Council for Quality Growth Continues to Oppose Disastrous Building Height Amendment with Testimony to Dunwoody City Council

(Council for Quality Growth Letter Submitted to Mayor and Dunwoody City Council)
This past Monday, April 21,  for the second time in two months, Council President & CEO Michael Paris and Director of Government Affairs & Policy James Touchton testified before the Dunwoody City Council to express concerns and opposition to a proposed amendment to Code Section 8-1(e)(1), which would require buildings greater than three (3) stories in height and  in aggregate with other principal buildings or structures on the same site exceeds 100,000 sq. ft. of Gross Floor Area (GFA), within the confined exterior walls of the structures whether occupiable or non-occupiable, to be framed with noncombustible materials. This would mean metal and/or concrete construction.  You can read the proposed Code Amendment and staff explanation HERE.

The current code is in complete compliance with State building requirements and in conformance with the International Building Code in requiring that only buildings over five stories be constructed of noncombustible materials. The implementation of this new code would burden developers and builders with additional costs for buildings that are four to eight floors where the economics of steel and concrete are difficult. This would be detrimental towards the many new projects and plans that have low-rise buildings such as apartments, hotels, senior housing and offices and four-story townhomes, which typically use engineered wood-frame construction.

This code change would effectively eliminate many proposed projects and limit future construction of new and beneficial developments and redevelopment within the City. It seems unnecessary since the City already has complete control over new projects through its zoning authority and can use this authority in conjunction with its comprehensive land use plan.

If this building code ordinance is allowed to proceed, this will not only be a Dunwoody issue, but also an issue for other cities throughout the metro area, as this will set a precedence for others to follow.

The Council has expressed its willingness to work with the City of Dunwoody to forge a policy solution that will foster responsible growth and development in Dunwoody and we are very appreciative to Mayor Davis, the City Council and Community Development Director Steve Foote for this opportunity.

We expect that a working group will be appointed and the Council will continue to to express concerns and opposition to such a drastic change, while advising the City of the zoning powers currently under their control.