07-07-17 Sandy Springs Reporter

Page 1

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 14


Sandy Springs Reporter


► N.C. real estate market heats up


► Appalachian Cool: Jackson County, N.C.


Patriotic playtime

Experts: City’s affordable housing policy should cover lower incomes BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Ki’Anna Robinson, 10, gets a spin from grandfather Joey Messer at the city’s fifth annual Stars and Stripes fireworks celebration, held July 2 at the Concourse Center. The Sandy Springs residents were among hundreds who attended the Independence Day event, where entertainment included music by the band Shiloh.

DINING OUT Halal Guys gyros come to Buford Highway Page 4

My daughter breaks the mold. She cooks and cleans without being asked. Plus, she’s kind to animals and small children. But all this goodness comes at a price: She doesn’t like to shop.

See Robin’s Nest, Page 9

OUT & ABOUT Fido rules at Blue Heron’s ‘Doggie Daze’ Page 6


Sandy Springs may mandate affordable housing in large multifamily developments, a major policy change proposed in its latest draft zoning code. But two experts in housing policy say the proposed affordability categories must go lower to help the low-income residents who need it the most. It would be the city’s first-ever affordable housing mandate, and is under consideration as skyrocketing rents and house prices displace residents and price public safety workers out of the local housing market. The policy is what is widely called “inclusionary zoning,” though Lee Einsweiler, the consultant drafting the new zoning code, said the city does not want to use that term, instead preferring “mixed-income floor area.” See EXPERTS on page 10

Residents, developers debate draft zoning code BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Major developers and local residents are debating ways the latest draft zoning code handles such issues as building height and density. Dozens of people showed up for a June 21 city Planning Commission meeting at City Hall to comment on the draft “Development Code.” City staff aim to have a final draft ready by July 10 and to put it before the City Council for adoption Aug. 1. In an age-old tension, most developers See RESIDENTS on page 11

2 | Community

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Community Briefs CITY SU ES P C I DS , C O NT R A C T O R S I N $2.8M ST R EET FUNDI NG DI S P UT E

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The city is suing the Perimeter Center Improvement Districts and two of its own contractors over paperwork errors that forced a repayment of $2.8 million in federal streetscape funds, according to City Attorney Wendell Willard. As a negotiating tool in the dispute, the City Council last year authorized legal action against the PCIDs, which commissioned the streetscape project, and CH2M Hill, a company that ran city public works services at the time. The negotiations have not worked and the city earlier this month filed suit, with current city public works contractor AECOM also named as a defendant, Willard said. The dispute involves a sidewalks and streetscape beautification project along Peachtree-Dunwoody Road between I-285 and Abernathy Road carried out around 2008 and 2009. The PCIDs commissioned the project using federal grant money provided through the Georgia Department of Transportation, with the city acting as a fiscal agent required under the grant policy. The PCIDs are two jointly operated self-taxing business districts, one in Fulton County and one in DeKalb. The grant — and the lawsuit — specifically involves the Fulton CID. Years later, in 2014, the Federal Highway Administration audited the grant for compliance with its terms. According to a written statement from the city, the audit found “non-compliance” in the project’s paperwork, and demanded nearly $2.8 million in grant money back. GDOT paid it back and is deducting the amount from the city’s annual paving allocation, Willard said. The PCIDs and AECOM did not respond to comment requests, and CH2M declined comment, citing the litigation. The organizations never commented publicly on last year’s threat of a lawsuit.

O FFICIALS FEA R TA X A S S ES S M ENT FR EEZE M AY NO T HO L D UP The Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ June 21 vote to freeze residential property values at 2016 levels may not survive a potential legal challenge from the state Department of Revenue, some officials fear. State Rep. Deborah Silcox, whose District 52 includes parts of Sandy Springs and Buckhead, said she is “very concerned” that action will not hold up in court, due to the uneven application of the freeze to only residential, and not commercial, properties. State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) previously said another potential weakness is that the commissioners’ freeze was based on an obscure 1881 law that might prove to have been overruled by later cases. Both representatives advised residents who question their 2017 assessments to submit appeals. Appeals can be submitted until July 10 at qpublic.net/ga/fulton/ appeals.


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The city has purchased a property at 140 Hilderbrand Drive for a “project” relating to City Springs, though the details are unclear. The purchase, costing $685,934.10, was authorized by the City Council at its June 6 meeting. The deal includes a 1945 house that was most recently home to the business Antiques & Clocks of Sandy Springs and a lot of about four-tenths of an acre. The council’s agenda described the purchase as necessary “to construct certain improvements related to the City Springs project,” referring to the huge new civic center under construction a block away on Mount Vernon Highway. The agenda says the improvements have a budget, but there was no other description. The only council discussion involved the mayor joking about the business’s former owner, who is a friend of his. According to City Attorney Wendell Willard and city spokesperson Sharon Kraun, the property is not intended specifically for City Springs. Instead, it is part of concept, outlined in the 2012 City Center Master Plan, to create parks and development linking City Springs and Heritage Sandy Springs, the historic site on Blue Stone Road. However, the city could not immediately clarify whether there is an actual plan and budget for such a project as described in the property purchase’s council agenda item. SS

JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Behind the numbers of the police pay increase BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A 2.8 percent pay boost for every Sandy Springs police officer is part of the city budget that went into effect July 1. The pay raise followed City Council meetings during which officials feared losing officers to the Georgia State Patrol after a recent pay hike there and mentioned the issue of officers not being able to afford to live in the city. But the discussions did not include any details of current police salaries. The police department’s June payroll, obtained by the Reporter, shows that median salaries for the three ranks of patrol-level officers range from $44,000 to $56,000. New recruits are paid $41,000 to $42,025. That’s already close to the State Patrol, whose 20 percent pay raise this year increased its force’s median salary to about $46,600, according to media reports. On the other hand, even with the raise, the median salaries of Sandy Springs police officers will remain below the area’s median income, calculated by the U.S. Census for housing policy purposes as $60,219. Commanding officers make higher pay. The department has four officers who make over $100,000 a year, including Chief Ken DeSimone at $153,015 and Deputy Chief Keith Zgonc at $108,701, along with two majors. Police officials say that the hiring and retention concern related to pay is not so much about the State Patrol, which has a limited number of openings anyway. It’s more about staying competitive with other nearby police departments. And pay is one factor in retaining officers against the real draw: private security jobs that will always have higher salaries and lower stress. “As much as departments would like to pay patrol officers $100,000 a year, it’s just not feasible to do,” said Zgonc, the deputy chief. “Everyone in this area competes for the same people,” Zgonc said, referring to departments in communities such as Johns Creek and Alpharetta. “A department can’t afford to fall behind” on salaries, he said. Frank Rotundo, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, advised Sandy Springs officials on forming a police force after the 2005 in-

