Attempt to limit cars on Dunwoody property backfires

Ric Woroniecki has an Ivy League education, once co-owned a large engineering company and now consults on environmental issues in development.

He would add "law breaker" to that resume under a proposal to limit Dunwoody homeowners to no more than four vehicles on their property.

“I’m down to six or seven collector cars, a half dozen motorcycles and some trucks and daily drivers,” Woroniecki said of the multiple Rolls Royces and other vehicles housed in a large garage/workshop and back driveway of his home.

“Three are off site,” Woroniecki added. “I don’t want to look like Sanford and Son, even though these are very nice cars.”

The question of what to do about properties overrun with vehicles first popped up during a City Council retreat earlier this year. Some residents had complained and asked for the city to create a standard.

About two weeks ago, city staff crafted the four-vehicle limit as a proposed ordinance for council members to discuss during their August work session.

That would have set a standard, but it also would have unintentionally impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of residents such as car collectors, hobbyists and parents of several teens who drive.

Opponents called that an intrusion, noting that the issue has not come up as a problem in various neighborhoods.

"I have a neighbor with six or eight cars, and five are classics," said Lindsay Ballow, whose own classic is a yellow 1967 Oldsmobile convertible. "Nobody on our street is bothered at all."

Car collectors were particularly revved up. More than a dozen showed up Monday to denounce the proposed measure as proof that DeKalb County’s newest city government doesn’t understand its residents want more services, not more regulation. No one spoke out in support of the measure.

“Most Dunwoody residents want less restrictive government,” said Pat Horgan, who added that such a limit could affect “hundreds if not thousands” of his neighbors. “This is going in the wrong direction.”

The right direction, opponents say, is to kill the measure. Mayor Ken Wright pulled the item from the agenda and said no council members appear ready to revive it.

“If this was an issue, we would not be afraid to discuss it,” Wright said. “I don’t see any outrage from any council member on this.”

Still, the matter is stalled, not dead. Gearheads pledged to spread the word, hoping to enlist others who may not have heard of the proposed limits.

There are lots of  opportunities to do so. They can hash it out with neighbors, talk at a monthly classic car rally held this week in Dunwoody Village and at a car show to benefit Special Olympics Georgia this weekend in the city.

“Once you ride in one of these, you understand why people own them. It’s just so fun,” said architect Ken Yokelson, who drives a Lexus daily but has “play toys” – a 1958 Triumph and a 1964 Thunderbird – for weekends and special occasions.

“It’s like you’re messing with our children,” he added. “You don’t mess with someone’s children.”