Dunwoody City Councilman Tom Lambert

The Dunwoody City Council meeting on Nov. 14 will be remembered more by what was said, rather than what was done.

After public comment at the beginning of the meeting, District 3 Councilman Tom Lambert read a five-page statement regarding feedback he and other council members have received regarding the installation of multi-use trails and access paths around the city. Usually council comment comes at the end of the meeting, but Lambert made a motion to switch the order, citing the need to speak while more people were attending/watching the meeting online.

Residents are upset about the proposed connectivity proposals in two areas – a multi-use path on Tilly Mill Road and a connector trail between several neighborhoods and the proposed Vermack Road park. The Vermack-area residents cite safety concerns about increased and unmonitored public access to their homes, while neighbors near the proposed Tilly Mill Road multi-use path question the need and location for such an installation.

During his 10-minute statement, Lambert called out citizens who accuse the council of having the “some secret agenda” and trying to “sneak projects through without public input.”

Lambert listed the multiple meetings he has had with neighbors in the affected areas, the numerous phone calls and said he has responded to every email he has received regarding the controversy.

“I have met multiple times in coffee houses, stood in kitchens and even sat on one resident’s deck for a personal meeting that lasted over two and a half hours,” he said.  “To ensure that all questions and concerns were addressed, I even set up three separate meetings with myself and city staff at city hall for the neighborhoods that had reached out to me with concerns – one for Holland Court, one for Stephens Walk and one combined for Briers North and Madison. I took notes at each meeting, and shared those notes with the mayor, city council and appropriate city staff to ensure that everyone was fully informed of resident’s concerns.”

Lambert said he was also concerned about the “growing level of misinformation being presented to the public.”

“Opinion is at times being represented as truth, and in some extreme cases reality is being exaggerated or even misrepresented,” he said.  “This growing sentiment in our society that you are either with me or against me is counterproductive and dangerous. It is my opinion that the best solution to any situation rarely resides at the extremes but exists somewhere in between if you have an open mind and are willing to look for it.”

A community meeting regarding the trail plan has been set for Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dunwoody City Hall, 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road.

“Master planning helps shape the vision of future projects, and robust public input is critical,” Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton said in a statement released by the city. “This is our first opportunity to hear feedback on the city-wide trail plan with the PATH Foundation.”

The city council recently approved an agreement with the PATH Foundation for the creation of a trail master plan. During the Open House on Dec. 7, residents and other stakeholders will be encouraged to share ideas about potential destinations, desired trail routes, and preferred trail types.

Another meeting regarding the Vermack Road master plan will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 4809 Vermack Road, where the future park is located. The open house Dec. 10 will give residents a chance to review the most recent concept plan and walk the property, where desired amenities will be marked off to show sizes and locations.

Neither of the two proposals has been funded in the 2023 budget, according to city officials.

Cathy Cobbs

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