Candidate for Dunwoody City Council, District 2 Local
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1) What are the top three issues directly affecting your district you would plan to address while serving on the council?
We are not as prepared as we could be for the evolution of our city over the next 10-15 years. We need to be more creative in how we think about, plan for, and address interrelated issues such as commercial and residential redevelopment, shifting work locations, school overcrowding, public safety, transportation, and sustainability.
We are behind other communities in the amenities and programming available for our citizens. We need to improve our parks, our arts/restaurant culture, and develop the supporting infrastructure.
Our over-utilized roads and underdeveloped alternatives restrict safe and easy travel around our city. We need a more encompassing approach for transportation to find solutions that facilitate movement, increase safety, and unify our approach to vehicles, public transportation, pedestrians, bikes, and connectivity within and beyond Dunwoody.
2) Other communities have created social justice commissions to deal with issues of equity and race, particularly following the events of last year. Do you think that’s something Dunwoody could benefit from?
I think a citizen-led social justice advisory committee would be beneficial for Dunwoody. Communities are always stronger when more voices are heard and more ideas considered. Problems are always best addressed before they become a crisis. A welcoming community that is actively working to be better is attractive to people and business and can only help our city improve.
3) What can the council do to better public safety?
We should investigate all of the factors in our city that contribute to a variety of unsafe conditions. We know where crime occurs, what type it is, and what time of day it happens. We know, or should know, where citizens have expressed concerns about unsafe conditions. We should more comprehensively look at all of the police, traffic, ambulance/fire, and other data available to see what location-specific structural changes and policy adjustments we can make.
Specifically on issue of traffic, we should make structural changes in our transportation network and policies city-wide with a goal to eliminate death and serious injuries to vehicle users, pedestrians, and cyclists.
4) How can the council support development in the Dunwoody Village while balancing the concerns of residents?
It’s difficult to address potential concerns regarding unknown future projects. However, buffers and traffic are likely to be two concerns regardless of the nature of future development. We must ensure adequate buffers are maintained for immediately adjacent residences. We also need to plan for transportation and connectivity that will allow for the safe and efficient movement of cars, public transit access, and safe walk-ability/bike-ability from nearby neighborhoods. Public input will be an important part of any future project and needs to be solicited early in the process to help identify and mitigate potential impacts.
To spur redevelopment, we need to be much more active in exploring our options to encourage it. We should investigate a variety of options such as public private partnerships, creation of special tax or development districts, and increased engagement of our Development Authority to attract the kind of multi-use development necessary to make a large-scale Dunwoody Village project financially viable
5) With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, what more can the council do to address and promote safety from the virus?
Clarification: COVID-19 cases were rising when The Reporter initially asked candidates this question. COVID-19 cases in Georgia can be tracked on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website.
At a minimum all council members should follow scientifically-based protective measures and encourage good behavior. This includes obtaining and promoting vaccination, wearing masks, maintaining appropriate distancing indoors or in crowds outdoors, and properly sanitizing shared spaces. These measures should extend to all city staff, city meetings, and city-sponsored events and be adjusted based on guidance from public health officials. We should return to an online option for citizens to participate in city meetings. This allows for greater safety and would require minimal effort.