Author: Reporter Newspapers

Police drafting false alarm ordinance with fines

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net The Sandy Springs Police Department is in the final stages of drafting a false alarm ordinance for the city, complete with an escalating schedule of fines up to $500 per call for continued false alarms at an individual residence or business. The move has come after several months of the department responding to around 900 alarm calls every month. Routinely, less than one half of one percent of those calls are true alarm calls and the problem has put a strain on the department’s resources. Each false alarm call reportedly takes an average of 30 minutes to respond to and clear. Lt. James Fraker said final details of the ordinance are still being worked out before the law is sent to the City Council for approval, but the outline is clear. “There are going to be fines involved for false alarms…where we get there and there’s no reason that the alarm should have gone off except for mechanical failure or somebody didn’t set it properly,” Fraker said. Within a permit year, residents and business owners will be allowed two false alarms without being charged. The third, fourth and fifth false alarms will cost $50 each. The sixth and seventh false alarms will cost $100 each. The eighth and ninth calls will cost $250 each and each false alarm that is the tenth incident or above...

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Lawsuit gives Roberts Drive development a second chance

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Facing a lawsuit filed by Lefko Investments that it might not win, Sandy Springs has decided to re-initiate a controversial Roberts Drive development rezoning request that was denied by the City Council seven months ago. The case stems from the council’s March 20 denial of Mark Lefkovits’ request to rezone his company’s 3.2-acre property, containing the lots at 9670, 9680 and 9710 Roberts Drive, from a Community Unit Plan (CUP) district to an “A” classification, which is described as a medium density apartment district. Lefko came to the council with a plan to build 19 detached townhomes, a figure reduced by more than 50 percent from his original request, at a density of 5.94 units per acre. The density is well below the current land use density of eight to 12 units per acre in the Interim Comprehensive Plan. However, during the summer the council voted on more than 40 land use changes and this portion of Roberts Drive was reduced to a density of one- to two-units per acre. The new plan has not yet been approved by the state so the new density is not legal at this time. Nor was it legal when Lefko originally filed for rezoning. Documents from the Fulton County Superior Court show that Lefko filed its original petition against the city on April 18, less than 30 days...

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City to consider early warning siren system

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Who would object to investing $205,000 for an emergency early warning system that might save hundreds of lives if tornadoes or worse should descend on the city? Just such a proposal by Fire and Rescue Department’s Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Jeff Scarbrough caused a protracted debate at the Oct. 9 City Council work session. Specifically, Scarbrough asked to city to consider investing the funds in an early warning system that would place a series of sirens atop 100-foot steel poles throughout the city. The siren system is the kind many communities use to warn residents of impending serious weather in order to allow them to to seek immediate shelter. The sirens transmit at approximately 130 decibels and have a radius of about three and a half miles. The proposal, which will have to be heard at a regular meeting of the council to gain final approval, was approved by a vote of 3 to 2, but not before the issue caused an acrimonious debate between City Manager John McDonough and a few dissenting members of the council. In his presentation, Scarbrough said the systems his department has researched typically include three to six different sirens that can be used to signal specific emergencies. The department proposed installing the sirens in two phases. Phase 1 would include four sites along different Roswell Road regions. Phase 2...

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Council approves Glenridge parking deck

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Despite a majority of objections from residents, the City Council has approved a two-story parking deck for an existing Glenridge Drive business. The move came in a three to one vote, which was a lower vote ratio than normal due to the absence of District 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny. The site plan includes the deck being built at 5416 and 5424 Glenridge Drive, which already contains applicant Alpha 7 LLC’s two office buildings. The property, which is located about 780 feet from the Roswell Road intersection, is bordered by the Glenridge Drive post office to the west, an oncology office to the east on Glenridge Drive, single family homes on Tall Oaks Drive to the north and the Willow Glen townhomes to the south. Alpha 7 was actually seeking a three-story parking deck, as well as a number of modifications and concurrent variances regarding buffers, setbacks and landscaping strips. City staff recommended conditional approval. At three stories, the deck would have included 75 parking spaces, but at just two stories, it will only include 50 spaces. Several residents spoke in opposition to the project at any level and cited as justification the city’s recent land use votes in its Comprehensive Plan process. Those designations, however, are not legal yet and cannot be considered in rezoning applications until the state approves the Comprehensive Plan. “It’s...

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Library master plan shortchanges city; No new library, major facility changes slated for Sandy Springs

By Katie Fallon katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net Sandy Springs has only one public library for its residents, and it appears that one library is not a top priority in the county’s library facility master plan. “The master plan does not include any increase of facilities for Sandy Springs, despite our having one of the highest circulation patterns in the entire (Fulton County) library system,” said Mayor Eva Galambos, expressing her disappointment about the master plan proposals. Since September, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System has been holding public input meetings to share the results of the group’s systemwide master plan. The meetings, which will continue to be held throughout the county into the month of November, are revealing the plan’s conclusions about which libraries need to be replaced, which need to be expanded and which need renovations. The master plan, which was developed by the Sizemore Group, recommends the construction of 10 new library facilities, a major expansion and improvement of the Auburn Avenue Research Library and a complete renovation of the Central Library. It also calls for basic renovations and improvements at 27 existing branches, including the Sandy Springs Library. Some of the new libraries will replace existing branches. The library system held its Sandy Springs meeting on Oct. 3 at the regional library on Mt. Vernon Highway. Led by the system’s Branch Services Manager Anne Haimes, the meeting drew members of...

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