Category: News

Brookhaven residents jeer DeKalb Schools’ recommended Doraville United redistricting plan

Many Brookhaven residents jeered the DeKalb County School District’s staff-recommended redistricting plan at a Nov. 19 meeting, saying it splits up neighborhoods and doesn’t adequately address overcrowding in the long term. The meeting, held at Chamblee Charter High School, was the last of three public meetings for residents to chime in on the redistricting process. Current plans are to send a final recommendation to the Board of Education in January with a final vote scheduled in February. But the school board’s recent decision to install an interim superintendent had some asking if the timeline could be met. The redistricting...

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Sandy Springs City Council balks on vote allowing city manager to approve variances

The Sandy Springs City Council balked on an amendment to its ordinance code that would allow the city manager to approve variances for the city’s own projects without public notice or hearings. At a Nov. 5 meeting, council members expressed confusion with the amendment and influential public figures showed up to the meeting to express their concerns. “I am vehemently opposed,” said Shea Roberts, a resident and zoning attorney who also is running against Deborah Silcox for the District 52 Georgia House of Representatives seat. “I need to understand this better before we move this forward,” District 1 Councilmember...

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Sandy Springs may allow city manager to approve its own zoning variances without hearings

Sandy Springs may approve a change that will allow the city manager to approve zoning variances for the city’s own projects, including tree removal, without public notice or hearings. City Attorney Dan Lee said the change will make the design process easier. A resolution up for a City Council vote Nov. 5 says city projects often have design changes that can be time-sensitive and public notice requirements can negatively impact construction schedules and possibly cost the city more money. “Every time the right of way is to be affected, other than the sale, we have to go back to...

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Voters Guide: Robert Miller

Robert Miller robertmillertime.com Occupation: The Miller Development Group, LLC, Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, Office and Land Developer Previous elected offices held: None. Other community service experience: In 2010 I served on the Committee for the City’s first Comprehensive Master Plan. In 2015 I was on the Perimeter Center Sounding Board for the zoning rewrite. In 2016, I was appointed to the DeKalb County SPLOST project list development committee. I’m currently a member of the Dunwoody Development Board, where I have served since 2012. What is motivating you to run for this office? No community can be successful without good schools, but our schools are experiencing a facilities crisis. While the city does not control the school district, the city is responsible to make sure the school facilities are safe. The city must take a more robust and assertive posture with the school district. Specifically, I would start with an ordinance for the permitting of educational trailers. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel enforcing codes on the schools – other jurisdictions do this, and we can learn from their experiences. Enforcing city codes will make our schools safe and stronger. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? The Perimeter currently handles 130,000 cars a day! And this number is going to increase with the new developments over the next 10 years. The...

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Voters Guide: Dimitrius Owens

Dimitrius Owens owens4office.com Occupation: Asst. Broker with Wynd Realty Previous elected offices held: None. Other community service experience: Volunteered with Atlanta Track Club as Crew Chief for Peachtree Road Race in charge of Elite and Invited runner Hospitality for 25 years; past president of Adair Park Today Civic Association. Led the application process and wrote guidelines for Urban Design Commission award of Historic Landmark status granted to Adair Park neighborhood. Assisted senior citizens with real estate title issues and tax appeals. Worked with GREFPAC, a mortgage fraud task force that addressed the mortgage fraud that has ravaged many Atlanta neighborhoods. What is motivating you to run for this office? My wife Anne and I have lived in Brookhaven since 2004 and we love our city. Brookhaven is a vibrant community and we need to protect and improve what we have here. The city has seen exponential growth over the past years, so planning and oversight must be a primary focus going forward. From my neighbors I hear common themes of wanting improved parks and green space; ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support the growth of the city; controlling tax rates and maintaining fiscal responsibility and transparency; and they want to have their voices and opinions heard. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Brookhaven is an envy to surrounding communities....

