By Katie Fallon

The Sandy Springs city council faced little opposition in paving the way for two major mixed-use developments at its May 15 meeting.

The council unanimously approved the plans of developer BTIC Glenridge to re-zone an 8.4-acre tract of land at the intersection of Glenridge Drive and I-285 from office-institutional conditional to mixed-use.

The approval, however, did come with a number of conditions that included reducing BTIC Glenridge’s planned amount of residential units from 198 to 168. In total, the development plans called for 198 residential units, 15,000 square feet of retail space, a 5,000-square-foot bank and 23,500 square feet of additional office space at the existing 87,444 square foot office development.

The site plan also included two concurrent variances to delete a required bicycle lane pursuant to the Perimeter Community Improvement District design standards and to change the required 25-foot buffer and 10-foot improvement setback to a 10-foot landscape strip along the western property line that is adjacent to a residential townhouse district.

BTIC Glenridge representative Jessica Hill said that while the plan’s residential density did exceed the guidelines set forth by the city’s land use plan, which requires no more than 20 units per acre, BTIC Glenridge hoped for an allowance based upon their compliance with other density requirements.

“We’re proposing approximately 23 and a half units per acre, but one thing to note is that the nonresidential uses on this plan are far below what is permitted by the land use plan designation. We’re just under 16,000 square feet as opposed to the 25,000 square feet permitted by the land use plan.”

District 5 councilman Tibby DeJulio initially moved to approve the plan as recommended by city staff, with the exception of keeping the bicycle lane that city staff approved of removing.

Further conditions included removing the plan for the outparcel bank, specifying that at least five specimen trees be kept on the property and denying BTIC Glenridge’s request for two concurrent variances.

Because specimen tree figures are no longer required to be included on site plans submitted for the council’s approval because of the city’s recently approved tree ordinance, the representatives from BTIC Glenridge could not confirm how many specimen trees it currently planned to keep on the property.

DeJulio, as well as Mayor Eva Galambos, also expressed concern over the actual greenspace and open space figures for the development. BTIC Glenridge representative Kent Levinson said actual greenspace is about 20 percent while open space comprises about 30 percent. The city’s requirements for those figures were 10 and 25 percent respectively.

“We’re going to strive to keep that,” Levinson said.

The BTIC Glenridge plan did meet a small amount of opposition from the public.

Janet Wells, a Beechland Drive resident who also represents the organization known as Homeowners Adjacent to the Roswell Road Corridor, said she disapproved of the site plan’s density. Wells noted the city’s previous rejection of the Kirbo Properties development planned for the site that currently includes the Coronet Club. “It was also high density and it was rejected,” Wells said.

The Sandy Springs resident said the High Point Civic Association, a member of which spoke in favor of the plan, previously voiced opposition to retail development south of the Glenridge Connector.

Also at its May 15 meeting, the council approved plans for a mixed-use development on the east side of Peachtree Dunwoody Road south of Hammond Drive and at the intersection with the I-285 off ramp. The development encompasses the Palisades office Park from 5901 to 5909 Peachtree Dunwoody Road.

The plan called for a re-zoning from office-institutional conditional to mixed use to include 10 live-work office condominium units, 50,000 square feet of retail space, 524,200 square feet of office space, 200 residential units and a 200 room hotel in conjunction with the existing office use.

The plan, put forth by developer Tishman Speyer, received the endorsement of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods and did not face any opposition during the public comment portion of the council meeting. While the council discussed the plan for approximately one hour, it was ultimately approved unanimously.

District 2 councilwoman Dianne Freis did not attend the Tuesday council meeting and was absent for both votes.