corporation of the city. He said the department started with above-market salaries because, as a department starting from scratch, it had to lure experienced command officers from other forces. Rotundo and Zgonc said the State Patrol pay increase isn’t attracting many officers away from city departments. Sandy Springs lost only one officer, who previously had served as a state trooper, to the State Patrol. And the city force is currently only three full-time positions short. The big influence was whetting an appetite for raises among other forces’ officers and making area cities reevaluate their own pay scales . Zgonc said the department’s biggest concern is recent losses of officers who “have left law enforcement altogether,” especially to private corporations. “We lost people to hospital groups. We lost people to communications companies,” he said. “Law enforcement’s never been the highest-paid profession. So when private industry comes calling,” it can be attractive, he said. “They’re not having to answer the 911 call in the middle of the night on a Saturday night.” Rotundo said a less-discussed hiring and retention factor is benefits. In 2009, the state moved away from defined pensions to a less predictable savings system, he said. “All of this adds to a pool of applicants that gets thinner and thinner,” he said. So far, the Sandy Springs department doesn’t have some of the morale-related hiring challenges facing departments elsewhere, Rotundo said. He noted the current era of “turbulence” and protests targeting police for misconduct that, he acknowledged, has sometimes proven to be true. “What we tell [police officer candidates] is how fortunate we are to be in Sandy Springs because we have great community support,” said Zgonc. Rotundo said the Sandy Springs Police Department “has a great reputation … Their equipment is outstanding. Their leadership is outstanding.” Rotundo said that Sandy Springs, like all departments, faces a basic choice in maintaining a force: raise pay or lower hiring standards. The latter choice can mean hiring “misfits … slugs, not real police officers,” he said. “You get what you pay for,” he said.

S A N DY SP RI N GS P OLI C E SA LAR IES The lowest, highest and median pay for each of the Sandy Springs Police Department’s three ranks of patrol-level officers.

Police Officer 2 (20 officers) Lowest: $47,736 Highest: $50,157.89 Median: $48,929

Police Officer 1 (12 officers) Lowest: $43,160 Highest: $47,640.90 Median: $44,239

Police Officer 3 (54 officers) Lowest: $52,665.79 Highest: $69,885.89 Median: $55,747

Source: Sandy Springs Police Department payroll records SS

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4 | Dining Out

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Halal Guys gyros come to Buford Highway BY MEGAN VOLPERT

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“Hey, where did you get that gyro?” “The halal guys on West 53rd and 6th Avenue.” That’s how a legend was born. In 1990, a simple hot dog cart run by a trio of Egyptian immigrants became the hottest lunch line in New York City. Twenty-five years later, they began licensing franchises and now boast over 200 locations worldwide. As the

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fastest growing fast casual chain in America, The Halal Guys has finally landed on Buford Highway with more locations expected to follow. Simply put, this is some of the most consistently excellent half-hour dining available in Atlanta. It’s the same all over the world: a couple of tables in a fairly small but conveniently located space, that red and yellow color scheme, and a limited menu where everything is done with consistent quality and correctness. If you’ve eaten at any of the locations, you’ve eaten at them all, and you can literally order one of everything on the menu for just under $50. The staples are lamb, chicken and falafel, and you put them in a pita wrap with lettuce and tomato or you put them over a bed of rice with lettuce, tomato and pita on the side.


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Then you add one or more of their two excellent sauces: white and red. The white sauce is some kind of mystery mayo, more creamy than tangy. It’s not a tzatziki sauce. The red sauce is super spicy and made with red peppers. It’s not a harissa sauce and you’ll feel the burn all the way down your throat for an eye-watering adventure that is both delicious and slightly scary. If you’ve ever accepted some ludicrous hot wings dare, this red sauce will be your next big thing. Some locations outside of NYC, including ours, have a barbeque sauce that is more sweet than spicy. For sides, you have four choices: fries, hummus, baba ganouj and falafel. The fries are just fries, golden brown and not at all soggy. The hummus, which is made

JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Dining Out | 5



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of ground chickpeas, has a nice garlic flavor. The baba ganouj, which is made of pureed eggplant, has a wonderfully smoky aftertaste. The falafel is crisp on the outside, bright green on the inside and not too dry or crumbly. You can top it all off with a baklava for dessert, jam packed with crushed nuts and dripping delicious honey everywhere, as messy as anything made with layers of filo dough should be.


Every meal I’ve ever had at The Halal Guys, no matter what city, it’s been ready in less than four minutes. They’ve got strong procedures in place and everything moves along in an orderly manner without making customers feel like they are part of a cattle call managed by robots. You can be in and out with a full belly in a half hour. If a half hour is too much, carry it out in five minutes. Or if you absolutely cannot forsake the comfort of your own couch, several online delivery services will pick it up for you, so just check your local preferred apps. The

wrappings are unpretentious, unbranded foil for the sandwiches and the platters come in those generic rounds made of foil with clear plastic tops. The wrapping isn’t microwave safe, but hey, their food is also super delicious when served cold if you’re saving any for later. Do I need to state what “halal” means? Have you heard of “kosher”? These words refer to foods it is acceptable to eat if you’re following Islamic or Jewish law. The acceptability is based upon certain techniques used during animal slaughter. It has no bearing upon the taste of the meat, so feel free to be as oblivious to the meaning as ever. However, I’m happy to point out that although the Buford Highway corridor has long been Atlanta’s goto for diverse foods, it has been lacking in offerings suitable to practicing Muslims. Yes, The Halal Guys is an exceedingly trendy place to grab a bite, but it also welcomes more families to the table.

