Author: Reporter Newspapers

Development plan is now official

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net The document that will guide development in Sandy Springs for the next two decades has now become official. At its Nov. 20 meeting, the City Council passed the Sandy Springs 2025 Comprehensive Plan. Until then, development in Sandy Springs was guided by the Comprehensive Plan dictated by Fulton County prior to the community’s incorporation. An interim plan was adopted in June of 2006 and since that time, the race was on to complete a new plan. The city was led in its efforts by the Community Development Department and guided by the Citizens Advisory Committee, a group of about 30 residents with varying degrees of development knowledge and experience. Deputy Community Development Director Vann McNeill, who led the process, said the first CAC meeting was held on July 24, 2006. The state gave the city until Dec. 1 of this year to complete the process in order to obtain its Qualified Local Government certification from the state of Georgia. McNeill looked decidedly relieved when the council solidified more than 16 months of work on the part of the Community Development staff. “I am pleased that the work is done,” McNeill said. “This Comprehensive Plan is the first to be completed for the city that reflects a future vision developed through the guidance of the Mayor and City Council, Citizens Advisory Committee, Planning Commission, Design Review...

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‘Livable Centers Initiative’ will study Roswell Road corridor

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net As early as March of next year, the city should have a vision for reviving another portion of the Roswell Road corridor. Sandy Springs has contracted with the Sizemore Group to complete a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study that will examine ways to enhance the corridor from I-285 south to Meadowbrook Drive and from Lake Forrest Drive east to High Point Road. The LCI program is an initiative of the Atlanta Regional Commission and has several goals. First, it encourages a diversity of mixed-income residential neighborhoods, employment, shopping and recreation choices at the activity center, town center or corridor level. Second, it provides access to a range of travel modes including transit, roadways, walking and cycling to enable access to all uses within the study area. Finally, an LCI study looks to develop an outreach process that promotes the involvement of all community stakeholders, such as business leaders, homeowners’ associations, civic groups and city government itself. Sizemore, a planning and architectural firm, was also involved in the city’s previous LCI that brought streetscape improvements and changes in the zoning overlay district to the portion of the Roswell Road corridor north of I-285. At the Nov. 5 public meeting to kickoff the community input process for the study, Sizemore consultant Bill de St. Albin said the community has a chance, and the financial backing, to affect...

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Moratorium enacted on development at cemeteries

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Sandy Springs now has a temporary safeguard in place for those who have been laid to rest in cemeteries within the city limits. At its Nov. 20 meeting, the City Council approved a temporary, 90-day moratorium on development of land identified as a cemetery or burial ground. The moratorium, which was approved by a unanimous vote, was introduced by District 3 Councilman Rusty Paul. It was, in part, inspired by the Heard Family Cemetery on Heards Ferry Road, the fate of which in currently in limbo. “A situation has risen in Sandy Springs that we feel this resolution for a moratorium is required,” Paul said. The councilman said he introduced the moratorium to give city staff and City Attorney Wendell Willard time to study how the city should proceed in dealing with properties involving cemeteries or burial grounds. That time, in turn, will give staff a chance to make recommendations to the council for possible ordinances that may be needed to protect such areas within the city limits. Willard said there are already state laws existing to protect burial grounds, but local municipalities can enact their own laws. “State policy recognizes it’s important to protect those properties for the human dignity as well as for the cultural, spiritual and religious values,” Willard said. “Within that chapter, we have a provision that gives the local government...

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City approves Morgan Falls dog park plan

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Despite opposition from both the Pooch Park Pals and two council members, the city has approved Plan A for a dog park at Morgan Falls Park. The decision came in a 3 to 2 vote at the Nov. 20 regular meeting of the City Council. The dog park is being included in overall Phase I improvements to the Morgan Falls facility, which includes frontage on the Chattahoochee River. The plan design was approved by council members Dianne Fries, Ashley Jenkins and Tibby DeJulio and opposed by Doug MacGinnitie and Karen Meinzen McEnerny. The decision came after a more than six month odyssey that began with the city contributing $25,000 for a dog park at Ridgeview Park, which is in the southern portion of the city. The plan has now grown to include a $276,000 design, of which the city has committed to contributing $150,000. Members of the Pooch Park Pals, an advocacy group that campaigned early on in the dog park saga for a facility at Ridgeview Park, opposed Plan A both for its size and lack of trees that would provide shade for their canine friends. Both plans, however, featured separate areas for small and large dogs, with the latter including nine tenths of an acre on both plans. Each plan also featured a small dog area of approximately half an acre, but differed...

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Bye, bye American Pie: Iconic bar and restaurant ends 21-year run; city’s new closing time law affected sales

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net A symbol of fun times in Sandy Springs has now closed its doors for good. American Pie, the archetypal restaurant and bar that served as a prime weekend party spot in Sandy Springs for 21 years, closed on Nov. 30. Located within a literal stone’s throw of I-285 on Roswell Road, American Pie served as a haven for other soldiers in the hospitality trenches, a well known team trivia locale and the go-to spot for local radio station parties, especially if they included bikini-clad women during the warmer months of the year. Citing slow business and a decrease in liquor sales from an abbreviated, city-mandated “last call,” owner Richard Tyre said that, after 21 years, it is just time to move on from American Pie. Tyre took over the lease on the roughly 7,000 square foot facility in 1986 and has been the only owner since then. Tyre said that while changes in the community that came after the incorporation of Sandy Springs may have contributed to the loss in revenue, he respects both city leadership and what they’ve done to change the community for the better. “When Sandy Springs became a city, the liquor laws changed. From unincorporated Fulton, it went from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. for last call. We lost a couple hours and that hurt,” Tyre said. “The flip side of...

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