To the editor:

I attended the city of Sandy Springs Town Center open house at City Hall on Nov. 13 and appreciated how many city employees had given up an evening at home to support the open house and try and explain the displays that had been presented to City Council the week before.

The city employees did a pretty good job and seemed to have been included in many of the deliberations made by the consultant, probably with more effect than the citizens to whom they were talking.

I was disappointed that neither the mayor nor any members of City Council were in attendance and profoundly disappointed that no one from Goody Clancy was there to explain, promote, or defend their plans that could reshape our city for years to come.

There are those who claim the Town Center was a “done deal” from the start, an idea to which I did not initially subscribe, but the total absence last evening of the group that has created the Town Center plans and the elected officials who will be asked to approve it is disturbing.

Will the citizens only input in the decision scheduled to be made Dec. 6 be the little 3 x 5 cards we were asked to fill out? Short of deluging them with phone calls or emails, how will the mayor and council know what the citizens are thinking? When, if ever, will the average citizen have a chance to directly interact with Goody Clancy to understand why certain choices were made or if good alternatives should still be considered?

Unless the Dec. 6 council meeting lasts all night, I am under no illusion that it will offer an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue, with the 10- minute clock running in the background.

If this decision really is the future of our city, the momentous decision needs to be deferred from Dec. 6 into 2013 so that the reasons for the choices in the proposed plan are better understood and potential reasonable alternatives better disclosed publically.

Howard M. Austin