The Halal Guys is located at 4929 Buford Highway in Chamblee. For more information, visit thehalalguys.com.

Appreciating the freedom to enjoy what we love and the people we hold dear is more than a once-a-year event. It’s a way of life, upheld by unwavering spirit and celebrated in our hearts and actions every day. Happy Fourth of July from your local Dignity Memorial® professionals.












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6 | Out & About

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Join us for a complimentary informational luncheon & meet our audiologists

Watch “The Secret Life of Pets” at Briarwood Park Pool. Free admission; concessions available. 2235 Briarwood Way, Brookhaven. Info: 404-637-0542.

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM Tuesday, 7/18 Wednesday, 7/19 Thursday, 7/27

Clairmont/N.Druid Hills area Dunwoody/Sandy Springs area Greensboro/Lake Oconee area

(404) 921-0097 (678) 500-8185 (706) 454-0578


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Rita R. Chaiken, Au.D.

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DIVE IN MOVIE NIGHT Friday, July 14, 8 p.m.



prove health, mood, balance and teamwork. Advance registration required. MJCCA Zaban Park Campus, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: 678-812-4025 or Deanne Jacobson at deanne.jacobson@atlantajcc.org.


Saturday, July 15, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Grab your pooch and go for a creek walk, see dogs available for adoption, make doggie art and shop hiking supplies for dogs in this annual event at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Snacks for dogs and their humans will be provided. Free. 4055 Roswell Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: 404-946-6394.


Sunday, July 16 to Saturday, July 22

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta invites people of all fitness levels to a free week of wellness-related activities and fun fitness challenges with prizes awarded. Open to the community and MJCCA members, this event promotes activities that help im-

IT STARTS IN THE PARK 5K Saturday, July 22, 7:30 a.m.

The city of Brookhaven celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month with its third annual 5K at Blackburn Park featuring chip timing, T-shirts and awards in more than 14 categories. Fees: $30 through July 20; $35 on site. Race begins and ends at Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Sign up at Big Peach Running Co. or visit itstartsinthepark5k. itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=7259. Info: Philip Mitchell at philip.mitchell@brookhavenga.gov.

As a service to our community, Dr. Chaiken will present:

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Out & About | 7




Friday, July 14 to Sunday, Aug. 6

Stage Door Players presents Irving Berlin’s musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter who starred in the “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” shows. North DeKalb Cultural Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Schedule and ticket info: stagedoorplayers.net or 770-396-1726.

Fine Art Museum of Ghana. Adults $5; free for children under 12 and OUMA members, students with Petrel Pass, and members of military and their families. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.


Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to noon.

Meet new people, share refreshments and practice conversational English or Spanish skills in the “International Cafe” event at the Brookhaven Library. 1242 N. Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Free. Register: 404-508-7190, ext. 2257, or email adultservices@dekalblibrary.org.


Garden expert, writer, radio and television host Walter Reeves answers gardening questions as part of an ongoing series of Georgia Perennial Plant Association talks at the

Saturday, July 15, 7 p.m.

The rock band Thin Ice is up next in this concert series presented by the city of Dunwoody. Picnicking begins at 6 p.m. Craft beers are available for purchase. Free to Nature Center members. Nonmembers: $5 adults, $3 students, free to children 3 and under. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

HEARTFULNESS MEDITATION Ongoing Saturdays, 10 a.m.

Participants learn how to integrate meditation into daily life and are encouraged to bring journals to record their experiences. Sandy Springs Library, 395 Mount Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.


Monday, July 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Atlanta History Center. Free. Reservations not required. Light refreshments at 7 p.m. Speakers begin at 7:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

Volunteers are needed now at the CAC Boutique thrift shop to serve as sorters, pricers and cashiers and help neighbors in need. CAC Boutique, 8607 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: Debbie at volunteer@ourcac.org.



with the purchase of a bundtlet

Sandy Springs

5975 Roswell Road, Ste A-103 (404) 236-2114 NothingBundtCakes.com Expires 7/22/17. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Limit only one free bundtlet with the purchase of one bundtlet per guest. Multiple free bundtlets with purchase of multiple bundtlets is not permitted. Valid only at the bakery listed. No cash value. Coupon may not be reproduced, transferred or sold. Internet distribution strictly prohibited. Must be claimed in bakery during normal business hours. Not 17-TR-0041-06191 valid with any other offer.

17-TR-0041-06191_JustBcs_2-41x6-185.indd 1

6/20/17 4:24 PM


Monday, July 10 to Thursday, Aug. 31. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. Receptions on Saturdays, July 15 and Aug. 19, noon to 4 p.m.

The Dunwoody Fine Art Association will exhibit member artwork in a juried show at the Artists Atelier. Free admission, including receptions. 800 Miami Circle, Suite 200, Buckhead. Info: 404-231-5999.


Ongoing through Sunday, Sept. 17, Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art presents an exhibit of quilted works of art by fifth-generation quilt maker Phyllis Stephens, whose work has been exhibited at the

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8 | 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 Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews 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 Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Janet Tassitano

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Community Survey / How the iPhone changed our lives June 29 marked the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iPhone, a device that would change many people’s modern lives by putting powerful computers in their pockets. With an iPhone or one of the competing smartphones that quickly followed it, people could search the internet, send email and texts, find themselves on GPS systems and, of course, make phone calls from just about anywhere. Suddenly, any place could become a workplace, drivers didn’t need to find and unfold maps to navigate strange neighborhoods and bar bets easily could be settled. And, of course, smartphones helped propel the popularity of social media and made the word “app” mean something other than the first course of a meal. A decade into the Smartphone Age, our latest 1Q survey – conducted by cellphone, of course – found that residents served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown use the devices in all parts of their lives: work, play and staying in touch with friends and family. “I use my phone for so many things and I can’t imagine my daily life without it,” a 24-year-old Atlanta woman responded. “From music, to GPS, to work and personal communications. It’s always by my side! Our most recent 1Q survey found residents of the communities served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown use smartphones to work, play

Question: What do you use your smartphone for the most? .5% 10% 4% 3% 1.5%

texting or emailing 101 (50.5%) following Facebook, Twitter or other social media 42 (21.0%)

11% 10%

making phone calls 20 (10.0%)


reading websites for news, sports or other info 15 (7.5%)