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Voters Guide: Stacey Harris

Stacey Harris staceyfordunwoody.com Occupation: Gymnastics Director at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Previous elected offices held: None. Other community service experience: I currently serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Previously served as President of Dunwoody Homeowners Association and Chair of Dunwoody Sustainability Commission. I’ve also served on the Dunwoody Nature Center Board, Chair of The Kingswood School Board, 4th of July Parade Committee and helped create Walk to School Day in Dunwoody. What is motivating you to run for this office? I truly enjoy working to make our city the best it can be. I’ve dedicated over a decade to working at every level within our community, which has given me detailed knowledge of Dunwoody and the right experience to take on our challenges as a councilperson. Dunwoody has made strides since incorporating and it is now time to prepare for the next chapter with focus on improving transportation, enhancing Dunwoody Village, cultivating relationships for the improvement of our schools and protecting and enhancing our parks and recreation. I would be honored to serve as your city councilperson. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? I believe the biggest issue facing my district is the balance between development and its impact on our quality of life with traffic, schools and residential neighborhoods. We need to use our influence as...

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Voters Guide: John Ernst

John Ernst votejohnernst.com Occupation: Attorney, Ernst Legal Group Previous elected offices held: Mayor of Brookhaven, 2016-2020 Other community service experience: Chair of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, 2012-2015; Murphey Candler Little League Baseball coach, 2016-2019; Knights of Columbus member, 2015-2019. What is motivating you to run for this office? We’ve accomplished a lot together to make Brookhaven better, including building world-class parks, increasing our green spaces, paving most of our roads and ensuring efficient city services – all while reducing taxes. Let’s build on our successes and continue addressing our challenges to fully realize Brookhaven’s vision as a haven of green spaces nestled inside our urban landscape, a city of thought leaders, and a community with character. I’m committed to increasing green space and protecting our tree canopy, achieve balanced growth, realize a walkable community, provide efficient services, implement traffic-calming measures, maintain our AAA bond rating, and keep taxes low. What is the biggest issue facing the city and how will you address it? The desirability of Brookhaven has brought more people and development to the best “suburb,” as described by the AJC’s Reader Poll. This can cause quality-of-life issues, such as increased traffic and infrastructure stress. We’ll implement our projects laid out in various transit studies, such as the Bike-Ped Plan, Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor Plan and the North Druid Hills Traffic Study to improve the efficiency of our...

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Voters Guide: Joe Seconder

Joe Seconder Joe4Dunwoody.com Occupation: U.S. Army Infantry Major (Retired) Reserve, Georgia National Guard and Active Duty; Solutions Consultant, Human Capital Management at Workday Previous elected offices held: None Other community service experience: Presently serving on the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association; formerly served on the city of Dunwoody Sustainability Committee, city of Dunwoody Master Transportation Plan Advisory Committee and city of Dunwoody Vote Review Panel. City of Dunwoody Sustainable Hero Award recipient. Former board member and president of the non-profit Georgia Bikes association. All Saints Knights of Columbus member. What is motivating you to run for this office? I want to put Dunwoody First with new leadership and vision. To help move our city from being reactive and just “good enough” to being a vibrant community with the quality of life, services, and amenities our citizens want and need. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Schools. I-285 Express Lanes. Managing regional growth while protecting and preserving our residential neighborhoods. Issues will arise at a moment’s notice. We need new dynamic leadership to be able to address them, with the vision to get us there. I have the skill set to take action and solve these problems. Twenty-three years’ military leadership, including service in a combat zone, Fortune 500 international project management experience, local and regional civic and nonprofit background. As...

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Voters Guide: Jennifer ‘Jen’ Heath

Jennifer “Jen” Heath votejenheath.com Occupation: Sr. Technical Project Manager, MaxMedia Previous elected offices held: None. Other community service experience: Founder of We Are Brookhaven; stakeholder on Peachtree Overlay rewrite; member of Brookhaven’s MARTA Citizens Review Board; stakeholder for the Brookhaven Fields/Brookhaven Heights Character Area Studies; North DeKalb Greenspace Alliance (Friends of Ashford Park) – Former member. What is motivating you to run for this office? Concern for the long-term health of our city’s finances and infrastructure. As a Brookhaven native, I have seen many changes in our beautiful community. When I supported cityhood, I believed local control over finances and development would allow us to grow thoughtfully as more people discovered our great city. Unfortunately, residents seeking basic accountability have encountered a lack of transparency and weak stewardship of public resources on a variety of issues. We can do better, and I love our city too much to allow us to keep heading down the path of overspending and dismissing residents’ concerns. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Transparency and fiscal responsibility, the foundation for many of the issues Brookhaven faces. I founded the community group We Are Brookhaven to prioritize the sharing of information about city government activity to make it easier for Brookhaven residents to know what’s going on. Our city communications department does a great job communicating about...

