By John Schaffner

The Sandy Springs Planning Commission on Dec. 20 deferred for 90 days the proposed large mixed-use redevelopment of the Lakeside complex at 5775 and 5795 Glenridge Drive in order to allow a full review of the project and its impact on traffic and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The tone of the discussion among commission members suggested a favorable decision on the project after they have more time to study it.

The development plan calls for replacing a present development with two mid-size office buildings into a large mixed-use development with 1,125,000 square feet of new and existing office space, 300 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-room hotel.

The motion to defer, which was made by commission member Lee Duncan, specifically requested that the city council go along with the deferral and send the requested rezoning and four concurrent variance requests back to the Planning Commission for further review. The city’s staff had approved the zoning and variance requests.

Duncan called the plan outlined by De Little of Greenstone Properties, LLC and attorney Carl Westmoreland for the Lakeside property an “extremely energetic redevelopment proposal for this area.”

Saying he spoke for others on the commission as well, Duncan said about the proposal, “Much is very positive.

“We recognize the impact this is going to have on the area outside of the development,” Duncan said. “We see a lot of elements we are not happy with right now.” He indicated, however, that some of that may be a result of not having enough time to thoroughly review all aspects of the project.

But, after almost an hour of presentations by the developer, opposition by neighborhood leaders and questions and discussion among commission members and the developers, Duncan offered his motion for deferral and offered one last statement: “I am extremely optimistic about this development.” The main point of opposition raised by nearby residents attending the commission meeting dealt with their contention the new development would increase traffic on Glenridge Road to the point it would near gridlock.

Doug Falciglia, who lives across Glenridge from the Lakeside complex said the road system cannot handle the traffic demands from the present Lakeside complex. He stated that traffic studies indicate the proposed new development would add 10,000 to 11,000 vehicle trips to the present 20,000 daily trips on that section of Glenridge between Hammond Drive and I-285.

Thea Lloyd, another spokesperson for the Glenridge-Hammond Homeowners Association, pointed to three areas of concern among residents in the area: Cut-through traffic on their neighborhood streets, which likely will become worse; a fear that the existing Glenridge streetscape, which has taken years to mature, will be destroyed by road work on Glenridge; and that a project of this magnitude can only adversely impact traffic and safety in the area.

During the rebuttal period, Little pointed out that the development plan calls for road improvements and the widening of the entrance lane from Glenridge onto westbound I-285 from one lane to two lanes. He said that change will take traffic off of Glenridge and put it onto I-285.