The prospect of seeing chain link fencing topped with concertina wire near their homes has homeowners in two Sandy Springs neighborhoods pushing the city council to rethink its decisions.
Homeowners from Huntcliff Trace already complained about plans for the Sandy Springs Police Department’s Fleet Maintenance Facility, which plans fencing with concertina wire visible from the street and sidewalk at 8475 Roswell Road. The city council on July 18 addressed those concerns to use another type of fencing for the portions visible from the street and sidewalk.
But now homeowners in the Cambridge Townhome community that borders the future police department headquarters at 620 Morgan Falls Road are taking issue with the same style of fencing in their backyards.
“People’s homes are their largest investments so please do not consciously decrease our property values and make us appear to border a prison,” Leslie Odmark, the HOA president representing 107 homeowners in the community.
A line of trees between the homes and a parking lot, and an evergreen area with a six-foot berm won’t adequately block the view as the main living areas in the townhomes are on the second and third floors, Odmark said.
“The leaves do a decent job of blocking the view in the summer. But when the leaves fall, residents clearly will be able to see the concertina wire,” she said.
Odmark said she attended the July 18 city council meeting when a compromise was reached with Huntcliff residents whose homes do not share a property line with the fleet maintenance facility.
“I hope that you’ll place even greater weight on your future residential neighbors’ objections to using concertina wire at the future municipal complex,” she said.
If the city is unwilling to change the proposed fencing material now, she asked that they pause before making a final decision until November when leaves have fallen and it will be clear how well Cambridge residents can see the concertina wire from their homes.
District 2 City Councilmember Melody Kelley said she’s probably had more correspondence with her constituents over these issues more than any other since she’s been on council.
“And this could very well be my naivety on display as a junior council member, but where I get uncomfortable is submitting to residents, my constituents, taxpayers, that their questions and concerns, while valid, are simply too inconvenient to address right now,” she said.
One point that Kelley said stuck out for her was that the facility is considered a target requiring razor wire along its perimeter for security.
She had several concerns, starting with the possibility that something could be done to locate the fleet maintenance facility at the police headquarters location on Morgan Falls Road.Kelley said she was also concerned with the message it would send the community to see razor wire along the city’s main Roswell Road commercial corridor.
“Lastly, number three, I picture a resident of Cambridge Townhomes looking out of their window on a brisk fall morning only to see the sun rising over a chain link fence with concertina wire,” Kelley said.
She asked fellow council members and staff to slow down and get this right, bringing the community along with them on this, despite the disruptive nature of her request.