied Paving be awarded this contract. We received a positive recommendation from Hall and Gwinnett County officials for whom Allied Paving had done work. This contract not only includes paving complete streets but also what we call "large major patching" of some streets. This has a window of commencing/completion of JUL - Sep time frame. Although we applied for $496,000 of LARP funds from GDOT we were only awarded some $44,700. For complete info on this project go to the JUN 14th City Council Work Session Agenda on our City website ...item # F-10.
.. Vote on Ch 20 / 27 Dunwoody Sign Ordinance .... First my thanks to the members of the sign committee (all volunteers) who have worked this project for many months. This is item # J-1 on the agenda for the JUN 21st meeting. It is only about 28 pages long and I would recommend reading this document... Voting on Ch 26 amendment to change the required citizens voting percentage from 51% to 65% to create a "Sidewalk District." I believe that percentage should be much higher than 65% but proposes 65% in an effort to gain approval by the Council. As of now it seems the majority want to keep the percentage at 51%. What this means is that if 51% of the citizens of an area within the city vote to create a Sidewalk District and install sidewalks at heir own cost then all the citizens who live in that Sidewalk District will have the cost of sidewalk construction added to their property tax bill. FYI, sidewalk installation cost from $100,000 to $300,00 / mile. I don't believe it is right for 51% of a certain area to have the right to raise the taxes of 49% of the citizens within that area. I am not against having Sidewalk Districts and installing sidewalk at their own cost but I believe the percentage approval vote should be in the 90% range.
7. 4th of July Parade ... Remember the largest Independence Day Parade in Georgia in right here in Dunwoody. This year the Parade will be held on Monday the 5th of July because the 4th falls on a Sunday. My thanks to Pam Tallmadge and all the volunteers on her committee that make this a success. See you at the Parade!
8. Finally I commend two citizens from District One with the "Volunteers Citizenship Award" ... that is a title I gave this. Jim Reese and Barbara Strock Cody for trimming some tree limbs and bushes that were blocking the viewing of two street information signs. Thanks Jim and Barbara for leading by example with your volunteer spirit.
9. End .. I best end this before it becomes a book. My sincere thanks to all of you for your continued input, interest and involvement that enhances our City. Please forward this to any of your friends and neighbors that maybe interested. If anyone desires to be added to my email list just let me know and I will make that happen. Lets celebrate Independence Day !!! Denny
Denny Shortal
Dunwoody City Council. District One, Post-1, Mayor Pro Tem
PH (O) 678-382-6700 (C) 678-246-9006

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Energy Audit on Your Home

Do you feel your summertime electric bill is too high? Perhaps an energy audit will help you get it down. I ran across the article below, and felt it was worth sharing.

For many homeowners, electricity use is highest during the summer — that means steeper energy bills are just around the corner.But a lot of the energy you're paying for is squandered through air leaks around doors and windows, or through cable boxes and appliances that sap energy when no one is around. Before you shell out the cash for a professional home-energy audit, however, here are some do-it-yourself ways to measure — and then curb — your energy use. (click here to read full article)

Dunwoody in The New York Times

The New York Times didn't actually write an article about Dunwoody, but spotlights 12-year old twins Matthew and Margaret Guest of Dunwoody in a story about having a best friend. Click on The New York Times to read.
Lost Trees at Dunwoody High School
Will the City of Dunwoody replace at least some of the trees that DeKalb County removed on the Womack side of Dunwoody High School? Sustainable Pattie asked that very question on her blogsite (with video showing the area of concern). I'd love to know the answer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Odds & Ends

Did you get caught in the storm last night? We certainly did! Not only did the lightning cancel our swim meet at Kingsley - I know Vermack and most all of the pools had scheduled meets as well - but it struck a few trees around Dunwoody (photo left). The good news is the chance of thunderstorms decreases as the weekend approaches, however temperatures are expected to reach into the 90s everyday!

Dunwoody Comp Plan

The Dunwoody City Council passed the 30-year Comprehensive Land Use Plan at Monday night's meeting, but not everyone is pleased with it. I've had two get-togethers with planning guru Bob Lundsten, who says council simply doesn't understand what its pursuit of lower density will do to the city long term (Bob I think I get it, but I'm not sure. Correct me if I'm wrong).
Bob says that by keeping density low in areas like Georgetown, it prevents quality long-term redevelopment. Bob says lower density discourages developers because it greatly limits their profit margins, and instead of Georgetown having quality, upscale apartment buildings, it will be stuck with the 1970 apartments that attract lower rents and more nomadic families. One of the reasons the council wants less density is not to over-populate our already crowded schools. But Bob says that those concerns should not addressed in the comp plan. Instead, those issues should be taken up with DeKalb County.