Other 22 (11.0%) listening to music 6 (3.0%) 50.5%

playing games 3 (1.5%)

7.5% 7.5%

taking photos or videos 4 (2.0%)



getting GPS map directions 1 (0.5%) other 8 (4.0%)

and stay in touch with family. Slightly more than half of the 200 people who responded said they use a smartphone primarily for texting or emailing and 21 percent said they use their phones to follow social media. Only 10 percent used them primarily to make phone calls. “My smartphone has allowed me to be much more responsive to my clients and my employees. That has dynamically changed the way I do business,” a 53-year-old Buckhead man said. “The other change for me has been the connection with my four teenage children. Using apps such as Snapchat has allowed me to get a sneak peek into their world without being intru-

sive. Snapchat is especially authentic – meaning I will get a Snapchat selfie picture saying hi or love you from one of my daughters and the picture is just a real, not posed or edited selfie.” Others cited the smartphone’s immediate access to information. A 51-year-old Brookhaven man said his had “replaced laptop and newspapers.” Of course, not every change smartphones have made in our daily lives is an improvement. Everybody knows the downside of constantly being in touch. A 33-year-old Brookhaven man called his smartphone “incredibly distracting and hard to disconnect from. “And a 31-year-old Atlanta woman said, “I’m too accessible.”

Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net

Here’s what some other respondents had to say:

Contributors Kate Awtrey, Robin Conte, Kathy Dean, Collin Kelley, Phil Mosier, Megan Volpert

“Having a mobile work office in a smart phone has changed my life. I talk on my smartphone, but also use it for work emails, texts, creating copy design and blog content for my projects. The convenience of having this one tool allows me greater flexibility and promotes a healthier lifestyle.” --A 58-year-old Sandy Springs woman

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.

“It has made everything more convenient in my life. It has put the world at my fingertips.” --a 20-year-old Sandy Springs man “I’ve been able to communicate more easily with friends. It’s easier to keep in touch.” --a 31-year-old Atlanta woman

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

“It’s made my photography skills better.” --a 19-year-old Atlanta woman “My life never really shuts off. It’s made me an information hoarder.” -- a 41-year-old Atlanta man “It has allowed me to minimize my dependency on a computer. I am able to manage most of my finances, documents, and other digital assets from my smartphone.” -- a 31-year-old Atlanta man “My smartphone wakes me up in the morning and makes sure I am on time to meetings. It keeps me connected to the world.” -a 24 year-old Atlanta woman

1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity.

Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Commentary | 9


Mom-daughter shopping is stymied by ‘The Flaw’ My daughter breaks the mold. She cooks and cleans without being asked, she plays catch with her younger brothers and she made it clear through adolescence with nary an incident of “drama.” Plus, she’s kind to animals and small children. But all this goodness comes at a price: She doesn’t like to shop. Signs of The Flaw began to appear around the age of 5. My mother took her shopping and tried to buy her an adorable dress that had been marked down twice. As the story goes, my mother continued to coax her into the dress and finally relented, saying, “Sweetie, if I buy this for you, you won’t wear it, will you?” “No, grandma,” my daughter replied with a shake of her head, “and that will be your punishment.” Your punishment?! My stars, child! Have I taught you nothing about gift horses? Apparently not. I still have to bribe her to buy clothes, even now that she’s grown into a longlegged, model-sized coed. “Here, honey, get this dress, it looks fantastic on you! If you let me buy this for you, I won’t ask you to let me buy anything else for you for the rest of the year! I promise!” It’s no fun at all. Plus, I can’t take her shopping with me — it’s like shopping with a 62-yearold man. She’s kind of a killjoy. “Honey, how do like this dress on me?” “It’s great. How much is it?” “Sweetie, that’s not a question you need to ask. Do you like it?” “When would you wear it?” “You don’t understand clothes shopping at all, do you? How about these pants?” “Don’t you already have black pants?” “Yes, but dear, but that’s not the point.” She doesn’t understand that having only one pair of black pants is like having only owning one Mumford & Son’s

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song. “Little Lion Man” sounds an awful lot like “I Will Wait,” but I still want them both. Robin Conte is a writer Worse than and mother of four that, The Flaw who lives in Dunwoody. stymies her robinjm@earthlink.net. sense of color and fashion. She doesn’t get that she can have the black pumps and the navy slingbacks — they don’t cancel each other out. To make matters more frustrating, she wears a size 8 shoe, that template of shoes, that size that every possible design comes in, so she has a dizzying array of choices, while I on the other hand, who gets all tingly and teary-eyed over a great pair of shoes, wear a size 5. We’ll walk into a DSW, she’ll make a beeline for the sales racks in the back of the store, and there will be rows upon rows of size 8s. I need to stop and eat a small snack by the time I’ve found my way clear of the 8s and into the 7s. Even then, I can only find the size 5s by scouting around until I see a small clump of tiny women huddled over a purple shoe. That’ll be where I discover the quarter of a row that holds a meager two shelves of size 5 shoes (which are mixed together with the 4s and the 5 1/2s by the way) and they are all made of fur. Meanwhile, my daughter has a choice between 13 different styles of tan wedges, and she doesn’t buy any of them. There is no fairness in the world. So, we return home from a typical shopping spree with a pair of size 8 black flats, size 5 zebra-patterned slippers, and my fourth pair of black pants. Then I’ll retire to the den to nurse my headache, and my daughter will get dinner started.

