Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DHA Speakers Stream Live on Social Media

I started this experiment a couple of months ago to determine the best method of documenting Dunwoody Homeowner Association speakers.  No matter what meeting night you pick, there's someone who's interested and can't make it.  Plus, there are those whose only source of information are news articles which are limited by definition and get reinterpreted far and wide.

For ease of use, I'm currently streaming to Facebook and then leaving the videos open to sharing and embedding.  Please DO share - good decisions are made with good information and video documentation is the best standard we have.

My FB videos (not all of these are DHA):

Watch for announcements on FB and Twitter when a DHA meeting is coming up.

To start off, here are our speakers from August 14

Seth Weissman and his talk about city policy making and the DHA

Transwestern development proposal

Proposal for "farm house car wash" corner - new neighborhood scale restaurant?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Will the Dunwoody Village Car Wash transform into something new? Visit the Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting on August 14

Dunwoody Homeowners Association

Board of Directors Meeting 
Sunday, August 14, 2016 @ 7:30 P.M. 
North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, Room 4 
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, 
Atlanta, GA 30338

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend

1. Announcements and introduction of distinguished visitors

2. Approval of minutes for July 10, 2016 meeting—Lindsay Ballow

3. DHA members servicing on city boards legal memorandum – Seth Weissman

This will be a major discussion as Mr. Weissman literally wrote the textbook on how civic groups and HOAs interact with local governments and the ethics/law involved.  I expect it will be educational.  The DHA anticipated there would be questions about its role back in 2008 when the vote for incorporation was looming and acknowledged that the advocacy and public sounding board would remain the same - just with a different government.  DHA board also anticipated that some members would be elected to office and thus the rule was made to move any member in an elected office to be moved to "ex-officio" status.

4. Presentation – Transwestern development proposal for office tower at Perimeter Mall –Jessica Hill, Morris, Manning & Martin and Trent Germano, Transwestern Development Company

They're baaaaaack!  This is the development group that wants to build an office tower in the Perimeter area but get a tax abatement at the same time.  Michael Starling is supposed to have an explanation as to how this works and how the community benefits, but we have to wait until September to hear his side of it.

5. Presentation – Redevelopment proposal for property at the corner of Chamblee-Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon (currently a car wash)—Archie Archie Wanamaker, Crim & Associates and Michael Ritch SDG Engineering

For years, some in our community have complained about the presence of a car wash right across Mt Vernon from the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse.  It was the subject of an ill-advised boycott attempt in 2004.  It looks like a developer wants to transform that corner into something new.  This will be the first look at the vision for that corner that may inspire the rest of the Village.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

(UPDATED) Will Dunwoody Finance New Commercial Development in the Perimeter? Find out Tonight, July 28.

There is a special called meeting of the Development Authority tonight, July 28, 2016.

The backstory:
Transwestern wants to build an office building on a parcel of Perimeter Mall's parking lot that was purchased earlier this year.  They went to great effort and expense, per an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, to purchase this property.  They went to great efforts to design a building that will connect via skybridge to both Perimeter Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA parking lot.  There were a few minor requests for SLUPs to allow encroachments and parking allowances to make the plan work.  But at the same time, Transwestern had 1) no tenants lined up and 2) a plan for a tax abatement so that the city would "encourage" their completion of the project.

Here's DWG's take on the presentation from June:

Tonight, Transwestern is going in front of the Development Authority with a different plan.  According to the documents associated with tonight's meeting, Transwestern proposes to have Dunwoody fund the construction via municipal bonds, then lease the building back to them.  The City of Dunwoody would become Transwestern's landlord.

UPDATE:  Joe Seconder contacted Economic Development director Mike Starling and received the following response:

I would like to clear a misunderstanding concerning the Development Authority. The City does not borrow money nor does it provide any City Credit towards these “Bond” transactions. These are private placement bonds that are financed totally by the developer. The Development Authority provides a lease back to the developer in order to provide tax incentives for projects. I would be happy to sit down with you to explain how this process works.
So we're back to the original proposal - a tax break for a company building a speculative office-space project in Dunwoody.  My smell test has not improved.  There are still questions that have yet to be answered.

Here's what the Dunwoody citizen needs to consider:

1)  There has been no public discussion beyond the DHA meeting in June.  So the request for municipal bonds is a bolt out of the blue.
2)  Do we, the citizens, want our government to use our city's bond rating to finance commercial development, not to redevelop "blighted" or "run down" parts of the city but to build in the most sought-after real estate in the southeast?  Do we want to issue tax abatements for speculative projects that developers want to get engaged in, until it's time for the tax bill?
3)  If the answer to #2 is "yes", what minimum basic requirements should there be for a developer to avail themselves of this process?  Guaranteed tenants perhaps?  Or a national brand or headquarters?
4)  What are the long-term consequences, both pro and con, to Dunwoody's government getting into the "landlord" business tax abatement upon request?

And finally - the elephant in the room:  is this resolution the reason why Denny Shortal does not want members of the DHA discussing new development?

Please note:  there will be no public comment before the vote!  Public comment will only be accepted at the end of the meeting.  If you have an opinion on this matter, communicate it to the Development Authority and our government representatives NOW! 

Dunwoody Development Authority:

Mayor and City Council: