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.