By Dick Williams
For The Crier
Another huge housing and office development is being proposed for downtown Dunwoody - this one featuring two 30-story towers that will include a hotel and 500 condominiums.
The board of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association heard Sunday night from officials of the Novare Group of its plans for 245 Perimeter Center Parkway on the south side of Hammond Drive. The 13-acre site is across Perimeter Center Parkway from the Chequer’s and Fuddrucker’s restaurants and includes the CompuCredit office building.
Novare’s attorney, Mark Forsling, said the project required no zoning changes but would require two special land-use permits, one of them to allow housing in an office and institutional zoning.
The Novare project is across Hammond Drive from an even larger development - High Street - proposed by Boston-based GID that is planned to include 1500 apartments and 1500 condominiums, retail and office space.
With the Dunwoody MARTA station at the northwest corner of the parkway and Hammond, both developers are calling their projects transit-oriented development. Both projects are considered to have regional impact and must have the improvement of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta Regional Commission.
John Walker, a traffic engineer for Novare, said no traffic impact studies were available yet.
In other action, the DHA board:
- Voted to intervene on behalf of homeowners with First Baptist Church of Atlanta which is planning to cut down almost six acres of woods to create 625 additional parking places. The church plan also would create a second entrance on North Peachtree Road and a second on Peachford Drive. Church officials plan to leave the residents of the Dunwoody Ridge and North Forest condominiums a 50-foot buffer, the minimum requirement.
- Voted to decline an invitation from DeKalb County Commissoner Kathie Gannon to appoint a representative to a committee studying the impact of a city of Dunwoody. The DHA’s by-laws prevent it from engaging in political activity. The DHA has not taken a position on the question of incorporation for that reason.
- Gave a standing ovation and commendation to a former president, Nick Nicodemus, for his more than 22 years of service to the DHA and 41 years in Dunwoody. He was attending his last meeting before moving to Dawsonville.
Earlier in the week, DHA representatives joined more than 120 people at an informational meeting organized by a Dunwoody property owner who wanted to change the zoning of a home she owns on North Peachtree Road to office and institutional to accommodate a tutoring service.
Elaine Bryan, a counselor at Chamblee High, bought the home in 1991 and lived there until five years ago. She has been renting it out. She also is a real estate investor featured on the HGTV and Fine Living cable channels.
The DHA’s zoning specialist, Bill Grossman, told Bryan the organization had never approved a re-zoning of R-100 property to commercial.
“We’ve never lost one,” Grossman said. “We wish you well in your venture and hope you find suitable office space for it.”
The president of the Dunwoody North Civic Association, John Heneghan, pointed out that the house she owns is in Dunwoody North, a residential community of 1,100 homes.
“I am here personally tonight,” he said, “to tell you we will spare no expense to stop this rezoning.”
Several speakers warned of the negative consequences of placing an office and institutional building in a residential area, with several applauding Bryan’s venture and passion for children. But most of them warned of what might come after Bryan’s tutoring service and the risk of a domino effect to all the residences on North Peachtree.
At one point the meeting grew contentious and Bryan became emotional.
A Chamblee High colleague, Dr. Lynn Farmer, rose to Bryan’s defense.
“You can guard your precious community and your perimeter and your property values,” she said. “I am offended by your uncivilized behavior.”
A member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Bob Lundsten, then calmed the meeting by saying, “North Peachtree Road will stay a single-family residential street.”
He explained the zoning process and how the DHA and Dunwoody residents had fought to maintain North Peachtree, Chamblee-Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon roads as residential.
Bryan, after asking, “what about the children of Dunwoody?” said she found area office space too expensive.
“I’m not going to fight this,” she said.