1-20-17 Sandy Springs Reporter

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JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 2


Sandy Springs Reporter



Perimeter Business ► Brotherhood of magicians has 85-year bond PAGE 4 ► Cybersecurity company promises 500 new jobs PAGE 7

Honoring Dr. King at City Hall

ZIP code errors could cut sales tax proceeds, city says BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School Show Choir, directed by Maryann Badovinac, performs at Sandy Springs City Hall on Monday, Jan. 16, for the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. During the event, Rabbi Ron Segal, senior rabbi of Temple Sinai, received Sandy Springs’ 2017 Humanitarian Award. More photos, page 14.►

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The city of Sandy Springs fears it’s getting stiffed on its share of sales tax revenues due to ZIP code confusion that leads some businesses to incorrectly report themselves as being in Atlanta. But the evidence is murky as to whether it’s an actual problem and if so, how big the losses are. City officials could not give a current example of such a business and have never conducted an audit to see whether any are misreporting. The neighboring city of Dunwoody said it occasionally sees a small number of sales tax miscalculations, but has auditing measures to catch them, and the state Department of Revenue says it has similar mechanisms. Sandy Springs’ concerns date back to the city’s 2005 incorporation in ZIP codes that once were just called “AtlanSee ZIP on page 12

COMMUNITY City Springs workers celebrate construction milestone Page 13

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City Code Enforcement Officer Paula Allen.

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Making sure the residents of Sandy Springs mow their lawns and tidy their trash cans may not sound like the city’s most laid-back job. But for code enforcement officer Paula Allen, it’s a lot more fun than her previous career in policing. Besides the obvious benefits — “I am not getting shot at or fighting” — Allen said in a recent phone interview that it’s the personal touch and relationship-building that make code enforcement rewarding. That work helped her win the honor of the nation’s officer of the year award in October from the American Association of Code Enforcement. “With policing, you deal with the public and you move on,” Allen said, contrasting that with her work in Sandy Springs, where she has been with the code enforcement office a little over three years. “They kind of treat me, in some neighborhoods, as the girl next door with some oomph behind [her]. They’ll talk to you and then sneak [a complaint] in.” “Code enforcement is a vital part of the city’s services” and provides the sort of attention and responsiveness that led to the city’s 2005 founding, noted Allen’s boss, Code Enforcement Manager Yvonne Smith. The Colorado-based AACE gives its annual award to a code enforcement officer who is innovative, thorough, analytical, and a good leader. Smith said that’s why she sent Allen to the group’s national convention in New Orleans. “By the way, I nominated you for code enforcement officer of the year,” Allen recalls Smith adding. It was Allen’s first convention, and she said she was not fully prepared for the Mardi Gras theme — much less for winning the award. “I had on a cute little dress, but I [also] had on Chuck Taylors,” she said. The trip confirmed the city’s profile in the code enforcement world, Allen said. “A lot of places, when they hear us coming, [they say], ‘Oh, Sandy Springs,’” she said, describing the city as providing good equipment and good support from staff and elected officials. “Sandy Springs has a wonderful reputation for city beautification.” Allen previously spent 18 years as a Fulton County police officer, serving as patrol supervisor. Now, as a code enforcement officer in the city’s privatized government, she works for The Collaborative, a Boston-based contractor. “It’s kind of a seasonal type of enforcement. In the springtime, they call us the grass police,” Allen said. In autumn, she said, proper disposal of fallen leaves is a big issue — and the lack of foliage means officers can get a better view of properties and possible other code violations. While the job has its routines, Smith said, it also has surprises and complicated situations that officers have to be creative to solve, such as sizable neighborhoods with blight issues. “Citizens may not know that we’re winging it,” she said. At the Jan. 3 City Council meeting, where Allen was praised by councilmembers for her national recognition, Smith noted the department is doing the work with a staff cut from five officers to four. Allen said that a big asset in doing the job is the community she serves. “Our homeowners here are quite informed and [interested] in keeping the neighborhood beautiful,” she said. SS

JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Mayor Paul still considering re-election campaign

Office tower to be demolished soon for mixed-use project


A seven-story office tower in Sandy it was known for its C&S bank, which Springs soon will be demolished for an reportedly had a helicopter land on the apartment and retail building, according roof to transfer cash. to Davis Development, the firm behind In two related projects last year, a the project. Bank of America branch moved from the The office building at 6075-6077 Rotower to a new building next door, and swell Road will be replaced by a roughthe former Sandy Springs post office on ly five-story building containing 291 apartments and retail space, along with a new parking deck. The tower has been vacated over the past year as leases expire. A major tenant was the Taboo 2 nightclub, which closed last month and “merged” with the new Barnacles sports bar at 8371 Roswell Road, according to the JOHN RUCH The tower at 6075-6077 Roswell Road. club’s Facebook page. Demolition will begin soon, said Kayla Morris of Davis Develthe property was demolished. opment, though she could not give an exDavis Development’s project is adjaact date. cent to Mill Creek’s redevelopment of the The tower was built in the 1960s by former Hilderbrand Court shopping cenHoward Chatham, according to the loter, also for a large mixed-use project. A cal historical organization Heritage Sannew public street will be created between dy Springs, when it was reportedly the the two projects. The post office was dearea’s first “skyscraper” and first buildmolished to make way for that street. -- John Ruch ing containing an elevator. At that time,

urged the mayor to run for Congress. “I did suggest that he run because as long as I’ve known him, that’s one pasSandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul ansion he’s had,” Jan Paul told the crowd. nounced Jan. 5 that he will not join the But, she added, “His heart’s in Sandy race for Georgia’s Sixth District seat in Springs.” the U.S. House of Representatives. Paul Mayor Paul is 64 and said one reason also would not commit to running for rehe will not run for Congress is his age, as election to the mayor’s seat this fall, sayhe said it takes about 10 years for a coning he’s undecided, but ruled out running gressman to gain leadership positions for any other office. and effectiveness. He “I came to the conalso cited the unattractclusion I’m not running ive demands of trips to for Congress,” Paul, a Washington, fundraisRepublican, said at the ing and partisan poliannual “Evening with tics. the Mayor” event held “As much as I would by Leadership Sandy love to be able to do it, Springs, this year at the Mick Jagger’s right— Newell Brand headquaryou can’t always get ters on Peachtree-Dunwhat you want, but you woody Road. “I may run get what you need,” the for something else,” he mayor told the crowd, JOHN RUCH added. “We’ll talk about quoting the rock band Mayor Rusty Paul. that later. One election the Rolling Stones. at a time.” As for the mayor’s ofAsked by an audience member whethfice, “It’s a challenge, but I love what I do,” er he would run for re-election as mayor, Paul said. Paul said, “I’m thinking about it.” However, he also noted that re-elecIn an interview after the meeting, tion can be tough in local politics due to Paul clarified that the mayor’s office is controversial decisions. his only potential candidacy and ruled “Look around. Tim Lee bit the dust,” out a run for any other office, including said Paul, referring to the recently dethose that might come open as a result of posed Cobb County chairman who conRep. Tom Price leaving the Sixth Congrestroversially brought the new Atlanta sional District seat to become President Braves stadium to the area in a secret Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and deal. Paul was among those who blasted Human Services. The district includes Lee’s decision-making at various times. parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and In comments before and after the Sandy Springs. meeting, Paul spoke about nearing the Paul noted that most of his political end of his political career, which has also ambitions already have been fulfilled included leading the state Republican by previously serving as a state senator, Party and serving in the federal governamong other positions. ment under former Housing and Urban “No, I’m not going to run for any other Development Secretary Jack Kemp. office” besides possibly mayor, Paul said. “Forty years. I’m coming to the end of “I’ve already been in the Senate.” this,” Paul said. “I’ve got to sit down with the fami“I’m very much at peace … with the dely and look at what I’m going to do this cision” not to run for Congress, Paul said, fall,” Paul said of a potential campaign to describing a recent family get-together retain the mayor’s office, which he won around a bonfire at their Alabama cabin in 2013. “Obviously, I’d love to be able to to discuss it. “I think it’s the right thing hold a council meeting in the new facilifor me personally at this stage of my life.” ty, but that’s not a reason to do it,” he addBesides politics, the mayor talked ed, referring to the new City Hall schedabout many Sandy Springs issues, touchuled to open in 2018 as part of the City ing on efforts to rein in traffic and better Springs redevelopment. control redevelopment while positioning Paul said he chose to announce his dethe city for continued growth. cision at the meeting of Leadership SanAsked about his top goals for 2017, he dy Springs, a community leadershipcited the pending completion of the city’s training organization, because it was his new land use plan and zoning code, and first public event on the calendar since he a good start on transportation infrastrucmade up his mind. It also happens that ture projects. Leadership Sandy Springs is run by Jan He spoke about the city’s intent to spur Paul, his wife. creation of more “affordable,” middle-in“My wife told me I needed to end the come housing; pushed for a definition, he speculation,” he said. estimated that means new houses in the Jan and other family members had $400,000 to $600,000 price range. johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


