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.
ken.wright@dunwoodyga.gov
denis.shortal@dunwoodyga.gov
adrian.bonser@dunwoodyga.gov
douglas.thompson@dunwoodyga.gov
robert.wittenstein@dunwoodyga.gov
danny.ross@dunwoodyga.gov
john.heneghan@dunwoodyga.gov

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.

Regards,
Robert

10 comments:

Chip said...

Either Councilman W. is "learning" from past mistakes, or he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. When he says this ordinance is either about conformity or about targeting specific homeowners, he could substitute "chickens" in place of "vehicles" and be saying the same thing.

If there is such a thing as "visual pollution" associated with the justification for sign ordinances, there is "visual pollution" associated with multiple vehicles on a single lot.

I wish Council W. would attempt to reconcile his views, as he oftentimes is the one who starts these mini-brouhahas, and they waste an inordinate amount of time while he pulls his foot out of his mouth and then tries to resolve a conflict he originally created.

Four vehicles per lot is very generous and covers 95% of the cases. Allowing for an exception for the family with four or five driving teenagers/collegiates should cover the remaining 5 per cent.

The other restrictions on larger, commercial and marine vehicles make sense.

This should be a "no brainer" and not "an issue".

Chip

Rick said...

Robert,

How about a ban on trailers at schools? I think city staff needs to check the safety of these units before school starts. I don't trust having the school board do it.

Anonymous said...

This is yet just another example of Councilman W.'s inconsistency: Why does Councilman W. encourage public input on this issue, yet insists on no public input or review time for a sign ordinance that had so many changes from reading #1 to reading #2 that it was essentially a new ordinance?

Are there any challengers out there for our next election in his at-large district?

Eric said...

Bob,

Thanks for the kind comments about me. One slight correction - it's "Christ", not "Crist". The Crist is politics is the one named Charlie running in Florida.

Regards,

Eric Christ

Bob Fiscella said...

Eric,

Thanks - I've made the correction. I've also added a link for your website. Sorry for the misspelling - somewhat sacreligious!

Anonymous said...

I strongly favor passage of the proposed new law to control the number of vehicles parked in residential driveways.

We now have houses with 6, 7 or 8 vehicles parked in the driveway. This is not acceptable. We need to maintain the residential character of the City of Dunwoody.

Our residential areas, which are single family, should not have more than four vehicles parked out in the driveway. Clearly that's more than sufficient when you don't count garaged vehicles. I'd even suggest two vehicles in the driveway would be enough.

I hope that the City Council approves this measure. I have to disagree with Robert in that this legislation is well advised and needed. Homeowners Associations and other efforts to control such eyesores are not effective at all.

Robert, I think you are ill-informed as to the effectiveness of controlling such excessive parking by use of a homeowners association. It just doesn't happen, and no one is signing contracts or following any restrictive covenants which in large part have expired in our residential neighborhoods. It is not possible to control the parking by any other means as you suggest.

The only way to get effective control of this situation is for City Council to pass this proposed legislation. We do need the City Council to take action to protect our neighborhoods.

Also, you mentioned trailers. It is very important that trailers be even more restricted. There are zoning ordinance provisions limiting trailers now, so don't broaden that item so we have trailers or recreational vehicles (RV's) parked in front or side yards. And we should not have trailers, recreational vehicles, etc. parked on the streets of our neighborhoods either.

I hope City Council passes this legislation and takes steps to enforce its provisions soon.

Rob Augustine

Anonymous said...

人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

Chip said...

Boy! I wish everything in my world were as "black and white" as things seem to be in the world that Rob A. lives in!!!!!

He dogmatically asserts (something that Rob does frequently) about what is and is not "acceptable." I'm really unsure who appointed him as arbiter of acceptability.

He then makes a few other unsubstantiated assertions including "Our residential areas, which are single family, should not have more than four vehicles parked out in the driveway. Clearly that's more than sufficient when you don't count garaged vehicles. I'd even suggest two vehicles in the driveway would be enough." Nice that Rob A. has all the answers.

He then asserts that a specific, targeted ordinance is "the only way" to protect our neighborhoods. Clearly there are other ways than a specific, targeted ordinance including, for example, an ordinance that speaks to public nuisances, which may include excessive number or placement of vehicles on private property.

This ordinance, as drafted, obviously speaks to resolving a conflict with a specific, few homeowners and/or landlords in Dunwoody.

I, for one, fail to see why the City of Dunwoody has to be so "heavy handed" with establishing so restrictive (and unparalleled in the local area) an ordinance as the one proposed.

Oh, and while I've got my good friend Rob A.'s attention, I want to point out that Dunwoody still has not paved a single foot of roadway in spite of being almost 2 years old, and the paving program that was to start in July 2010 still hasn't started. If you're worried about keeping the value of our neighborhoods high, I'm of the opinion that quality roads offers a more substantive return than chasing down a few parking violators. But, that's local "control" for you, Rob.

Chip

Bob said...

I’m not making it a political partisan issue at all. I find it Ironic that a city filled with Republicans (I am one), that claim smaller government out of our lives is even thinking about putting this up as an issue.
I have no idea who Glory is so I have no bone to pick here.
I just find it weird, that Joe H, Gerri Penn and I agree that this is just plain STUPID. I think I am accurate when I say that the three of us do not share the same political views.
This is ISSUE based, not political in my mind
Council members who back this should pack up their houses and move to a community or town that has covenants in place before your buy.
If you want to live that life style, go live in Country Club of The South, hide behind the gate and let only those people with the double secret password inside.
We are a city of 40+ thousand and have over 150 K here on a daily basis.
Despite the beliefs of some of the council, we are not all retired, living on big government pensions topped by retiree benefits from a major corporation. We are not all making 6 figures and have antique car collections. Did you know that over 100 families a week have to go to the Food Bank at St Pats? Hunger in Dunwoody !!!! That is OK as long as they do not live in your neighborhood. Because you think we live still live next store to Wally and Beaver Cleaver does not mean we all want to
Despite what you think this is not a planned Walt Disney community and is most definitely not Mayberry
People may not want to admit it, but we are a City of many of races, cultures economic stature, political and religious beliefs, young and old
Stop trying to "protect us from ourselves” and do the jobs you were elected to do, govern. Fix my roads, protect my property and provide me a safe place to live and work. Do not try to be my parent or tell me what is best for me. That is not why you were elected. Please don’t tell us again that you are responding to hundreds of emails demanding this change. Don’t insult my intelligence. I do not want to do another Open Record Request and count the emails again.
Telling the residents how many cars they can park on their property is not an issue to waste any time over.
I have submitted an open records request seeking information from the City retreat where this STUPID idea came from. The council could make it easy on us all by having the councilman or men stand up and stand behind this Stupid idea. (Do you get the idea that I think this is STUPID?)
Will let everyone know what I get back

Bob said...

Rob,
You could not be more wrong.
It is NOT the City's palce to place any limits on what I can do on my property as long as I am with in the retrictions of the current zoning and development codes.
I do not want government to protect me from chckens or the fact that my neighbor has 6 cars.
I dont want government tell me that my mailbox has to look like my neighbors or what color lights I may or may not be able to hang and when I can hang them becasue a few "real" Dunwoody folks want protect me.
I lived in Dunwoody Club Forest for 12 years. Each of my girls had a car as did my wife and I. You think you have the right to tell me I can't own a another car (always wanted another Porche) and park it on my property?
My mother can't drive down from NJ and spend the Winter months living with me in ATL.
As I said in my previous post this is STUPID.
Let get off this elitist BS.
Want to live in Hilton Head with all its planned communities and restrictions, then move. It is not why I moved here.