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Dunwoody City Council defers zoning vote on Perimeter development project

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DUNWOODY, Ga. – After another lengthy discussion, the Dunwoody City Council deferred action on second reading several ordinances relating to a proposed 14-story mixed-use development in Perimeter Center.

At its Jan. 11 meeting, the council heard details of the complex, which would sit on nearly 3 acres at 84 Perimeter Center East and would include 40,000 square feet of retail, a parking garage and up to 220 age-restricted housing units. Previous plans called for a hotel on the site.

The proposal would require a rezoning from C-1 Conditional (commercial) to PC-2 (Perimeter Center District). In addition, there are 20 other conditions that would have to be addressed, including elimination of the established 15-foot setback and reduction of the impervious coverage of the land.

At the Feb. 22 meeting, council members heard changes to the plan that included reducing the impervious surface coverage from 85 percent to 78 percent, and several other concessions to address the concerns expressed at the earlier meeting, including moving the pool from the front of the property to the roof. However, several council members said they were still concerned about elements of the plan, and they questioned whether there is a market for over-55 rental property.

“I remain underwhelmed by this project,” Councilman Tom Lambert said. “At the risk of sounding arrogant, I think that the City of Dunwoody deserves better. Without the age restriction, I wouldn’t vote to approve this project.”

Developer John DiGiovanni argued that the intent of the project is to “build a Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton-type facility that you and I would like to live in.”

But council members maintained their doubts that the project would be attractive for residents who live in Dunwoody, but who want to opt for renting rather than ownership.

Last week, the Dunwoody Development Authority voted 4-2 to begin the process that would allow for a 50-percent, 10-year tax abatement for the property. Members at that meeting also questioned whether the project was a good fit for Dunwoody.

The City Council deferred the passage of the various ordinances in order to gather more information about the legality of age-restricted housing.

In other action at the Feb. 22 meeting, the council listened to District 1 School Board Representative Anna Hill, who discussed her personal preference for a return to face-to-face learning in DeKalb schools. But she emphasized that the decision lies with Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris. Since that meeting, the school system announced a staggered return to in-person learning starting Mar. 9.

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