To the editor:
After considerable expense, citizen/staff energy and consultation, Sandy Springs developed its Land Use Plan (LUP) in 2007. It is the tangible manifestation of the citizens’ vision for our city. All plans require periodic review, and the mayor and city council have initiated an early review.
In this process, the first question should be “How well has the approved plan met our goals?”
That question is impossible to answer because the 2007 LUP isn’t being followed.
Since Jan.1, 2014, the city has denied only three of the more than 40 variance applications covered by the LUP.
A cost-effective, transparent review process is very simple:
1. Identify sections which have proven inadequate and/or caused confusion and state what the problems have been.
2. Suggest remedies to the identified problems.
3. Present both the original document and proposed changes with rationales in readable, clear language, to the public.
What purpose is served in initiating a new “visioning” process, involving mostly the same residents as in 2007, and hiring a consulting firm (for $800,000) to hold brainstorming community meetings, that replicate an already accomplished process?
I can think of none. It is not reasonable to presume that in only eight years the perspective of residents has changed dramatically. What has changed is the increased demand by developers to use our land to enhance their profits.
Be sure to let the mayor and council members know your thoughts.
–Susan Joseph is a member of the board of the Watershed Alliance of Sandy Springs.