Buckhead and Sandy Springs residents who live near a proposed mixed-use development on Roswell Road say the developer’s latest plans are still too dense, but otherwise moving in the right direction.
Developer JLB Partners on April 9 submitted redesigned plans to the city of Sandy Springs for the project at the intersection of Wieuca and Roswell roads near Chastain Park.
The plans still call for 700 apartments, but the new concept drawings reconfigure the space on the 21.3-acre site to lower the height of the buildings. Instead of a seven-story parking deck, which was a point of contention among neighbors, the site plan splits the parking between two buildings housing apartments.
JLB intends to develop 90,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of office in addition to the apartments, plans show. The developer is requesting the city of Sandy Springs to grant several zoning variances to allow the project to move forward. According to the newest timetable provided by the city to residents, the project could be up for consideration at the June 18 City Council meeting.
Trisha Thompson Fox, a member of Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, said she thinks the neighbors can work with these proposals going forward.
“Traffic and density are still going to be a major concern,” Fox said. “The traffic is going to be tremendous, a little over 10,000 vehicle trips a day. They have done a better job, a much better job, on this site plan than the first site plan. This one promises to be a lot more engaging, a lot more pedestrian friendly a lot more walkable for the people who choose to live in those apartments.”
Gordon Certain, secretary for the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, sent the following email outlining his thoughts on the new design:
“This is much improved but there are some issues remaining:
“The overall development is much denser than it ought to be: 436 old apartments are being replaced by 700 nicer apartments and 120,000 square feet of retail/office. Roswell Road and the streets that feed it are already extremely congested at times; area gridlock occurs when major Chastain Amphitheater events are held. The original plan would put a bunch of new traffic on area streets. The developers say the new plan won’t reduce that traffic increase. They really need to reduce traffic for the neighborhoods’ sake and for their own – the only way to do that is lower density.
“The parking lot in front of the ‘market’ at the north end of the development is out of character with the rest of the frontage. Modern design guidelines would put parking in the back of the store. That would also simplify the travel route to the store and would look better.
“There is concern about a new driveway along the back of the development (in back of people’s backyards). Is it appropriately screened? Will it encourage a lot of unwelcome traffic onto West Wieuca Road.
“There are significant issues with GRTA mandated changes to area streets.
“Some people will lose their homes and many businesses will be impacted by the GRTA-mandated relocation of Windsor Parkway intersection at Roswell Road. The realigned street lines up with the new plan’s main entrance. See http://nbca.org/SSGateway/New%20Area%20Plan%204-9-13.pdf.
“GRTA wants the city of Atlanta to pay for a new left-turn (third) lane into the project from eastbound West Wieuca Road. The city of Atlanta will get nothing from this development except more traffic and yet it has to spend its own very limited infrastructure cash to help increase Sandy Springs’ tax base. I wonder how committed our city will be to helping this project along – the new lane will require taking of commercial land through threat of eminent domain.
“The developers have done a pretty decent job at listening to neighborhood comments. Now, in addition to some loose ends, they need to seriously look at reducing the project’s density.”