Sandy Springs City Council put a 180-day moratorium on many new rezoning applications on July 21—the same night it dealt with major rezonings on Roswell Road and the Glenridge Connector.
The six-month moratorium affects rezonings for apartments, commercial, business, office or mixed-use classifications. It gives the council breathing room while the city updates its Comprehensive Plan over the next year or so. The current Comprehensive Plan has proven inadequate or contradictory in the current building boom, councilman said.
“We have gotten into a bad pattern…[of determining] land use by zoning case,” said Mayor Rusty Paul.
The council had two prime examples earlier in the meeting, where it tried to tweak projects amid vague zoning definitions.
A major, long-delayed mixed-use project at 6075-6077 Roswell Road got rezoning approval—but only for 291 multifamily housing units instead of the 324 applied for. Amid density concerns from the public, that number was the council’s best guess at hitting a number closer to surrounding projects. It remains to be seen if homebuilder Camden USA will find that feasible.
At 5575 Glenridge Connector, the council essentially asked Glenridge Highland III, LLC to withdraw its application for a roughly 300,000-square-foot office building amid traffic concerns. One complication: the property is designated a “Live Work Community” in the current Comprehensive Plan, even though it already has a 19-story office tower on it.
Project attorney Woody Galloway said the developers would give the city an extra $500,000 for long-term traffic fixes. But Paul said, “I’m probably going to veto anything over 185,000 square feet” with the traffic and long-term planning concerns.
Galloway said the project has an interested tenant and will have to see if a smaller building proposed by the council at 175,000 square feet would be feasible.
The rezoning moratorium does not affect such projects already in the pipeline. But it is in effect immediately on any new requests and can be renewed if the council finds it necessary.