In an effort to smartly manage future development, the city of Sandy Springs is exploring making changes to its Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2007, and zoning codes.

“It’s pretty evident to me we need to move forward and move forward quickly,” Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert told the city council on March 4.

Tolbert presented a plan that outlined priorities and a schedule for enacting the changes. While the Comprehensive Plan is due to be updated in 2017, he said work should begin on it now.

“There are a number of relevant issues that it raises but it doesn’t address how to deal with those – things like fixing Roswell Road, how to redevelop older apartment complexes, how to address infill development issues, dealing with the interface between neighborhoods and commercial corridors, particularly along Roswell Road, development of multimodal transportation networks, a better emphasis on transit-oriented development and access.”

Tolbert said recent actions by the city shine a light on a disconnect between the zoning ordinance and development the City Council desires. Those actions include three moratoriums, 16 zoning amendments and major amendments to development regulation to protect natural resources.

“As we’ve heard from the council, several things you want to make sure that we do as we move forward is ensure the plan is economically feasible and that it reflects current and projected market conditions,” Tolbert said, as well as include appropriate densities for apartment redevelopment and new multifamily development, including workforce housing.

While the plan could take a year to be completed, Tolbert said.

Due to pressure from the development community, the city should come up with interim guidelines on desired aesthetics, mix of uses, density and pedestrian access, he said.

“Instead of just saying we want to see retail with residential, [we need to give] some idea of what that means,” he said.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.