Neighborhoods wanting security cameras at their entrances will now have the option of installing the equipment on public property following a Sandy Springs City Council vote on April 1.
“We are happy that the council acted so quickly in a way that recognized what its citizens were asking for,” said Karen Dabbs, secretary of the River Shore homeowners association.
The city’s new policy outlines a process for installing cameras on private property or public right of way, with all costs and monitoring in the hands of the neighborhoods.
The issue came to the forefront on March 18 when representatives from River Shore Estates requested that the city expedite their request to install security cameras at the entrance to their neighborhood. Cameras at the entrance would have to be installed on public right of way to be effective.
Vicky Jefson, vice president of River Shore’s homeowners association, told the council at the March 18 meeting that security cameras in the neighborhood were necessary following a spike in burglaries.
Councilman Graham McDonald, who represents the River Shores area, had asked the staff to expedite crafting a policy. “I’d like to again ask that we can be as accommodating as possible [for the River Shore request],” he said.
However, with the April 1 meeting agenda posted on the city’s website on March 28, a representative from the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods says it wasn’t enough time for other HOAs to weigh in.
“We wanted time to review the policy,” Tochie Blad said. “The Sandy Springs City Council showed poor governance with both writing and passing the security camera policy in the same night.” She added that she’s concerned there are provisions that will exclude some neighborhoods.
The policy that the staff presented during the April 1 meeting outlines three scenarios and rules when a neighborhood requests security camera installation.
Neighborhoods can install a camera in a private yard with no approval required, as long as the pole is less than 4 feet tall. Cameras on poles up to 12 feet may be installed in a front yard, but require city staff approval.
Or, if the camera must be situated on public right of way to be effective, the city will donate a small portion of land following advertised public hearings.
The council will have to approve handing over the right of way for what city staff said they expect to be a small portion of land, around 1 x 1 foot. This action would absolve the city of any liabilities in connection with the camera. The city would retain the option of taking the land back if needed.
In the last two scenarios, the cameras must have the support of all residents within 100 feet of the cameras, and 75 percent of neighborhood approval.