City must uphold zoning agreements

To the editor:

“Conditions of zoning” are often negotiated with neighborhoods affected by new development. Zoning conditions allow the community input on the profit-oriented development project. Unfortunately, conditions are easily changed with this council.

The recent approval of a vet clinic’s parking removed a condition of zoning in order to allow more parking spaces next to Marsh Creek. The 37 new parking spaces were requested to be located under their current parking deck with a ramp encroaching on the Marsh Creek stream buffer. In the discussion, the term “cut and fill” was used to describe building the new parking deck underneath and the displacement of water as well as the need for a new detention pond.

The council approved altering the site plan and condition of zoning, ignoring the carefully crafted agreement made and agreed to by the landowner when the land was previously zoned. The altered plan could adversely affect downstream neighbors.

In another recent example, the Planning Commission approved a new site plan and ignored the previously approved site plan, despite many months of work between developer and the neighbors. Again, another site plan and conditions of zoning revoked.

We are hard pressed as a community to continue to negotiate these agreements if the conditions will not be upheld by the governing bodies. The community cannot continue to develop at this rapid rate if its concerns are not addressed.

At a recent Community Information meeting, two of the three applications asked for their conditions of zoning to be tossed out. The developers are asking City Council to ignore site plans and conditions of zoning in favor of a new plan minus the community conditions.

Both the proposed 12-story office high-rise at Northside Drive and the altered mixed-use development on Peachtree Dunwoody at Hammond Drive should be denied.

The owners agreed to abide by these agreements and should be held to them. We need our elected leaders to uphold these agreements for a better city of Sandy Springs, not just a growing city of Sandy Springs.

– Tochie A. Blad

Dog park is a disgrace

To the editor:

Dog owners in Sandy Springs are losing patience with the city Parks and Recreation Department and their apparent disregard for proper exercise facilities for their pets. The dog park is located along the river at Morgan Falls, and while there is a relatively enjoyable play area for children, the dogs are remanded to an area replete with mud, poor maintenance and unsanitary conditions.

Despite comments posted elsewhere about the abhorrent conditions, little has been done to provide a suitable facility to exercise dogs. And while the city is focused on the City Center and sidewalk projects, pet owners are being told by Parks and Recreation, “We are looking for a place,” or, “We have no plans.”

Our pets deserve more, and I am of the opinion that the city should step up its search. As of now, the Sandy Springs Dog Park is a disgrace.

– Robert Wilson