City officials in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody have raised a concern about a proposed state law that would prohibit many local government building design restrictions. Dunwoody City Council plans to take up a resolution formally opposing the bill at its next meeting.
The legislation, House Bill 302, would prevent local governments from regulating several design elements in one or two-family properties such as color, exterior material, windows, doors, number and type of rooms and foundation materials. The sponsor, Rep. Smith Vance (R-Pine Mountain) did not respond to a request for comment.
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said at the Feb. 19 City Council meeting the bill would “strip local governments of a lot of abilities they have for control.”
“This is a very profound piece of legislation,” he said.
Dunwoody City Council is set to vote on a resolution at its Feb. 25 meeting that requests legislators not pass the bill.
The bill “would completely remove the City of Dunwoody’s common sense ability of local control to set its own quality standards of single-family homes and may jeopardize the safety and lives of our citizens living and working in densely populated areas of our city,” the resolution says.
Sandy Springs and Dunwoody heavily opposed a bill that passed last session that prevents local governments from prohibiting wood-frame apartments.
One of the key reasons Sandy Springs was incorporated was to govern land use, Paul said, and with this legislation, they would lose a lot of the tools they use. Only specific areas would be exempt, like historic zones, but Sandy Springs does not have any, Paul said.
“[Assistant City Manager Jim] Tolbert and his colleagues could go look for other jobs in other states because a lot of what we do wouldn’t be done anymore,” Paul said.
The Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods noted its concern in an email to members, urging residents to call elected officials if they share concerns.
“The Next 10 comprehensive plan efforts that citizens engaged in will be unwound and existing code standards will be trumped by state regulations and standards that are inferior to those now in place,” the organization said.
The organization said the design standards protect property values and prevent developers from using “inferior building materials,” the council said.