**This story has been updated to correct an error concerning members versus board members of the Spading Woods Club membership.
Clif Poston nods his head as he listens to residents’ concerns about a plan for developing more than 100 townhomes on Spalding Drive.
The executive vice president of Traton Homes addressed community members for the first time April 28. The public meeting provided a chance for Poston on behalf of Traton Homes to answer questions people might have about the 11 acres of property the Spalding Woods Club members agreed to sell.
On Feb. 28, 109 members of the nonprofit Spalding Woods Club voted to sell the 11 acres as long as two conditions were met first, resident Richard Boswinkle said.
The first condition is that the rezoning must be approved by the Sandy Springs City Council and the second condition states the attorney general must not object to the plan of dissolution of the club.
Board member George Jones said that after the city approves rezoning, a plan of dissolution would be drafted and distribute profits from the sale of the property to members.
Boswinkle said he doesn’t believe the nonprofit Spalding Woods Club can legally dissolve and accept payment from the developer. He sent a letter to the attorney general, which received a response from Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Burnham.
Burnham opens her letter saying she provides general information about a specific code only, and not legal advice concerning Spalding Woods’ property. She writes in her letter to Boswinkle that “The Attorney General cannot consent to the transaction you have described and would object to any transaction in violation of the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code.”
Jones said he believes the second of two exceptions regarding permissible distributions by nonprofits mentioned in the letter from Burnham applies in this situation.
“The code section they referred to specifically was not the applicable code section,” he said.
Lorraine Glynn, who attended an annual meeting of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, returned to ask Poston about plans for the pool and amenities that she, as a homeowner, would likely have to pay to maintain in the future.
“Two of the reasons I moved in (to Lafayette Square) were one that it was going to be a small community; it was limited space, and two, there was no pool, there was no tennis court…there weren’t extras to impact my HOA fees,” Glynn said. “You’re talking about a pool that eventually the rest of us will have to pay for.”
Poston said Traton Homes will tear down the existing pool and clubhouse, but what will replace it has not yet been determined. He added that this meeting was the first public meeting, and that he came to show the plan and get feedback from those present.
“The last thing I want to do is to take homeowners and shove something down their throat—especially my homeowners,” Poston said.
Traton Homes is the developer for Lafayette Square and Poston said the company needs about six months of construction to finish the development that started in 2013. He called it a “work in progress.”
Resident of Brandon Mill Farms, Jim Smith, said he looks at the 60-foot pile of red dirt and debris left by Traton Homes’ construction crew. He said he doesn’t think residents in his condominium community matter to the developer because he hasn’t received any response.
Furthermore, Smith said with development of the Spalding Woods property, many trees would be cut. He asked Poston how Traton Homes would remedy the “raping of several acres of trees.”
Other resident of Lafayette Square, Tom Brzenk, asked about traffic backing up because the community has only one entrance. “What effect do we have?” he asked.
Kevin Howard, a planner with the city of Sandy Springs, said the feedback provided April 28 would be considered along with concerns shared with staff via email or phone. Additionally, Howard said a community development meeting is set for May 28, and a public hearing will take place June 19, where people can speak in front of planning commissioners.
Howard and Poston assured residents that traffic, hydrology and other studies related to the proposed development could still be ordered by the city. Howard suggested constituents email their elected officials.