The new Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters and a related housing project got Planning Commission approval July 16—but only for half the requested number of apartment units.

Slashing the number of apartments from 399 to 199 was the commission’s nod to a large crowd that turned out to protest the controversial housing element. The roughly 200 residents were not appeased, with commission Chair Lee Duncan repeatedly threatening to throw them out for laughing or shouting out protests.

“They’re splitting the baby,” resident Todd Hennings said after the meeting.

The proposed mega-project combines 75 acres of largely wooded land along Glenridge Drive, straddling Abernathy Road. Mercedes plans its new headquarters at 6565 Glenridge Drive on the southern side. Ashton Woods would build a variety of housing types next to Mercedes, and also on another wooded parcel on the north side. That parcel is where the historic Glenridge Hall was controversial demolished earlier this year.

Residents are largely concerned about density and traffic impacts. The developers say the density would be lower than adjacent properties, and that traffic will be mitigated. Residents say the density calculations are improper and compromise the traffic details, too.

The residents made it clear they support the Mercedes headquarters part of the project. Their concerns focus on housing.

Lawyers on both sides weren’t thrilled by the commission’s decision, either.

Carl Westmoreland Jr., an attorney for housing developer Ashton Woods, said he does not think 199 units is feasible. Community conversations will continue, he said.

Hakim Hilliard, an attorney hired by more than a dozen homeowner associations, said the city has a “real legal quandary.” He claims the city is unlawfully considering two separate properties as one unified project.

The meeting included an appearance by the property’s seller, Caroline Glenn Mayson, who approved Glenridge Hall’s demolition. She said she got higher offers, but that Ashton Woods and Mercedes “show respect for green space” and have lower density—comments that drew laughter from the crowd. Mayson said this project is “head and shoulders, the best deal for our community.”

The commission’s recommendation to approve the project’s various zoning changes now heads to Sandy Springs City Council for a binding vote.

–John Ruch

7 replies on “Sandy Springs Planning Commission approves Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters plan — with fewer apartments”

  1. Sorry, I missed it. Congrats to the rowdy crowd. More traffic on Abernathy which is an ugly crowded slash thru Sandy Springs. Let’s remember “our” (developers) Mayor at the next election…

  2. You can now expect city attorney Willard to recommend a settlement in lieu of litigation compromise in favor of t he developer as has happened in the past when clients of attorney westmorland sue the city again.

  3. We live within 2 blocks of this new development and also work in Sandy Springs. We drive the side streets of Sandy Springs every day.

    The city is missing the mark on development. Everyone is focused on traffic on 400 and 285, but all of these developments are adding enormous stress to our side streets – the streets we all live on and drive daily.

    Hammond is an absolute disaster, yet they’re adding State Farm plus how many other buildings that will feed onto Hammond. I drive 2.2 miles home down Hammond and it can take me as long as 35 minutes.

    Barfield has turned into a race track since they opened up the Hammond interchange at 400. I don’t know who benefits from those ramps, but it isn’t the residents.

    I’m afraid the city is so excited about growth that they’re neglecting to look out 10, 20, 30 years to see the impacts that these developments are having on the RESIDENTS of Sandy Springs.

    I fully support development, but those of us who live, work and pay taxes in Sandy Springs want to be able to continue to LIVE here. I hope the city council doesn’t forget that we residents are their primary responsibility.

    1. I have attempted to discuss this personally with our Mayor, he blew me off faster than a blown save for the Atlanta Braves. He simply has no concern for the neighborhoods…None.

  4. The comments from Caroline Glenn Mayson just solidify how clueless she is to this development – such a sad sad ending for her estate.

  5. The government of SS has gone overboard in the approval of mega developments in the past few years. The entire council and mayor should be thrown out of office for dereliction of duty. None have even remotely attuned themselves to the founding Comprehensive Plan. Regardless of interpretation, the Plan should be the guiding document for the city. All of the elected and appointed officials in the city have caved in to all of the development and political interests in our community. Shame on all of them for destroying our community. Remember these things when election time comes around. Throw them all out of office. New faces will be better than what we are stuck with today.

  6. The staff and the commissioners of the SS Planning Commission are a joke. Professionals do not make laughable recommendations like “traffic will not be affected” by such a major development. The citizens of SS are upset because of the way we are treated by such professionals in a public forum. These clowns make the Russian government look like a model to be emulated by all. What a joke we have in SS.

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