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10 | Community

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Experts: City’s affordable housing policy should cover lower incomes Continued from page 1 The proposed policy would require a certain percentage of affordable housing, guaranteed for at least 30 years, in any new multifamily project – for sale or rental – of 20 units or more. The amount of affordable housing required would be a percentage of the project’s gross floor area, not a number of units. The developer could build the affordable units into the project, the “primary and preferred” option; build them off-site somewhere else; or pay a “fee-in-lieu” of $3 per square foot, which would go into a trust fund to plan, subsidize or develop affordable housing. The “affordable” rates are based on the area median household income, or AMI. The “area” is the U.S. Census’s Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell statistical area used by the federal and local governments for demographic data, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The latest AMI estimate for that area, dating to 2015, is $60,219 a year. For on-site development in the city’s proposed policy, there are two options, one focused on middle-income affordability and one on lower-income affordability. In option one, 5 percent of the project would go to housing affordable to house-

holds making less than 80 percent of AMI ($48,175 a year), and 5 percent to those making less than 120 percent of AMI ($72,263 a year). In option two, 5 percent of the project would go to housing affordable to those making less than 50 percent of AMI ($30,110 a year). If the developer takes the off-site option, 7.5 percent of the project must go to those making under 80 percent of AMI and another 7.5 percent to those making under 120 percent of AMI. In addition, the draft code proposes a bonus system allowing multifamily developments to build higher in exchange for offering more affordable housing – both in terms of a higher percentage of floor area than required and in providing units for lower-income residents. The code does not define what those affordable offerings must be to trigger the bonuses. Einsweiler said it would be up to City Council to judge. An earlier draft code proposed a limited affordable housing incentive — not a mandate — focused solely on middleincome housing and performed only via a bonus system. The incentive used a unique and complicated formula. In public meetings, the idea was criticized as insufficient and confusing. The new proposal is stricter, broader and more in line with national models. It’s

UPCOMING NEXT 10 MEETINGS As the process of creating a new Sandy Springs Development Code nears its conclusion, you are invited to participate in the final two public meetings. The proposed Development Code will be discussed by the Planning Commission in July and is expected to go before Mayor and City Council in August.

also closer to the city’s previous two reallife experiments in affordable housing. In 2015, the city convinced North American Properties to make affordable 10 percent of the units in a 305-unit apartment building now under construction on Johnson Ferry Road in the Medical Center area. “Affordable” was defined as 80 to 120 percent of the Fulton County median income, and the units must remain affordable for 10 years. And this year, the city began renting a three-bedroom house it owns at 521 Hammond Drive to a Sandy Springs police officer for the bargain rate of $500 a month, following concerns that public safety employees cannot afford to live in Sandy Springs. Department payroll records show that officer’s salary is $54,817.15, or 91 percent of AMI. That doesn’t include the over $4,000 in overtime and bonuses the officer earned so far this year, or any income anyone else in the household may earn.

The experts’ views

Two housing policy experts – Dan Immergluck at Georgia State University’s Urban Studies Institute and Larry Keating, a retired Georgia Tech urban planning professor – gave the city’s new affordability proposal mixed reviews and agreed it needs to aim at lower income levels. Keating, author of the influential policy book “Atlanta: Race, Class and Urban Expansion,” said that as a general rule, “unless the ordinance reaches renters under 30 percent of AMI, it will not help those who need it most.” Ownership policies should focus on lower income levels as well, Keating said. “Reserving sales housing for folks at 80 percent or 100 percent of AMI is a pseudoprogram in the sense that it helps almost no one with a housing problem and subsidizes developers,” he said.

Immergluck, a scholar of affordability and displacement issues around such developments as the Atlanta BeltLine, clarified that while the city’s policy refers to “affordable” housing, some of it is more “attainable” housing – a term for something that fits into a middle-class budget. He said that by federal and most state guidelines, 80 to 120 percent of AMI is considered “middle-income”; 50 to 80 percent is “moderate-income”; and below 50 percent is “low-income.” “So unless a program addresses households below 80 percent, it is not really addressing what are generally thought of as affordable housing needs,” Immergluck said. “It is addressing attainable housing among the middle-class. A household whose income was derived from the salary of a police officer or teacher would often be below 80 percent of AMI.” “Moreover, the greatest need for affordable housing is for those earning below 50 percent of AMI,” he added. “That is where the housing supply is declining and the need is the greatest. … Some portion of all ordinances should require a share of new housing to be below 50 percent [of] AMI.” Immergluck supported a couple of concepts used in the city’s proposed affordability policy. Requiring middle-income affordability in owner-occupied developments like condos “may provide an excellent way to serve this [middle-income] population,” he said. He also liked using the bonus system as one tool. “Sandy Springs has relatively high land costs, so some form of benefit — such as the density bonus, or possibly other benefits — may be needed to partially compensate developers providing lower rents, in particular for those units priced at rents affordable to those below 50 percent AMI,” he said.


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JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Community | 11


Residents, developers debate draft zoning code Continued from page 1 sought looser rules to build bigger, and most residents sought tighter rules to guarantee input on large projects. There was general agreement the Development Code is impressive work heading in the right direction. But, as local developer Steven Cadranel put it, everyone agreed on another message to the code team: “Slow down.” Complaints of constant and unpublicized changes to the zoning code and map, and before that, to the Character Area Map whose vision informs them, have dogged the process. In the days before the new draft’s release, the latest Character Area and zoning maps posted on the city’s website did not match up on some properties of major public interest, such as a stretch of Hammond Drive eyed for a road-widening project. The Planning Commission could have voted on the draft and forwarded it to the City Council for a vote, though no one expected that to happen. However, in voting unanimously to continue the conversation at its July 20 meeting, commission members made clear their main reason was the need to digest the behind-thescenes, day-to-day changes. Commission chair Lane Frostbaum said he agrees that “the document keeps changing – it’s really hard to find out what’s going on” and whether public comments are affecting it. Prior to the meeting, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said the best way to get updated about a specific property is emailing through the “Next Ten” planning website at thenext10.org/contact. Those emails are seen by the entire zoning code team, whose members can respond quickly, she said. However, a property’s status can change repeatedly, so repeated check-ins might be necessary on a controversial site. At the meeting, Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert said the staff had heard many of the concerns already and was adjusting the code and map to match. Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, the consultant leading the code rewrite, said he took “copious notes.” There were plenty of comments to take notes about – more than an hour and 15 minutes worth. The following were some of the key topics:

Automatic approvals

A prime goal of the Development Code is to simplify the zoning and allow more uses by right, meaning without a rezoning or variance, so that the City Council doesn’t end up haggling over details. But a lingering concern for residents is that may remove both existing and future leverage over major projects. Some high-density projects like apartment complexes could be built by right in certain areas, regardless of topography or other unique features of the site, residents say. And the city proposes wiping out existing zoning conditions on SS

plans approved years ago but never built, meaning residents could lose protections and compromises they negotiated. “This one-size-fits-all [approach] is very difficult for us to digest,” said Curt Friedberg, co-president of the Aberdeen Forest Neighborhood Association, which has been involved in recent controversial projects along Glenridge Drive. Tochie Blad of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods said that losing existing zoning conditions that are “more stringent than our current code sounds like not an even trade.”

