The city of Sandy Springs is buying yet another house for a possible street-widening project – and also short-term use as affordable housing for police officers or firefighters.

The $400,000 purchase of 6017 Kayron Drive, at the northeast corner of the Hammond Drive intersection, was authorized by the City Council on Sept. 5. It’s the eighth such purchase the city has made since February 2016 at a total cost of more than $1.5 million.

The house at 6017 Kayron Drive as seen in a Google Earth image.

The purchase of the properties – some with houses, some with vacant lots – are what the city calls “protective buys” to acquire right of way for a potential Hammond Drive widening. That controversial widening is only in the concept stage and construction would be many years away, if it happens at all. However, studying the project and acquiring land is a $16 million item on the city’s transportation special local option sales tax, or TSPLOST, list approved by voters last year.

Meanwhile, the city faces the shorter-term question of what to do with properties it buys. Another challenge for the city is the local lack of housing affordable to its own public safety employees. The City Council last year informally agreed to try solving one problem with the other: Any house bought for the Hammond project that can be renovated for less cost than demolition will be rented to public safety employees at a discount rate.

Of the seven properties the city previously bought in the Hammond corridor, five had houses, largely ranch-style dwellings dating back about 60 years. The city chose to demolish four of them, but renovated 521 Hammond. That house is now being rented to a Sandy Springs Police officer for $500 a month. The officer makes about $54,800 a year, not counting bonuses and overtime, according to city payroll records.

Now the house at 6017 Kayron Drive may be rented to a public safety employee as well. City officials said the house has yet to be formally inspected for renovation costs. But Mayor Rusty Paul and City Councilmember Gabriel Sterling said real estate listings indicate the house was renovated recently and appears to be in good enough shape for that public safety housing program.

Properties the city previously for the widening project include 372, 380, 400, 418, 521, 550 and 590 Hammond Drive.

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