DUNWOODY, Ga. — More than 100 Dunwoody residents packed into Vintage Pizza Nov. 16 to review potential changes to the Dunwoody Village Master Plan.
The proposed plan dictates zoning requirements for the area near the intersection of Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Mount Vernon Road. Initially adopted in 2011, the master plan envisions transforming the area into a more walkable, mixed-use city center.
The city hired Atlanta-based planning firm TSW to review and rewrite zoning regulations in an effort to make the area more attractive to developers. At Saturday’s open house, planners from TSW presented a draft of their recommendations get feedback from residents.
“We’re not here to change that vision,” said Woody Giles, a planner with TSW. “We’re here to talk about what zoning changes are needed to make that happen.”
Rather than one overlay, the new plan divides the area into four districts. Along Chamblee Dunwoody Road and between Dunwoody Village Parkway and Mount Vernon would be the Village Center. This zone would have the highest density, up to five stories, and all developments more than 15,000 square feet would be required to have a mix of uses.
To the west and north of the Village Center would be the Village Commercial District, which allows for up to four stories unless a development is near an existing single-family home.
To the southwest and east would be the Village Residential District, and along the south would be the Village Office District. Both would have a maximum height of three stories.
Housing, in some form, would be allowed in all four zones. No detached housing would be allowed within the village, but townhomes would be permitted in the commercial and residential areas.
Owner-occupied multi-unit housing, like condos or multiplexes, would be allowed in all four districts, but rental apartments would require a special use permit from the City Council. All housing would be a maximum density of 12 units per acre.
“We don’t want it to be super dense,” Giles said. “That does give you enough density to support the retail and restaurants.”
The plan dictates other allowable uses for each district. Commercial buildings could not be more than 50,000 square feet to prevent big box retail. Drive-thrus would continue to be prohibited, and no new banks would be allowed within a quarter mile of an existing bank.
The plan also includes new roads developers would be required to build as the area fills out to create a grid pattern. This would relief traffic on the major roads and make the area feel more walkable, the planners said.
Some residents at the meeting suggested more traffic studies are needed. Other residents said they liked the plans but were skeptical they would actually be built. Requirements, like building new roads, require significant investment from potential developers, they said.
The TSW plan identifies ways the city could partner with developers by sharing the costs of moving utilities underground or building public parking garages.
Mayor-elect Lynn Deutsch said she was pleased with the turnout at the Saturday afternoon meeting.
“It brings out not only a different variety of people, but also a different energy than meetings at night,” she said. “This is definitely a project there’s a lot of interest in.”
Back in June, as many as 200 community members took part in a public workshop and walking tours of the Dunwoody Village. Feedback gathered from that event helped shape the most recent update.
“Public input has been an important part of developing the vision for the Dunwoody Village,” Community Development Director Richard McLeod said. “Now we’re ready to share the plan as we look at connectivity, public spaces and the character of future development.”
In December 2018, the Dunwoody City Council approved several zoning amendments to the Village Overlay, including removing the Williamsburg style of architecture as a requirement. Drive-thrus for new buildings were also prohibited.
TSW will review the public input from Saturday and make any necessary changes to their plan before it goes before the City Council for adoption, which is expected to happen sometime early next year.
More information about the Dunwoody Village Plan update can be found on the city’s website, dunwoodyga.gov.