Dozens of residents gathered at City Hall on May 10 to tell the Sandy Springs City Council how they want the City Springs Master Plan updated.

Residents marked maps and poster boards showing City Springs and potential ideas for future development with the changes they wanted – or with instructions to leave things as they are.

Sandy Springs residents review demographics and existing conditions in the City Springs study area at the open house held May 10 at the Studio Theatre. (Bob Pepalis)

“Please build homes or condos instead of apartments,” one resident wrote. “Please keep our movie theater,” another person added to a map tag by the Springs Cinema & Taphouse location. “No more apartments. We already have 60% rentals,” another resident wrote.

Suggestions included fixing traffic light timing, adding trees, and repairing runoff water problems. A request was made for bike lanes on Roswell Road, Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road. More greenspace and an ADA accessible playground also were wanted. One resident marked a strip center within the study area for redevelopment, asking for fewer of these shopping centers. Crosswalks for pedestrian safety were requested including one at Johnson Ferry Road at Ferry Drive to access the Marsh Creek Rain Garden Park.

Residents used note tags and push pins to offer their thoughts on the future of the City Springs area. (Bob Pepalis)

“It’s almost too late to do anything truly impactful on Roswell Road. And should the attention be moved to Sandy Springs Circle, Johnson Ferry and the cut-through streets that can be made more pedestrian-friendly?” David Manny said. “But, how do you increase density yet have more permanent residents versus transients with apartments?”

He wanted to see more condos and townhomes instead of apartments.

The public can learn more about the project and other opportunities to provide input at through June 3.

Pond & Company Senior Planner Lauren Blaszyk explained to the residents participating in the public open house that her company, chosen by the city to lead the master plan update, was very local.

“We’re an architecture engineering and planning consulting firm located over in Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County,” she said.

The city wants to build on the legacy of the City Center Master Plan that was adopted in 2012, she said.

“Part of that process was this area being envisioned in the comprehensive plan as a walkable, connected and livable regional center,” Blaszyk said. “So not only being here and creating a city center for the city of Sandy Springs, but also becoming a regional destination for people around the Metropolitan Atlanta area.”

Special regulations for the City Springs district have helped guide a lot of the development in this area, she said.

The City Springs study area includes the Roswell Road corridor from I-285 up to Vernon Woods Drive, with Roswell Road making up the “spine” of it. It goes from Sandy Springs Circle to the properties to the west, but not in residential areas.

“We’re not looking at anything in any of those residential areas over to the east side,” she said.

Land use will be a big question for the master plan update, she said. What key properties within the study area could be catalysts to continue the momentum of redevelopment and revitalization?

“Could there be more signage, or sidewalks,  streetscapes, things like that, that really make it feel like a cohesive place and so you know that you are in a district?” she said.

“MXD Development Strategists is working on the economic development and market reality, so we don’t want to make any recommendations that aren’t grounded in reality,” Blaszyk said.

Pond & Company Senior Planner Lauren Blaszyk explained the process of getting public input for the City Springs Master Plan Update, which included the open house and an online survey. (Bob Pepalis)

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