The Dunwoody City Council removed a controversial path from a future Dunwoody park on Vermack Road to adjacent neighborhoods (proposed path in yellow).

The Dunwoody City Council, at its Feb. 13 meeting, discussed connectivity concerns at a future park on Vermack Road, and ultimately decided to recommend that a trail connecting the park to two neighborhoods be taken out of the master plan.

However, the council kept the option open to re-introduce the path later in the process.

“This is by far the issue that we received the most feedback about,” Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker told the council. “All of the closest and most adjacent neighbors were opposed to it. I think it should be removed from the master plan, but after (the park) is built, if the neighbors want to talk about it, we can consider it at that time.”

Residents have been concerned about privacy issues involved in the addition of the path, including its proximity to their back yards. More than 160 members of the Heritage of Dunwoody subdivision signed a petition opposing its installation.

Councilman Tom Lambert said nationwide research indicates that the residents’ concerns are “unfounded” based on national crime statistics, and supported by crime data within the city.

“The reality is the concerns are unfounded,” Lambert said. “I actually spoke with (Police) Chief (Billy) Grogan a few months back if there was any history of crimes on trails in the city and there was zero. I understand people’s fears, but it’s not reality.”

Lambert called for the council to keep the option open for future consideration. Several other council members concurred with his assessment and requested that the master plan stipulations would not preclude future consideration of a path or trail linking the park to the neighborhoods.

The money to build the park has not been funded. There have been discussions about asking voters if they want a $30 million parks bond to build out Vermack and another tract of land on Roberts Drive, as well as other improvements, but no decision has been made.

The council concluded talking about the Vermack plan without taking any action, as it was a discussion item.

“This is a roadmap for the future,” Deutsch said. “We are here to give Brent guidance about what people want to see at a park.”

In other action, the council discussed a civility pledge resolution, which was recently issued by the Georgia Municipal Association. Deutsch said she felt compelled to discuss the pledge after the distribution of anti-Semitic flyers throughout neighborhoods in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs on Feb. 5.

“That action (the flyer distribution) is not representative of who we are,” she said.

The pledge calls for participants to conduct themselves with “civility and courtesy to each other.”

 “The way we govern ourselves is often as important as the positions we take,” the pledge says. “Our collective decisions will be better when differing views have had the opportunity to be fully vetted and considered.”

The pledge says that all people have the right to be treated with “respect, courtesy and openness.”

“We are all neighbors here,” Council Member Joe Seconder said. “We can’t demand how others act, but we can dictate the way we act.”

Since the formal resolution was not included in the final council packet, the council deferred action on it until the next council meeting.

In other news, the council:

  • Heard from Noelle Ross, the executive director of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, who gave an update on the organization’s activities in 2022, including summer camps, farm-to-table dinners, and its premier event, Lemonade Days, this year slated for April 19-23 at Brook Run Park;
  • Listened to a synopsis by Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton, who reported on the status of various city paving, sidewalk and construction projects, as well as the success of the newly installed license plate readers in solving crimes and locating missing persons;
  • Heard from Dunwoody Assistant Police Chief Mike Carlson that the department is just a few positions away from being fully staffed;
  • Extended the moratorium by another 180 days for businesses that want to obtain permits or licenses for medical cannabis distribution.
  • Heard from Linton that an audit of the activities of ex-employee Kyle Self, who had been convicted of defrauding the IRS, found no wrong doing regarding his work for the city in the business license division. Self had been hired months after he pled guilty of the federal charges.

Cathy Cobbs

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