The new Sandy Springs zoning code will get its second review by the Sandy Springs Planning Commission at a July 20 meeting. A recommendation vote is possible, and the code is on the City Council agenda for Aug. 1.

The draft “Development Code” was last before the commission on June 21, where dozens of residents and developers showed up to voice a wide variety of concerns. An overarching theme from the crowd and the commission was that the code is on the right track, but needed more time for review, especially as it was undergoing significant, rapid revisions that were difficult to track.

The latest draft of the code was published July 10 on the city’s “Next Ten” planning process website at thenext10.org/zoning.

One significant change drawing community attention affects the zoning categories where adult businesses would be allowed.

The city, after getting legal advice, is backing off an earlier draft’s attempt to limit adult businesses to one industrial zoning category. The latest draft allows adult clubs and bookstores in six commercial and industrial zones, basically matching where the businesses exist today, said Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert.

Tolbert said that change was made on the advice of city attorneys and Scott Bergthold, a Tennessee attorney advising the city on adult business restrictions. The city has long been embroiled in several lawsuits involving the location of such businesses.

In addition, adult businesses would be a “limited” rather than “conditional” use in those zones, meaning they would be allowed by administrative permits if they meet certain standards, particularly a specified distance from various other types of properties. No City Council hearing would be required.

The Planning Commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers in City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500.

John Ruch

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