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Perimeter Business A monthly section focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Magicians gather to share secrets of their mysterious trade BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

On a recent Monday night, in the choir room of a Sandy Springs church, a ring of magicians gathered. About 30 of them sat amid drums and pianos, watching West Evans, a slim man whose jacket and shoes sported matching leopard-print trim, as he encouraged audience members to toss invisible coins into a metal bucket he had convinced a visitor to hold over his head. The imaginary coins made very real clinks and suddenly appeared within the bucket. The spectacle was both business and pleasure for Ring 9 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Also known as the Georgia Magic Club, the 85-yearold IBM chapter has met for several years at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church to socialize and to share professional tips in metro Atlanta’s booming business of magic. “In our world, you never stop learning. You never stop practicing,” said Evans, a 34-year-old Decatur resident who has been a professional magician for four years. At that Jan. 16 meeting, he took over as Ring 9’s president and also won its Magician of the Year trophy, which is topped with a golden rabbit coming out of a hat. The club counts many full-time professional magicians among its 91 members, and chose to meet at the church because so many of them live in the Buckhead, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs area. The other major magical organization, the American Society of Magicians, also has an Atlanta chapter with much overlapping membership; it typically meets in DeKalb County. Sandy Springs resident Howie Marmer — better known as Howie the Great — is among Ring 9’s local members. He’s well-known for his regular performances in such Buckhead spots as Bistro Niko and the Painted Pin. Marmer said metro Atlanta is a great place for pro magicians, with its booming entertainment industry, and plenty of conventions, trade shows and corporate gigs. However, he also says he personally prefers kids’ parties to corporate events, even though they pay far less. Like many magicians, he says he’s in it for more than money. “I think there is no such thing as competition in my field,” he said. “Competi-

tion is a poor performer” who turns people off from hiring magicians. Magicians have a variety of types of shows to choose from. There’s party magic for kids and adults. There’s “walkaround” magic, in which a magician does “close-up” tricks for people gathered at an event in order to be, as Evans says, the “life of the party.” There’s full-blown stage magic, such as the classic trick of sawing a person in half, usually performed only at big and pricey events. There’s restaurant or bar magic, done at tables or in areas where customers wait to be seated. Restaurant magic is highly improvisational, often using objects from the tabletop or the guests. Howie the Great said that’s what he loves about it. “When I’m performing at a restaurant, I don’t know what’s going to happen next,” he said. “That’s where the fun begins. It’s jazz.” Marmer got some of his gigs, including as house magician at the original Dave & Buster’s, by performing an impromptu show. “I got fire coming out of my wallet. I got a bird in my pocket,” he said, recalling a bar-side show that once got him a gig at the Downwind restaurant at DeKalbPeachtree Airport. “I’m eating fire with a jumbo lighter … I’m producing a dove.” Getting paid a proper rate might be tougher for a skilled magician than pulling off effects and tricks. Evans said that some customers undervalue a magic show and some performers go along. “You can always find a guy out there who will come do magic for you for $50. And we don’t like those guys,” Evans said. “It means they haven’t put in the work it takes to be a great magician.” While rates vary, customers should expect to pay a magician at least $200 for a kids’ party and a few

West Evans, president of the Georgia Magic Club, tries to convince the audience his silver platter has nothing to hide while he performs a trick.


West Evans performs on an Atlanta street.

JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Perimeter Business | 5


Debbie Leifer informs fellow Ring 9 members about upcoming magic trade lectures and conventions during the group’s January meeting at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Sandy Springs.

hundred for an adult party, Evans said, with experienced performers charging much more. An event with walk-around magic may cost around $800 to $1,000. While magicians often learn new tricks, the effects are always based on some fundamentals of illusion, such as misdirection — “making them look at what you want them to look at,” as Evans puts it. Pro magicians need to master not only those basics, but other skills as well. Acting and personality are important; Marmer said he studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York. They also need skills in flexible planning to tailor a show to an audience or event. Debbie Leifer, a Cobb County-based magician, former club president and one of the few women in the professional illusion business, said she has developed a split magical personality. When performing for corporate and motivational speaking events, she uses her real name. But for family and kids’ shows, she be-

comes Magic Debbie. “I customize every performance for the specific attendees and theme of each event,” Leifer said in an email. “Whether I’m in someone’s living room entertaining children during a birthday party, at an elementary school encouraging students to read or stop bullying or make healthy snack choices, or if I’m in Las Vegas energizing a company’s sales team, what I love is the way magic allows me to dazzle people and improve their lives by adding humor, empowering messages, positive thoughts, a sense of wonder and ‘wow!’ moments.” Like many people in other lines of work, magicians often look for ways to give back to the community. At the club meeting, members discussed reviving a tradition of staging a public banquet with a magic show as a charity fundraiser. And the members-only lecture before the meeting featured Sandy Springs magician Rick Darby talking about his volunteer work performing “magic therapy” — tricks done to help people get through


emotional or physical issues. Darby began volunteering at Halcyon Hospice in Sandy Springs after losing several family members and having a counselor tell him that “a lot of people resolve their grief by giving back.” Today, he visits patients and families with trick ropes and pieces of silk. “I tell tall tales. Then I end up weaving some magic effects into the stories,” he said. The club meetings always feature several members performing tricks — some based on a monthly theme, some “general magic.” At the January meeting, performers ranged from old pros to teenagers. One was Joe Turner, a high-profile pro who is past president of the main IBM organization and once ran a one-man show in Buckhead. Another was Ari Isenberg, a Galloway School freshman who recently won first place at a camp run by the legendary New York City magic shop Tannen’s; he blew the minds of old pros with an internet-generation mind-reading trick based on choosing a random word from Wikipedia. Anyone with a genuine interest in

Magician Howie “The Great” Marmer reveals a parakeet hidden under his jacket at the January meeting of the Georgia Magic Club.

magic is welcome to attend up to three Ring 9 meetings. To continue coming after that, they have to join the group. Membership requirements include performing a trick for the group. The premeeting lectures on specialty topics are members-only because they often reveal how tricks are done. More than most other businesses, magic has its trade secrets. “We take an oath as magicians to not knowingly reveal secrets to a non-magician,” said Evans. For more information about the club, see gamagicclub.com.

Business trend of serving free alcohol may not be legal BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

As the owner of Skirt Upsale Resale, Janet Pfeiffer knows her business relies on getting people through her doors to explore the displays of high-end and luxury consignment items, such as clothes, purses and jewelry. One way she has found to attract customers is to offer a free glass of wine while they shop at the store located in Sandy Springs’ Fountain Oaks shopping center. “I always have some wine in the back,” she said. She said she typically breaks out the wine for customers during special events, such as a trunk show she held over the holidays to display an artist’s jewelry. “It helps to draw people in … and makes

them more amenable to possibly buying something,” she said with a laugh. Pfeiffer is not the only business owner to tap into the idea that serving free alcohol to clients or customers is good for business. Several metro Atlanta salons and spas provide customers and clients with a free glass of wine and businesses that sell wedding dresses are known for handing out wine or champagne as a woman and her bridesmaids spend hours looking for just the right dress. And if you get a manicure at some spots, you’ll like be asked if you want a glass of champagne. Numerous “paint and drink” businesses have also popped up in Sandy Springs and throughout the Perimeter area where customers are encouraged to bring their own wine or beer and partake while learn-

ing from an artist how to paint their own masterpieces. Fast food restaurants across the country, such as Chipotle and Starbucks, are even adding alcohol to their menus for customers who want to have a beer with dinner but don’t want to pay high-end restaurant prices. And then there are exercise businesses, such as the popular Cyclebar franchise, with locations in Buckhead and Dunwoody, joining the trend. The Buckhead location currently advertises a Happy Hour session of indoor cycling on Fridays followed by complimentary wine or beer and snacks, as do numerous Cyclebar franchise sites across the country. The Dunwoody site on Ashford-Dunwoody Road would also like to offer cli-

ents some wine after a Friday evening workout, but has run into some roadblocks from the city. Dunwoody’s city attorneys have said a business cannot service alcohol, free or otherwise, without first getting a license to do so from the city. Alcohol licenses, such as those obtained by restaurants and bars, can cost thousands of dollars a year and can be cost prohibitive for small businesses that just want to offer a glass of wine to clients occasionally. “What you are doing is opening up a Pandora’s Box to allow businesses that don’t traditionally serve alcohol,” Assistant City Attorney Lenny Felgin told Dunwoody City Council at its Jan. 9 meeting. Councilmember Jim Riticher said he Continued on page 9

