Author: John Ruch

Sandy Springs council tables sidewalk policy changes

Sandy Springs City Council on Aug. 4 held off on finalizing changes to the sidewalk construction policy until September, buying a little more time to get it right. The existing rules, requiring virtually any real estate development to build a new sidewalk, are widely disliked as piecemeal and pricey to single-family homeowners. Last month, the city exempted most single-family properties from the sidewalk policy as an interim step. Properties within the city’s sidewalk master plan are not exempt. At the Aug. 4 meeting, Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert presented a final version of the policy change, which was essentially the same. However, some details were still up for tweaking, including the dollar amount on the option to pay into a sidewalk construction fund rather than directly build the sidewalk. At the suggestion of Councilman Andy Bauman, the council tabled the discussion and decision to get more input and get all the policy’s pieces in...

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Evangelist indicted in Boyer’s DeKalb corruption scheme

An evangelist is facing federal corruption charges for his role in the kickback scheme involving former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, according to an ajc.com report. Rooks Boynton allegedly accepted $85,000 in county funds for false “consulting” services in 2009 through 2011, then kicked back a large portion of the money to Elaine Boyer and her husband John. John Boyer pleaded guilty this year to arranging the kickback scheme and is awaiting sentencing, according to an FBI press release. Elaine Boyer pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges involving personal spending with a county-issued Visa card. She resigned and is currently in federal prison in Florida. Boynton, 73, was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of federal program theft and conspiracy, according to ajc.com. Elaine Boyer’s scheme was just one of several corruption scandals plaguing DeKalb County. Investigators hired by CEO Lee May to dig into the county’s problems recently declared the government to be “rotten to the core,” sparking criticism from May and a dispute about when that final report will be...

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Mountain Way Common food truck event suspended

A weekly food truck event at the Mountain Way Common park, originally scheduled to repeat this evening, has been suspended due to lack of a city permit, according to the North Buckhead park’s friends group. “Unfortunately, we were recently notified by the city of Atlanta that we need to suspend our food truck Wednesdays at Mountain Way Common until we obtain a city permit,” reads a statement on the park’s Facebook page. “Atlanta Street Food Coalition, who is responsible for permitting the event, is working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible since the event is so popular. We will keep you posted on our progress and hope to bring back your Wednesday night dinner option very soon!” A city of Atlanta spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the permit issue. The Atlanta Street Food Coalition and the Friends of Mountain Way Common did not respond to questions. Mountain Way Common is a green space off Mountain Way, running along Little Nancy Creek, and accessed at 4134 N. Ivy Road. A groundbreaking to turn the area into a full-fledged park was held in April. The park has hosted food trucks on Wednesday nights since May, according to the friends group’s Twitter account. The event is called “Food Truckin’ Wednesday.” For more information, see Mountain Way Common on Facebook or @MountainWayComm on Twitter. The friends group’s website is...

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Traditional public housing meets its end

Traditional public housing is coming to end at the last two county-run properties in Sandy Springs. One is being rehabbed and converted to a public-private affordable housing partnership, while the other will be sold and demolished. The apartment towers at 144 Allen Road, which provide affordable housing to seniors and people with disabilities, is in the midst of a $10 million renovation by the Housing Authority of Fulton County in partnership with the Benoit Group and the Raymond James investment firm. Renamed Sterling Place, the 100-unit Allen Road building is changing from county-run public housing to voucher-based subsidized housing. And the nine-unit public housing complex at 151 W. Belle Isle Road is being sold to a shopping center developer for use as parking. That aging property is too expensive to maintain, said Teresa Davis at HAFC. The federal government is “really trying to get out of the business of public housing,” Davis said. Instead, it is encouraging voucher-based programs and other solutions. Rehab on the eight-story Allen Road complex’s east tower was completed earlier this year. Late last month, residents began moving out of the west tower for rehab there, targeted to finish next February. The residents are temporarily living at three private apartment complexes in Sandy Springs, with HAFC paying the difference in their rent, Davis...

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