Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DeKalb Interim Super Michael Thurmond will not be at DHA tonight

Update per DHA via Facebook:
Interim Super Thurmond will not be attending tonight.
Attempts at rescheduling are in progress.

Board Meeting

Date: March 3, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM

DeKalb Cultural Arts Center (Room 4)
5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338


Announcements and introduction of distinguished visitors
Approval of minutes for February 2013
Presentation and discussion with DCSS Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond (tentative, based on his travel plans. Will re-schedule to April, if necessary)
Presentation from Matt Hagan, Regency Centers
Presentation and discussion with Michael Starling, City of Dunwoody Director of Economic Development
Discussion of DHA Resolution to support Rep. Tom Taylor’s HB486
Discussion of Summer Concert Series
Dunwoody Preservation Trust – Lemonade Days Sponsorship Votes as needed on any motions during Board only session



First, let's see if he shows up.

Second, what could he possibly say not just to DHA members' faces, but to Tom, Fran, Nancy, Terry, and everyone else willing to acknowledge that the county is a millstone around our necks, that we should trust the people who voted to hire him?

Third, show up early to get a seat.  The room is tiny and will be packed.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Schools - Now What?

GA State BOE recommends removal of DeKalb school board.  (All but the 3 most recently elected).

Public Forum: Improving Public Education in Dunwoody

Hosted by Dunwoody Parents Concerned about Quality Education, Inc.
Kingswood United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

Sunday, March 3, 2013
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Dunwoody residents interested in improving the quality of education in Dunwoody schools will share information on accreditation, legislative efforts, alternatives to the current public school district, and potential actions. The presentation will feature representatives from city and state government, local public education advocates, and a discussion session for participants to share their ideas and concerns.

For more information, contact Allegra Johnson (

Monday, February 18, 2013

Small Businesses Get Another Social Media Setback

You have your Twitter account.  You're using Tweetdeck or something like it to auto-post your tweets to Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on.  You can promote yourself and your business as far and wide as your ambition can go.

Then you see this in the news:

From Social Media Today:

Will New Twitter Filter Hurt Small Businesses?

"...Twitter’s streaming API will be able to rank which tweets are most important and how high they will be placed in the feed for developers. Though Roomann-Kurrik doesn’t explain how each tweet will be judged and ranked, big businesses with a large following and a high frequency of engagement will probably take over these top spots. For a company that founded itself on the notion that anyone should be able to share short, intimate, important thoughts or anecdotes, this change could leave some Twitter users feeling worthless, especially small businesses.

The new filter integration undermines the possibility to market to an endless pool of consumers, which was an action Twitter originally promoted. There’s no doubt that Twitter wants to make money, and understandably so, but this is going to hurt a lot of small businesses and possibly discourage individual users from using the site."

I intend to keep a very close eye on these developments for all of my clients who benefit from Twitter as an up-to-the-minute news and PR distribution outlet.

Like I said in an earlier post, if you're going to engage in social media for your PR efforts, be ready to change on short notice.  That includes being ready to abandon ship if a previously useful outlet becomes unprofitable.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

INTRODUCING: 2013 State of the City Address

This is an unusual project for SDOC:  there was almost no screen media involved!

There have been times in the past that I have created a website, then formatted the graphics so they could be applied to printed materials.  This one is all print.

Edie gave me a call late last year and asked for some samples of how I would create invitations and signage for State of the City.  As always, the branding style guide standards had to be included and followed.  The result is shown in the invitation to the left and has been scaled up to include all of the directional signs and welcome signage at the entrance.

I got the inspiration for this look from (don't laugh....) invitations to Queen Elizabeth II's garden party at Buckingham Palace.  When it comes to print, it's OK to scale down - small, understated graphics make the greatest, most positive, upscale impression.  Dunwoody's branding graphics are already bold and modern.  So simplicity and subtlety is the key to making them appealing on a keynote event.

State of the City is not "invitation only".  The point of this event is to throw open the doors for all of Dunwoody's residents.  Come on in, have a drink, have nosh, visit with other residents and hear how Mike is going to set the tone for 2013!

Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Taste of Dunwoody

Two words:


You have to get your tickets early for this event anymore.  Part of SDOC's sponsorship is a pair of tickets so if you are a business owner in town, you may want to sponsor next year and your admittance is a done deal.

The AHA Connection has created a "trading post" if you are looking to buy or sell Taste of Dunwoody tickets.  Try your luck here.

I'm glad to help support CHOA as a sponsor again this year.  I've posted before how I worked in pediatric oncology and how I saw first hand how this type of events benefits patients and their families.  As mom of 3 active kids, it's even more personal.  Between my eldest with a nut allergy to be monitored, my son (youngest) having been diagnosed with sensory integration problems requiring OT and speech therapy, and a middle daughter who is just bound and determined to bump herself as much as she can playing on the playground at preschool, our family are now officially "frequent flyers" at Scottish Rite.   No matter what happens we're confident that the kids will always be OK because the pros at CHOA are there for advice, support and - when necessary - treatment.

If you got your tickets in advance, see you there tonight!

(BTW, I LOVE Yacht Rock Revue!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Zoning - The Forest and the Trees

The DHA is going to hear a number of presentations tonight.  One is from Steve Dush re:  the zoning code rewrite.  Another is from Tom Taylor and Fran Millar on legislation for 2013.

Everyone's hackles go up when talk begins about the Zoning Rewrite.  Even on John's blog, he zeroed in on home businesses (not the actual ordinance, just an excerpt from the last public presentation) and ignored everything else.  Then there's arguments about bicycle accommodations.  Then there's backyard farming.  Then there's street-legal golf carts.  Then there's infill redevelopment.

