At its meeting Tuesday at City Hall, the Sandy Springs City Council voted 6-0 to grant Tabula Rasa — The Language Academy’s request to withdraw its request for a zoning permit outlining expansion plans.
Pete Hendricks, an attorney representing the school, located on the campus of the defunct Church of St. Andrew at 5855 Riverside Drive, cited an impasse with the regional church authority over the future of the property.
“While the Presbytery [of Greater Atlanta] tries to figure out its ownership issues — whether they’re going to make disposition or not make disposition of the property — my client, if any determination is made to put it out to sale, will be extremely interested in pursuing the intent to get the property under contract and purchased,” said Hendricks. “At this point and time, there just doesn’t seem to be a defined timeline for closure on this.”
As it stands, Tabula Rasa’s application to the city’s governing body to double enrollment — from 75 to 150 — and allow for a 10,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility will again be shelved.
The school offers instructional programming for infants through fifth-graders. Its landlord, the Church of St. Andrew, closed in late December and ownership of the site subsequently reverted to the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.
“We do not know what’s going to happen next,” Ralph Clements, who represents the Presbytery, told council members. “Hopefully, there will be a strong congregation there at some point but we don’t have a definite plan at this point.”
Tabula Rasa’s current lease runs out at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
“No one should take any impression from this somewhat chaotic situation to indicate that the Tabula Rasa school and its owners have tried anything deceptive,” said Clements. “We’re all just dealing with what comes out the best we can.”
In other business, the council also voted 6-0 to grant an extension on a land disturbance permit to the proprietors behind the proposed four-star Atlanta Grand Bohemian Hotel on Abernathy Road at Mount Vernon Highway.
This marks the seventh such extension — each good for 180 days — approved for the project.
“This is an exciting project that we want to keep here,” said District 4 Councilman Gabriel Sterling. “We need this type of boutique hotel in the Perimeter CIDs area … and the hotel tax revenue it [will yield].”