An illustration of housing in the proposed Glenn West development at 6500 Glenridge Drive.
An illustration of housing in the proposed Glenn West development at 6500 Glenridge Drive.

The Glenn West project and an Atlanta Country Day School expansion were approved by Sandy Springs City Council Nov. 17. A proposal for townhomes on Northwood Drive didn’t fare so well, with the council denying its rezoning amid local opposition.

The Glenn West project at 6500 Glenridge Drive will turn a 36-acre wooded site into housing built by Ashton Woods and new sports fields for the neighboring Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. The housing component will include 50 townhomes and 49 detached houses.

The project was supported by residents who previously were at odds with Ashton Woods over its hotly controversial housing around the future Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters site nearby. “We didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but we got 99 percent of what we wanted,” said resident Matt LaMarsh, who represented several homeowner associations. “I think, overall, it’s going to be a fantastic project.”

Likewise, Ashton Woods compromised far more than on the Mercedes-related site. Mike Busher of Ashton Woods said that having a neighborhood point person was key. “It allowed us to have a reasonable debate…and ultimately there was a compromise,” he said.

The council praised the community and the developers for working together. Before approving the rezoning and variances, they tacked on another requirement at a resident’s suggestion: the housing will not have gated access, to improve walkability and prevent traffic backups.

The Atlanta Country Day School, a private college-prep school at 8725 Dunwoody Place, recently changed ownership and intends to expand, its officials said. The school currently has 48 students in grades 10 to 12. It aims to boost enrollment to 100 students and add grades 6 to 9.

City staff recommended denying a new use permit, citing the school’s failure to file a certification of its enrollment and concerns about insufficient parking. But the council wasn’t so worried about old paperwork and found the parking a problem in theory, not in practice.

The council was not so welcoming of developer Rockhaven Homes’ proposal at 45 Northwood Drive at the corner of Lake Forrest Drive. Rockhaven sought to replace an existing single-family house with a 16-unit townhome complex.

Rockhaven argued that rezoning the property as a townhouse district better matches the uses and densities on that street. Several councilmen said that’s an interesting point to discuss. But, they added, that discussion should happen in the city’s ongoing Comprehensive Plan review, not by approving a project that several residents showed up to oppose as out of character with Lake Forrest.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.