The city of Sandy Springs plans to buy yet another Hammond Drive property for a possible widening project that remains locally controversial.

A Google Earth image of the house at 550 Hammond Drive.

A Google Earth image of the house at 550 Hammond Drive.

The $380,000 purchase of a house at 550 Hammond, up for a City Council vote June 21, would be the fourth such “protective buy” to secure widening project land this year.

The city previously spent more than $1.2 million purchasing 372, 521 and 590 Hammond. It also already owns a lot at Hammond and Kayron drives from a stormwater-related teardown several years ago. The city is putting more than $3 million into its fiscal year 2017 budget for more Hammond purchases.

The possible widening project targets the two-lane stretch of Hammond between Glenridge Drive and Roswell Road. Neighborhood associations have questioned the need and scale of the widening and criticized its appearance on the city’s transportation sales tax, or T-SPLOST, project list that is headed to the November ballot. However, the widening was supported by a majority of comments in T-SPLOST meetings and a survey, and the city recently produced a traffic study saying the road needs some sort of improvement measures to stave off gridlock within 10 years.

The T-SPLOST would fund only a design and more property acquisition, not actual construction, which would be at least five years away. The city has emphasized that it might decide not to widen the road and sell the properties.

Steve Oppenheimer, president of the Glenridge Hammond Neighborhood Association, has expressed concern about the city maintaining the properties for at least years to come. He recently complained about erosion-control construction fencing remaining up at 372 and 590 Hammond months after the city purchases. A car tire was laying in the grass at 590 Hammond for a while as well.

The fencing at 590 was recently removed shortly after a Reporter Newspapers inquiry in what city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said was a pre-planned move, and she said the tire would be picked up. The fencing at 372 will remain up until grass seed laid on the property takes hold.

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