6 | Perimeter Business

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Game-loving teen learns code, builds his business BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Noah Covey, 16, loves to play games. Board games, mostly. But he enjoys a game of Angry Birds on his phone now and again. And with an interest in math, science, coding and adventure, the teen is now creating app games that can be played on cellphones and iPads. “I have a passion for games, especially board games,” Covey, a sophomore at Dunwoody High School, said. “Video games I’ve learned to love more and more. And my love for games made me want to make my own.” Last year, the teen created games called Flyfall and Duskfall for iOS devices. In Flyfall, the player maneuvers a bird that can’t fly but instead falls and must successfully pass through a series of gates on the way down. In Duskfall, the player controls an orbiting ball and taps the screen to change the orbit so the ball avoids being struck by falling obstacles. Both games have different levels of difficulty and with Duskfall, Covey, who also plays piano, composed three musical scores for his game. His decision to start creating his own games began when he was an eighth grader at Peachtree Charter Middle School. He started doing research on how to create a game, he said, and began learning computer programming, taking classes on the online Co-

Noah Covey, 16, a student at Dunwoody High School, taught himself coding to create two mobile app games so far.

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deacademy that teaches people how to code for free. He also said he watched several YouTube videos to learn coding language and the basics of creating an app. Covey, who formed his own company, Quantum Cat Games, said his greatest inspiration for creating games is playing other games and deciding what he likes about them and then tweaking an idea or bringing several ideas together to make something completely new. Covey said he writes down any good idea he has. He compiles a list. The ideas are typically very vague when first written, but after time and contemplation, Covey will come up with a clearer vision and eventually begin the actual coding and creation. At any one time, he has about 10 to 15 ideas percolating in his head, he said. Covey self-published Flyfall, which he released last January. It’s had about 2,000 downloads. With Duskfall, Covey did more research and hired Nanovation Labs, a mobile publisher located in Silicon Valley, Calif., to help get the word out and monetize the game. Through that company, Duskfall has had more than 67,000 downloads from people all over the world since it was published in November. “The numbers really attest to how much publishing companies help,” Covey said. Covey didn’t say how much money he’s made from the games, but said it’s enough to make the hours of time and effort he’s put into creating them worthwhile. The best part, though, is knowing people are playing his game and enjoying it, he said. “It’s pretty cool that a lot of kids at school play them, and people all over the world play them,” he said. “It’s really awesome.”

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Business trend of serving free alcohol may not be legal Continued from page 5 generally favors strict alcohol laws. “But I don’t think we ought to make it more difficult for the proverbial Dunwoody housewife to have a glass of Pinot Grigio while she gets a $150 hairdo, or a glass of bubbly at an art gallery,” he said, adding he did fear “unintended consequences.” Taylor Harper, an attorney specializing in the beverage and alcohol industry, is representing Cyclebar Dunwoody and its owner, Jeff Delorme. Harper said he believes Dunwoody’s reticence to allow his client to offer free wine tastings is “ridiculous” and compared the practice to an office holiday party, where no license is needed. “They’re not selling alcohol,” Harper told the council. “It’s unusual to have a local jurisdiction regulate this when at the state level, there is no license required.” But state law, actually, is a bit sticky. When asked about salons or exercise facilities or spas serving free alcohol to cli-

ents, the Georgia Department of Revenue said, simply, no can do. “The Department of Revenue views transactions such as the ones you mentioned that include a ‘free’ alcoholic beverage as a sale of alcohol, and are not permitted unless the business owner has an alcohol permit,” said spokesperson William Gaston. Attorney Kevin Leff, whose firm Sard & Leff in Sandy Springs focuses on alcoholic beverage regulations and compliance, said the state has always taken the position that any alcohol served, free or not, in a business where services are paid for means there is a sale of alcohol taking place and the business must be licensed to do so. “They have taken the position that if there is some kind of commercial business going on, then there is in fact really the sale of alcohol taking place,” Leff said. “Under state law, there isn’t a way for a business to work around this.” In 2009, a bridal shop owner in Co-


Got Stuff?

What you are doing is opening up a Pandora’s Box to allow businesses that don’t traditionally serve alcohol.


Cyclebar Dunwoody is one of the businesses concerned about the alcohol law.

lumbus, Ga., was found guilty of violates serving alcohol, according to city codes. ing a city ordinance by serving mimosas “In terms of local government, if Dunand orange juice cocktails to customers. woody wants to enact an ordinance [covThe police department had received comering this issue], they can do it,” Leff said. plaints the owner was serving alcohol and There is possibly one way to ensure an undercover officer went into the busibusinesses follow state law — have cusness and pretended to tomers bring their own look at tuxedos when booze. But that, again, he spotted the drinks is left up to local jubeing served and called risdictions. In Atlanin five others to raid ta, for example, busithe store. nesses that are licensed In Dunwoody, the can allow customers to city’s attorneys are BYOB. drawing up an amend“The Department of ment to the city code Revenue does not have to create “limited onan issue with a perpremises consumption son bringing their own alcohol licenses for wine to a business as business not qualifying long as it always stays for regular licenses” for in the possession of the City Council members customer that brought to consider. it in,” Gaston said. LENNY FELGIN Those businesses ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY But, the employees would include places of the business cannot such as Cyclebar Duntouch the bottle and woody, where there is only the customer can no full-service kitchen and no sale of alcopour their own drinks, he said. hol. Only wine and beer would be allowed “The business can provide cups, ice, to be served. etc. Many local jurisdictions would not The businesses would be required to allow this practice, which is commonly get a license from the city, although the known as ‘brown-bagging.’ Our concern cost of the license hasn’t been determined. is always the business itself providing the Cyclebar Dunwoody owner Jeff Delorme alcohol to the customer as previously dissaid he is willing to do whatever the city cussed,” Gaston said. requires, but simply wants to offer clients Pfeiffer of Skirt Upsale Resale said she wine as a way for them to socialize togethnever thought to ask if she needed some er. But, he added, if the license proposed kind of alcohol permit. As a longtime and approved ends up costing in the thoumember of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter sands of dollars, he said he would not be Chamber of Commerce, she said she regable to do it. ularly attended the organization’s wine Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Atlanevents and came to believe offering free ta laws require licenses for any businessalcohol was legal.

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Perimeter Business | 9


Ribbon Cuttings


Joining the December ribbon-cutting for Just Yoga at 205 Hilderbrand Drive in Sandy Springs are, from left, Susanna Rohm; City Economic Development Director Andrea Hall; Just Yoga owner Julie Benham; and Chris Adams, Beth Berger and Rebecca Hillegeist from the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.


Enviroscent, Inc., a fragrance company at 4600 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, cut its ribbon Jan. 18. Attending were, from left, Beth Berger of Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; Enviroscent’s Tamara Kullbeck and CEO Nick McKay; Mayor Rusty Paul; Chamber president Tom Mahaffey; Enviroscent’s Lisa Lepping; and the Chamber’s Jeff Lovejoy.


