The parking lot at 2022 Peachford Road in Dunwoody. (Photo by Cathy Cobbs)

After a flurry of protests regarding the City of Dunwoody’s attempt to obtain, through eminent domain, a 4-acre parking lot on Peachford Road for possible use as a softball facility, the proposal appears to be dead in the water.

Dunwoody officials released a cryptic statement regarding the issue Monday afternoon, saying that city council would hold a special called meeting on Wednesday, June 8 at 8 a.m. to “discontinue the process of seeking the condemnation of property located at 2202 Peachford Road.”

The statement, issued by the city’s communications director Jennifer Boettcher, said the meeting was called “after First Baptist Church Atlanta shared new information about the history and plans for this property that had not been communicated to the city previously.”

The parking lot on Peachford Road is owned by First Baptist of Atlanta Church.

Boettcher would not comment about what precipitated the change in direction, but Reporter Newspapers received emails condemning the city for attempting to invoke eminent domain.

Margaret and Ken Warford, who are longtime members of First Baptist of Atlanta, said they were “embarrassed and appalled that the City of Dunwoody that we so love has been the author of such an ill-conceived plan to build a ball field on church property by using eminent domain.”

After the city published its statement about the specially called meeting, several city leaders posted comments on Dunwoody’s Facebook page, saying the move was a blunder.

“I’m pleased to see that the city appears to be doing the right thing and discontinuing the eminent domain process,” said Bob Fiscella, president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. “If the city was first told by the church that it was not interested in selling, the process should have stopped right then and there. I really like the city council and staff, but this was a major blunder.”

Fiscella, in his post, urged the city council to issue an apology to First Baptist Church and Dunwoody residents.

“This is not the way our city should be doing business,” he said.

This is not the first time in recent history that Dunwoody residents have expressed concerns about building a softball field within the city’s limits. Residents whose homes are located near two proposed parks – one on Vermack Road and the other on Roberts Drive at the former Austin Elementary School site – said they have serious worries about the amount of traffic that a softball field would draw to the neighborhood. 

First Baptist Church of Atlanta, with an estimated congregation of more than 15,000, is one of the most prominent churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. Officials with First Baptist Church were not available for comment regarding the matter.

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Cathy Cobbs

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at