Monday, November 8, 2010

Chick-fil-A is the Hot Topic; Free Tickets, Community Service Day

Sketch from Chick-fil-A representatives at DHA meeting 
Last night's Dunwoody Homeowners' Association meeting was the liveliest that I've attended in my time on the board.  The hot topic was Chick-fil-A's interest in placing a store at the location of the old Blockbuster/UPS at the intersection of Dunwoody Club Dr. and Mt. Vernon Rd.  Representatives from Chick-fil-A were on hand to give a short presentation.
Seemingly everyone I've spoken to would like to see a Chick-fil-A store at that location.  Even many of the nearby neighbors are gung-ho.  The problem is, that shopping center is zoned NS (neighborhood shopping) and a drive-thru is not permitted.  Also, there are questions as to whether a drive-thru restaurant fits within the confines of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
So if most everyone wants a Chick-fil-A, but current zoning won't allow a drive-thru, what can be done?  What shouldn't be done is allow the shopping center to be rezoned commercial (Bob Lundsten - our zoning guru - if I'm getting this wrong, please correct me).  Once it is zoned commercial, it opens up Pandora's Box to a whole lot of establishments in that location that we probably don't want (see Tilly Mill Rd. east as it crosses from Dunwoody into Doraville.  Can you say unsightly?).
One solution might be changing NS to allow for a drive-thru.  Is this a good idea (Bob, you tell me)?  I don't know, but it seems to be worth exploring.  Of course if it is possible to change NS to allow a drive-thru, does it fit the CLUP?  

Fran Millar
Whether it fits the CLUP or not, this shopping center has become a wasteland of an eyesore, as State Senator-elect Fran Millar pointed out at last night's meeting.  Not only is the Blockbuster now vacant (UPS is still in business), but of course the Ace Hardware has been empty for the better part of four years.  And if we didn't want Goodwill at that shopping center (remember a year or so ago it wanted to move in, but the community put the kibosh on it), and we won't allow Chick-fil-A, then what?
One question Bob Lundsten asked last night was, if this wasn't Chick-fil-A but instead, say Krystal, do we feel the same way?  Would we still be interested in making the same push to change what is presently allowable?  Please respond to the poll in the upper left hand corner - let us know how you feel. 

Kroger Renovation

Not only were representatives from Chick-fil-A at last night's meeting, but so too were Kroger folks, pitching its complete overhaul of the Georgetown store.  Kroger is not only planning to increase its size from 48,000 to 70,000 square feet (taking over the old Tuesday Morning), but a top-to-bottom renovation of the interior, including skylights.  
Kroger also plans a complete renovation of the unsightly parking lot, adding much more desirable landscaping (actually, any landscaping will be a big improvement).  Kroger has made formal application to the city for nine variances.      

By the way, among those in attendance at last night's meeting - Dunwoody City Councilmen John Heneghan and Robert Wittenstein.  Also there, the two candidates in the runoff for the DeKalb County School Board, District 1 position - incumbent Jim Redovian and Nancy Jester as well as Dunwoody resident Michael Rothenberg, who's in a runoff for DeKalb Superior Court Judge.

Free Tickets to Motivational Seminar

There is a motivation seminar tomorrow at Philips Area featuring Bill O'Reilly, Laura Bush, Sarah Palin and Terry Bradshaw.  If you are interested in a free ticket, send me an email at  For more information, click on Seize The Day.

Community Service Day

This past Saturday was Community Service Day in Dunwoody.  According to Bill Tobin, chairman of the city's volunteer coordinating committee, approximately 1,000 volunteers took part in everything from de-littering the side of roads (that's my Knights of Columbus crew in the photo to the left, looking like prisoners as we picked trash from the intersection of I-285 and North Peachtree Rd.) to sprucing up Brook Run Park to painting fire hydrants.  A big pat on the back to North Atlanta Church of Christ on Roberts Dr. and Dunwoody Baptist for their help!


Joe Seconder said...

Bob, I live in the Woodlands - about 1/4 mile from the proposed site. Our HOA board and president is against the Drive-through and submitted a letter to the Mayor and Council. Several of my neighbors are against it. Several of the members of the Sustainability Commission are against it. Bob Dallas is against it (Crier Editorial a couple weeks ago). Bob Lundsten is against is. Read Rick Callihan's editorial in yesterday's Dunwoody Reporter, and read my arguments here:

Bob Fiscella said...