A fitness program center at 4920 Roswell Road, #10A, Sandy Springs

Tiff’s Treats

A warm cookie delivery company at 1165 Perimeter Center West, Sandy Springs

CT Cocina & Taqueria

A Mexican restaurant at 6631 Roswell Road, Suite I, Sandy Springs


10 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writer: Dyana Bagby Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter Jim Speakman, Janet Tassitano Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Grace Huseth, Phil Mosier

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

© 2017 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any

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Commentary: Making ‘last-mile’ connections in Perimeter Center Perimeter Center is increasingly Georgia’s Fortune 1000 address of choice for many reasons, as witnessed by the construction cranes dotting the 4.2 square miles of our Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs), with more commercial, retail and residential development yet to come. On most any given business day, 120,000 to 135,000 temporary residents come into Perimeter Center to work, and though some live nearby in Brookhaven, Dunwoody or Sandy Springs, the vast majority commute to this sub-market from elsewhere, and most do so in a single-occupancy vehicles. There are also several thousand who daily utilize our three MARTA stations — Medical Center, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs — as well as a growing number who ride Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Xpress buses from across the metro area, but there is certainly significant potential to expand those numbers. The remaining challenge is attracting workers who are willing to go without a car or to leave it at home to cover that last mile between MARTA or the GRTA bus stop and their offices or place of business. Though Atlanta has a relatively mild climate, our rain, hot summers and few weeks of real winter are enough to discourage most from long walks to work, and though the PATH400 trail heading north from Buckhead and possible new pocket parks in the Perimeter Center may increase biking and alternative pedestrian transit, to really move the needle, we are going to have to deliver a solution and option which afBob Voyles is chairman of fordably covers that last mile. the Perimeter Business AlThe Perimeter Center is home to regional, national and international headquarters and corporations liance and principal at the such as UPS, InterContinental Hotels Group, Cox, Mercedes-Benz USA and Arby’s, as well as the state’s Seven Oaks Company. largest retail center and Class A office sub-market. The bulk of those workers and business owners who choose to use alternative transit would be choice riders, as opposed to transit-dependent commuters who have no other available options. The best options for last mile may be a combination of offerings. People-movers may best connect our three outstanding hospitals clustered around Pill Hill and the Medical Center station, as well as potentially dedicated tunnels, bridges and possibly even off-ramps with direct connection to the coming circulator-distributor lane expansions on I-285 and Ga. 400. Shuttle buses, with or without their own dedicated lane, may become the most cost-effective answer to deliver in the near and midterm. But while buses and shuttles may reduce the number of vehicles on crowded corridors, they do not increase capacity. DART, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, came into being in 1983, and it now operates buses, light rail, commuter rail (heavy rail) and HOV lanes across metropolitan Dallas and 12 suburban communities. With extensions completed to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 2014 and another in 2016, DART now operates 93 miles of light rail, making it the largest light rail operator in the United States. A group of Fulton County and other local elected officials and business leaders are traveling to Dallas to see this system in action and to better understand how public support was built to fund and construct that system. MARTA and GRTA are already partnering with ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft, and transit-oriented developments are underway atop or adjacent to several MARTA stations across the region. The two primary mass-transit providers are also exploring ways that their Breeze card and Peach Pass payment systems might be made compatible, like the all-transit “Octopus” card in many Asian markets. As someone who has been fortunate to be involved in the development of some of Atlanta’s most prestigious mixed-use office projects, I have long believed to achieve your goals and to lead, one has to be ready to accept a certain element of risk. Shooting for the stars means at least looking up into the sky. There is likely not just one solution to our last-mile challenge, but for at least part of that. I do think we will need to be looking up, and not just out on our existing roadways.

Guest Columnist Bob Voyles

Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs) plan an open house Jan. 26 to provide residents information about proposed recommendations on ‘last-mile’ connectivity in the area and to solicit comments. The open house at Northpark 400 Town Center, Suite 335, 1000 Abernathy Road, begins at 6 p.m.

On The Record

Read these articles from our other editions online at ReporterNewspapers.net

“We tried to give each area a little bit of love.” Kristin McEwen, executive director of the Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA in Buckhead, on a $7 million expansion and renovation of the facility that opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 19.

“The lease here expires at the end of 2019, so we have a little bit more time.” Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman on the news that the City Hall building the city leases may be up for redevelopment.

“I have always liked conservation and nature and this project allows me to return the favor.” Bobby Nice, a Boy Scout working to clear invasive species from the Dunwoody Nature Center as a special project.

“The people spoke, so I listened.” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst on his move to add a 30-units-per-acre density cap for the Peachtree Road overlay district area to a recent city Planning Commission agenda.

reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. SS

JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Commentary | 11


Writing with a wink and a smile In an effort to demonstrate our range of human emotions and yet still move beyond the constraints of basic punctuation and a shrunken vocabulary, we, as a technically evolved culture, have dawdled across our keyboards and touchpads and discovered an abundance of ways to form a smiley face. I’m constantly amazed at the variety. Even though there are myriad variations on your average smartphone — ranging from a blushing grin to a sassy wink to a nostril flaring devil to a cry-me-a-river — there are those of us who won’t succumb to pre-packaged emoticons and prefer to inject our own creations into our correspondences. Others of us take into account the coolness factor and, in so doing, shun the ready-mades altogether. And of course, there are those who compose actual emails on an actual laptop and thus have the full keyboard Robin Conte is a writer at their disposal at all times, and who have experimented and mother of four who with all the emotional combinations available, creating lives in Dunwoody. She their own emoticons out of punctuation marks and using can be contacted at what I will call “puncticons.” robinjm@earthlink.net. I know you’ve seen puncticons, and I’ll bet you’ve used a few yourself. Like clothing and hairstyle, your puncticon choices reveal something of your personality. If you are like my son, for instance (who can wring more emotion out of a keypad than anyone I’ve ever met), you are not just happy; you’re filled with wide-eyed exuberance =D!, sometimes unsure =d, and sometimes upside down with glee (= . If you are like my daughter, who is perennially cheerful and cute, you will have fittingly cheerful and cute puncticons, so that when you’re happy, you’re happy cute :D, and even when you’re bummed, you’re bummed cute :/. Most of us like to save time by foregoing the “shift” and “space” keys, and end up being squishy cute ;) . Usually I don’t hit the shift key fast enough, and my faces are filled with nines or underscores :9 ;9 ;_9, which looks a bit piggish and which I doubt will catch on.

Robin’s Nest Robin Conte

My biggest problem comes when I insert a puncticon into a parenthetical phrase (which I often do), and then I end up making a happy face with a double-chin (and it’s somewhat confusing :)). I decided to experiment with the happy-face theme myself, punching keys to see what shapes they’d make and feeling like a kid with a new box of crayons curious about just what color “sienna” turns out to be. I started by taking the time to give my face a nose :-), but my laptop no longer allows manually created happiness and interjects its own  . I put it on html so that I could dress my little face and give him hair }:-) or a mustache :{D for added character. I made Goldilocks with a dollar sign $:D; I made a happy guy with a big nose {: >); and I made an alien (-). Then I tried to come up with my own personalized happy face, and, since my eyes get all squinty when I smile, I came up with an inferred-joy face ^^. If I want to make a mouth, I’ll have to go to an entirely new line. ^^ O Note that with this choice, I can be nothing but surprised. I will admit that it’s a bit silly, a bit sophomoric, but the truth is that all of these electronically composed faces are made in an effort to soften — and even humanize — the fast-paced correspondence of our times. And I do find it heartening that even amid our busy lives and our technological haste, we will still take the time for a wink and a smile. WINK/Conte/p.4

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Writer Robin Conte, at work and at play, experimenting with emoticons.

C OR R EC T ION The school attended by Samantha Dyer, Hanna Meyers and Katie Pleiss was listed incorrectly in the “20 Under 20” article about them in the issue dated Jan. 6. The three attend The Galloway School. SS

A SMILE AT EVERY TOUCH POINT Please call or come in to see how we can be of assistance for your loved ones. 690 Mount Vernon Hwy. NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 | 404-843-8857 | InsigniaofSandySprings.com

