A local real estate firm’s plan to turn a single-family house at Roswell Road and Sunny Brook Lane into its own office was shot down by the City Council July 19.

LEFKO Group ran into neighborhood opposition on a wide array of issues, from traffic to septic system capacity, and the council had troubling putting its finger on the exact problem. Councilmember Ken Dishman said he was “sympathetic” to the plan, “but fundamentally to me, it just does not pass the eye test.”

Several residents spoke in opposition, as did Rhonda Smith of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods. Councilmember Chris Burnett moved to deny the project based on the outstanding issue of whether it would use a limited residential septic system or the county sewer line, and also on the impact on the nearby Sunny Brook Meadows neighborhood and the assumption that the house could still be used as a residence.

The property, on Roswell just north of Abernathy Road, is within a commercial zone in the city’s Comprehensive Plan, a land-use guide. For that reason, LEFKO’s Marc Lefkovitz argued the project fits with public policy, and city staff recommended conditional approval of his rezoning request.

“I find it ironic that we’re always accused of not following the Comp Plan, and now we’re here being asked to ignore the Comp Plan,” said Councilmember John Paulson in response to local opposition.

Despite some hesitancy—Councilmember Gabriel Sterling said he might have preferred a deferral—the council unanimously rejected the rezoning. Lefkovitz said that, while his company is currently based in Sandy Springs and he wanted to stay here, he had already purchased a back-up property in the city of Roswell.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.