Thx. I'm not sure I'm for it or against it, but hopefully this post is allowing the community to give its opinion as well as better understand the issues thanks to constructive comments like yours.

Greg said...

Like a lot of folks, I was initially willing to accept a Chick-fil-A, but strongly opposed the drive-thru.

After considering all the implications, including traffic and zoning pitfalls, I've concluded that any drive-thru fast food is not acceptable at that location.

I urge the Planning and Zoning Commission to vote against this application for a variance.

Greg Crnkovich

DunwoodyTalk said...


Is it the fault of Kroger and the property owner that the old Ace is still empty? Seems like the property owner gets paid to keep in empty. With it being empty, no maintenance. I think the problem of an empty anchor building rests with the site owner more than anyone. When he signed a 20 year lease to Kroger (to keep out competition) he had to have known it would be a challenge to rent it to a non food provider (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc). If people are unhappy about empty buildings, take it up with Kroger and the owner. If Chick Fil A goes in you'll still have that big empty building.

Dunwoody Dad said...

I don`t know why Chick-Fil-A & Kroger just don`t go ahead and build whatever they want. A couple in Dunwoody built an illegal fence at their home this past summer against city regulations and the city has appearently done nothing!

According to a member of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, after talking with the couple for over two months, the city encouraged them to go apply for a variance instead of fining the couple and making them remove the structure.

It seems the zoning laws in Dunwoody are not worth the paper they are written on, so C-F-A could build their store and sell thousands of chicken sandwiches while the city "Talks to them"!

Here is a link related to the story I found a few weeks ago:

Bob said...

Wow lots of stuff here.
Lets start with Bob F's question about Changing NS to allow for a drive thru.
BAD idea. You do not change a use in a zoning category that was designed to promote a less dense commercial use. That is even worse than rezoning for the wrong reasons. Why bother with zoning classifications if you change them for convenience.
It is about the DRIVE THRU. Not the zoning category.

The Ace site was not leased by Kroger. The lease aquired by Kroger when it purchased harris Teeter. Someone give me a business reason why Kroger would simply allow a competitor into their market. The Center has nothing to do with it.

You do not zone for use.
You do not zone because you like one company over another.
You do not change the codes because what actions the City takes here WILL have impact throughout the rest of Dunwoody
You do not zone because 24 homes in one subdivision have taken a poll and are in favor.
We are not a HOA.
This is a bad zoning request by a good company. It just does not belong there.

Anonymous said...

I respect your opinion, but it is just that and nothing more than that. And voicing your opinion louder at a public meeting doesn't make it more right. In my opinion, we have too many pontificating cooks in the kitchen of Dunwoody.

Bob said...

Not opinions,
Zoning reality
The only public meeting that I spoke at was a DHA meeting
So next time have the guts to strp forward and say something publically instead of hiding in the woods of the internet
Maybe you are to famous to go public

Anonymous said...

DHA was the public meeting I was referencing. I felt you and Bob Dallas engaged in fear mongering. Fran was the only one with the calm sense of asking to wait for the facts of the expected drive-thru count before casting opinions.

Bob said...

Bob Dallas and I were the only two people in that room who have any zoning experience. Probably 50 years between us.
NO fear mongering, just FACTS.
You zone because you like something, you can’t the vote against the next because you don’t.
That makes zoning arbitrary and capricious and then you lose all control.
Decisions we make here impact all of Dunwoody not just this corner or a few residents of Brook Farm
Fran’s logic of traffic counts and car trips is irrelevant. Do you think they don’t know that information? What shocked the folks from Chick Fil A was that I think they thought this would be a slam dunk.
Fran came out for it before plans were drawn. Brooke Farm did one if its scientific polls before a public meeting took place. Rob Augustine writes like he has stock in the company.
You are either for a DRIVE THRU or not. This has absolutely nothing to do with chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. Just because the owner is a good Christian who does not work on Sundays, does not mean that you approve a bad rezoning
Still too famous to go public?