The proposed brewpub would have its entrance on Roberts Drive on a parcel along the Chattahoochee River and next to Roswell Road. (Sandy Springs)

Residents of Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs told a rezoning applicant that they don’t want a brewpub built in their neighborhood during a community meeting on the proposal.

Steve Mollica held the required second community meeting on July 28 at Sandy Springs City Hall on his application to rezone the property at 9755 Roberts Drive next to the Chattahoochee River. He wants the zoning for the 1.72-acre property changed from residential/protected neighborhood to commercial/mixed use.

“This is really good for you, Steve. It’s really bad for my community, my neighborhood and my property,” resident Donald Huffner said.

He said the neighborhood is not in favor of the brewpub proposal.

“I would recommend that if you want to buy this property, you buy it, you build a house on it and join our neighborhood. Otherwise, we’re going to stay as a protected neighborhood,” Huffner said.

Mollica said that after hearing complaints about traffic, noise, light pollution and water management during the first community meeting, plans were changed. The developer would construct a right-turn lane for Roberts Drive onto Roswell Road using land from the property. He said that adding the turn lane would improve traffic flow.

A vegetative barrier between the property and its next-door neighbor was also added to the plans. Sandy Springs’ development code requires a buffer when a zoning district abuts a protected neighborhood.

He said 40 parking spaces were planned and they expect 15 to 25 spaces to turn over in an hour.

Residents attending the meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall in person or via Zoom complained that no traffic study has been made on Roberts Drive, which they said is already a difficult and dangerous intersection. The Roberts Drive-Roswell Road intersection does not have a traffic signal.

Ronda Smith, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, said that if parking was inadequate for the proposed brewpub, customers would park on Roberts Drive in front of neighboring properties.

“This is a highly intense use of an adjacent protected neighborhood,” she said.

Motorists turning onto Roberts Drive from Roswell Road would stop in the roadway to turn left into the property, backing up or blocking traffic on Roswell Road and causing accidents, several residents said.

Mollica said he has started to survey residents living in houses, communities and apartments along Roberts Drive west of Ga. 400, and 80 percent of them were in favor of the proposal.

Smith joined residents in saying renters aren’t the right people to survey as they don’t have the same ownership as property owners, and they’ll be gone when their lease is up.

The current property owner has tried to monetize the property over the years, including operating a paddlewheel boat from the banks of the Chattahoochee River. All he did was leave behind a damaged streambed, the Roberts Drive residents said.

Smith said Mollica told them that Sandy Springs is defined by the Chattahoochee River.

“I will counter that with our mayor and our council and during our development code and comprehensive plan, Sandy Springs is defined by what is called our neighborhoods, our protected neighborhoods. And that’s what these people are fighting for, protection,” she said.

The Roberts Drive residents said they planned to attend the Sept. 20 Sandy Springs Planning Commission meeting and would alert other residents to attend in opposition.

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