Author: Reporter Newspapers

Planning unit defers large development on Glenridge

By John Schaffner editor@reporternewspapers.net The Sandy Springs Planning Commission on Dec. 20 deferred for 90 days the proposed large mixed-use redevelopment of the Lakeside complex at 5775 and 5795 Glenridge Drive in order to allow a full review of the project and its impact on traffic and the surrounding neighborhoods. The tone of the discussion among commission members suggested a favorable decision on the project after they have more time to study it. The development plan calls for replacing a present development with two mid-size office buildings into a large mixed-use development with 1,125,000 square feet of new and existing office space, 300 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-room hotel. The motion to defer, which was made by commission member Lee Duncan, specifically requested that the city council go along with the deferral and send the requested rezoning and four concurrent variance requests back to the Planning Commission for further review. The city’s staff had approved the zoning and variance requests. Duncan called the plan outlined by De Little of Greenstone Properties, LLC and attorney Carl Westmoreland for the Lakeside property an “extremely energetic redevelopment proposal for this area.” Saying he spoke for others on the commission as well, Duncan said about the proposal, “Much is very positive. “We recognize the impact this is going to have on the area outside of the development,”...

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Council invokes eminent domain for Abernathy Rd. homes;

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net After negotiations hit an impasse, the Sandy Springs City Council approved the use of eminent domain to obtain two properties that are holding up progress on construction of the Abernathy Greenway Linear Park. At its Dec. 18 meeting, council voted unanimously to move forward with eminent domain proceedings to obtain the properties at 70 and 205 Abernathy Road. Both lots are in the direct path of the future Abernathy Greenway Linear Park. The city’s Public Works Director Angelia Parham told the council that negotiations for both properties were deadlocked and that purchase of the lots could not move forward without the use of eminent domain, which is a form of property condemnation. The property at 70 Abernathy Road is located six lots east of the intersection with Brandon Mill Road. Currently owned by Charles Cope, the residential lot comprises just .0236 of an acre according to the Fulton County Tax Assessor web site. Similarly, the property at 205 Abernathy Road is owned by the estate of Whit A. Johnson and is situated just west of Roswell Road and just east of Wright Road. Its size is just less than one acre. Neither of the property owners was present at the council meeting nor available for comment at press time. District 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny commended the Public Works Department staff for using traditional means...

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City celebrates with second birthday party

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net With cake and gifts on hand, the city of Sandy Springs celebrated its second birthday before the Dec. 4 City Council meeting. Since the residents of Sandy Springs approved incorporation during a summer special election in 2005, City Manager John McDonough said the city government has grown to include six major departments, including police, fire, recreation and parks, public works, community development and administrative services. Through contractor CH2M Hill, the city employs approximately 350 people. With all that support, Mayor Eva Galambos said she was proud of what the city has accomplished in such a short time. “The most amazing thing is what we’ve been able to do with the public safety,” Galambos said. “To be able to put the kind of police coverage on the streets that we have, compared to what we had when we started, that is the most notable thing that people have talked to me about. They’re so grateful for the police presence. They feel more secure.” McDonough agreed that establishing the city’s public safety departments was among Sandy Springs’ crowning achievements over the last two years, along with the “completion of the Comprehensive Plan that will guide future development in the city. The city began a major road paving project for city streets and synchronized traffic signals along Roswell Road to improve traffic flow,” he noted. The city reached...

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Sandy Springs files suit over Fulton County billboard ruling

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Following a Dec. 5 ruling by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to place 23 billboards within the city limits of Sandy Springs, the city has now filed a lawsuit to stop the sky-high advertisements from invading the community. At the board meeting, Fulton commissioners voted 4 to 3 to a number of billboards in the newly created cities of North Fulton. Of the 23 billboards approved for Sandy Springs, 22 would be placed along the roughly nine miles of Roswell Road that travels down the center of the city. The vote also calls for 15 billboards in Milton and 31 in Johns Creek. City Attorney Wendell Willard said the county’s decision came with the reasoning that the approved billboards, which total 69 for the newly incorporated north Fulton cities, are being approved based on applications filed prior to the incorporation of the City of Sandy Springs. “What the theory behind it anyway is they’re backdating the permits to the time when the ‘applications’ were filed by these billboard companies,” Willard said. “They’re saying they’ll grant them the permit at the time of application and therefore, they’d be grandfathered. By reason of these cities coming into existence, their permit existed prior to the creation of the city.” However, Willard said the city has still not been able to pinpoint when the various billboard applications were...

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City Council to vote on impact fee ordinance at next session

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net After its Dec. 11 work session, the City Council is now poised to vote on an impact fee ordinance that will assess a cost to developers for new growth. The ordinance will cover monetary payments imposed on developers as a condition of development approval to pay for a proportional share of the cost of the city’s system improvements needed to serve new growth and development. The city’s impact fees will only apply to new development and can not be applied retroactively. Final adoption of the ordinance is scheduled to occur at the Dec. 18 regular session of the council. Authorization for implementing an impact fee program comes, in part, through the Capital Improvements Element (CIE) of the Comprehensive Plan. The CIE includes a list of projects eligible for capital funding through an impact fee program. Final approval of the ordinance can only come now after the city officially approved its own Comprehensive Plan at its Nov. 20 regular meeting. In February, the Impact Fee Advisory Committee (IFAC) began meeting with Deputy Development Director Vann McNeill. The seven-member IFAC team includes Donna Gathers, executive director of the Sandy Springs Business Association, J. David Nickles, Joel Griffin, Bill Gannon, Neal Nodvin, Seth Weissman and Patrick Dennis. McNeill said one of the first things the IFAC looked at was the impact fee programs of surrounding jurisdictions of Roswell,...

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