Friday, August 27, 2010

Odds & Ends

DeKalb County School System will address the eye-sore of a retention pond it created at Dunwoody High School. DCSS has called a community meeting for 6pm, Tuesday, August 31 at the high school media center to address the issue. The fact that DeKalb has called a meeting tells me that it does plan to, at the very least, landscape the pond in such a way that neighbors won't find it to be so hideous.

Was the pond necessary? I have no idea - I'm not an engineer. However, I did attend at least two meetings in which DeKalb said very clearly that the pond was not part of the high school SPLOST renovation. What changed? We'll find out Tuesday evening.
Go Ahead, Make My Day!
It's a line from a Clint Eastwood film (Sudden Impact, in which Eastwood plays tough-guy cop Harry Callahan). But that's what the City of Dunwoody did for me yesterday - it made my day. The city made my day by starting work on Ashford Center Parkway. The road seemingly is one big pothole. Well city contractors were on Ashford Center Parkway on Thursday performing massive (I hope) improvements to the road. I can't wait to drive on the new smooth surfaces. And neither can my tires. Although I'd have to admit, dodging the potholes has probably made me a better driver!

Belated Congrats
A belated congratulations to fellow Dunwoody blogger Rick Callihan, the mastermind at Dunwoody Talk. At this past Monday night's Dunwoody City Council meeting, Rick was presented a handsome plaque for taking the “Best Shot” in the Dunwoody parks photo contest! (click here to view winning photo)

Discount Braves Tickets
If you're planning on buying Braves tickets as the club makes its stretch run to the playoffs, click on the photo below. Groupon is offering up to a 58 percent discount on tickets to an upcoming game.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dunwoody High Retention Pond; Street Closing

How would you like to wake up every morning, open your front door and be greeted by this lovely retention pond?
This is the view that neighbors who live across the street from Dunwoody High School on Womack Road get to see every day. At least for now. Hopefully that won't be the case in the near future.

Joe Hirsh, of Public Comment Joe fame (see various posts on Rick Calliahan's blog for more on Joe), is one of those who lives across the street from the pond. And Joe is not happy about it. Here is the email he sent to DeKalb County Public Schools (the county is responsible for the project), as well as City of Dunwoody officials.

"The design of the storm water pond at Dunwoody High School is an absolute public health hazard.
Stagnant water remains for an unlimited number of days. I just took a sample of water from the pond, and I am not surprised to see the substantial number of mosquitoes in it. I suppose there are probably TENS OF THOUSANDS of mosquito larvae in the pond. Yet, in an email exchange with Doster Construction and DeKalb County Schools, they say the pond is working properly and as designed. Really? They must be morons.
I am demanding that this public health matter be remedied immediately. I don't care who has jurisdiction of the property. Figure it out and take care of it. This situation is appalling.
From the Georgia Department of Community Health: "The most common mosquito-borne viruses in Georgia include West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis virus, and LaCrosse virus. Saint Louis encephalitis virus has also been detected in Georgia in the past. Mosquito-borne viruses are most active late spring through early fall in Georgia."

Dunwoody Councilor Adrian Bonser brought the retention pond to the attention of the city staff, and below is the response of city engineer Richard J. Edinger.

"I went out to look at the pond this morning, and it is installed as designed. This pond is known as a micro-pool extended detention pond. The pond is split into three sections to maximize the route that water takes to get to the outlet, which helps maximize sediment removal, and one cell of the pond is required to hold water to help prevent re-suspension of sediment during storm events.
I think Joe is right to be concerned about mosquitoes and one way to control them is for the school system to use larvicide briquettes in the water. This can be done in an environmentally friendly way. For more information about the safe use of larvicides for mosquito control, please see the EPA’s website."

DeKalb County has since placed the necessary briquettes in the water, and councilor Robert Wittenstein says he has been told by our elected DeKalb School board member Jim Redovian that trees and other landscape features will be added. Hopefully that is the case. Not only for Joe and his neighbors, but for the community as well. The pond is an eyesore!