12 | Community

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ZIP code errors could cut sales tax proceeds, city says gave was the clothing company Land’s End, which she said no longer has that ta” or other city names. But officials problem. have revived fears because of recently Kraun could not cite a current exapproved sales tax hikes — from 7 to ample of a business that miscalcu7.75 percent in Fulton County and from lates its sales tax. An informal Reporter 8 to 8.9 percent within Atlanta — that Newspapers review of receipts from a will directly fund city transportation few Sandy Springs restaurants and groprojects. cers found the correct tax calculated. “It’s always been confusing, but now The giant online retailer Amazon.com you’re talking about real money,” said also calculated the correct tax for a purSandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul at chase made to a Peachtree-Dunwoody the Jan. 3 City Council meeting, where Road address in Sandy Springs using councilmembers raised the fears. “Atlanta” as the city name in the 30342 ZIP codes can be confusing. While ZIP code, which overlaps both cities. they often carry a city name, ZIP codes Sandy Springs has never performed are simply mail delivery route areas a formal audit or inventory of the sales created by the U.S. Postal Service for tax problem, Kraun said, and has had its planning convenience. They rarefew discussions with other cities or the ly match actual city borders and are state about it. “There’s not a way to calsometimes changed. culate how much we’re Eight different ZIP losing,” she said. codes cover parts of Dunwoody isn’t conSandy Springs, some cerned, according to entirely within the city city spokesperson Bob borders, some overlapMullen. According to ping with such cities as Dunwoody Finance DiAtlanta and Norcross. rector Chris Pike, MulThe Postal Service len said, “those probdesignates one or more lems are few and rarely “preferred” city names SHARON KRAUN pop up, and in most casfor each ZIP code. In CITY COMMUNICATIONS es it’s a simple misunterms of getting mail, DIRECTOR derstanding … He menit often doesn’t mattioned it potentially ter what city name someone uses as evens out in the grand scheme of things long as the street address and ZIP code as it’s not something on a grand scale or number are correct. City Communicaof a critical mass.” tions Director Sharon Kraun, a Sandy The state Department of Revenue Springs resident who has long worked has a “Business Occupational Tax Subon the sales tax issue, said she once mittal System” to catch such mistakes, tested that herself. according to spokesperson William “I put my daughter’s name as a city Gaston. He said the program allows citname. I still got [the mail],” she said. “I ies to submit files about which busiput my dog’s name and still got it.” nesses are registered within their borIn sales taxes, ZIP code names may ders, which the department then uses matter a lot more. Sales taxes are a to check against sales tax collections. combination of state, county, local and, Sandy Springs sales tax fears are in some counties, MARTA taxes. Busicomplicated by another motive: civic nesses collect the taxes and pay the revpride and branding. City leaders have enue to the state, which then distriblong pushed residents to call the area utes the local shares. “Sandy Springs” rather than “Atlanta” The concern, Kraun said, is that as community-building. some businesses use software that au“There was the civic piece of it and tomatically calculates the tax on a purthe financial piece of it,” Kraun said of chase by ZIP code rather than by an Galambos’s ZIP code interests. actual city map. If “Atlanta” is the preIn 2012, the city successfully pushed ferred city name for a ZIP code coverthe Postal Service to conduct a mailing both cities, the fear is that Sandy in vote on making “Sandy Springs” the Springs loses its tax and Atlanta incorpreferred name for local ZIP codes. A rectly gets it instead. majority of residents voted yes, but a Kraun worked on the ZIP code isneeded supermajority of businesses did sue several years ago with former Maynot, Kraun said, likely because of the or Eva Galambos. At that time, Kraun prestige and national familiarity of an said, they found several companies — Atlanta address. especially online retailers — that incorNow, Kraun said, city staff members rectly forced Sandy Springs customers are looking into a possible re-vote, or to use a default “Atlanta” address that even getting a single ZIP code to cover miscalculated the sales tax as if they the entire city. were in that city. One example Kraun Continued from page 1

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Community | 13


City Springs workers celebrate construction milestone BY JOHN RUCH The 400-person crew building Sandy Springs’ City Springs project celebrated the completion of main construction with a Jan. 6 lunch held in what will one day be a theater and the City Council chambers. But there is still a lot of work to be done — about 18 months’ worth on the interior — before the massive complex opens for business (and pleasure). City Springs is a public-private development that will include a new City Hall, a large park, an 1,100seat performing arts center, retail space and housing. It’s going up on a parcel bordered by Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads, Mount Vernon Highway and Sandy Springs Circle. An army of contractors led by Holder Construction has been working on the site for about a year. The Jan. 6 lunch, provided by City Springs’ neighbor, Slope’s BBQ, marked the “topping-out” of the main city-run portion of the complex, which actually wrapped up with a final pouring of rooftop concrete on Dec. 22, according to Holder project manager Hayes Todd. The housing portion of City Springs, consisting of about 295 apartments, is still going up. A. A worker walks past the City Springs building. B. The south facade of the City Springs building, with an area that will eventually be a park. C. Construction crew member Jaime Garcia works on a balcony in the performing arts center. D. Eric Barrera, a welder on the construction site, enjoys the lunch. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER



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14 | Community

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King Day Celebration at City Hall







Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated at Sandy Springs City Hall on Monday, Jan. 16, with music, speakers and presentation of the city’s 2017 Humanitarian Award. A - Oz Hill, of SDVOSB Collaborative Services, introduces the keynote speaker. Seated, from left, are Pastor Henry Bush of Sharon Baptist Church and Rev. Ricardo Green, director of Spanish Ministries Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church. B - At left, keynote speaker Xernona Clayton, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, is greeted by Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz. C - Rabbi Ron Segal, senior rabbi of Temple Sinai, received the city’s 2017 Humanitarian Award. D - Maryann Badovinac directs the Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School Show Choir. E - Mayor Rusty Paul addresses the gathering. F - Tillie O’Neal-Kyles, CEO and founder of Every Woman Works and the city’s 2016 Humanitarian Award winner, offers a retrospective.


JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Community | 15



sage marietta

1401 Johnson Ferry Rd #334, Marietta, GA 30062 770-874-8330 SPECIAL

An illustration of the City Springs project showing the Johnson Ferry Road/Mount Vernon Highway triangle, far right, with its proposed park and roundabout.

City may spend $4.8m on land for park, roundabouts BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city of Sandy Springs is poised to spend $4.8 million to buy the Johnson Ferry Road/Mount Vernon Highway triangle in order to convert the land to a park and a roundabout. Following an executive session discussion on Jan. 17, the City Council gave pre-approval for City Manager John McDonough to sign a purchase agreement for the fourparcel site, dependent on terms still being worked out and subject to City Attorney Wendell Willard’s review. The owner is W.B. Holdings Triangle LLC, whose principal is Adam Orkin, according to Willard. The council previously approved a legal effort to take the property by condemnation — mostly for negotiating leverage, Willard said. In December, the council agreed to a $73,600 relocation settlement with the last business operating on the triangle, Magic Mike’s Automotive. The triangle is bounded by Johnson Ferry, Mount Vernon and Roswell Road. The city wants the land for two projects. One is a park planned for the Roswell Road side of the triangle, facing the new City Springs town center and tying into its program of public green space. The other is a reconstruction of the Johnson Ferry/Mount Vernon intersection into dual roundabouts. The acquisition of the triangle has been stalled partly because of the former Magic Mike’s building. It dates to the 1960s and was considered historic by the state preservation office in a review required as part of the roundabouts project’s federal funding. That put the roundabouts on hold while the city had to address ways to preserve or mitigate its planned demolition of the building. The city now is avoiding the historic-designation issue by dropping the federal funding and instead paying for the project itself via a recently approved transportation special local option sales tax.


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16 | Out & About

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Mondays, from Jan. 23 through March 6




The winter session of Perimeter Adult Learning & Services, Inc. (PALS), continues with classes for senior adults in three time slots each Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Classes include: “The Civil War,” “Beautiful Geological Marvels II,” “Music,” “Mahjongg,” “Examining Your Funny Bone II,” “Shakespeare,” “Points of History,” “Great Decisions 2017,” and “Bridge.” Cost: $8 one day; $45 full session. Lunch available for extra fee. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: palsonline.org or 770-698-0801.





Saturday, Jan. 28, 1-4 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Feb. 19

A series of three classes taught by naturalist illustrator Christy Knight combines the love of art and nature for adults 18 and older of all ability levels. The first class is “Winter Subjects in Pen and Ink.” Subsequent classes, on Feb. 11 and March 25, use colored pencils and watercolor, respectively. Basic suggested materials provided. $75 per class; $200 for full series. Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org/natural-science-workshops-for-adults or 404-455-3560.

Stage Door Players presents “Death by Design,” a dark comedy by Rob Urbinati set in a weekend at an English country manor in 1932. North DeKalb Cultural Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Showtimes and ticket info: stagedoorplayers.net.


Tuesday, Jan. 24 to Wednesday, Feb. 15

The 17th annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will present 202 screenings, including 75 films from 24 countries, at multiple venues in Atlanta. The opening night film is “Alone in Berlin,” based on a true story of grieving parents driven by the loss of their son to resist the Nazi regime. All screenings include post-film conversation with filmmakers, actors, academics and other experts. The festival is presented by AJFF, an independent arts organization, and is anchored at the Lefont Sandy Springs theater, 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: ajff.org.

ARTS WORKSHOPS Through Sunday, Jan. 29


The Spruill Center for the Arts is offering one- and two-day workshops through the end of January on jewelry, flower arrangement, acrylic color mixing, collage and more. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: Awww.spruillarts.org/classes. TION & PARKS

Lost Corner Preserve is located on 24+ acres of beautiful woodlands with nature trails, a winding creek, community gardens, historic buildings, and an assortment of wildlife, trees LECTURE HISTORY OFarea SANDY SPRINGS and native plants. It has a rich and unique history dating back SERIES: to the settlement of the Fourth Wednesdays, January through May, 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the mid-1800’s and the Civil War.