Kraun said before the meeting that the city likely will zone both areas singlefamily in the final code.

Gas stations

Under pressure by gas station and convenience store owners, the city recently renewed a moratorium on applications for either. In the latest code draft, the city is moving ahead with a “cap and trade” plan to ban brand new gas stations, but allow a new one to be built to replace an existing

one that closes. Expansion of existing stations is also possible with permission. Officials from the gas station company RaceTrac came out in force to the Planning Commission to say they were teaming with rival QuikTrip to seek changes to the draft. A big concern is new language limiting new gas stations to no more than a half-mile from any other station, inside or outside the city border. That leaves very few places to go, especially on Roswell Road, the RaceTrac officials said.

Higher towers

Meanwhile, in places like Perimeter Center, developers seek permission to build higher. Carl Westmoreland, a well-known zoning attorney for many major developers, noted that the TV screens in the City Hall chamber displayed the city’s stylized drawing of the King and Queen skyscrapers at the Concourse Center. “I assume you’re proud of them,” he said of the iconic towers, adding, “Neither could be built under the new code.” Sheldon Taylor, chief financial officer of Concourse owner Regent Partners, said he was thankful that his property’s zoning height limit was boosted from 15 to 20 stories in the latest draft. But even more height is needed, he said, up to 25 stories to remain competitive in the office marketplace. The Concourse had a major redevelopment plan for apartments and a hotel last year that it withdrew. Regent has now placed the entire complex for sale.

Jockeying for redevelopment

The hottest disputes over unpublicized zoning map changes come from areas where homeowners are looking for higher-density zoning for neighborhood buyouts to developers. Such parcels may switch designations repeatedly as city staff, neighborhood association leaders and city councilmembers weigh in. One hot spot is the two-lane section of Hammond Drive, where the city has been buying up properties for an eventual widening nearly everyone expects will happen. Still marked as higher-density “Urban Neighborhood” on the Character Area map, the area is now zoned single-family in the draft code, the latest in a few such switches. Dean Perry was among the property owners or brokers saying they were unaware of the change and accusing the city of using zoning to lower property values for its own road project acquisition. Asked if that is the city’s motive, Kraun simply said, “No.” Another hot spot is Clementstone Drive near the Medical Center. Resident Gene Bramblett said he had petitions from eight of 11 homeowners there backing a change from its current single-family status to a medical/mixed-use zone.


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North Carolina real estate market heats up Whiteside Mountain overlooking the Cashiers Valley

BY KATHY DEAN The entire Highlands-Cashiers Plateau in North Carolina has been drawing people to get away or retire for generations. It’s a beautiful stretch, set in the Nantahala National Forest, with old growth trees meandering around the Blue Ridge Mountains, serene lakes, rushing streams and picturesque waterfalls. Because of the higher elevation, the climate is considerably cooler than Atlanta. It’s easy to understand why many Atlantans head there to find a home, whether for full-time living, weekends, vacations or retirement. And that’s causing real estate in the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau to heat up. “The Highlands-Cashiers market is strengthening since the 2008 adjustment,” said Jody Lovell, Broker/Owner of Highlands Sotheby’s International Realty. “In 2016, the market was up 8 percent in unit sales and 19 percent in volume. So far this year, the market is up 19 percent in unit sales and 12 percent in volume.” The outlook for real estate is very optimistic, she added, as more people appreciate the serenity of the mountains, the culture, activities and fine dining that’s available, as well as the many opportunities to enjoy nature. “Low inventory is not a problem,” Lovell said. “Since inven-

a mountain sanctuary to enjoy with family and friends,” Lovell continued. “The Old Edwards Inn is of the top ten places in the U.S. to have a wedding, according to some reports, and it has attracted younger people to the area.” Bill Gilmore, Provisional Broker, Highlands Cove Realty at Old Edwards Inn, and Realtor with PalmerHouse Properties, reported that in the last year, from June 2016 to June 2017, there have been 582 closings in North Carolina’s Jackson and Macon counties, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics. The town of Highlands, a popular mountain destination, is located in Macon County, just past the Georgia and North Carolina border. From Atlanta, it’s only about a two-hour drive to the northeast. Continue another 15 minutes or so, and you’ll reach the village of Cashiers, N.C., set in Jackson County. “We have a strong market. This is a big region geographically and we have something for everyone,” he said. “Between Cashiers and Highlands, you can get the best of both worlds, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to get into the area.” A home in Lonesome Valley, N.C.

tory was stockpiled during the recession, it’s still a buyers’ market, making it a good time to purchase. There are some amazing homes on the market right now.” She pointed to several current listings. There’s a small cabin named The Love Shack, listed at $280,000; a 20-acre horse farm with a 6-bedroom main home, a log cabin guest home and barn with skeet shooting and two large ponds for $2,390,000; and a sophisticated home on a large waterfall at $3,595,000, “…with lots of inventory in between,” said Lovell. Each year, there’s a trickle of buyers who are moving here permanently, she added. Lovell expects to see that number increase, especially as temperatures continue to rise. “There’s a wide diversity of buyers right now, from young couples looking for a small cabin to retirees searching for

A home in Cashiers, N.C.

