Winters Chapel Road marks the boundary between Dunwoody and Peachtree Corners, and officials from those cities are starting to rethink development in the surrounding area.
On Feb. 24, about 200 residents and city officials gathered at Winters Chapel United Methodist Church to offer ideas on the future of the area. They used boards, maps, Post-its, stickers and stars to record their preferences and comment on one another’s ideas.
“I urge you to think big, because what we have now is unacceptable,” Dunwoody City Councilman Doug Thompson told the group.
Glen Fuse said he’s lived in Dunwoody about a mile and a half from Winters Chapel Road for 17 years. One of the things he’d like to see in the area, he said, is a continuation of a linear park put in near the water reservoir about 10 years ago. “It’s a great place to walk and socialize,” Fuse said.
Frances Weldon said she’s lived in the Lockridge area of Peachtree Corners since 1967. “It’s good that the two cities are coming together,” Weldon said. “I’ve seen so many changes since 1967, and some have been good and some haven’t.”
Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall said things should improve now that officials from the two cities are working together. “This never would’ve happened if we were unincorporated,” Nall said. “This is the power of new cities.”
Michelle Alexander of the architectural and engineering consulting service company Pond and Co. told residents they should record where they want future cross walks, pedestrian lighting and other amenities. “We can do a technical analysis, but you live here,” she said. “We want to hear from you.”
One group of residents from the Dunwoody side said they knew what they want changed and that they hope the cities will take action, where unincorporated counties couldn’t—or didn’t want to.
Nael McCarty said he and his neighbors living in the Winter Rose subdivision on Winter Rose Court want stronger housing code enforcement for the houses along Winters Chapel Road between Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and the water treatment zone, beyond Womack Drive. “All these houses …, if you could take a look, are in horrible shape,” McCarty said, pointing to a map.
Houses along Winters Chapel Road were built to be single-family homes around the time the GM plant in Doraville was built, McCarty said, but he believes now they hold more people than they were designed for. “I don’t think they’re single families, and the houses are dilapidated, with cars parked on the grass and on cinder blocks every now and then,” he said.
McCarty said he and his neighbors weren’t sure whom to contact about enforcing the housing code in Peachtree Corners, so they came to the Feb. 24 meeting to find out. “We’ve been trying to get Gwinnet County to do something about this for ages,” McCarty said. “It’s right on the edge and they don’t care so much.”
Neighbor Tasneem Malik said she doesn’t want to see people kicked out of homes, but many residents are renters, so it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the properties maintained.
Johnny Edmond added that he and his Winter Rose neighbors like living in the area. “We have to work together as two communities to get it more consistent,” Edmond said.
Malik and McCarty like it, too. Kids ride bikes, people walk dogs and neighbors who might not know one another’s names still smile when they recognize one another’s faces, McCarty said.
“It’s a great place to live, and that’s why we want to stay and get this fixed,” Edmond said. “I want to see them taking care of those houses on the Peachtree Corners side like we take care of ours on the Dunwoody side.”