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First Sundays: February through April, 3-4 p.m.

Local historian Clarke Otten presents the history of Sandy Springs in a lecture series presented by Friends of Lost Corner, a park and historic site. Topic for Jan. 25 is “Indian Trails and Pioneer Tales.” Friends of Lost Corner also presents a “Secret History of Lost Corner” lecture. Visitors can learn how previous owners of Lost Corner’s 20th century farmhouse helped shape the Sandy Springs area. Suggested donation: $5. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road N.W., Sandy Springs. Register: registration. 7300 Brandon Mill Rd. 30328 sandyspringsga. gov. Info: 770(Located at the corner of Brandon Mill SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT 730-5600. Road where Riverside Drive turns into calendar@ReporterNewspapers.net Dalrymple Road)

Lost Corner Preserve

JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Out & About | 17






Investor, radio host and motivational speaker Charlie Harary will speak on “Tapping Into Your Inner Greatness” at Congregation Ariel. Dessert reception follows the program. Cost: $10. 5227 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Information: congariel.org or 770-390-9071.

Friends of the Dunwoody Library sponsor a book sale. Public hours: 4-8 p.m. on Jan. 26; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30. The final day of the sale is Bag Day (fill a provided bag for a set price). 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.

Monday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 26 to Saturday, Jan. 28; Monday, Jan. 30

BASEBALL LEGEND RON POLK Wednesday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m.

Baseball coach Ron Polk, known as “the winningest coach in the Southeastern Conference,” headlines a fund-raiser for Riverwood International Charter School’s Raider Baseball. Polk will speak about his time around the diamond and sign baseballs and copies of his book, “The Baseball Playbook,” which will be available for purchase ($20). Suggested donation for the event: $10. Food available for purchase. 5900 Raider Drive N.W., Sandy Springs. Info: RaiderBaseballLegacy@gmail.com or RiverwoodAthletics.org.


Saturday, Jan. 28, 10:30 a.m.-noon.

Heritage Sandy Springs continues its American Girl Club monthly programming with a pajama party including popcorn and snacks. Girls are invited to bring their dolls and a pillow to watch the movie “Lea to the Rescue!” Best suited for ages 5-12. Free. RSVP recommended. Heritage Sandy Springs office building, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-851-9111, ext. 2.



Saturday, Feb. 4, 2-3 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.

Timothy Tyson, author of “The Blood of Emmett Till,” discusses his book about the 1955 lynching in Mississippi of a 14-yearold black boy from Chicago and the trial that followed. Tyson is also the author of “Blood Done Sign My Name,” a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Admission: $5 members; $10 non-members. Reservations required. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: 404-814-4150.


Learn about birds with Nature’s Echo, a conservation organization, in February’s Free First Saturday program at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Registration info: dunwoodynature.org or 770-394-3322.

DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE Saturday, Feb. 4, 6-8 p.m.

Girls and their fathers or father figures are invited to a city-sponsored dance featuring music from both generations. Open to all girls attending schools in Sandy Springs. Business casual to semi-formal attire. Limited to 125 girls. Cost: $35 for father and daughter; $10 each additional daughter. Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School, 130 W. Spalding Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: registration.sandyspringsga.gov or 770-730-5600.

CAJUN/CREOLE DANCE PARTY Saturday, Feb. 4, 8-11 p.m.

Party with Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp. Led by Creole accordionist and fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt, the band plays everything from bluesy two-steps to Zydeco. Free dance lesson 7-8 p.m. Cost: $18; $5 students, $14 active military. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun food for sale. Dorothy Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

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18 | Out & About

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Film festival documentary explores U.S. racism during 1936 Berlin Olympics BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The 1936 Berlin Olympics was supposed to be a world showcase for Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany’s belief that the strength of the Aryan race could not be matched by anyone else.


Screenings for “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” Jan. 27 at UA Tara Cinemas at 2:55 p.m. Feb. 5 at Lefont Sandy Springs at 4:15 p.m., including appearance by Director Deborah Riley Draper Feb. 9 at Regal Atlantic Station at 7:50 p.m. ajff.org/film/olympic-prideamerican-prejudice

But African-American and U.S. athlete Jesse Owens, rising above racial tensions in his home country, claimed four gold medals in track and field and achieved a legacy that continues today. What’s not as well-known is that there were 17 other American black athletes, including two women, competing at the 1936 Olympic Games. They defied calls for boycotts from a country that treated them as second-class citizens so they could compete on the world stage. “It’s really a fascinating story. It’s a complicated story,” said Debora Riley Draper of Atlanta, director of the featurelength documentary “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” screening at this year’s Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Actor Blair Underwood is the narrator. The documentary screening is one in a record number 202 screenings, including 75 films from 24 countries at multiple venues in Atlanta, presented in the 17th year of the film festival. Draper said she was researching Valaida Snow, a trumpet player from Chattannooga, Tenn., who ended up in a Nazi concentration camp after being arrested in 1941 in Denmark while touring with an all-female band. And in that research, she learned that 18 African American athletes competed in the Berlin Olympics.


Archie Williams was one of 18 black athletes who competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Here he is with reporters after he won the gold in the 400 meter dash.

“I only knew about Jesse Owens,” years ago are very similar to conversaDraper said, “and learned that the stories tions people are having today about race of the other athletes, including these two and protests. When she began the docuwomen, all went into obscurity.” mentary, people were talking about the It was known that Hitler did not want shootings of unarmed black teens Trayany African Americans competing in von Martin and Tamir Rice. his Olympics, and the In the NFL, San black athletes faced Francisco quarterfierce opposition from back Colin Kaepernick their peers and others made waves when he in the U.S. to boycott chose to take a knee the games or face the during the National idea they would be supAnthem as a silent proporting Hitler’s tyrantest to America’s treatny by competing. ment of black people. But at the time, a “These are all confederal anti-lynching versations about patribill was sitting on Presotism, the rights and ident Franklin D. Roofreedoms people have,” sevelt’s desk with no Draper said. real chance of it being The 18 Africansigned and black peoAmerican athletes ple were forced to deal DEBORA RILEY DRAPER who competed in Berwith violent Jim Crow DIRECTOR “OLYMPIC PRIDE, lin were not condoning laws that enforced ra- AMERICAN PREJUDICE” Hitler or Nazism, Drapcial segregation, iner said, because they cluding separate restrooms and water were not the policy makers. They were fountains for black and white people and athletes. But sports can bring visibility to forcing black people to sit in the back of political issues, and, by winning, the Afrithe bus. Racism within law enforcement can Americans very publicly showed the was rampant as well. world that the Nazi principle that Aryans “This was an interesting time and Afwere the best athletes was simply wrong. rican Americans were trying to figure Ben Johnson, the American sprinter out how to exist,” Draper said. considered the most serious rival to Jes“In America where they lived, the se Owens, was unable to compete in the black athletes couldn’t get their own 1936 Olympics due to an injury. He said at country to recognize them as American the time, “I don’t stand for tyranny in any citizens,” she said. “For them to get on country including America,” Draper said. a boat [to go to Germany] with USA on “The athletes wanted to compete. their backs was a political statement.” They had a lot to prove as African AmerThe athletes, she said, were willing to icans regardless of their country’s policompete, and win, for a country that did cies,” she said. not love them. “If they won, it certainly takes down “That took courage,” Draper said. “The the Aryan supremacy business and it furunbelievable strength, and this perseverthers the cause of taking down Jim Crow,” ance, this fearlessness, and the ability to she said. “Sports are visible. And being do the right thing.” able to be visible encourages the next Draper said the conversations 80 generation.”

I only knew about Jesse Owens and learned that the stories of the other athletes, including these two women, all went into obscurity.

JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Community | 19



At left: Butch Welch, the state’s project manager for the I-285/Ga.400 reconstruction, explains the upcoming phases of work at the Sandy Springs headquarters. At right: Jill Goldberg, communications manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation, points to proposed locations for sound-blocking walls on a map of Ga. 400.

