The Dunwoody City Council voted in favor of the appeal put forth by residents in the Dunwoody Club Forest subdivision.
The overarching theme in discussions leading up to the vote involved more about the contextual design of the Dunwoody Club Forest subdivision and how the plans to subdivide a plat, meeting only minimum zoning requirements, would devalue the property values and aesthetic of the neighborhood.
During public comment, Kyle Williams, attorney for the property owner at 5258 Vernon Lake Drive, said the position of his client remains unchanged and that city staff’s approval of his revised plat should be upheld.
An attorney for residents Erika Harris, Constance Nagel and Eleanor Goodwin, presented to council members a document outlining “11 points of opposition,” and he asked council to use its “broad discretion” to uphold parts of the Dunwoody code “to preserve and conserve land.
Councilman John Heneghan spoke first, questioning whether or not the official notary signatures for the disclosure statements were submitted in the correct order. He made a motion to approve the appeal and said he planned to vote in favor of the residents’ appeal.
All members of council as well as staff agreed the two units of about 19,500 square feet each planned for 5258 Vernon Lake Drive would be smaller than the majority of houses in Dunwoody Club Forest.
“We have policies, purpose statements and plans of what we expect the city to look like and how it will grow,” said Community Development Director Steve Foote, noting that the details and language of “contextuality” needs to be better stated in order to be upheld.
Councilman Doug Thompson addressed the council to say this case is one where council members must play a “quasi judicial role” and not one to set policy. His was the only vote opposed to approving the appeal.
“I’m very reluctant to rule against property owner rights in any situation,” Thompson said, adding that the issue will continue on to superior court after the city council’s vote if the losing party so wishes.