The city of Sandy Springs is attempting to speed up its court battle over three Roswell Road billboards, seeking an “emergency” court order to remove them for a temporary fire station driveway.
The city said it filed the Fulton County Superior Court on Jan. 17, but first revealed the move in a Jan. 24 press release. An attorney and a spokesperson representing OutFront Media, the company that owns the billboards, did not immediately respond to comment requests.
The billboards stand on a triangle of land bordered by Mount Vernon Highway and Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads, across from City Springs. The city bought the land several years ago for a small park and for a reconstruction of the Mount Vernon/Johnson Ferry intersection. The city demolished several buildings on the site, but the billboards have remained in a legal dispute about OutFront’s lease agreement and ability to be reimbursed.
A legal case between the city and OutFront has continued for over a year. In November, a judge issued an order that allowed the city to take down the billboards. But OutFront filed an appeal.
Since then, the city announced a plan to open a temporary fire station on an adjacent lot at 6189 Roswell Road, a former car rental business, which the City Council approved purchasing in December for $1.2 million. The site would be a temporary location for the aging Fire Station Two at 135 Johnson Ferry Road while a replacement fire station is built there.
The city says that traffic is too bad for fire trucks to enter and exit the temporary site on Roswell Road. Instead, the city proposes creating a new driveway that would cut through the triangle of land where the billboards stand. The city says the billboards must be removed for that plan.
In the press release, the city said it filed the emergency order because the current legal appeal could take “two or more years to resolve,” while the city “hopes” to relocate the fire station within the next 90 days.
–John Ruch contributed