Dianne Fries

Sandy Springs Councilwoman Dianne Fries is the target of an ethics complaint concerning her recent advocacy of changes to the city’s sign ordinance which benefited real estate signs.

Patty Berkovitz, a Sandy Springs resident and member of the Sandy Springs Watershed Alliance and Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, confirmed on Nov. 30 she filed the complaint. The city on Nov. 30 announced a special called meeting of its Board of Ethics on Dec. 1, which Fries said will deal with whether the complaint has merit.

On Sept. 20, the council voted to change its sign ordinance allow 6-square-foot-signs, which Fries said actually corrected an earlier ordinance that capped signs at 4 square feet.

Berkovitz said her complaint asks whether Fries, who is a listed Realtor with Dorsey Alston, lobbied for changes to the city’s real estate sign ordinance. Fries said she still has a real estate license but hasn’t sold a house in years. She said the city attorney informed her before the vote she did not have a conflict.

“[The complaint stated] I benefit because it was a financial benefit to me not to have to buy a new signs,” Fries said. “I don’t buy my signs. Most real estate companies don’t charge their agents for signs.”

– Dan Whisenhunt