Members of the advisory committee helping Sandy Springs with an update to its Next Ten comprehensive plan shared what they saw as critical issues, along with the vision and priorities of land use and community character, during a meeting on March 17.

The Next Ten Five-Year Update Advisory Committee is one way in which the city is working to update its comprehensive plan. The meetings are open to the public, but the community is specifically invited to participate in a discussion about the update to the 2017 Next Ten Comprehensive Plan at 6:30 p.m. on March 28. The public participation meeting will be held in the third floor terrace room of Sandy Springs City Hall at 1 Galambos Way.

Matthew Anspach, senior planner for the city’s Community Development Department, said the vision is most important when it comes to land use. That vision should guide the staff in efforts to meet plan priorities like trying to protect and enhance neighborhood character and quality of life, or to concentrate denser development in certain areas of town and other positions, he said.

Staff wanted to make sure the advisory committee was aware of the tools they used to make evaluations and fulfill the vision. Character areas form the umbrella for various zoning districts, he said.

Priority actions within the plan were discussed.

Preserving and protecting existing single-family neighborhoods can mean preventing the subdivision of lots that would enable other types of housing development, Anspach said.

Preserving those neighborhoods and putting compact, mixed-used redevelopment somewhere appropriate was a priority.

A survey of the panel members showed as a group they put promoting beautiful, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and public spaces that enhance “sense of place” as their top priority of five listed.

Encouraging compact, mixed-used redevelopment in identified areas (Roswell Road and Perimeter) was their next priority, along with completing the Sandy Springs development code to implement the comprehensive plan and small area plan visions.

Protecting and preserving the character of existing single-family neighborhoods ranked fourth. The group’s lowest priority out of the five suggested was promoting higher density, transit-oriented growth around MARTA stations.

Wired broadband was another discussion topic. Several neighborhoods apparently are limited from high-speed broadband as they have private roads and no public right-of-way for internet providers to use.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.