All of these topics are important because it defines diverse activity that is already happening, but there have been no workable boundaries set so that our evolving community can function without stepping over each
other.  Or squabbling over the idea that someone's lifestyle is somehow different.

It's ironic that these individual foci have taken center stage in the zoning rewrite, and there has been NO attention paid whatsoever to the zoning topics that will affect each and every one of the 46K+ residents of this city.

The residential zoning regs have new elements that most take for granted.  How many of you own a boat?  Or Jetskis?  Or an RV or camper?  Or just stash your stuff in a shed you pick up at Home Depot?  How many of you have a large, extended family with numerous cars?  How many live with people you're not related to?  (That includes LGBT couples too, gang.)  How many of you have gardening equipment?    Rototillers?  Or even just a riding lawn mower to save time?  I'll bet you didn't even think of how you keep your property because you don't get complaints from the neighbors, right?

Think again.

These new regulations were composed with YOU in mind.  Forget about "commercial use" or "occupations" or "agricultural" or other niche interests.   These zoning regulations are going to dictate to you how you may keep your own personal possessions on your own personal property.  Every citizen of this community is going to be affected by these updated regs, at some point in your lifetime in Dunwoody.

From the "super module" released in January:

"Household means  a group of individuals related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or 
other custodial relationship, or not more than 4 persons not so related, living together in a dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit under a common housekeeping management plan based on 
an intentionally structured relationship providing organization and stability."

You've just been informed how you may set up your household and with whom you may live.  Say you're the Brady Bunch:  Mom, Dad, six kids, a dog, and a live-in employee.  Alice would not be allowed to live in the maid's quarters, because she is unrelated to more than 4 people in the house.  Alice would not be permitted her own apartment (w/ kitchen, etc) within the house either because only relatives may live in "in law" apartments in a single-family home.

"The parking and outdoor storage of trailers, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, campers, pickup coaches, motorized homes, boat trailers, boats and similar vehicles and equipment is prohibited in street yards and within 20 feet of the rear lot line"

I can think of three homes right off the bat who are going to have to rethink how they store their personal property.  Remember, none of this is the dreaded "commercial" use and there are homeowners who store their property happily at the moment without meeting these regulations.  To make matters worse, there are no storage facilities inside city limits that rent parking spaces.  Closest ones are in Doraville and Sandy Springs.

So you want to use PODS or a similar service to store your stuff off-property, or move from one house to another.  Can you tell which storage company meets these regulations?

"The community development director is authorized to approve the use of portable 
storage containers as a temporary use in any zoning district."

So to get a PODS to your house to get your stuff out of view, you need a permit.  Who's going to think of that when calling the company?

"Temporary portable storage containers may not exceed 8.5 feet in height or 
more than 260 square feet in area."

If you need more storage space than this, you're hosed.

Temporary portable storage containers may not be located in the public rightof-way or obstruct intersection visibility.
Need your driveway clear while you use a PODS to move your stuff?  Bummer!

Temporary portable storage containers may not be located in side setbacks or side yards. Temporary portable storage containers may not be located in a street yard unless located on a driveway or other paved surface.

Double bummer if you have a small lot.  Or a hilly one.

Rail cars, semi-trailers or similar equipment may not be used for temporary (or permanent) storage.

Hey, guy on Tilly Mill road next to the "J" - this was written for you!

Signs on temporary portable storage containers must comply with all applicable city sign regulations

Show of hands, who is going to read the city sign code to PODS or other storage company to see if the paint on the storage containers matches the code?

So while we have to keep smaller subsections of our community in mind when crafting a zoning document, let's not overlook the basic regulations that will eventually dictate the lives of every citizen, regardless of what district they live in, regardless of what kind of home in what subdivision.  Forgetting the basics of zoning residential districts is like tripping over a $100 bill to pick up a quarter.  And it will lead to more upset red-shirts clammoring for their rights down the line.

Tom and Fran would do well to focus their legislative comments tonight on ways to extricate Dunwoody from the ever-failing DeKalb School System.  Whenever DCSS' credibility hits bottom, they start digging.  Eugene Walker should be in China by now.  We can argue and fuss and conspire and ruminate about all of the zoning in the world.  But all of that effort will be worth a hill of poop in the dog park if Dunwoody's schools are associated with a system that is all but designed to fail.

If we're going to preserve (I prefer "conserve"...) our community for future generations to enjoy and live in, let's make sure the foundations and basics of the zoning code and other legal structures are truly livable.  Worry less about the "occupations" and the "livestock"; worry more about the actual residential rules.

We haven't even gotten to the residentially-zoned stream buffers yet.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Who Wants Their Own Reality Show?

I just received this request and I'm passing it on.  There has to be at least one business owner in Dunwoody whose daily business life would make for interesting TV.

We are Leopard Films USA, a major US television production company that produces family friendly shows like House Hunters International for HGTV, as well as series on A&E, Discovery, Food Network amongst many other major TV Networks.

There are NO COSTS to any businesses to participate in this opportunity and participation could only lead to national PUBLICITY for their businesses to benefit their families and your local economy.

As you know, there certainly are lackluster reality TV series on the air today, but Leopard Films prides itself with producing only the highest quality, family friendly TV-series that always benefit any business and community involved.

All the best,

Harlan Freedman
West Coast Head of Development
Leopard Films USA
1415 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Put your business on a national TV series!

Leopard Films USA (, a major U.S. production company with docu-series on TV networks including A&E, Food, Discovery, History, Travel, and HGTV is searching for businesses that are right for their own TV series that meet at least ONE of the following criteria:

1.  Businesses that have interesting characters working there.
2.  Businesses with a unique product/service or are the best at what they do.
3.  Businesses that are family run (3 or more family members)

If you know of such a business, please email us TODAY to begin the FREE and easy process to determine if your or someone you know, business, should have your own TV series!

Email us today at