The Sandy Springs City Council on April 21 approved a rezoning request that will allow development of up to 340 multi-family housing units on Hilderbrand Drive.
Density concerns had several Sandy Springs residents ask for a maximum of 60 units per acre approved, but the applicant, MCRT Investments, said it needed higher density.
“We’ve enhanced this project from where we started from,” said Chad DuBeau, the applicant. “We ask council to consider higher density.”
Changes to the mixed use made by the developer include setbacks that will be nearly 38 feet from the building to the curb line. Instead of six stories, the proposed building would be five stories, with great detail paid to the streetscape design and attention to the first 20 feet.
DuBeau said four points of access will exist for people coming and going from the multi-family units.
“We’ve invested in green and open space,” DuBeau said.
Resident Bill Cleveland said the long process included good-faith negotiations by the developer, but the density issue remained a problem for Cleveland. He called the intersection of Boylston at Hammond “dangerous” as it is now.
Matt LaMarsh, president of the Mt. Vernon Woods homeowners association, agreed that the proposed density, which was 390 units at a density of 76.32, was simply too high. LaMarsh asked council members to approve the project, but at a lower density.
Trisha Thompson said members of four neighborhoods sat down through a “brutal” three-hour meeting with staff, and she said the proposed project is “beautiful,” but she’s worried about the density.
“There are more projects coming,” Thompson said, noting that she and others in the community like the project.
An attorney for Mill Creek said the developer invested $90 million and this is a “long-term investment.”
“We’re here to stay for 10 years of more,” he said.
Councilman John Paulson said he struggles with the idea of a ceiling at 60 units per acre, adding that Goody Clancy said people need to live in Sandy Springs to make it vibrant.
The idea of units per acre was supposed to be a range, Paulson said.
Councilman Tibby DeJulio said the city needs to redevelop the parcel of land, but that it isn’t the job of Sandy Springs City Council to maximize developers’ interests.
Before voting to approve the amendment with a 340 unit cap, Councilman Gabriel Sterling said council couldn’t just look at the parcel.
He said he wanted to see good developers doing the right thing in Sandy Springs and that council needs “to have a reality check.”
Mayor Rusty Paul suggested a compromise on density, after which DeJulio made a motion to cap the development of multi-family units at 340.
“I want this project to get done,” Councilman Andy Bauman said. “I support 340 or 350.”
The applicant said 350 would be the bare minimum number of units needed to continue with financing.