Until July 25, there was trouble on the horizon for many Sandy Springs neighborhoods that had fought hard over the years to protect their borders and their homes.
Did your neighborhood sit down with a developer last month, last year or 10 years ago and work out a deal where you agreed not to fight their rezoning as long as the new buildings would be limited to office use; or no taller than four stories; or have brick exterior; or include a fence and added trees to protect and screen your community? As part of a rezoning, did your homeowners association work out a deal where the adjacent property was rezoned, but there would be larger green space, open space, specific architectural designs for the buildings or less signage?
Section 1.1.9 of the draft Development Code had, until July 25, stated that it would remove and strip away all prior negotiated zoning conditions with the sole exception of setbacks and buffers. A critical change occurred in the newly released July 25 version of the Development Code. The new version of Section 1.1.9 protects all the hard work, bargains and negotiations that have taken place by neighborhoods, HOAs and the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, among others. Section 1.1.9 now states, “The adoption of an Official Zoning Map implementing this Development Code does not remove prior conditions of rezoning.”
On behalf of Autumn Chace Homeowners Association, we spoke at the recent Planning Commission meetings to press for these changes. The board at Autumn Chace realized, however, that the issue was citywide. We ask the City Council to do what it has done since the creation of this great city – pass the code with this new Section 1.1.9 and keep in place needed and appropriate, agreed-to protections. To do otherwise is to allow developers to benefit from the zoning they obtained, but to allow them to walk away from the conditions of zoning they agreed to.
Our future is in your hands.
Lazega & Johanson LLC
Editor’s Note: The writer is a Sandy Springs resident and an attorney representing the Autumn Chace Homeowners Association on Barfield Road.