By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

At a special March 3 meeting, the Sandy Springs Planning Commission approved a scaled-down version of a proposed re-development of the Lakeside office complex on Glenridge Drive, giving its acceptance to an initial new 16-story office building, 300 residential units and a 200-room hotel for the site.

Members of the commission had previously sent developer D. Little and his partners away from its regular Feb. 21 meeting with specific marching orders on changes that would have to be made to the original site plan in order for the commission to approve the re-development.

Commission member Wayne Thatcher had taken the lead in negotiating between representatives of the surrounding neighborhoods, the Council of Neighborhoods and the developers to reach a compromise that would be acceptable to all on a a piece of property he described as being “way underused” at present.

Thatcher’s marching orders to the developers on Feb. 21 had been to come back on March 3 with a plan that met the following criteria:

• No free-standing retail buildings,

• A residential component that either conformed to a height requirement of four stories or was moved further back in the development,

• Either move the hotel back into the higher density area of the development for greater height or increase its footprint, and

• Do the project incrementally, coming back to the commission for approval of the second 16-story office building at a later date and after a new traffic study had been completed.

Commission member Susan Mazer also wanted a 70-foot setback from Glenridge Drive, 30 percent of open space with 15 percent of that being green space.

The development team returned to the March 3 meeting having re-submitted a new site plan that virtually met all of the requests made by the commission at its Feb. 21 meeting.

Donald Boyken, who had told the developers they had the opportunity “to make this a great corner of the city,” meticulously went through each of the original city development staff recommended conditions at the March 3 meeting, enumerating those that now needed to be altered or eliminated with the commission’s approval of the new site plan.

Those changes included a reconfiguration of all of the densities from the original proposed plan, based on the approval of just one 16-story office building and no free-standing retail buildings.

The new site plan also has four-story residential buildings on top of a two-story parking deck, but the residential will only be four-stories maximum at the frontage on Glenridge.

While the new site plan shows a less than 70-foot setback from Glenridge on a portion of the residential and hotel structures, it was felt the setback met the requirements.