A townhome in Sapphire, N.C., about eight miles east of Cashiers, recently sold for $43,500. With the walkability trend, however, in-town properties cost more and sell fast. As an example of the difference, Gilmore said that the recent purchase price for an in-town Highlands townhome was $1,122,000. But there are more options for people wanting the convenience of a walkable lifestyle. “Cottage Walk is a new construction, in-town community in Cashiers that still has inventory available,” he said. Gilmore also noted that the rental market is especially hot, and allows potential homeowners to try before they buy. “During the first six months of 2017 the real estate market has been an interesting ride, and has emphasized the uniqueness of our area,” said Kenneth Taft, Broker-InCharge/General Manager of Landmark Continued on Page 14


Special Section | 13

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Cashiers Valley

Continued from page 12 Realty Group. “We’ve enjoyed good, stable activity. A total of 270 homes and properties have sold during the first half of 2017, which is up 23 percent from the same time last year.” Taft explained that Highlands-Cashiers prices, inventory and activity have remained strong and consistent. Since it’s a resort community, specializing in the second home market, there is definitely enough inventory to meet the demand, he said. “The Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is truly one of the premier vacation spots on the east coast,” Taft added. “Like any resort and second home market, the people who typically buy here are those who have visited before and fell in love with the area. They want to have a ‘home base’ here, whether they’re using it as a weekend getaway, dur-

ing the summer or as an investment until they can retire here full time.” When it comes to what’s a hot property, Taft said that it entirely depends on what people like to do. For golfers, there are several desirable neighborhoods that surround award-winning courses such as Wade Hampton, Mountaintop and Wildcat Cliffs. “If the buyer prefers water sports, they’ll focus on properties near Lake Glenville or Lake Toxaway,” he explained. “If they just want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, they may want to live in a community such as Whiteside Cove or Lonesome Valley. We have a wide variety of properties to choose from.” Susie deVille, Owner/Broker-in-Charge, White Oak Realty Group, also sees an exceeding strong market in Highlands-Cashiers. “Demand for properties across all

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price points is high, with walk-to-town properties of particular interest,” she said. “Highlands’ lively shopping, dining, cultural activities and evening entertainment options are abundant and are driving the desire for properties with proximity to Main Street.” There is a shortage in new construction, according to deVille, and a high demand for homes within walking distance to town. “We have a younger demographic than has historically been the case for our market, with the average age of more than half of my buyers under 50 years old,” she said. “More and more, wealthy investors under 50 are purchasing their retirement properties now.” She added that in many cases, these properties are income producing and serve as wonderful vehicles for offsetting ownership costs. Many investors come from the

Boathouse at Loneseome Valley

Atlanta metro region, and given the proximity to Highlands, they enjoy their properties nearly every weekend. Some even find creative ways to telecommute during the week, deVille said. “Overall, the real estate market in Highlands-Cashiers is continuing to improve, with varying performance levels within different communities,” said Thomas Bates, Development Planning and Sales, Lonesome Valley. He reported that following three consecutive years of strong sales, Lonesome Valley is experiencing its best first two quarters this year. A residential mountain farm community, Lonesome Valley is located about five minutes by car northeast of Cashiers. The community features extensive hiking trails, fly fishing in streams and ponds, lake activities, rock climbing, fine dining and a day spa.


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Special Section | 15

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


A dramatic setting for a Highlands’ home.

“At Lonesome Valley, we’re seeing a lot of families who are investing in a simpler life in the mountains, without an overabundance of amenities and a stronger connection with the natural world,” he said. Taft summed up the state of real estate opportunities in Highlands-Cashiers. “While still considered a buyers’ market here, new owners in Highlands-Cashiers can feel confident that they’re buying into an area that has great amenities, upscale dining and shopping, and outdoor activities,” he said.

The question of inventory is more about quality than quantity, Bates explained. “There are a lot of older homes currently on the market, but folks typically are looking for something fresher and newer. New construction is rebounding and builders are very busy again.” Bates said that he primarily sees second home buyers with a multi-generational ‘family investment’ in mind. Most of the buyers are purchasing homes for their immediate family’s use, with plans to spend the majority of their eventual retirement there.

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Eclipse Watching

Head north to check out the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 BY COLLIN KELLEY On Aug. 21, a large swath of America will be treated to a rare phenomenon: a total solar eclipse. While partial views will be available in Atlanta, if you want to be in the path of totality then head to North Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina. The centerline for the eclipse will touch the northeastern corner of Georgia around 2:35 p.m. Some of the picturesque places to see the full solar phenomenon are in Clayton, Toccoa and Black Rock Mountain State Park.

In North Carolina, you’ll have part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park as a dramatic landscape for the eclipse. Some of the cities in the path are Bryson City, Murphy, Andrews, Franklin and Santeetlah Lake. A big swath of South Carolina will see the eclipse, but one of the best places will be the city of Greenville, which lies in the path of totality. The downtown area has cool shops, restaurants and the lovely Falls Park on the Reedy River. The last time all of North America witnessed a solar eclipse was 99 years

ago, so grab your eclipse glasses and head north. Hotels and rentals are already filling up, so if you’re planning to make a long weekend of it, better book now.


A total eclipse will cover a swath across North America on Aug. 21, including portions of North Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Special Section | 17

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The Highlands Connection

Mountain lifestyle offers activities, arts and more BY KATHY DEAN It’s no mystery why people choose to live or vacation on the Highlands-Cashier Plateau. For one thing, there are the cooler temperatures. With its elevation of 4,118 feet above sea level, the town of Highlands generally runs about 15 degrees cooler than Atlanta, which has an elevation of just over 1,000 feet. The village of Cashiers, at an elevation of 3,484, is normally about 10 degrees cooler than Atlanta. Then there’s the peace and quiet. A home in the mountains brings images of relaxation and natural beauty. It’s a perfect get-away to refresh and recharge, whether by sitting and taking in the breathtaking landscapes, or by getting active — hiking along the forested Blue Ridge Mountain paths, fishing in the sparkling rivers or taking the boat out on the lake. Getting away from it all sounds great, but some may worry that there’s a cost to it, like losing luxury or their connection with the outside world. On the HighlandsCashiers Plateau, that’s certainly not the case. “For generations of well-to-do Southerners, the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau has been an escape — from the heat, from the bugs, from the noise, from the crowds, from responsibilities — but most of the time, that meant leaving the luxuries of life behind in the city,” said Jack Austin, General Manager of Old Edwards Inn & Spa. Today, Old Edwards Inn, located in Highlands, provides a place in the mountains where visitors can spoil themselves with award-winning food and wine, a nationally ranked spa, world-class golf and sumptuous amenities, he said. Austin shared his favorite way to relax at Old Edwards Inn. “Nothing beats a soak in the spa’s whirlpool, followed by an 80-minute massage, and then a cup of herb-

