Sandy Springs plans code changes to attract developers to North End

of the city.
City officials want to attract builders to remodel North Springs Shopping Center, North Ridge Shopping Center, North River Shopping Center and River Springs Shopping Center into mixed-use developments. CITY OF SANDY SPRINGS
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of the city. City officials want to attract builders to remodel North Springs Shopping Center, North Ridge Shopping Center, North River Shopping Center and River Springs Shopping Center into mixed-use developments. CITY OF SANDY SPRINGS

Sandy Springs is poised to approve city and development code changes to attract developers to four older shopping centers in the North End of the city.

City officials want to attract builders to remodel North Springs Shopping Center, North Ridge Shopping Center, North River Shopping Center and River Springs Shopping Center into mixed-use developments.

In December, City Council will vote on code amendments for a new North End Mixed-Use district located on Roswell Road north of Dalrymple Road extending to Dunwoody Place.

If approved, developers of multi-family housing in the district would be exempt from the city requirement to use steel on structures taller than three stories and larger than 100,000 square feet. They would be able to build all wood-frame structures in the apartment communities in the North End.

Homeowners living in the North End and throughout Sandy Springs have voiced concerns about more apartments or density in and around their neighborhoods. A tweaked development would allow building heights up to 12 stories with certain conditions such as retail space on the ground floor.

The Planning Commission approved a recommendation of the proposed code amendments on Nov. 17.

During the meeting, Huntcliff resident Cathi Arora asked members to exclude River Springs Shopping Center from the changes. The shopping center is beside the subdivision of nearly 1,000 acres.

Arora said she’s concerned the changes would bring cheaply built apartments and cause pollution, noise and traffic congestion.

Sandy Springs has focused on redevelopment in the North End — a community of affluent, moderate and fixed income residents — for four years. A task force, housing study and city forums concluded quality redevelopment that doesn’t disturb or harm neighborhoods as well as affordable housing is desired.

The new codes would require 25% of residential development to be single detached homes or townhomes. And 10% of housing must be for low income households.

Mayor Rusty Paul, who has been against the building of more apartment communities in the past, said the code changes will help bring more homeownership, restaurants and retail to the area.

“If we can get what we’re looking for we may have to trade off with some rental,” Paul said Friday.

City Council will vote on the measure Dec. 21.

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