Road Closure
The Federal Aviation Administration is closing Perimeter Summit Parkway from Parkside Place to Lake Hearn Drive on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and reopening the roadway section at 5 p.m. on Sunday to film a commercial. Parkside Place and Lake Hearn Drive should be utilized to maneuver around this closed section of the roadway.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tony Barnhart at St.Luke's; Roundabouts

The city of Dunwoody is blessed to have some amazing churches, as well as amazing cooperation between the churches. I am a member of All Saints, but always feel just as welcomed at Dunwoody Methodist, Dunwoody Baptist, etc.

Saturday morning I was at St. Luke's for breakfast and to listen to my good friend Tony Barnhart talk college football. Tony was a longtime writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He now divides his time blogging for the paper, hosting his own show on CBS College Sports Network, co-hosting Talkin' Football on CSS (Comcast) and appearing on CBS Sports' Saturday coverage of college football. A few years back when I was in television full-time, I co-hosted a college football show with Tony. It truly was a pleasure getting to know him.

Back to Saturday's breakfast. No real surprise that Tony is picking Alabama to win the SEC West and Florida to win the SEC East. He thinks Alabama will meet Ohio St. in the national championship game. As for Georgia and Georgia Tech, Tony feels that each will have a better season than many of the preseason publications predict. Let's hope that's the case (hey, I may be a Longhorn, but I still pull for the locals. When Georgia and Georgia Tech do well, it makes for a much more entertaining football season).
Will Dunwoody Become a City of Roundabouts?
Interesting article on Councilman John Heneghan's blogsite about "roundabout" intersections and the possibility of Dunwoody incorporating them to help with traffic flow. Click here to read. I like the concept, as well as thinking outside the box. If Dunwoody hopes to solve traffic issues without widening roads, thinking outside the box is critical.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not Crying Wolf

If you've ever been to one of the Dunwoody City Council meeting, you're probably familiar with Joe Hirsch, affectionately referred to as "public comment Joe" by fellow blogger Rick Callihan. Seemingly, Joe is at every council meeting, and when the mayor calls for public comments, Joe is ready to go - guns loaded! The man is passionate. I'm not always on board with Joe, and at this past city council meeting when he stepped to the microphone to complained about DeKalb County violating the Dunwoody noise ordinance (no contractors performing work before 7 am or after 7 pm), it was in one ear and out the other.

As it turns out, Joe lives on Womack Rd. across the street from Dunwoody High School. As you probably know, DeKalb County School System is renovating the high school. According to Joe, who's been exceedingly vocal on the matter, DeKalb workers and subcontractors are pounding away almost every morning well before 7 am. Including Sundays!

I tended to think Joe was exaggerating, but found out otherwise this morning. Since the start of school on Monday, I've moved up my morning jog from 6:30 am to 5:30 am (to avoid traffic). At approximately 5:45 am, as I neared the intersection of Womack and Vermack Rd., I began to hear the pounding from workers at the high school. It was loud, and it must have lasted 5 minutes. At least that's how long I heard it before my run took me away from the construction site.

Joe - you have my sympathies! Hopefully the city will take action and you'll enjoy an uninterrupted night (and morning) of rest.
Sign Removal
Have you ever noticed the divided road sign as you enter Springfield from Chamblee Dunwoody Rd.? I never did until Councilwoman Adrian Bonser told me about it (and sent the attached photo). Adrian says that soon the city will remove it - thanks Adrian. (Joe if it will help, I'll ask the city to put the sign removal on the back burner and concentrate on DeKalb compliance)!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Race Too Close to Call; Charity Car Wash

ATLANTA -- WSBTV After a bruising runoff campaign, former Congressman Nathan Deal and former Secretary of State Karen Handel were neck and neck in a race to decide who faces Democrat Roy Barnes in November and it appeared there would not be a winner declared until Wednesday at the earliest.
Under Georgia law, the runner-up can request a recount if the margin is less than one percent of the total vote.
Unofficial results showed Deal leading with 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Handel, a margin of less than 2,500 votes with 99% of precincts reporting. Some absentee ballots and some early voting ballots had not been tallied according to the secretary of state's website.
Deal appeared on Channel 2 Action News This Morning on Wednesday (click on picture above to watch) and said that he believed military votes would come in by Friday. "We are still cautiously optimistic," Deal said.

