By John Schaffner
A presentation made at the beginning of the Feb. 20 Sandy Springs City Council meeting marked another momentous step in the transition from the early efforts seeking a city of Sandy Springs to recognition of the city Sandy Springs is today.
Councilman Tibby DeJulio, joined at the podium by Councilman Rusty Paul, looked squarely at Mayor Eva Galambos and said: “Madam mayor, about 20 years ago we sat around your dining room table and we formed an organization called Citizens for Sandy Springs. We made a pledge at that time that when Sandy Springs became a city we would abandon the organization,” he recalled.
“About a year ago, the organization, of which Rusty is vice president and I am president presented the city with a check for about $52,000 to give us some seed money to get started. Right now, I am going to ask Rusty to give you a check for the rest of the money in here. We are now officially folding this organization, because there is no longer any need for it,” DeJulio stated. “We have a check here for the Friends of Sandy Springs for $14,000.”
Having marked that transition, longtime friends and associates in the battle to create the city of Sandy Springs turned to the business at hand—zoning issues, approving liquor licenses and passing ordinances and resolutions.
The first item on the agenda was a request from Ronald Burton to rezone the property at 5160 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road from R-2 to R-3 to allow development of two single-family lots outside the minimum size requirements set forth in the land-use plan.
Attorney Pete Hendricks said his client simply wanted council to follow the precedent that had been established in allowing four nearby properties on the that stretch of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road to be developed outside the limits of the plan.
The city’s staff recommended denial of the application and, after hearing several residents speak against the application, the council also voted to deny the application.
Council, however, looked more favorably upon two other zoning applications. One was to allow the car wash property at 8825 Dunwoody Place (near Roswell Road) to be changed from C-1 community business district to C-2 commercial so that an emissions inspection station could be added to the car wash operations.
The other approved application was for rezoning the property at 5757 Riverside Drive from R-2 conditional to R-2 for the development of two single-family homes for the parents and children of the same family. The only discussion on this application involved removing the 35-foot height restriction and changing it to two stories to avoid dealing with infill zoning matters on a piecemeal basis.
The council then adopted an ordinance amending the regulation of solid waste collection services within the city and providing for the scope and nature of operation for those services and approved an ordinance granting a franchise to Atlanta Gas Light Company that should generate in excess of $700,000 per year in revenues to the city for at least 10 years and possibly up to 50 years.
The most discussion of the evening among council members involved adoption of rules and regulations involving the city’s parks and recreation operations. Councilman Dave Greenspan, backed by council members Paul and Karen Meinzen-McEnerny favored amending the ordinance to ban all smoking, by adults and minors, in the city’s parks. However, after comments from council members Ashley Jenkins and DeJulio that the council attempts to overly regulate every activity in the city, the mayor cast the tie-breaking vote that denied the amendment to ban all smoking in the parks, but passed then passed the parks and recreation ordinance.
Council then also approved a temporary city storm water policy with the direction to the Public Works Department that it begin working on a long-range policy and storm water utility plan and begin by reviewing a program recently instituted by the city of Roswell.
Before the meeting ended, City Manager John McDonough gave a thorough review of the events surrounding the five-day water crisis in the city and the role city officials played in dealing with the crisis and in working with the city of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management and Fulton County officials, as well as residents, businesses and medical institutions.