Inside GDOT’s ‘Transform 285/400’ project command center BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

It was a quiet Friday morning amid the empty cubicles in a Sandy Springs office building. But the tapestry-sized highway maps on the walls gave a hint of the work that will soon set the place buzzing for years to come. The address is 270 Carpenter Drive, Suite 450, and the offices are the Georgia Department of Transportation’s command headquarters for the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project. The first dirt will be plowed for the “Transform 285/400” project within the next week, and work will continue into mid-2020. “This is a big project and there’s a lot of eyes and ears on it,” says Butch Welch, the GDOT project manager, who will lead the 15 to 20 people in the headquarters keeping that attention as work ramps up. That’s why GDOT chose to have a local headquarters in that building, which sits about 500 feet from I-285’s Roswell Road exit and less than a mile from the interchange. And three floors above them, an elevator ride away from any questions, is North Perimeter Contractors, the team of companies that won the $460 million project. “We can get there fast, not worry about the traffic,” said GDOT communications manager Jill Goldberg. “We try to be out there at least every day,” said Welch about reviewing the preparation work already underway along Ga. 400 in Sandy Springs. GDOT and private contractors assisting in the project’s oversight have the ability to view live traffic camera footage of the highways, but Welch said he is “one of the people who wants to get out in the field, whether it’s 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon.” Welch and Goldberg spoke in a small, freshly painted conference room in the headquarters, which has yet to acquire lived-in touches. Name placards for future staff members hang on vacant cubicles. A few pieces of art, including a painting of another mega-project, New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge, brighten a visitor waiting room. The most notable decorations are the scroll-like highway maps stretching for yards, depicting plans for such details as sound-blocking walls and new highway signs. The maps also give a sense of the sheer scale of the massive project. Rebuilding one of the state’s busiest highway interchanges—it handles about 400,000 vehicles per day— to improve capacity and flow is just the beginning. The work also involves adding “collector-distributor lanes”—physically separated exit and entrance lanes—to Ga. 400 north to Sandy Springs’ Spalding Drive and to I-285 between Roswell Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody and Brookhaven. The Ga. 400/Abernathy Road interchange in Sandy Springs will be rebuilt as a “diverging diamond,” in which traffic flow changes in time with traffic lights to move cars faster, and 33 bridges will be built or rehabbed. “We’re getting ready to blow up the interchange,” Welch says cheerfully, adding it’s “not going to be as devastating as people think.” He cited two reasons: Most of the work will be done at night, and through a phased construction that allows all roadways to remain partly open during construction and, at least in theory, to improve traffic before the work is totally done. In fact, the new interchange is still being designed and its work may not begin for another year or more.

There was, naturally, a diagram hanging on the wall to illustrate the phasing. Welch sprang up to point out that it begins with reconstruction of the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over Ga. 400. Sporting a silver crew cut and immaculate work shirt and jeans, Welch speaks about such complexities with an engineer’s precise details and notes of caution. Communicating such details to the public and local officials is another reason to have a local headquarters, which anyone is welcome to visit, Welch said. “We can’t solve everybody’s problem. In fact, we’re probably going to create a lot of problems” in the short term, Welch said. But what GDOT can do is clearly communicate the plans and coordinate mitigations with whoever is affected. As a small example, Welch cited the need to coordinate the project’s work so it won’t conflict with cities’ roadwork or right-of- way maintenance. “With taxpayer dollars, we don’t want to be doing something and then tearing it up,” he said. Meanwhile, Welch said, any construction pains will be worth it. “What you see out there now, that’s going to go away,” he said. “You’ll be able to go”—he whistled and sliced a finger through the air—“straight through.”

Other ‘Transform 285/400’ updates CURRENT CONSTRUCTION PHASING The current construction plan starts with replacing the Mt. Vernon bridge, followed by, in order: new lanes on Ga. 400’s east side north of Hammond Drive; similar work on Ga. 400’s west side; the same work on Ga. 400 south of Hammond; the Abernathy diverging diamond; and finally the I-285 and interchange work. GDOT recently mailed out notices for two open houses about proposed sound-blocking walls along Ga. 400. Both will be held Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at Congregation B’Nai Torah, 700 Mount Vernon in Sandy Springs. Affected property owners get to vote on whether any sound barriers will be built. TRAFFIC COORDINATION The two cities directly impacted by work are Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. Their police departments are working on an agreement that will allow off-duty officers to work traffic details in both jurisdictions, Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone told his City Council Jan. 17. Another concern is the new Atlanta Braves stadium, set to open in March farther down I-285 in Cobb County. The I-285/Ga. 400 night lane closures will start after game time, potentially surprising and confusing fans with new conditions on their way home. Goldberg said GDOT is working on a communications plan, possibly including messages on the giant screens in the stadium. THE NEXT PROJECT “Transform 285/400,” big as it is, is not the end of work in the area. GDOT already has preliminary plans to add “managed” lanes in the area within the next decade. Managed lanes mean some type of restricted-access lanes, usually by a toll. Goldberg said GDOT officials will present information about the managed lanes at the Sandy Springs City Council’s retreat Jan. 24 at Lost Corner Preserve.

20 | Education

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T.J. Edwards Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” series, Reporter Newspapers showcase the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend an Exceptional Educator to be included in our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the teacher or administration and why you think he or she should be featured.

T.J. Edwards

teaches technology, engineering and design at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. His students have used a 3-D printer to manufacture prosthetic hands for a man who was born without fully formed fingers on his right hand.


What attracted you to teaching at first?


I’m a career changer, having first worked in the construction engineer fields and been owner/operator of a small business for a few years. In each of those instances, I felt a void of purpose. I made the change to teaching so that I could reignite my love for tech



and design while sharing some knowledge and experiences that I wish I had in my own high school experience.

Q: Has the appeal changed? A: I think the appeal has only grown.

Over the years, students will come back and say they appreciate having a certain experience or how they enjoyed a class. Those relationships with students continually remind me that this is the right career for me.

Q: What keeps you going year after



Beyond the day-to-day interaction with students and a really awesome team of teachers, I’m continually invigorated by the way the conversations around education are evolving. Students are getting more opportunities to work on problems that matter — not ones invented by teachers — and as a result they are gaining a sense that their world is malleable and we trust them to shape it in a positive way. I think we are on the cusp of a major (and much-



Jeff Kremer

Account Executive

needed) reimagining of the way we “do” school.


What do you think makes a great teacher?


I think it is really helpful for teachers know it is OK to be vulnerable with students. It is OK to not know all the answers. In fact, those problems that aren’t easily Googled are the ones worth solving, right? Some of the best experiences I’ve had with students is when we tackled a problem that none of us knew the answer(s) to. In that way, I was co-creating and learning alongside the students.


What do you want to see in your students?


I want to see students that are insatiably curious. In some ways, it feels like school can stomp that out of students as the get older. I want students to be problem-seekers and demonstrate diversity in both thought and action.


How do you engage your stu-



I think I invest a lot of time on classroom culture and expectations. We might spend a few weeks talking through craftsmanship, self-reliance, how to work in a team, and why it is important to be contributors to — not just consumers of — knowledge. I think that has helped students take ownership of their learning.


Do you have a project or special program you use year after year?


One personality trait (or flaw?) of mine is that I continually like to try new projects and ideas, so no two se-

mesters are exactly the same. Over the past four years, a theme of building assistive technologies for disabled individuals has emerged as a favorite. I think some of the secret to those projects is that students have a user in mind — one who has very real and observable needs. The empathy that is generated compels students to be successful because the stakes are higher than just a grade, which can feel relatively meaningless at times.


Is there a “trick” that works to get students involved?


I don’t know if it is a trick, but I think kids by nature want to work on problems that they care about. Sometimes that means opening their eyes to issues they didn’t know existed and other time it means tailoring projects to meet their personal strengths and preferences.


What do you hope your students take away from your class?


Maybe there are two big things: 1) I want students to gain the super power of X-ray vision — an ability to imagine how designed objects are fabricated and 2) to be both critical thinkers and critical makers. Maybe that’s a new discipline/department I’d like to create: Art of the Possible.

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Teacher T.J. Edwards chats with student Emily Moseley.


JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Classifieds | 21


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22 | Public Safety

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Police Blotter / Sandy Springs From Sandy Springs Police reports filed from Jan. 7 through Jan. 11. The following information was provided by Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department.

B U R G L A RY 100 block of Northwood Drive — On

Jan. 7, just before 3 a.m., a caller said he saw a man smash a window into the business. Officers found a hammer on the floor and a broken-up cash register. It looks like about $100 was taken. 9400 block of Roberts Drive — On Jan.

9, the complainant said several packages were opened at an apartment complex. Video showed a men and woman sifting through the packages. At least one item was stolen from a package.