Channel 2 Action News also asked Handel to appear for an interview Wednesday morning, but she declined the offer.
Tuesday night, Handel said, "There's a lot of absentee ballots out there to be counted so I think we need to keep our fingers crossed, be optimistic as we come in, and see the rest of the votes that get counted."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes also appeared on Channel 2 Action News This Morning on Wednesday. When asked if he had a preference between Deal or Handel, Barnes said, "I don't think so. I think this comes down to who can put Georgians back to work and kids back to school. And we know that what has been the team in the last few years has failed in that."
Dunwoody Girls' Softball Team Hosts Charity Car Wash
The Dunwoody High School Girls' Softball Team will be at the Dunwoody Village Burger King this Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm washing cars to raise some much needed money for the team. The girls guarantee that "your ride will sparkle" when they are done. Among the members of this year's team, Springfield's own McKenna Osborne.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vote; City Council Puts Kibosh on Controversy

Don't forget to vote today in either the Democratic or Republican runoff. There are three races on the Republican side including that for governor, and one on the Democratic side. The polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm.

Council Squashes Parking Management Proposal

The Dunwoody City Council wasted little time at Monday night's meeting squashing the controversial residential parking management proposal (see previous posts). With the consent of council, Mayor Ken Wright removed it from the docket before it was even brought up for discussion.

However, that didn't stop residents from venting during the public comment portion of the meeting. To watch video of the meeting - go to John Henghen's blogsite.

Monday, August 9, 2010

School is Back!

While most of the private schools and many of the other counties gear up, school started at DeKalb Schools this morning. With the ongoing construction at the high school, parking at Vanderlyn is at a premium so it's important to allow extra time.

DeKalb CEO in Dunwoody Tonight

DeKalb County is asking residents and business owners to help plan for the county’s future as funds continue to decline.

CEO Burrell Ellis will hold five public forums for the county’s strategic planning process, which will focus on economic development, infrastructure, public safety and services. Residents will specifically be asked to give input on what services they want as the county struggles to cut expenditures.

The forums are scheduled for Aug. 9 at Georgia Perimeter College in Dunwoody, Aug. 11 at Georgia Perimeter in Decatur, Aug. 18 at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center, Aug. 23 at Emory and Sept. 1 at DeKalb Technical College. All of the forums are scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m.
For more information, visit

Thursday, August 5, 2010

House Razing & More

Wondering why the unsightly home above on Springfield Dr. has not been razed yet? According to the owner, Ken Mooney, who purchased the property earlier this summer, he is struggling with acquiring all the necessary permits from the City of Dunwoody.
Mooney's plan is to raze the home and build a 3,700 square foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home. Mooney stresses that it will not be a "McMansion" and feels the neighbors will be pleased. He says it will be an all-brick home with a list price of approximately $800,000.

Dunwoody City Council Agenda

The Dunwooody City Council meets again on Monday evening, among the items on the agenda the highly controversial residential parking management proposal. For the entire agenda click here and make sure to read councilman John Heneghan's blog.
Bank Robber Caught
According to one of the men accused of robbing the Chase Bank near Publix has been caught. The man is also accused of robbing a bank in Duluth.

Weighing In on Residential Parking Management

The Dunwoody Blogs are abuzz (read Dunwoody North and Dunwoody Talk as well as the posted comments)! The proposal by one of our Dunwoody elected officials to manage residential parking has created a massive stir. If you haven't read the proposal yet (which is referenced in my previous post by Councilman Wittenstein) -which will go before council at its 7 pm, August 9 meeting - you should. It could affect you (click here to read). It definitely affects our neighborhood.

In a nutshell, the proposal says we need more regulations on how many vehicles you may park in your driveway. On the surface this may seem like a good idea, but it is? And be sure to read the language of the proposal carefully. You may be in violation.

