A new plan for townhouses in Dunwoody Village appears to be meeting a friendlier response than a plan that drew criticism earlier this year.
Neighbors in Vernon North who met Nov. 4 are “comfortable with the quality” of 79 townhouses proposed on Dunwoody Village Parkway in the new plan, said Marian Adeimy, an attorney for the developer.
But they want to make sure the natural stream buffer between the developments stays protected, their houses won’t be too close to their new neighbors and a gate goes up, she said.
Adeimy presented the developer’s, FrontDoor Communities, plan to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association on Nov. 1, and then met Nov. 4 with eight residents of Vernon North, the community of single-family houses closest to the townhomes, which would face Dunwoody Village Parkway.
“They like the overall plan and product, and are happy with the development plan, but, as before, they are concerned with the visual from their home,” Adeimy said. “They don’t want the homes so close to their property that they are staring into someone’s window.”
FrontDoor Communities plans to build 79 townhouses, which would be 20 to 40 percent larger than the 81 units originally proposed by Cypress Communities.
The new plan allows more homes with master bedrooms on the main floor, a design intended to appeal to senior citizens and “empty nesters.” About 30 percent of the townhouses will have the master bedroom on the first floor and all units will have elevator options, Adeimy said.
Adeimy said buyers of similar homes in Roswell prefer the elevator option. She said residents in Dunwoody who want to get an idea what the proposed project would look like can visit Goulding and Heatherton homes in Roswell.
Another meeting with residents is planned for Nov. 18 and Adeimy will present again to the DHA at its Dec. 6 meeting.
Dunwoody residents are debating whether or not the community should be gated. Members of the homeowners association were divided Nov. 1, but Adeimy said the majority of Vernon North residents favor a gate.
Councilman Terry Nall, who lives in Vernon North, agreed that the majority of neighbors at the Nov. 4 meeting favor a gated community. “The developer is targeting higher-end prices [around] $700,000, so this market expects a gated community,” Nall said.
Adeimy, who lives in Dunwoody, said strict ordinances in the city make it tougher for developers. “Dunwoody has set the bar on high-quality townhomes,” she said.
For that reason and given space constraints, a homeowners association would have to enforce a rule that owners park their cars in the garage. “It makes it look nicer,” she said. The 79 planned units would not have the required 20-foot driveways.
FrontDoor Communities is working on a Dunwoody-specific design for the homes, Adeimy said, so a rendering is not yet available, but the developer wants to take all community feedback into account. All units would have a three-bedroom minimum with a two-car garage.
Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) asked about siding and wanted to know why exterior materials, such as brick, would vary. “I don’t know what that does for the tone of your community development,” Millar said.
“We’ve seen as you get into the higher price points that people want stacked stone, they want craftsman siding,” Adeimy said. “They want things to make their home look like a home and not just a row of brick townhomes.”
DHA President Robert Wittenstein said he wouldn’t want the proposed development gated.
“In general, communities develop a more inviting appeal if all the houses are not behind gates and walls,” Wittenstein said. “When you create communities where everybody feels like they have to be behind their own wall, what you don’t get is a sense of community.”
Adeimy said pedestrian access is the developer’s goal, and Vernon North neighbors discussed landscaping and layout in detail.
“We want great pedestrian access for residents [of the proposed townhouses] to walk to the village,” Adeimy said.