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Voters Guide: Lynn Deutsch

Lynn Deutsch LynnforDunwoody.com Occupation: City Council Person, City of Dunwoody Previous elected offices held: Dunwoody City Council Member 2011-present, Mayor Pro Tem, 2017-present. Other community service experience: City of Dunwoody Planning Commission; multiple leadership roles at Chesnut Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary, Peachtree Middle and Dunwoody High Schools; North Springs Womens Club; Dunwoody Homeowners Association. What is motivating you to run for this office? Since our founding, Dunwoody has established an outstanding police department, completed many infrastructure projects and started building a park system. However, many “Dunwoodians” have told me something is missing. They believe in my vision of a more vibrant, community friendly city that serves all our citizens. I am the type of leader who listens to my constituents, is responsive and flexible as demands change, and able to collaborate in order to accomplish our goals. I am motivated to turn a vision of a great city into reality by building on our successes and taking advantage of our opportunities. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Decisions made by outside agencies like DCSD and GDOT have major impacts on our residents’ quality of life. As mayor, I will be a strong advocate for Dunwoody. I don’t take “no” or “we don’t do that” responses lightly. I am already working with legislators, neighboring cities and GDOT to mitigate the impacts of the...

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Voters Guide: Linley Jones

Linley Jones linleyforbrookhaven.com Occupation: Trial lawyer and founder of the Linley Jones Firm, P.C. Previous elected offices held: Brookhaven City Council, 2015-present. Other community service experience: Spokesperson, Brookhaven Yes; Neighborhood Affairs Chair, Cambridge Park Civic Association; Officer, Souls Grown Deep Foundation; Past President, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. What is motivating you to run for this office? I want to continue serving the citizens of Brookhaven and following through on the city’s park plans, traffic plans and other plans created through our grassroots citizen input. Our city has come a long way in its short, 7-year existence and I want to work hard to keep the city on track and moving forward. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Encroaching development is a big issue. District 1 is a wonderful community, largely residential, with much to be protected and preserved, including our single-family residential neighborhoods, our parks, our neighborhood shopping and our natural environment. Traffic is a big issue too, and we will continue to seek and implement solutions for safe and efficient travel along our major corridors, as well as our neighborhood streets. Should your district have more public green space, and if so, how should it be acquired? We are very fortunate to have large parks in District 1, including Lynwood Park, Blackburn Park, Murphey Candler Park and Osborne Park. Still,...

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Voters Guide: Heyward Wescott

Heyward Wescott HeywardforDunwoody.com Occupation: Custom Signs Today, principal/owner Previous elected offices held: None Other community service experience: Current: Board of Directors, Dunwoody Police Foundation; Vice President, Create Dunwoody (Arts Council to bring public art to Dunwoody); Board of Directors and Past Chair, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber; Co-Chair, No Kid Hungry Society. Past: Vice-Chair, Dunwoody Planning Commission; Vice President, Dunwoody Homeowners Association; Board of Directors, GLASS (Georgia for Local Area School Systems); Club President, Kingsley Swim & Racquet. What is motivating you to run for this office? My personal love for our city and its future direction is what drives me to run for office. I have always tried to make Dunwoody a place we are all proud to call home, and I believe my experience, vision and leadership can help us in the next chapter for our city. I would focus on making the Dunwoody Village a more vibrant place to shop, eat and gather for entertainment. We can be the catalyst by adding green space and improving the surrounding infrastructure that makes the area more walkable and appealing. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? The proposed managed lanes that will affect the Georgetown area and residents along I-285 is one of the biggest issues facing District 2. We need to work diligently with GDOT to mitigate the negative impact that this...

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