Tour of Parks

The City of Dunwoody will hold a news conference and tour of the parks on Monday, June 21 (Brook Run Park pictured in photo). That is when the city officially takes control of the parks from DeKalb County. Of course the city recently purchased the parks after a long, drawn out battle with the county. Earlier this week the city named Brent Walker its first parks and recreation manager. (Editor's note: the city should be calling it a news conference and not a press conference, as technically a press conference only refers to published media and not TV or radio. As a member of the broadcast media for 20 years, I'm sensitive about this!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dunwoody High School Renovation, Etc

If you read this week's Dunwoody Neighbor, and I'm not sure many folks in Dunwoody do, there was an article updating the $21 million renovation at Dunwoody High School, which is well underway. Besides a new 500-seat auditorium and additional classrooms, the schools is getting a much-needed new heating and air conditioning system.

If you've driven by the school on the Womack Rd. side, you've noticed that the old retention area has been completely dug up and every single tree - by my estimation about 200-300 pine trees - removed (area pictured above). Initially, the DeKalb County School System said this area would not be part of the project. However, apparently the addition to the building means that the retention area is no longer satisfactory. I am told that a permanent retention pond will be constructed, and that trees will be replanted. Let's hope that's the case. I did speak with neighbors on the Vermack side of the high school - they say contractors have kept their word about operating hours and keeping construction noise to a minimum.

Deutsch lashes out on DeKalb Board

John Heneghan's blogsite is must reading for Dunwoody residents. Wednesday's entry is a good example why. It contains the comments of active Dunwoody resident Lynn Deutsch at the DeKalb County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. Lynn said what a lot of us feel (at least I feel this way).

Below Lynn's comments is a post in which our school board representative Jim Redovian announces his plans to run for reelection. I've meet Jim a couple of times and heard him spoke on a dozen or so occassions. I like Jim. But I'm not sure how I feel about reelecting him. It seems the entire board needed to be more hands-on with Crawford Lewis' administration. There doesn't seem to have been enough accountability by the board. How much blame should Redovian take? At this point in time, I simply don't know.

Galla's Pizza coming to Perimeter Point(e)

One more item to give John credit for (is there any doubt why fellow blogger Rick Callihan refers to him as King John) is bringing to our attention that Galla's Pizza is coming to Dunwoody (actually Sandy Springs, in the Perimeter Pointe - or Point, I'm not sure which is correct - shopping center by Chick-fil-A). There are pictures on Galla's facebook page. A menu is available on Galla's website.

Monday, June 7, 2010

DHA President Steps Down; News from Perimeter Pointe

After almost three years as president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, Gordon Jackson announced during Sunday night's regularly scheduled board meeting, that he was stepping down immediately due to time constraints. With Jackson's urging, the board voted Bill Grossman interim president - he will serve in that capacity until the end of the year when the board will elect a new president.
Jackson, a resident of Dunwoody Station, has been a longtime member of the DHA. During Jackson's tenure as president, the 4th of July Parade and Light Up Dunwoody - DHA sponsored events - have witnessed unprecedented growth. Gordon - congrats on a job well done!
Speaking of the parade, the DHA announced that the United State Marine Band from Albany, Georgia will again be a participant. It will cost the DHA approximately $2,000 for an overnight hotel stay, a bill graciously picked up by our state representative Fran Millar (out of his own pocket and not those of the taxpayers).

Changes at Perimeter Pointe

The Perimeter Pointe Shopping Center will be undergoing some changes in the near future. The building that housed Max & Erma's will reopen as a Tilted Kilt, a franchise that employs some of the same marketing strategies as Hooters, if you know what I mean.
Also, the Wendy's/Arby's Group appears to be moving closer to putting one of its flagship restaurants in a stand-alone building off Perimeter Center West on the theatre side of Perimeter Pointe (indicated in the photo by a white rectangle). At the same time, Wendy's/Arby's has agreed to work with Chick-fil-A on alleviating it's traffic congestion by reworking the parking lot access to the restaurant. It's about time. If the owners of Perimeter Pointe would have listened to the DHA in the first place, this never would have happened.

Fr. Higgins Bound for Dawsonville

All Saints Church is losing it's most dynamic, not to mention youngest priest. Father Brian Higgins, who grew up in Dunwoody and became a Parochial Vicar at All Saints last year, has been named pastor at Christ Redeemer Catholic Church in Dawsonville.