No new land development applications or building permits will be issued for up to six months in the Dunwoody Village Overlay district as the city works to complete a rewrite of zoning regulations as part of a master plan update for the area.
The City Council voted 6-1 at its Dec. 9 meeting to approve the moratorium that went into effect immediately and is expected to be lifted on June 7.
“I believe this is a critical time in the Village and the public agrees with us,” said Mayor-elect Lynn Deutsch in stating her support for the moratorium. “Now is the time to plan our direction for the Village.”
The moratorium would also allow a new council with two new members and a new mayor to “take a breath” as they decide what to do in Dunwoody Village, she said.
Councilmember Terry Nall voted no, saying the moratorium is a “huge step backwards and just shoots ourselves in the foot.”
The Dunwoody Village Overlay, created in 2011, is a special zoning district that includes provisions beyond what is required from the underlying zoning code. The overlay covers 165 acres surrounding the intersection of Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads. The area includes retail and restaurant shopping centers surrounded by residential neighborhoods in what many consider the heart of the city.
The city began last year looking for ways to update the 2011 Dunwoody Village Overlay master plan in response to resident demands to revive the area to create a vibrant, downtown, walkable district.
The most distinctive requirement of the overlay was what is known as the Williamsburg-style architecture in the commercial areas; the council voted last year to remove that requirement in response to residents saying it was an outdated look for the city.
This year, the city consulted with Atlanta-based planning firm TSW to get public input and to rewrite zoning regulations for the area to incorporate a vision of a more mixed-use district.
A draft rewrite of the overlay that would be in place for future development is being finalized now and includes recommendations for storefront retail along Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads, parking decks, green spaces and new streetscapes. City staff said they continue to receive building permits and land development approvals during the rewrite process. The moratorium would allow time for the update to be completed and approved by the City Council before moving forward with any new development in the Dunwoody Village Overlay, said Community Development Director Richard McLeod.
The moratorium prohibits the filing of applications or permits for a new building or renovation project. Projects currently in the works, such as Breadwinner Café’s move into the former Wright’s Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe, would be allowed to submit revised plans if necessary.
An online survey for the public to provide input into the recommended changes to the Dunwoody Village Overlay is available through Dec. 13.