Author: John Ruch

Local control, taxes among Sandy Springs’ state legislative wins

As the General Assembly wrapped up this session’s lawmaking last month, local legislators saw some wins and a few losses. Local control on codes In a session that Mayor Rusty Paul described as an “assault” on local governments’ powers, the city took a big hit on wood-frame apartment construction regulations, but dodged bullets on other bills that leaders had feared. House Bill 876 will wipe out ordinances in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody that require certain large buildings, especially multifamily housing over three stories tall, to be built of concrete and steel rather than wood for fire safety and quality...

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Sandy Springs’ false alarm battle brings public anger, confusion

Sandy Springs’ battle with security companies over false burglar alarms went to the nuclear option April 3, with police saying they won’t respond to automated calls from dozens of publicly named firms. The move is drawing public confusion and anger — some at the city for alerting potential burglars and collectively punishing alarm customers, and some at companies for failing to comply with an ordinance intend to reduce more than 11,000 false alarms a year. A national alarm industry official says the city’s move helps “the bad guys.” Police Chief Ken DeSimone says it makes the city safer by...

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Cars, barbecue and a very personal cause

When it comes down to it, every fundraiser is about helping people. But at Cars & ’Q for the Cause, a Sandy Springs tradition that raised $330,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation last year alone, the effort is downright personal. Starting in 2009 as a small car show and barbecue in the company parking lot, the event is a way for Choate Construction’s founders to try to save the life of close family friend Leann Rittenbaum Ott, who was born with CF. Attendees not only see some cool cars and enjoy food, beer and music, but they also usually...

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Transform 285/400 traffic changes through April 22

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced the latest round of lane and ramp closures and other traffic changes for Transform 285/400, its massive project to reconstruct the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange. Schedules may change based on the work and the weather. Ga. 400 lane closures April 13-14: Northbound and southbound between Glenridge Connector and Pitts Road, alternating one right lane and one left lane, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. April 19-20: Northbound and southbound between Hammond Drive and Abernathy Road, one left lane, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. April 20-22: Northbound and southbound between Hammond Drive and Abernathy Road, two...

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Dispute over backyard swim lessons makes a splash in Sandy Springs City Hall

A dispute over a backyard swim lesson business is making a splash in Sandy Springs City Hall, dividing the City Council and neighbors, and raising the ire of more than 900 angry parents. Some supporters say that helpless children will drown if Swim With Allison can’t stay in business to teach them swimming. Despite such backyard lessons being illegal in residential areas, the city accidentally gave it a license for four years. Against the advice of the mayor and the city attorney, a special code designed to legalize the business is headed to the city Planning Commission — where...

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