Friday, February 8, 2013

A Long Time Coming

Wow - it's been almost two months since my last blog post, which is the longest period between posts since I started blogging in 2008.  A few things have surfaced since my last post.

Dunwoody Village Parkway

The Dunwoody Village Parkway Project has hit a crescendo - Save Dunwoody signs are everywhere and "redshirts" on a mission flock to city council. 

I don't get it.  I don't get the backlash.  The city is going to spend approximately $2.4 million, which it has in the budget and NO taxes have to be increased, and, of which $1.1 million of that total comes from a federal grant.  The idea of the project is to jump-start the village - make it a vibrant city center that has a park, sidewalks and yes even bike paths (I don't ride a bike very often, but in the bigger, long-term picture, I get it).

I keep hearing the argument that the project will increase traffic flow, as four lanes are narrowed down to two.  You know what - it will increase traffic flow - but on a street that DOESN'T get much traffic!  Hey, if decreasing traffic flow is our number one goal, let's turn Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody into four-lane roads.  I don't hear much support for that.  And rightfully so.

I also hear the argument that we're cutting down trees.  Oh my gosh, wouldn't that be tragic.  Com'on - if trees weren't cut down, my house wouldn't be standing, and a strong possibility yours wouldn't, either.  Besides, Dunwoody has a No Net Loss of Trees policy.  Every tree that is cut down will be replaced.  And don't look now, but most of those trees on the parkway are short lifespan fruit trees that will grow back very quickly.

Look, I have no idea if this project will spur redevelopment of Dunwoody Village.  But I do know the chances of redevelopment are much greater if the project takes place.  I'd love to see a park in the Village one day.  But maybe that's just me.

Womack/Vermack Intersection

I have a little different view on the roundabout at Womack/Vermack.  Long-term, a roundabout may very well be the best solution.  But short term, I believe the best, most cost-effective solution (one suggested by some of the neighbors) is hire a part-time, safety-trained citizen or official to act as a traffic officer at the intersection.  One of the neighbors told me finding retired or off-duty personnel to handle the job would not be a problem (I have no idea).  He said the going rate is $35 per hour.  At a maximum of three hours per day (1.5 hours in the morning, 1.5 in the evening), the cost would be less than $20,000 a year.  It's a no brainer!  By the way, I can't help but laugh everytime I see those "Save Womack Vermack Intersection" signs.  Are you kidding me?  Save babies, save whales, save our second amendment rights.  But save an intersection?  Really.

DHA vs City of Dunwoody

Finally, recently I read a letter to the editor in The Crier by a gentleman who wrote, in part, "It is important to realize that today there is a very close and cozy relationship between the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and the Dunwoody City Council ... Many DHA Board members actively and publically promoted the $60 million bond issues advocated by the Dunwoody City Council that were defeated 2 to 1 in the city election ... Every member of the Dunwoody City Council is also an ex-officio member of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association board of directors and at least four of seven members of the Design Review Advisory Committee of the city of Dunwoody are also on the DHA board of directors. These are interlocking directorates that would probably be illegal under the Clayton Act if in private industry. These interlocking directorates clearly establish the very close and cozy relationship between the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association and the Dunwoody City Council."

As a member of the DHA board and a past vice president, I can tell you the gentleman is correct, there is a very friendly relationship between the DHA and the city.  And every member of city council is an ex-officio member of the DHA.  However, no member of the city council is a voting member of the DHA.  They are not part of board-only discussions.  And while Terry Nall, John Heneghan and Doug Thompson are regular members at the DHA's monthly meetings, Denis Shortal, Lynn Deutsch and mayor Mike Davis are only there on occasion, and I don't recall ever seeing Adrian Bonser at one of our meetings.
I will also tell you that the DHA was very mixed on the park's bonds.  Personally,  I was vehemently against it and made no secret of my feelings (read any of my posts leading up to the vote and you will clearly see that).
By the way, why shouldn't the DHA and city have a great relationship.  After all, and despite what some might think, the two entities, for the part, have the same objective - the betterment of Dunwoody!

8 comments:

Ken Thompson said...

From a casual observer's point of view (IE: a mere resident taxpayer and voter) it is not surprising that some see the City, at least the politicos, as a spinout of the DHA. This is especially true if you were around to watch the genesis of the cityhood movement.

