The height of buildings in the Perimeter area, sustainability and bicycle parking were among the latest points of discussion as Dunwoody City Council continues its efforts to rewrite a portion of the city zoning and land development ordinances.
On Oct 7, the council held its third discussion of the proposed changes, which are part of an effort to develop a specific zoning district for the Perimeter area. The project was initiated in late 2014, and the city’s hope is to finish the study by the end of this year.
The proposal divides the area into four districts — Perimeter Center 1, 2, 3 and 4 – that have varying building height requirements. The densest district, PC-1, was the focus of conversation at the Oct. 7 meeting.
As of now, the height limit for a building in PC-1 is 30 stories, while buildings in other districts must be shorter. Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said 30 stories is a lot to give a developer.
Many of the council members, however, argued that regulation of the height of the buildings is not the only issue.
“We are losing the ability to have the public space even though the density is way up,” said Councilmember John Heneghan.
Councilmember Douglas Thompson also expressed a desire for public space in buildings, stating that height should not be the only focus. “It’s not the height to me that is the deciding factor. It’s the amenities and the look,” Thompson said.
Councilmember Lynn Deutsch proposed that square-footage should be regulated in a way similar to the way that height currently is.
“Regulating height doesn’t necessarily get us where we want to be, because a 30-story building is 100,000 square feet and a 15-story building with 100,000 square feet are going to have exactly the same impact,” Deutsch said.
The two focuses of the code review have been on chapter 27, which deals with proposed Perimeter Center Overlay and Perimeter Center Districts. One of the plans under Perimeter Center Districts is bicycle parking.
City Community Development Director Steve Foote said bicycle parking is the next step the city should take. While there are multiple reasons why a majority of the members decided bike parking is a good idea, Deutsch said it will help reduce traffic by encouraging more people to ride bikes to work and other places.
“Every time there is not a car on the road, there is a direct benefit to the residents and the people who work in Dunwoody,” Deutsch said.
Changes proposed in the Perimeter Center Zoning Code address the most necessary and likely areas of development and aim to protect single family residential neighborhoods. City officials say they hope to adopt the new code by the end of 2016.