On February 9, the Dunwoody Homeowners Association held a public board meeting in part to discuss the proposed updates to Dunwoody Village zoning and usage. Numerous residents from the adjacent neighborhoods of The Branches and Vernon Oaks shared their perspectives on how these proposed updates will impact their lives and homes. The meeting was recorded and live streamed via Facebook and the details of these comments may be viewed at that location.
At the board’s session after the public meeting, the board considered the proposed changes and the citizen’s comments and voted unanimously (with one abstention) to endorse a 100-foot buffer between the Village commercial properties and the homeowners’ lots in the Branches; 50 feet of undisturbed forested land adjacent to the homeowners and 50 feet of transitional landscaping on the commercial side.
On the subject of residential units, either permitted by right or via SLUP, the board voted against allowing residential units in the plan. While the majority of voting board members held this view, the vote was a close split.
Those who voted against the residential elements believe that apartments or condos are incompatible with the purpose of the Village Overlay to provide services to the surrounding single-family neighborhoods. There are lingering questions as to whether zoning conditions will be enforced by the city if residential units are included, leaving open the possibility of unintended consequences on the area as a whole. Those who voted in favor believe that allowing residential units will provide the revitalization and improved use as a central public gathering place that has been advocated via social media.
We realize that the commercial property in question is private property and the landlords have rights of their own. We also realize that if and when an updated zoning plan is passed that it will not result in immediate visible changes. The plan is for when Regency or Brand Properties or any other owner decides to redevelop the property. Changes according to any new zoning may take years or even decades. The DHA has discussed these plans and the board has voted with no knowledge of the owners’ private interactions with city government. We have no idea what the rightful owners of the properties envision or what recommendations they have for dovetailing with the nearby homes.
The DHA looks forward to further clarification of the proposed Village Update in those areas where the “vision” intersects with homeowners’ experiences.