The Torres' House

The Torres changed the sign in front of their house in recognition of the widespread support they have received after the sign ordinance citation.

Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

The popular Dunwoody Dino House, which had been cited for violating the city’s sign ordinance as the result of a single complaint, has been given a 30-day reprieve.

The code enforcement incident report, which was modified on Sept. 7, extended the deadline for the Torres family to take down the dinosaurs to Oct. 20. Originally, the Torres had been told to comply by Sept. 20.

“This is amazing news,” Lisa Torres said. “There was just this weird feeling when we thought about taking them down in two weeks. I’m completely stoked by this latest news.”

The Torres family, who live on Dunwoody Club Drive, was inspired by their oldest son’s love for dinosaurs and started putting up the inflatables in the yard during the pandemic to “provide hope and inspiration and kindness to the community,” she said.

As the Dunwoody Club Drive inflatables became more and more popular, the family started putting up themed displays reflecting various seasons and posting encouraging messages alongside them. The dinosaurs became somewhat of a Dunwoody cult, with people waiting and watching for the next installation.

The Torres, buoyed by the dinosaurs’ popularity, participated in the 2023 Fourth of July parade, and even won a prize for their decorated “Jurassic Park” inspired jeep.

However, in late August, the city received an email complaining that the dinosaurs violated the sign ordinance. The complainant, via email, said “there are too many signs in the yard. I counted 12 and one of them is too big.”

A firestorm of protests has been flooding social media outlets since the notice became public with hundreds of people expressing outrage about the dinosaurs’ possible extinction and calling for the city to modify the sign ordinance to allow them to remain.

A petition asking city officials to alter the code to allow for the installations to remain has been circulating with more than 1,800 signatures so far. Other people said they have been contacting their city council members to protest the decision as well. And their voices have been heard.

At the beginning of the Sept. 11 city council meeting, with a single person dressed in a dinosaur costume in attendance, Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch took a moment of privilege to acknowledge that the city is aware of the public’s impassioned response.

One person dressed as a dinosaur appeared at the council meeting in silent protest of the city’s ordinance.

One person dressed as a dinosaur appeared at the council meeting in silent protest of the city’s ordinance.

Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

“Suddenly everyone is concerned about dinosaurs, and I am thrilled that people are so engaged,” Deutsch said. “We are working on a solution, but things like this take time.”

Jennifer Boettcher, the city’s spokesperson, declined to comment beyond the mayor’s statement.

Torres said she and her family have been overwhelmed by the support from the community and the efforts that have been made to preserve the displays.

She said the family will proceed with the Halloween display as originally planned and hope for a possible exemption so that the dinosaurs can continue to live on.

“I just hope that the city will realize the best outcome comes from listening to your community,” she said. “Listen to the people well, and you will win their hearts.”

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta