The Sandy Springs Planning Commission voted to defer a change that would increase commercial building heights at its Oct. 24 meeting during a review of staff recommended zoning code changes that come over a year after the code adoption.
The board voted to recommend approval of most of the other zoning changes, including ones that would increase the size of building signs and decrease bicycle parking requirements for schools. But they recommended denying allowing renovation of drive-thrus and adding townhomes to an infill development pattern.
These proposed changes follow more the major six-month update and come out of the city’s planning staff’s experience with inconsistencies and inconveniences in the code.
The change in building height for office, Perimeter Center and mixed-use residential homes would delete the overall building height maximum and instead rely on a maximum amount of stories at a minimum height.
This change would solve problems with developers not being able to build the number of stories they want to because of the overall height limit, said Catherine Mercier-Baggett, the city’s planning and zoning manager.
Joe Hines, representing the Council of Neighborhoods, said the change could mean buildings could be built 50 percent higher than under the current code by building tall stories.
“We continue to hear they will never be built that high, but that is not a guarantee,” he said.
Tochie Blad, who spoke in opposition, said the question was already “asked and answered” during public review of the new code and should not be changed.
The commission worried this would give developers too much leeway and voted to defer the change while the planning staff researches creating maximum story heights.
“It seems without a total height you could get really lost,” Commissioner Dave Nickles said.
The changes are planned to go before the City Council at its Nov. 20 meeting. For the full list of proposals, click here.
Correction: This article has been updated to correct that Tochie Blad was not speaking on behalf of the Council of Neighborhoods.