Scrutiny from Sandy Springs and Buckhead residents slows project
A map showing the initial concept for a mixed-use development near Chastain Park
Developers proposing a mixed-use development want more time to tweak their plans after residents in two different cities mobilized against them.
JLB Partners and Core Property Capital are behind the project near the intersection of Wieuca and Roswell Roads. They initially proposed 700 apartment units and a seven-story parking deck and would demolish apartments now on the property.
If left at its current size, it would force millions of dollars worth of road improvements to accommodate the expected increase in traffic.
Four neighborhood associations have registered complaints about the project. They are Cherokee Park and High Point Civic in Sandy Springs, and Chastain Park and North Buckhead Civic in Atlanta.
JLB and Core are also receiving input from both the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority because the project is considered a Development of Regional Impact. GRTA plans to issue its notice of decision about the project on Nov. 30.
“[It is] drawing the kind of attention that is just about in the same league so to speak as the [Sandy Springs] town center project, and part of that is because it is designated as a project of regional impact by GRTA and the ARC and they realize now they should take a closer look,” said Ron Comacho, co-chair of the development review committee for the Cherokee Park Civic Association.
Trisha Thompson Fox, a member of Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, said the developer asked Sandy Springs to defer its zoning application until next year. Sandy Springs Councilman Chip Collins sent an email to residents on Nov. 16 saying the City Council may vote on zoning in March, at the earliest.
GRTA’s draft recommendations include realigning the intersection of Windsor Parkway with Roswell Road and a traffic circle at the intersection of West Wieuca and Lake Forrest Drive. The traffic circle costs would fall to the city of Atlanta because it is within its city limits.
Gordon Certain, the North Buckhead Civic Association president, said in an email to residents that this would present several problems for the developers.
“Since Sandy Springs transportation impact fees cannot be spent in Atlanta, the city of Atlanta would likely have to pay for most or all of the cost for this improvement (which might make them less inclined to approve it),” Certain’s email says. “Further, since there are private homes on three of the four corners of this intersection, it is not obvious where the circle would be located.”
JLB did not return messages seeking comment for this article.
Fox said the project’s affect on drivers will be hard to overcome unless plans change.
“Traffic is going to be a bugger and that’s the killer right there,” she said. “Traffic controlling and lessening the impact is what is going to drive this toward a lower density, more vibrant internal community.”
Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny said residents want a “balanced” development that will be a gateway from Atlanta into Sandy Springs. She said the current proposal doesn’t come close to achieving harmony with the neighborhoods.
“It’s going to require millions of public sector improvements offsite to allow that kind of density,” she said. “It’s way over the top.”
Here are the next steps, under the current timetable, in Sandy Springs’ review process for the mixed-use project proposed :
Jan. 8: Design Review Board, 9 a.m.
Jan. 31: Community Developer Resolution Meeting, 6 p.m.
Feb. 21: Planning Commission, 7 p.m.
March 19: City Council, 6 p.m.
Source: Sandy Springs City Councilman Chip Collins