30-pound tank of refrigerant were stolen.

THEFT 6225

Roswell Road — On Jan. 9, a 28-year old woman reported that someone drove off with her 2014 GMC Sierra K1500 from the parking lot near a restau- CAPT. STEVE ROSE, SSPD srose@sandyspringsga.gov rant. The theft occurred between 6:30 a.m. and 5:23 p.m. 4920 Roswell Road — On Jan. 9, em-

ployees at a grocery store reported that two women stole an activated $500 gift

4600 block of East Conway Drive —

5200 block of Peachtree-Dunwoody

Road — On Jan. 10, a man reported that he found a black plastic tub containing mail taken from several addresses on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and West Kingston Drive. One resident said they had video of a man carrying a black plastic tub towards a parking deck at about 6:30 a.m. 1600 block of Bakers Glen — On Jan.

10, a 73-year-old woman reported that she took her wedding ring off, a normal procedure when she walks for exercise. She left it in her bedroom area, concealed. The following day she looked for it but could not locate the ring. 6615 Roswell Road — On Jan. 10, offi-

cers were called to a grocery regarding an employee stealing. The suspected employee said that over the past year, she had been stealing money from the register by processing refunds, then after the customers left, she would zero out the refund and pocket the cash. The amount totaled about $6,000.

On Jan. 9, the complainant said someone entered an unfinished home between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9 and took two Trane furnaces. Cedar Run — On Jan. 10, a man report-

ed someone accessed his apartment between 5:30 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. and stole $1,300 cash from his pants pocket.

400 block of Old Stratton Chase — On

Jan. 10, between 1:13 p.m. and about 4:45 p.m. someone took the victim’s mail including a box with a ski jacket in it.

100 block of Highland Park Trail —

On Jan. 11, staff reported the maintenance shed was burglarized sometime overnight. Tools from a bag and two small Freon tanks went missing.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES Between Jan. 7 and Jan. 11, there were

9200 block of Roberts Drive — On

Jan. 11, the leasing office staff at an apartment complex reported the maintenance office was burglarized overnight. An AC unit recovery machine and

cording to the report, the cashier is not a suspect.

12 thefts from vehicles, a spike. card. The employee activated the card and gave it to one of the women, who then left in a white Jeep Cherokee. Ac-

The message is, as it has been, please

remove your good stuff or perhaps that stuff you would miss if it were taken. Something we need to look closely at this coming year. There is a ton of

new mixed-use development in Sandy Springs, much of it in my district, the south district. The anticipation is that traffic will increase. There will be new parking decks with cars parked in them overnight so those will present themselves as targets to thieves. The plan is to increase officers to meet the demands of calls for service but, more importantly that ever, you guys need to do those little things to help out.

A S S AU LT A few domestic calls.

F R AU D A 42-year-old woman reported that

upon checking her credit report, she found that someone opened a credit account with U.S. Bank, using her identification. She cancelled the account. A 22-year-old woman reported that

she was married in September and hired a wedding photographer to photograph the event. She paid him $800 in November, but never received the photos. Upon checking, she learned the photographer closed down his website and moved from the business that was located on Alawana Drive, in Athens. A 57-year-old woman reported that

her bank account was accessed and over $2,700 taken from it. She found several transactions on her account from Disneyland, in California. A 74-year-old woman said she wrote a

check in December, using her driver’s license as ID. Later, she learned from her bank that someone wrote five checks using her account information, using the name Designer Home Remodeling.






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JAN. 20 - FEB. 2, 2017

Public Safety | 23


SWAT command vehicle costs being shared by local cities BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A new command vehicle for the North Metro SWAT Team is being purchased with funds from the four cities it serves – Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and John’s Creek. Total cost of the Freightliner command vehicle from Summit Bodyworks is $247,659. The cost for the vehicle is being divided according to populations of the four cities, with Dunwoody paying $41,916; Sandy Springs paying $88,228; Brookhaven paying $43,897; and John’s Creek chipping in $73,616. “We’ve needed a command vehicle for quite a long time,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan told Dunwoody City Council on Jan. 9. “This is a piece of equipment urgently needed. Right now our command and control is being done on the hood of a vehicle.” As part of a memorandum of understanding among the cities, Sandy Springs will purchase the vehicle and maintain it. The vehicle is not a military vehicle, but was designed by a company that specializes in outfitting specialty vehicles. “This command vehicle will be huge for us,” said Sandy Springs Capt. Mike Lindstrom. Sandy Springs police Sgt. James McNabb, tactical commander for the North Metro SWAT Team, said the vehicle will be important for the team and for any critical incident in which local law enforcement must be at a scene for an extended period of time. “It’s just a good idea to have a centralized command area. It allows us to unify everything and keep everyone on the same page,” McNabb said. A command vehicle also helps keep su-

supervisors safe during harsh weather, he said, and will have a special area for hostage negotiators to be in contact with suspects while also knowing what is happening on the ground among fellow officers. North Metro SWAT was called out on fewer than 10 calls last year, McNabb said, but one included a violent home invasion in Brookhaven where two suspects barricaded themselves in an apartment. The suspects were arrested without injuries. McNabb said the specialized equipment the SWAT team currently has includes two “throwbots,” mini-robots that can be easily thrown through a window or door and relay sound and video to officers trying to gauge how dangerous a situation is. Last year, Sandy Springs police received a $15,894 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to buy a second “Throwbot XT” for the North Metro Swat unit. The SWAT unit also has an ICOR Caliber T5 robot that stands nearly 2 feet tall and weighs about 150 pounds. This robot has a claw that is able to retrieve suspicious packages and a camera that relays what it comes across to officers. It is also designed to breach doors if needed, said McNabb. “The thowbots can be more secret and [provide] stealth, but with this [the ICOR robot] you know it’s coming,” he said. The SWAT team also has an armored vehicle, known as a Bearcat, which was purchased and is owned by the Dunwoody Police Department. It can be used to forcefully enter a building, but can also be used in an active shooter situation by positioning it between an injured civilian and a gunman, explained McNabb. The Bearcat is often used when officers need to approach a structure where an armed individual may be holed up, such as during the Brookhaven home invasion last


year, he said. The Bearcat holds between eight to 10 officers, including a medic. “Anytime we any do sort of warrants and need to get close to a bad guy structure ... we use the Bearcat,” he said. A shovel-like device can be attached to the Bearcat to break down a door and there is a turret on top of the vehicle where a rifleman can sit. “I’ve heard them being called tanks, but they are nothing like that,” he said. “ It does have a place for a rifleman to sit up front, but there are no cannons or machine guns aboard.”

Right: Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone poses with a Throwbot XT robot.




SRPF A/North River, LLC

Property Location:

8765, 8800, and 8877 Roswell Road and 0 Dunwoody Place (North River Shopping Center)

Present Zoning:



To rezone from C-1 to C-1 to change zoning conditions on the existing development and develop a proposed grocery store with concurrent variances.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission February 16, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


2017 Annual Action Plan for Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program The City of Sandy Springs, GA has begun preparations to submit its 2017 Annual Action Plan for the CDBG Program to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by May 15, 2017, tentatively. To meet the requirements of Consolidated Submissions for Community Planning and Development Programs, Sandy Springs will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall located at 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, GA, 30350. The Phase II of the sidewalk project and the Northridge Road Sidewalk Enhancement project have been completed. Staff is now focusing on the implementation of South Roswell Road Multiyear Sidewalk Project, specifically the area south of Interstate 285 (Phase III). Citizens can offer input on this project at the public hearing, as well as other needs in their community relative to the CDBG Program. The CDBG program assists cities with developing viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities principally for low- and moderate-income persons. Citizens in need of translation services or materials in alternative formats should call 770-730-5600 seven calendar days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. Additional CDBG Program information can be found on the City’s CDBG webpage at http://www.sandyspringsga.org/city-services/urban-development/ planning-and-zoning/cdbg. SS


Top: The Bearcat, an armored personnel vehicle, is used by the North Metro SWAT Team in such situations as when officers need to get close to a building where an armed shooter is suspected of hiding.

Mayor and City Council March 21, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600


V16-0092 Chick-fil-A Rep: Joseph Latimer


8433 Roswell Road


One (1) Variance from the Zoning Ordinance Article XXXIII. Signs H. Sandy Springs Overlay District. 2. Wall Signs. a. Wall signs are permitted on street-facing walls. To allow a wall sign on a non-street facing wall.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals February 9, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

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