A massive reform of Sandy Springs’ planning process—including a completely new zoning code and more community meetings—is the works.

The current process has “a lot that happens not too much in the public eye,” said Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert, presenting a draft reform proposal to Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council on Aug. 4.

The goal is to increase transparency in the process, boost public engagement and make development reviews easier to understand. Some of the ideas: replacing the widely criticized current zoning code with a new Unified Development Ordinance; requiring a pre-application community meeting; and requiring easier-to-read signs at project sites explaining the plan and zoning changes.

“The more people under the process, the more people feel engaged in the process, the better off we’ll be,” Paul said. “I think these are all great improvements.”

City staff aims to craft the new planning process over the next six months. The full presentation of the first draft is available here.

–John Ruch