Instead of taking up issues like parking management - not to mention chickens - I would rather council spend its valuable time figuring out how to fix our embarrassingly deteriorating roads (have you driven on Ashford Center Parkway lately? How 'bout North Peachtree? Or Tilly Mill near Peachtree Industrial?). I'm more concerned with the health of my car's suspension from driving on these barely drivable roads, than how many cars a neighbor three streets over has parked in his driveway.

The 4th of July maybe in our rearview mirror, but Monday night's council meeting is sure to have its share of fireworks!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Recap of DHA Meeting; Update from Councilman Wittenstein

The Dunwoody Homeowners Association held its monthly meeting last night, and among the topics discussed - the first annual Dunwoody Music Festival, October 23-24 at Brook Run Park, presented by the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce. The Music Festival replaces the Fall Festival as the Chamber's big fundraiser. Among the featured bands are Banks & Shane, which has been performing in and around the metro area since 1972.
While the Music Festival replaces the Fall Festival, the popular Chili Cook off is back with a $1,000 prize to the winner. Entry fee is $50. To sign up, click here.

The DHA also heard from the Dunwoody Rotary Club as it gears up for its biggest fundraiser ever, RunDunwoody, a 5K race that starts at finishes in the Target parking lot on October 24. There will also be a one-mile fun run and tot trot.

Finally, the DHA is looking into dates to sponsor a candidates forum leading up to the November elections. Among the candidates on hand at Sunday night's meeting was Democrate Eric Christ, who is running for State Senate, he will face Republican Fran Millar in November. Christ seems like a great guy, very personable. He'll have his hands full with Millar, who's got name recognition, not to mention a full war chest. To find out more about Eric, click here.

Update from Councilman Wittenstein

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
A few months ago I posed a question to this mailing list exploring the appropriate boundaries for government regulation. A proposed which falls into this arena will be discussed during our City Council work session on Monday, August 9th at City Hall which starts at 7:00 pm.
A proposed new law has just been submitted to the city council for discussion and consideration. It reads (in part): “In each residentially zoned area, no more than four vehicles, including trailers, per dwelling unit shall be parked, stopped, standing or stored on any parcel of land.”
The proposed ordinance allows vehicles stored in a garage to be exempt from the limit as long as the garage door is kept closed so that the vehicles can’t be seen from the street or from a neighbor’s property. It also offers residents the opportunity to submit an application to the city for a permit for more cars if the resident can prove that they have no more than one vehicle per licensed driver.
I have deep concerns about this proposed new ordinance.
We already have laws that prohibit parking on the grass or on gravel and laws that require all cars to be licensed. This isn’t about safety and it isn’t about upkeep.
I can only think of two reasons to pass such a law. It could either be about conformity or it could be aimed at specific Dunwoody homeowners. Either way, I think it is ill advised. I looked at several nearby cities and could not find any with similar ordinances.
Homeowner’s associations are the appropriate way to deal with this type of restriction. Residents can choose to sign a contract and comply with the terms or they can choose to buy a house elsewhere. I don’t think we want Dunwoody to become a gigantic citywide homeowner’s association.
The proposed ordinance goes on to provide some common-sense restrictions that require vehicles to be maintained in good working order and prohibits parking in residential areas of “limousines, flatbed trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, transport wreckers, tandem axle trucks, cab-on chassis trucks, tractor trailers, wheeled attachments or trailers, buses, earth moving machinery, semitrailers, and any other vehicle over 23-feet long, seven-feet high, or seven-feet wide.”
It also proposes to prohibit any kind of watercraft from being parked in a driveway in front of a home.
I would love for you to share your thoughts in person at Monday’s meeting or by sending an e-mail to me or the entire council. Here are the e-mail addresses for each member of the City Council.

In other news, we continue to discuss taking on responsibility for 911 dispatch, fire service and Emergency Medical Service (EMS). We are conducting research and meeting with DeKalb County and other nearby governments to explore alternatives and estimate expenses. We will discuss Fire and EMS at the same meeting on August 9th. We will also discuss a proposal to spend $200,000 - $300,000 on a citywide emergency siren system and receive our mid-year budget summary from our Finance department.

Don’t forget to vote in the primary runoff on August 10.