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'Over Coffee' - A Case of Belching Smoke Stacks

Dreamland Barbecue was not exactly a dream neighbor.

January 22, 2013

 

   They say it is an ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good.  The structure fire in Peachtree Corners that destroyed the Dreamland Barbecue establishment on January 16, 2013 is one such example. While I am grateful that no one was hurt, and sorry for the loss of facility and equipment and jobs, I am not sorry that the biggest offender of point source air pollution in Peachtree Corners will be shut down for some time.

   When Dreamland opened in that location, Peachtree Corners became aware of the copious amount of smoke issuing from the chimney stacks almost immediately.  Most especially on summer red alert smog days, the pall of belching smoke hung pervasively over the parking lot of the adjoining shopping center and the surrounding area for hours. Employees of the shopping center grew tired of coping with the grease that the smoke deposited on the windshields of their parked cars.

   The outparcel upon which Dreamland is located is not owned by the shopping center, but by Moe Majidi, who operated an Italian restaurant in the location, prior to its leasing to Dreamland. It soon became apparent that the smoke pollution problem caused by Dreamland was going to be a hot potato for the area. The shopping center couldn’t do anything about it because they weren’t the owners. Gwinnett County couldn’t do anything about it because the site had already been zoned for a restaurant so Dreamland was not deemed to be in default. Even the state of Georgia couldn’t do anything about it because of a quirky exemption in the state’s air pollution law:  Point source air pollution smoke is allowed only for the cooking of food. 

   Actually, all told, in my view, Dreamland has not been a very good neighbor in Peachtree Corners. The back view of the building, clearly seen from the front of the shopping center across the parking spaces from it, was of propped up floor mops, wood,  and other stuff stacked up, an eyesore if ever there was one. This clutter has now been apparently removed by the disaster clean-up firm.

   As founding chairman of the UPCCA Peachtree Parkway Improvement Project in 2003 and its administrator until 2009, I can accurately say Moe Majidi and Dreamland refused to participate in the UPCCA Peachtree Parkway Improvement Project, which raises voluntary fair-share contributions from property owners with linear footage along Peachtree Parkway. Proceeds from this voluntary project provide the funds by which the UPCCA landscape contract is let every year for the parkway medians to be mowed and the roadside trash removed from the medians every week. Moe Majidi refused to pay as owner of the parcel and pushed the civic obligation off on his lessee, Dreamland.  Although the fair-share contribution per year for that parcel was only a couple of hundred dollars, Dreamland steadfastly refused to pay saying it was Mr. Majidi’s obligation, not theirs. All parties to this parcel preferred to let others pay for the mowing of the median in front of their business.  

   So there you have it. Enjoy the smoke-free air while you can.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert J. Nebel January 22, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Gay, Thank you for bringing up points that I never considered. While I always enjoyed dining over there, it was always tough to take a run in the area with that BBQ odor making me hungry. I wonder if that structure can be saved or it might be cheaper and easier to demolish it altogether.
Bob January 22, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Robert, like you I have always enjoyed dining at Dreamland. The food has always been exceptional. While it is nice to know that no one was hurt as a result of the fire, I do find it interesting that Ms. Shook would choose this time to attack the franchisee and the landlord following this unfortunate incident. She does apparently also have a vendetta against this business because they failed to participate in the VOLUNTARY project. I'm curious to find out how many other businesses also chose not to participate.
Robert J. Nebel January 22, 2013 at 11:11 PM
@Bob I'm sure that a handful of businesses chose not to participate in the improvement project due to a tough economy. Everyone has to watch their bottom line. I don't think anyone ought to hold any grudges against those who chose not to participate. Can't we all get along? On a similar note, didn't The Love Shack participate in that improvement project? Just asking.
Bob January 23, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Robert, I agree that it is a decision for the business to decide whether or not to participate. I disagree with Ms. Shook's stance that if a business fronts Peachtree Parkway that is participate in the program. The Love Shack does participate, and I have no problems with that decision on their end. I also have no disagreement with Dreamland having chosen not to participate. I take issue with Ms. Shook's opinion that they should. She also disliked their smoke and the disarray behind the restaurant. I suppose she took this time to kick them while they are down. Perhaps when they rebuild, assuming that they will, there will be better control over their smoke emissions and a better accounting for the display behind the restaurant.
K Wade January 23, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Wow. Talk about kicking them while they're down, Gay. Maybe one should ask where you were on January 16.
Judy Putnam (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM
OK, time to step in here. Please remember bloggers, like you, are entitled to their opinions. Blasting someone's opinion anonymously is a rather low blow don't you think? Would you like to have come out with a strong opinion about a subject and have others take shots at you without revealing their names? Remember we're all neighbors here so treat others as you would like to be treated.
Steve Rausch January 23, 2013 at 01:03 PM
I believe there is also a saying about shooting the messenger! Gay is giving her opinion in this story by providing an accurate accounting of what everyone could see and the story about the project. It's sad so many feel the need to critique and condemn Gay for reporting accurately. This may be a reason it is so difficult to get folks to provide thought provoking blogs to the Patch. It's easy to kick dirt from the sidelines. Thanks Gay, I for one appreciate your observations and hope the folks involved can make improvements when they rebuild.
Robert J. Nebel January 23, 2013 at 01:47 PM
@Bob If Dreamland chooses to rebuild, that would be the moment for leadership to step in and address the pollution and appearance concerns. When it comes to The Love Shack, they have a right to exist as a business and participate in the improvement project. The biggest concern with that establishment is their rather tacky appearance. That is where code enforcement ought to concentrate.
Cathy Freeman January 23, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I certainly agree with Robert's first line of his last post. This is the time for the land owner and the restaurant to step up and do the right thing. Do other Dreamland locations have the same pollution issues? If not, and they want to rebuild, this is their chance to build it right and regain some goodwill in the community.
Jody Reeves January 23, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Loved the Bar-b-que, hated the building. It was kind of run down. Not Dreamland's fault. They were leasing it. Maybe this is a chance to rebuild and improve. I would hate to see them leave. Rule of thumb with Bar-b-que - if you can't smell it when you pull up, it isn't bar-b-que. Maybe they could run the pits at night?
Mary January 24, 2013 at 01:01 PM
I agree with the thoughtful comments of Mr. Rausch. IAlso, if due to the economy, a business can not contribute financially to a community improvement project benefiting the entire neighborhood, there are other options. A "value in kind" contribution of meeting space, volunteered labor, advertising to customers, collecting donations at the business location, are options that could be volunteered or suggested. The opportunity for supporting the community should not end with lack of budget available.

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