Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Update From Councilman Wittenstein

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

It has been a busy month for the City of Dunwoody. After a year of discussion and investigation, we voted on Monday to contract with ChatComm (the Sandy Springs/Johns Creek joint venture) for 911 call center service. This was a difficult decision and the council was split on this (the vote was 5 to 2). In the end I supported spending additional city funds to get the higher level of service offered by ChatComm. Nothing will change for the next six months; we will use that as transition time. Expect to see us complete a cut-over around October 1.
Also this month we established a long-range transportation plan. It is available on our website: Transportation Plan. (Caution, it is 223 pages!) We established the following projects as our highest priority items:

Click on photo to read full document
 Please keep in mind that we have not budgeted ANY of these projects. We will begin looking for grants and matching funds but none of these improvements are imminent. If we, as a community, want to invest in these projects we will have to collectively decide that they are important enough to funnel our tax dollars into them. That can be done either very slowly using our current tax dollars or more quickly by accepting higher property taxes. That will be a decision made by the community as a whole (not the City Council.)

We also completed work this month on two redevelopment master plans. One is for Dunwoody Village and one is for the Georgetown/Shallowford area. These plans act as conceptual blueprints to encourage the landowners and developers in the area. It allows private developers to see our vision for redevelopment and sends the message that if you follow this plan, you will have community support and the city’s support. It will be many years before the economy creates enough pressure for sizable redevelopment but small pieces are starting to turn over and can be built to follow these new plans.

The most difficult activity we have been engaged in lately has been development of a long-range parks master plan. This plan is still in development. What makes this so hard is the need to balance the needs of the Dunwoody community with the concerns of the neighbors. We have heard over and over through this process, “we Love living next to <> but Please, Please don’t put a <> near my house or it will ruin my quality of life.”

Many of the neighbors want to keep the parks near them just as they are. I am sympathetic to the neighbors’ concerns and I understand that there are pros and cons to living next to a public park but I am reluctant to accept the current status quo. Before this process is over, we are bound to upset quite a few people. As someone who has signed up for public service, that is very difficult to do.

In April we will look at folding our newly acquired 16 acre park that stretches from Chamblee Dunwoody Road over to North Shallowford Road (formally the “PVC Farm”) in Georgetown into the parks plan and I hope a revised plan will get passed in May or June. As with Transportation, it will be great to have a plan. The next step will be the community discussion on funding.

Lemonade Days (April 14-17) and The Dunwoody Arts Festival (May 7-8) are both coming up. Both are wonderful events for our community!



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