Growth is coming to Dunwoody, but where people will live is a concern for some city officials.
Studies, such as the Dunwoody Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts’ Livable Centers Initiative study, predict multi-family housing will have an important role in the city’s future growth.
According to 2008 data from the city of Dunwoody’s Community Assessment, 52 percent of housing units in the study were occupied by their owners, while 36 percent were occupied by renters. The 2010 U.S. Census reports that 53 percent of the city’s 19,944 occupied housing units were inhabited by their owners, while 47 percent were occupied by renters.
Some Dunwoody officials think there are already enough apartment buildings in the city.
“I think if you look at our balance right now, we’re a little upside down. That needs to be righted. We have too many [apartments] compared to owner-occupied,” said Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright. “That’s going to be at the forefront of anything that comes before council.”
Michael Tuller, Dunwoody’s Community Development Director, said multi-family housing will be appropriate in the future for some areas of the city.
Housing in Dunwoody
Total occupied housing
Housing units occupied by owners: 53 percent
Housing units occupied by renters: 47 percent
Source: 2010 U.S. Census
Dunwoody’s comprehensive land use plan identifies Dunwoody Village, Georgetown and corridors along I-285 and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard for mixed-use commercial and residential development.
A segment of Dunwoody’s population that drives interest in multi-family housing is senior citizens, Tuller said. “They want to live in Dunwoody but they want to scale down,” Tuller said. “A house may not be right at that stage of life.”
According to the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, multi-family housing will also be important to attract young people to live and work in the Perimeter area.
Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, said the goal is to have a mix of business and residential centered around the area’s MARTA stations.
“We want a good mix and balance and that will allow us to attract quality employers and employees to the region,” Williams said. “A lot of that population base is going to be young, technical-class creative workers. They like walkable areas, housing choice, attached to a mixed use development.”
Williams said development will be catered to alternative modes of transportation.
“When people live here, they’ll be able to not rely on their automobile and live close to work and not have a long commute,” Williams said. “We see the urban footprint evolving. Housing will be a big component of that.”
Tuller said over the past decade, a number of apartment buildings have been developed in the Perimeter area.
He said DeKalb County had a zoning allowance that permitted developers to convert office buildings in the PCID into apartment buildings.
“I think a lot of property owners saw opportunities to redevelop those two-story office buildings into five-story apartment complexes,” Tuller said.
City Councilman John Heneghan said he thinks the buildings that were converted into apartments at that time should satisfy the housing needs in that area.
“For the last 10 years we have been fulfilling the housing aspect for the PCID. We’ve already done our share of residential,” Heneghan said. “We need more business in Dunwoody. The PCID is made for business. The residential, we have plenty of on this side of town.”
Tuller said the capacity of Dunwoody schools is a big concern for many in the community, and the city works closely with the DeKalb County school system anytime a multi-family housing development is under way in the city.
“The community sees this potential increase in population occur and wonders how they’re going to absorb these populations into the community,” Tuller said. “It’s difficult to quantify what future populations will be.”