Joe Hirsch is at war with the city of Dunwoody.
It started eight months ago when he noticed some reserved parking signs posted around Dunwoody High School, within sight of his Womack Drive home.
There were several signs reserving parking for teachers and others for vehicles from the construction company doing the renovations to the school that made many of its parking spaces unusable.
Hirsch believes the signs are there illegally. But the city maintains they are rightfully placed.
“I pointed out to our city attorney that in Dunwoody there is no code for reserved parking. Reserved parking is not even an option,” Hirsch said. “That’s sign pollution. Why would you allow eight signs on a street that are just clutter?”
Dunwoody Attorney Brian Anderson said there isn’t anything to argue about.
“Our ordinance allows the public works director to prohibit parking as indicated on the sign. The city went and authorized the posting of those signs,” Anderson said. “As long as the signs posted have a rational basis we can post them. Personally, I believe that having teacher parking next to a school makes sense and having construction parking next to construction activity makes sense.”
Hirsch has worked diligently to make his point to the Dunwoody City Council, even going to lengths to create his own reserved parking signs for his house and Dunwoody City Hall.
The signs read, “Reserved for Joe Hirsch only. Violators will be towed. Approved with same process given to Doster,” the construction company doing the renovations at the high school.
Both signs have since been removed by the city.
“It was vindictive, them removing my signs. It was retribution,” Hirsch said. “It’s pretty scary to think that if the mayor or someone else disagrees with you, they will selectively retaliate against you. It says a lot about our city and it’s pretty disgusting.”
Anderson said Hirsch’s signs were put in the right of way, making them illegal. “The city has the right to control signs posted in the right of way,” Anderson said.
At the council’s April 25 meeting, Hirsch demanded members address the parking signs. “I really don’t understand why City Council just won’t do its job,” Hirsch said, standing silently to take up the full time allowed for public comment.
Hirsch said he is so persistent because he doesn’t believe he has gotten a satisfactory answer.
“This is such a miniscule request I had that just spiraled. Somebody is hiding something,” Hirsch said. “I just don’t understand why you won’t take the signs down.”
But City Manager Warren Hutmacher said he doesn’t understand why Hirsch has taken on the issue so aggressively when the city is only trying to help Dunwoody High School alleviate some of its parking issues during construction.
Once the school year is over, the teacher parking signs will come down and construction will wrap up before the next school year begins in August.
“Mr. Hirsch has been involved in this issue from noise complaints to the school board and the city and these signs as well,” Hutmacher said. “They’ve gotten no complaints about the signs being up except for Mr. Hirsch. This is not a large issue for the city. It’s about to be a moot issue.”