Author: Reporter Newspapers

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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Sandy Springs/ Perimeter CofC launches Jan. 1

The Sandy Springs Business Association announced Dec. 12 that it will be operating under the name Sandy Springs / Perimeter Chamber of Commerce starting January 1. “We are very excited about forming the new chamber,” says Wanda Buckley, who will serve as chairperson for the new organization. “The Sandy Springs Business Association was founded over nine years ago and has grown to serve more than 400 members,” Buckley explained. “The new Chamber of Commerce will allow us to continue this growth and provide even more support for our membership in the Sandy Springs and Perimeter area. We look forward to working with the other chambers in metro Atlanta. ” “Congratulations to all those who have worked to form the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce,” said Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos. “The business community deserves strong representation and leadership.” This is not the first time Sandy Springs has had a chamber of commerce. Many of the old time business and political leaders who were active in the then unincorporated area during the 1980s and early 1990s will recall an earlier Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce, which merged in the 1990s with the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce to become the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. At the time the boards of both chambers endorsed the merger, believing that the combined efforts of the two organizations would provide a stronger...

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Redistricting of city schools now down to 2 drafts of maps

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Another packed cafeteria greeted Fulton Schools officials Dec. 10 as they unveiled drafts of two plans for redistricting Sandy Springs’ elementary schools. The drafts were revealed in the third and final round of public meetings held to garner input from Sandy Springs parents about how to incorporate two new elementary schools into existing attendance zones. The drafts were preceded by three plans previously revealed at the district’s round two meeting on Nov. 13. Planners from the Fulton County School District applied comments received at the round two meeting to come up with the most recent drafts. After taking the input received at the final meeting into consideration, planners will then draft a final map to recommend to the Fulton Board of Education. The board will have first readings of the map in its Jan. 8 and 17 meetings and have a discussion and final vote at its Feb. 12 and 21 meetings. The redistricting is necessary because of the two new elementary schools that will open in Sandy Springs in the next two years. The new school being built on the corner of Lake Forrest Drive and Cliftwood Road is scheduled to open for the 2008-2009 school year, and a school still in the design phase is scheduled to open for the 2009-2010 school year west of Roswell Road on Ison Road. Existing elementary schools...

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