What we've seen since is the City grow into a political organization serving a constituency that includes business interests. This makes a lot of sense since businesses pony up most of the cents. What we haven't seen is the retrenchment of the Dunwoody HOMEOWNERS Association as a HOMEOWNER focused, HOMEOWNER representative organization. This will probably take place over the next five to ten years.

Without an organization that is well recognized within the community as a separate, independent voice of the homeowners' interests we will continue to see vocal adhoc organizing efforts ("redshirts" -- keeping in mind this City was formed by equally vocal, equally narrow "yellowshirts") focusing exclusively on narrow interests. DHA needs to work hard, and swiftly, to recover the role of vox populi.

My $0.02

Lindsay said...

Welcome back, you've been missed.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Ken--
Add to your comment that "homeowners" are not an homogenous, monolithic block. Since Dunwoody incorporated, interests in living as "homeowners" have been evolving in different directions, sometimes in direct conflict with each other. So representing "the homeowners" is not as simple as it was in 1974. The successful "vox populi" role will be one that will determine how these different interests will coexist, by building fences if necessary.

Ken Thompson said...

SDOC,

Indeed.

There is a false sense of homogeneity supported by the omnipresent "brick and beige" environment and unifying aspects of a common, demonized enemy--DeKalb County--now in the rearview mirror.

I think what we're seeing now is the internal diversity of Dunwoody which seems alarmingly unsettling to some. I have no clue why.

Nonetheless, there will be a forum for these diverse voices though it may not be DHA. It might be something a bit more modern than F2F socialization and "talking a little treason" such as online forums or blogs such as yours. To many an old fart that may seem too ephemeral to be of consequence but I suspect some of the blogs affected the outcome of the Parks Bonds and I expect similar impact on the next election if Mayor and Council listen exclusively to their Trusted Advisors at DHA.

My last Canadian Penny :)

DunwoodyTalk said...

Bob,

Please not the DES traffic control agent with the Pillsbury Doughboy mitten - traffic will back up to Sandy Springs.

Bob Fiscella said...

Dunwoody Talk - LOL! But FYI, Larry, the DES crossing guard with the mitten, is actually handling traffic control these days. It moves much better!

Ken Nicely said...

Jesus, what is wrong with some of these people? Going out of the way to hurt the economy, and in the end hurt society by the removal of the trees.

-Samudaworth Tree Service
Tree Removal Brooklyn

Michael Saye said...

NEW STREETS
sung to the Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams”

New streets are what we need
Our infrastructures starting to bleed
Can’t see the forest for the trees
Everybody’s waiting for something

Some of them want a new crew
Some of them want a crew and contract too
Some of them want to sue you
Some of them want you to be confused

Their T-Splost did not succeed
Dekalb wants that extra penny
We wonder what will go up in fees
All of us have nothing

Hold Your Hands Up, Keep Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall
Hold Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall, Keep Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall
Hold Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall, Keep Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall
Hold Your Hands Up, Hug The Wall, Keep Your Hands Up

So Dekalb County wants to choose you
So Dekalb County says it wants no bad news
So Dekalb County wants to use you
So Dekalb County wants you to lose

Dekalb County is full of greed
We’ll decide who spends the green
See their deeds by the slime they leave
Everyones full of corruption

Some will retire cause they have to
Some of them will even retire but now refuse
Some of them take getting used to
Some of them think they can’t be moved

Dekalb said it’s just one lousy penny
Tax us more is their decree
The 400 toll has a wicked history
Everybody wants to remove them

Don’t You Let Up, Keep The Heat Up, Burners On
Don’t You Let Up, Burners On, Keep The Heat Up, Stayin Strong
Don’t You Let Up, Burners On, Keep The Heat Up, Stayin Strong
Don’t You Let Up, Burners On, Keep The Heat Up

Some counties need new revenue from you
Some of them want new bicycle lanes and sidewalks too
Some of them won’t tell the truth
Some of them will come after you

Brookhaven is finally now a city
Pirates now plunder with impunity
All road development and some cities will be
The same not budging

Their plans went down in defeat
We need trust not deceit
You follow the money to where it leads
Contractors are always paid something