DUNWOODY, Ga. — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the City of Dunwoody to get creative as it updates its Comprehensive Plan.

A comprehensive plan is a key document cities use to make long-term policy regarding land-use, transportation and infrastructure decisions. Georgia requires cities to develop a comprehensive plan and update it every five years.  

Dunwoody began updating its Comprehensive Plan last fall, contracting with the Atlanta Regional Commission to gather public input and analyze the city’s needs. Because of social distancing precautions, the second round of input has moved online.

“The draft includes changes made after our first public input meeting in February,” Dunwoody Community Development Director Richard McLeod said. “We planned another session in April but had to cancel it due to COVID-19. By moving the process online, we’re providing the public with a safe and convenient way to participate.”  

Through June 18, community members can go online to read the latest draft and provide feedback through a survey at bit.ly/DunwoodyCompPlan. Recommended updates will be presented to the Dunwoody City Council for consideration later this year.

The original plan included eight overarching goals. Though the wording may have been tweaked, most of these goals remain essentially the same: to maintain Dunwoody’s neighborhoods; foster a business-friendly climate; promote multimodal transportation; cultivate arts and culture; and maintain a commitment to sustainable practices.

A few of the goals have small but meaningful changes. According to the draft, the community not only wants to expand parks, greenspace and recreational opportunities, but specifically wants more locations across the city.

Expanding housing options to make aging in place an achievable reality is still a goal. So is creating more affordable housing for the quarter of households that are cost burdened, paying over 30 percent of their income on housing, the plan states.

Redeveloping target areas remains part of the vision, and to redevelop these areas into vibrant, walkable, mixed-use areas with high-quality design and more diverse housing products, the draft specifies.

The update also adds a ninth goal: “to leverage Dunwoody’s location at the heart of growing job centers, transportation systems and neighboring communities.” This involves close coordination with surrounding cities, DeKalb County Schools and regional players like MARTA.

This five-year update will incorporate the findings and recommendations of other planning studies completed since the original document, including the Dunwoody Village Master Plan, three Livable Centers Initiative Studies, the Sustainability Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the Economic Development Strategy.

The 2020 update also includes updated information about the city’s demographic makeup and trends in housing and employment. To read the full plan and provide feedback, visit bit.ly/DunwoodyCompPlan.

Carson Cook is an Editor with Appen Media Group and covers Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Fulton County.

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