DUNWOODY, Ga. – The Dunwoody City Council is weighing the possibility of charging impact fees on new developments within its borders. The council reviewed the proposal, along with its sustainability goals and entertainment districts, at its May 24 meeting.
Impact fees are one-time payments charged to land developers that help to offset added stress to local public services new developments may spur. According to the council’s agenda, they are a tool for developers to pay their “fair share” for infrastructure.
The fees are commonplace throughout jurisdictions in Metro Atlanta, including in nearby Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.
If the city chooses to implement the fees, they can be used for roads, parks and open space or public safety, according to the council’s information packet.
The process to implement these charges would require several steps that would encompass about a nine-month time span, according to Richard McLeod, the city’s community development director.
The council also approved a new sustainability plan that will “address the health and wellness of our residents, and the community’s environmental, social and economic prosperity needs,” according to the Sustainability Committee’s revised plan.
Committee chair Nathan Sparks outlined the five focuses of the new plan — trees and greenspace, water quality, transportation and air quality, resource efficiency, and communication, wellness and outreach.
Some of the goals listed in the committee’s memo included a continuation of the initiatives listed in the 2014 sustainability program, including Dunwoody’s certifications as a Tree City USA, Bee City USA and its Green Communities Certification from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The council also heard, without taking action, an amended proposal for entertainment districts within the city. Currently, there is an entertainment district in Dunwoody Village, and two another proposed districts that would encompass the High Street development and Ashford Lane.
Dunwoody’s Planning and Zoning Manager Paul Leonhardt outlined several changes to the ordinance that would provide a three-phase rollout for new entertainment districts. Mayor Lynn Deutsch asked, after the council discussed the changes, for the city staff to work with High Street representatives to come to an agreement that would be satisfactory to all parties.
During public comment prior to the start of the meeting, High Street representative Mindy Thompson had asked that changes be made to the three-step process.
In other action, the council:
• Approved funding for another round of CARES II funding of $25,000 to Malachi’s Kitchen. The fund has now allocated more than $500,000 to eight area non-profits.
• Discussed expanding increasing the business retention manager position from part-time to full-time.
• Welcomed Chesnut Elementary School’s junior Girl Scouts, who led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
• Considered a proposal to add three part-time positions to the parks department.
Several of the proposals discussed were scheduled for approval on the consent agenda at a future meeting.
The council retired to executive session to discuss personnel, real estate and legal matters. No action was taken as a result of the session.