Citing a desire to meet the city’s outlined vision for development of Roswell Road and the City Center area, the Sandy Springs City Council on Jan. 6 enacted a 120-day moratorium on applications for new convenience stores.

The vote halts land use petitions and development permit applications for any convenience store on any parcel in Sandy Springs.

That action allows city staff to study “where we believe [convenience stores] would be appropriately located, and ensures that our zoning ordinance and development regulations are in sync with what we are trying to achieve in our Comprehensive Plan . . . as well as with the City Center Master Plan,” Community Development Director Angela Parker told the council.

The moratorium does not affect any applications that were submitted before the Jan. 6 vote.

The moratorium resolution defines convenience stores as establishments that offer a limited variety of groceries, household goods and personal care items along with a gas station.

In response to a question from Councilman John Paulson, Parker said that the city is not looking to change what’s considered a convenience store, just stores’ future locations.

The resolution cites a recent increase in applications for development of convenience stores, and states that more convenience stores are not in line with the city’s planning initiatives. It also states that the city has a particular interest in redeveloping Roswell Road.

The Comprehensive Plan and the City Center Master plan call for more upscale, mixed-use developments on Roswell Road. The city’s Comprehensive Plan describes Roswell Road now as “one of the least desirable land use characteristics in Sandy Springs.” It says it can be fixed by combining transportation, land use and urban design principals.

Mayor Rusty Paul has called plans for the future City Center a “catalyst” for redeveloping Roswell Road.

This moratorium isn’t the first time the council has taken action to make sure development lines up with city plans.

On Sept. 2 the city approved changes to its zoning ordinance, following a moratorium on apartments, giving the council more power over apartment development.

The council voted to eliminate a clause that allowed apartment developers to obtain permits in commercially zoned districts. That action now forces developers interested in building apartments in those districts to appear before the council for a rezoning.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.