Eat dinner before you attend the June 18 City Council meeting because it will be a long one.

Several zoning matters are on top of the City Council’s meeting agenda, including the controversial Sandy Springs Gateway Project.

That item will likely be deferred, but community members will be there anyway to comment on the proposed zoning. The project will have an impact on both Sandy Springs and Atlanta’s Buckhead community. The mixed use development near Chastain Park, at the intersection of Roswell and Wieuca roads, will create additional traffic on Roswell Road.

The controversy on the June 18 meeting agenda doesn’t end there, however. Sandy Springs City Council will also consider using eminent domain to purchase property at 6224 Roswell Road. The property’s current occupant is Makara Mediterranean Restaurant.

So far the city has used sparingly its powers to force unwilling owners to sell property around its future downtown, and City Council members are reluctant about using it to acquire large parcels. The downtown area will be near the intersection of Roswell Road and I-285, featuring a mix of uses that will potentially attract private investors.

Using eminent domain too frequently will limit the city’s ability to lure private investors for the project. Eminent domain restricts the acquired property to public use for 20 years.

The eminent domain item, located at the very bottom of the June 18 agenda, will be a test of whether there are enough votes on the council for continued use of eminent domain to buy other parcels for downtown redevelopment. The controversy also comes at a key moment in city politics: city elections are in November and the city’s downtown plans will be among the topics debated by candidates.

The City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at Council Chambers at Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500.

To see the full agenda, click here.

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