Author: Reporter Newspapers

Surprised at no runoff, MacGinnitie steps right up to city’s issues

By John Schaffner editor@reporternewspapers.net Doug MacGinnitie was sworn in as District 1 Sandy Springs city councilman Nov. 13 after defeating the three other contenders for the seat without a runoff, much to his surprise. “I don’t know anyone who was expecting it to be over after the first round,” the new city council member said in an interview with the Sandy Springs Reporter. “I was hopeful that if there was a runoff that I would be in it. I was pleasantly surprised there wasn’t a runoff.” If there had been a runoff, District 1 likely would not have had representation when the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan was voted on. “And there were a couple of other important items on the agenda that would have come up before the runoff,” he added. “So it is good for our district.” Asked what made him decide he wanted to seek this office, MacGinnitie said, “I grew up in Dunwoody and there are some parts of my childhood that I really like and cherish. Those parts don’t exist in the part of Dunwoody/Sandy Springs we live in. You cannot walk anywhere,” he explained. “You have to get in a car and drive. I would like to help change the city so that is no longer the case. “I also think it is important that a city have an excellent handle on what it...

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Residents give input on improving Peachtree Dunwoody corridor

By John Schaffner editor@reporternewspapers.net Resident comments from about 70 who attended the public information meeting about the Peachtree Dunwoody corridor improvements were overwhelmingly against the widening of Peachtree Dunwoody Road between Abernathy and Spalding Drive, and almost unanimous in wanting turn lane improvements at the Spalding Drive intersection. Several residents also expressed concern over developer Charles Robert’s plans for the stripped and barren development site on the east side of Peachtree Dunwoody Road almost across from the MARTA rail station. They wanted to know what Roberts plans to build there and what the impact might be on the corridor. City Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins, who represents District 4 where the Peachtree Dunwoody corridor is located, told the group that Robert’s property was zoned by Fulton County, prior to Sandy Springs becoming a city, for a mixed-use development with buildings that can go to 10, 12 or 14 stories. Jenkins said, however, Roberts has put the project on hold because of what he says is a “recession” period. She said he has 36 months from the time the zoning was passed to start construction, but must show progress along the way. He has one more year left of that 36-month period where he has to begin work. That is why he keeps earth moving machinery on the site and has recently planted grass, to remain in compliance with his zoning agreement....

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Widening concerns dominate Johnson Ferry meeting

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Sandy Springs residents sent city staff a clear message at a Nov. 5 public meeting to discuss future improvement plans for a local stretch of Johnson Ferry Road. Their message: Widening Johnson Ferry Road would be a disaster, with consequences for both residents along the busy thoroughfare and the city as a whole. Tentative plans for the stretch of Johnson Ferry from Abernathy Road to Hammond Rive, which includes the portion of the road that turns into Glenridge Drive as it approaches Hammond, have not even been created yet, but residents were quick to shoot down any notion of widening plans. Deputy Public Works Director John Drysdale characterized the future project as one of the most complicated the city has. He said, though, that the financial burden won’t only fall upon the city. “This is a federally funded project,” Drysdale said. “It’s got federal funds, state funds and city funds associated with it.” The Monday evening meeting was merely a sounding board for Drysdale and design consultants from Jordan, Jones and Goulding (JJ&G) to gather suggestion for the currently clean slate. Without even potential improvements to react to, residents took the reins and made their feelings extremely clear on what they did not want to see, rather than what they did. Resident Bill Cleveland, who lives just off Johnson Ferry on Wright Road, was the...

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Fulton Schools reveal 3 redistricting plans; Community debates pros and cons of maps

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net In front of a standing room-only crowd in the North Springs High School cafeteria on Nov. 13, the Fulton County school district unveiled three attendance zone plans for redistricting its Sandy Springs elementary schools. The plans affect existing elementary schools Dunwoody Springs, Heards Ferry, High Point, Spalding Drive and Woodland, as well as two new schools. One located at the intersection of Lake Forrest Drive and Cliftwood Drive will open in 2008. The second, located off Ison Road, will open in 2009. Representatives from the schools district, including Planning Director Patrick Burke and Area Superintendent Leonard Box, unveiled Plans A, B and C. Although both new schools are being redistricted at the same time, the overcrowding relief to existing schools will be staggered. Some will see relief with the first school’s debut, but others will have to wait until the 2009-2010 school year. Burke reiterated to some clearly disappointed parents that redistricting is not perfect and that each elementary school’s families will not be completely happy with each plan. He said not every recommendation can be fulfilled. “It’s impossible to balance these things perfectly,” Burke said. “It really is difficult to make all these things balance perfectly. None of these [plans] are perfect by any means.” The changes that come with each plan are as follows. Maps of each alternative can be viewed online at...

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Council favors $276,000 dog park proposal

By John Schaffner editor@reporternewspapers.net The Sandy Springs City Council—with a full complement of members for the first time since August—took a straw vote Nov. 13 on a dog park for the city as the first phase of a grander Morgan Falls Park. What they ended up supporting was the first plan drawn up by developer John Willis and the costliest. What first started out with the city discussing spending $25,000 to add a dog park at Ridgeview Park in the southeast part of the city off Peachtree Dunwoody Road, now is being estimated to cost over $276,000, with the city chipping in $150,000. But, as Mayor Eva Galambos indicated during the update discussion at the council’s work session, it is an investment into a much larger future park. That was pretty much the message developer John Willis sent to the council when he was called forward at the beginning of the meeting to provide an update on his efforts to design and find funding for a dog park at Morgan Falls so that the council would no longer consider the Ridgeview Park site, which is in Willis’ backyard. Willis showed council a Plan A and a Plan B for the dog park at Morgan Falls, Plan A being one he and his engineers drew up and Plan B being one that had been tweaked by the rowing club at...

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