The Sandy Springs City Council voted 5-0 at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall to defer for 30 days a final vote on developer Traton Homes’ rezoning application to build a 20-lot subdivision at 611, 641 and 661 Mabry Road. District 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny recused herself.
The impending decision has been a hot-button issue for quite some time, evidenced by the high turnout of interested residents for public hearings as part of council meetings like this week’s.
Attorney Pete Hendricks, speaking on behalf of Traton Homes, called the situation a projected win-win for both sides.
“I’ve heard the usual comments of folks that have a reactionary view that there’s going to be construction noise, traffic impact and a period of construction that’s going to impact the whole community,” said Hendricks. “But that is a very, very small opportunity cost for what all of us get in return — which is a developer that has some nice product from what I’ve seen … that can build nice houses for other families to come in and settle to take over houses that are not so sightly right now, quite up in age and not well-maintained.”
Robert Barger, a long-time Mabry Road resident, cited overwhelming resident misgivings over the Traton Homes project.
“Any vote to increase the density of a protected neighborhood would be contrary to the comprehensive plan for land use,” Barger told council members. “It would not only affect our neighborhood … it would affect all neighborhoods in Sandy Springs.
“This has kind of gone on long enough. … I think if the applicant wants to re-apply they should be able to re-apply with a completely separate application and not continue to drag this thing out.”
A survey of neighborhood residents yielded an 80 percent response rate, with 72 percent against greater density than the present, Barger said.
Council members voted to defer the matter until their Dec. 17 meeting. Both sides acknowledged that date to be Traton Homes’ last opportunity to save the project.
“It sounds like we all agree that [Spalding Woods] is going to get redeveloped at some point,” said District 3 Councilman Chip Collins. “So the pain of the neighbors is not over; if this goes away, somebody else is going to come in and we go through it all over again.
“So I believe the best course here is, while you’ve got the applicant still [negotiating] downward, is to play the string out and at least see how far down they come and then we vote at their stopping point.”