Does the Dunwoody City Council want to implement a mass rezoning of the Perimeter Center area or have applicants request rezoning individually?
That’s one key question council members want answered before they agree to vote on a new zoning overlay for the area around Perimeter Mall and the MARTA station that was begun some two years ago.
“It depends if you want [to rezone] immediately or do it step-by-step,” said Assistant City Attorney Lenny Felgin at a work session May 4.
Mayor Denis Shortal asked Felgin to provide council members pros and cons for each path to rezoning the busy Perimeter Center area as City Council members continue to mull over zoning regulations they want to put in place.
The effort grew from Dunwoody’s rewrite of its city zoning and building codes in 2013. After 22 months of debate by residents, consultants and city officials, Dunwoody City Council adopted the new codes three years ago. City officials said the newly crafted zoning and building codes were intended to create regulations that reflected Dunwoody residents’ tastes and needs.
The Perimeter Center area intentionally was left out of that zoning rewrite because it is so different from other parts of Dunwoody, city officials said. The Perimeter Center is an area of high rise offices and residences, shopping centers, restaurants and hotels. It needs its own building and zoning rules, city officials and consultants said.
In 2014, the city, along with Chicago-based consultants Kirk Bishop and Lelsie Oberholtzer, began working on the separate zoning regulations for the portion of the city.
The draft plan presented to the council May 4 divides the Perimeter Center into four districts:
PC-1 District — This is the central core of Perimeter Center, including the area directly surrounding the Dunwoody MARTA station, and allows for the highest intensity of buildings, a high level of employment uses and active ground story uses and design that support pedestrian mobility. There would be a 30-story maximum height. For all developments 3 acres or larger, there would be a requirement to have open space, such as a plaza or a park, within 1/8 of a mile of the main entrance.
PC-2 District — This district is made up primarily of employment uses, residential buildings and limited shopfront retail and services.
PC-3 District — This area is a smaller scale and less intensive commercial district that permits shopfront buildings and office buildings.
PC-4 District — This area is made up primarily of residential uses at a scale that provides a transition between the intensity of the Perimeter Center and the surrounding single-family residential neighborhoods.
Oberholtzer also explained there are four street types included in the zoning: major and minor parkways and primary and secondary streets. All streets include some form of bike trail.
Minor parkways — such as the proposed Westside Connector — would have trees and landscaping along them, she said. Major parkways, such as Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive, would also include streetscaping. Primary streets would be active pedestrian and bicycle areas, she said.
Council members raised questions about sustainability measures, such as mandating bicycle racks, and suggested the wording should not be to “mandate” developers to include such measures but to “encourage” them to do so.