The latest –and possibly final – draft of Sandy Springs’ new zoning code was published July 25, in advance of an Aug. 1 City Council meeting where it may be adopted.

The draft of the Development Code, as it’s formally called, was updated to include input from a July 20 city Planning Commission hearing. The biggest update is for the code to preserve “conditions” attached to previous property rezonings, rather than wiping out many of them to start over. Conditions are limits or improvements that a developer agrees to in exchange for rezoning, and removing them was among the most controversial code proposals.

An updated draft zoning map was published as well, a special one that highlights various properties where owners asked the Planning Commission for different designations, usually to suit redevelopment opportunities. In most cases, city staff recommended keeping the zoning designations the same, including on hot-spot areas such as Hammond Drive and Clementstone Drive. Also not recommended for a requested change was Life Center Ministries, a church on Mount Vernon Road on the Dunwoody border, which is seeking to be placed in a higher-density housing zone so it can possibly move and sell its land.

The draft code also incorporates items from an “errata sheet” of errors and amendments that the Planning Commission previously received alongside the earlier draft. The incomplete state of the draft at the time of the commission’s vote drew many comments about the speed of the process. Officials at that meeting initially said the final draft could come as late as July 31 – the day before the City Council meeting – though they later promised to work faster.

Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, the lead code-writing consultant, ended up delivering the draft a day earlier than promised. And one of the new notes in the draft in the “Effective Date” section, suggests the council may be considering the adoption vote at its Aug. 15 meeting instead. That date is penciled in with red ink and a question mark.

All materials related to the city’s new Development Code, and the new Comprehensive Plan underlying it, are available on the city’s “Next Ten” planning process website at To see the latest draft Development code, click here. To see the latest draft zoning map, click here.

John Ruch

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