During a City Council candidate forum, Thursday, District 1 incumbent Denis Shortal and opponent Henly Shelton discussed whether small business owners are at a disadvantage when it comes to city codes and fees vs. the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.
The forum by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce and Dunwoody Crier was held at Dunwoody High School.
Shelton called the PCIDs a model for the United States. “…And we need to keep it there, but there's a big difference between the little man down there in Dunwoody Village and what they’re trying to accomplish, and someone who has State Farm’s money.”
State Farm Insurance is bringing thousands of jobs to a new corporate office in Dunwoody.
“We’re suffocating the little businessman and the homeowner. People did not become a city to have these stifling, suffocating fees put on us. Yes we need permits," Shelton said. “I say what we can do most to help the small business man is stop all these re-inspections where they've got to pay $50 every time. If you look on the city website, look how much we’re collecting in fees just in re-inspections. Take the burden off the little business people.”
Shortal suggested an overlay district in some cases. Rules help make places like Dunwoody Village prime real estate, he said.
“That’s one of the reasons that we have to do improvements there is to enhance businesses to come there," Shortal said. "Even though some leave, there always seems to be a replacement there. First Watch just opened. Marlow’s is open. We’ve got a new Walgreens. We’ve got a Fresh Market.”
Shortal said the PCIDs is an economic engine to the southeastern United States and the City of Dunwoody. “...And it must remain that because of the funds that we collect there, and not only that, the jobs that are produced there; the jobs for our citizens that I hope will continue to come in there to buy your house and my house as the future goes along.”
Do you think city codes and fees are unfair to small businesses and homeowners? Tell us in the comments and return to Patch for more on the candidate forum.