Fencing for new Sandy Springs police headquarters and fleet facility riles residents

Credit: custom

Credit: custom

A $51 million new police headquarters and fleet maintenance facility in Sandy Springs’ affluent North End has residents concerned about a decline in property values.

That’s because of city council’s decision to place concertina wire, also known as razor wire, around the new buildings — a decision that has since been reversed at just one of the facilites.

The city is redeveloping property at 620 Morgan Falls Road for a new police headquarters and municipal court. The police fleet maintenance facility will be built about two miles away at 8475 Roswell Road.

Since July, residents of Huntcliff subdivision and Cambridge townhomes have been complaining about the plan to use razor wire atop chain-link fencing at both locations for fear that it will alter the character of the neighborhood and impact property values.

Last week, the city said aluminum fencing will be used at the fleet facility instead of the razor wire fencing. The aluminum fence will have a curvature at the top and will be aesthetically pleasing to passersby, as well as deter intruders, according to officials.

For now, razor wire fencing remains in plans for the headquarters site, said Sandy Springs spokesman Andrew Allison.

“The city will walk the property this fall with the (Cambridge Homeowners Association) president to assess their concerns of the fencing, " Allison said.

The North End, a neighborhood mix of million-dollar homes, aged apartment complexes and outdated shopping centers, has been the focus of Sandy Springs redevelopment efforts.

Huntcliff residents say the fleet facility doesn’t match development goals for the North End. The vacant property is about a half-mile from the subdivision entrance.

Residents have pressed city officials to consider an alternative location for the fleet facility such as the headquarters site. But, Director of Facilities Dave Wells has said there is no available space for the maintenance facility at the 7.4-acre Morgan Falls Road campus.

“I support the police,” Huntcliff resident Suzanne Durbin said of new police headquarters. “The city did a lot of work to create a vision for the North End with significant public input. This use of that Roswell Road property for the fleet depot seems inconsistent with that vision.”

Councilwoman Melody Kelley, whose district includes part of the North End, said that she didn’t anticipate residents’ development concerns when thinking about the fleet maintenance center for the Roswell Road property.

“We (Sandy Springs) should always strive to hold ourselves to high development standards,” said Kelley, who was the sole councilmember to vote in opposition to the use of concertina wire fencing in July.

“I’m pleased that it’s being replaced,” she added. “Razor wire has no place in any commercial corridor of Sandy Springs.”