DUNWOODY, Ga. — It was a short meeting for the Dunwoody City Council on Sept. 9, when the council unanimously agreed a public art ordinance and a rezoning request needed more work. 

The council was scheduled to hear a first read of an ordinance that would define public art as black lettering against a white background no larger than 120 square feet. 

The stated goal of the ordinance was to develop a cohesive community aesthetic based on the “Everything will be ok” sign displayed at the Spruill Gallery. 

The mural, by local artist Jason Kofke, was initially installed on the side of an old smoke house at the corner of Ashford Dunwoody Road and Meadow Lane in 2009. Since then, many have come to regard the sign as an iconic symbol of the city and an encouraging message. 

Mayor Denis Shortal made the motion to remove the item from the agenda which gives the council and other stakeholders an opportunity to revise the definition of art. 

Additionally, the City Council was expected to hear a second read of a rezoning request to build an eight-story hotel, restaurant and retail complex in Ravinia office park at the corner of Ashford Dunwoody Road and I-285. 

At its last meeting the council asked questions about tree removal at the currently undeveloped lot, the impact of future road projects and walkability at the site. The development has the potential to be impacted by I-285 toll lanes and Dunwoody’s proposed westside connector, which would create a grade separated ramp to connect I-285 to Perimeter Center Parkway. 

Councilman Jim Richter motioned to send the request back to the planning commission, essentially restarting the months-long rezoning process from square one. 

“When reviewing this proposal, it’s obvious that what was presented to the council was significantly different in multiple areas to what was presented to the planning commission,” Riticher said. 

The Dunwoody Planning Commission previously recommended approval with conditions in a 6-0 vote July 9.

The council also punted an ordinance that would have provided protections for “vulnerable road users,” which includes pedestrians, bikers, scooter riders and road or utility workers.  

Councilman Tom Lambert, who initially asked for the city to look into such an ordinance, made the motion to delay the first read in order to clarify some of the language in the rules. 

“This is an important public safety issue and we want to make sure we get it right the first time,” Lambert said. 

The ordinance sets standards for drivers to safely maneuver around other travelers. For example, it would require cars and small trucks to give at least 3 feet of space to pass a biker or other road users and large trucks or commercial vehicles to leave 5 feet. 

The ordinance, as presented Sept. 9, would also give motorists an affirmative defense if the other road user was acting in violation of any applicable law, was in the roadway when a sidewalk was available and legal to use or was outside a designated bike lane when one was available.

One public speaker spoke against the ordinance as written, arguing it was redundant to existing law and that pedestrians should stay on sidewalks and trailways. 

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