al tea in the solarium,” he said. “Letting myself drift off for a nap in one of the sumptuous chaises is true luxury, but I’m tempted to get up for a light bite in the Wine Garden. My favorite table is right by the waterfall. It’s like a calm eddy off the stream of foot traffic on Main Street just yards away.” According to Bill Gilmore, Provisional Broker, Highlands Cove Realty at Old Edwards Inn and Realtor with PalmerHouse Properties, Main Street in Highlands is uber charming, with its churches, small grocery stores and walkable shops and restaurants. “It’s like something out of Mayberry R.F.D.,” he said. “It’s a place where parents can comfortably allow their teens to shop or eat on their own.” Depending on what people are looking for, there are plenty of choices, Gilmore added. “For unparalleled luxury, you can’t do better than a stay at the Old Edwards Inn,” he said. “But if you’re looking for a pet-friendly hotel, there’s the Main Street Inn.” Also in Highlands, Main Street Inn offers quaint rooms, many with private balconies. For those concerned that the mountains might cut them off from civilization, Gilmore noted that communication in the area is top notch, with internet and cell service so reliable that busy executives can easily work from Highlands-Cashiers. “The Cashiers Area offers a casually-sophisticated visitor and lifestyle experience ranging from spectacular outdoor recreation, like world-class hiking, fly fishing, golf/tennis/croquet, rock climbing, to refined dining and handcrafted cocktails,” said Stephanie Edwards, Executive Director at Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce. “And our growing arts and cultural scene includes music and live theater.” She added that award-winning chef Jo-

hannes Klapdohr opened the Library Kitchen & Bar restaurant earlier this year, a wonderful complement to celebrated Chef Adam Hayes’ Canyon Kitchen culiOld Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands nary experience. The Cashiers area tion & Creativity Institute, Highlands-Cais also anticipating the launch of a homeshiers attracts interesting people of many town brewery and more boutiques for backgrounds, education levels and intertheir ‘cottage shopping’ experience. ests. “Our town tends to attract awesome Edwards noted that this year, the Capeople,” she said. “They come here and shiers Historical Society will celebrate the want to relax, but they also want to con20th anniversary of its annual Cashiers Denect with the community, even if it’s just signer Showhouse fundraiser, which will for a weekend or a month.” be held Aug. 12 to 27. It will feature many of The community is welcoming and there the best interior decorators and designers are many ways to plug into it, deVille addin the Southeast who will work their magic ed. For example, there’s the Highlands on three new houses. The featured homes Playhouse, an intimate theater that showwill be in the new Cottage Walk communicases Broadway musicals and regular film ty on Burns Street in Cashiers. events, and The Bascom, a visual arts cen“There’s a strong emphasis on outdoor ter in Highlands that invites seasonal and activities here in the mountains, but if year-round residents to volunteer. The Basyou’re not the outdoorsy type, there’s still com hosts exhibitions, education and artist plenty to do while you’re here,” said Kenresidency programs. neth Taft, Broker-In-Charge/General Man“People think it’s a tiny place, and it is ager of Landmark Realty Group. “There’s cozy, but we have a hospital, performing an abundance of cultural events such as arts, chamber music festival and other culplays and concerts. There are also luxuritural offerings that are astounding for a ous spas in which to indulge, and classes to place with four stoplights,” said deVille. take to explore a new hobby.” While the mountains provide a cool reNo matter what you like to do, Taft said spite from summer heat, they’re also worth that you’ll be sure to meet plenty of nice a visit in colder weather. “In recent years, people from all over the world who come we’ve seen a rise in the number of folks here for the same reasons — to relax and who choose to come back for Thanksde-stress from their everyday lives. “And giving, to spend their holiday here in the that’s what makes this area so special — mountains,” said Taft. “Christmas tree the people who come here,” he said. farms are a large industry here, so there According to Susie deVille, Owner/Broare a lot places where people can choose ker-in-Charge, White Oak Realty Group and cut their own tree, which appeals to and President and Founder of the Innovaresidents and visitors alike.”

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Special Section | 19

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Appalachian Cool

Jackson County, N.C. has much to offer homeowners, vacationers

Downtown Sylva, N.C.

If you’re headed to the mountains this summer or fall, make sure to add Jackson County, NC to your list of must-visit places. Located only a few hours from Atlanta, it’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts to explore a variety of landscapes ranging from picturesque peaks, rolling valleys, cascading waterfalls and winding rivers. There’s also Panthertown Valley, which has 6,295 acres of Nantahala National Forest lands with more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and multi-use trails. Known as the “Yosemite of the East” the backcountry trails wander through a pristine section of the southern Appalachian Mountains, and lead to over a dozen waterfalls in the valley. After a hike, cool down and take in the beauty of one of Jackson County’s many waterfalls. Visitors can discover more than two-dozen waterfalls in the area ranging from cascading falls, to gentle flows, all which make for one-of-a-kind photo opportunities. Tucked away in the area’s unique landscape, these waterfalls ebb and flow with stunning, rushing water. Whitewater Falls, one of the highest east of the Rockies, Courthouse Falls and High Falls are just a

Photo by Nick Breedlove

few that guests to the area shouldn’t miss. For a beach feel with a mountain view, visit Lake Glenville, one of the country’s highest lakes, for water activities or just to lounge on the sand-filled beach. There’s also plenty of good food and drinks in the area. Jackson County’s Ale Trail features a variety of breweries along the easily walkable, one-mile route in Sylva. The trail consists of three, unique breweries offering beers for all palates: The Sneak E Squirrel, Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing. The Ale Trail will also welcome a fourth member this summer with Balsam Falls Brewing, which will have 16 to 20 beers on tap in a rotating selection. Local restaurants make as much of a lasting impression as the towering mountainscapes. In Cashiers, restaurants feature pretty porches, apple orchards and country dining. Cornucopia is consistently named as one of the best porches in Cashiers. Award-winning chef Adam Hayes offers farm-to-table specialties at Canyon Continued on Page 20

reasons to visit the WNC mountains: 1. Outdoor activities for the whole family 2. See nature’s majesty 3. Reconnect with loved ones

There are HUNDREDS of ways to enjoy the mountains of Western North Carolina; we just can’t fit them all into one ad! Come to the mountains and discover your own reason to keep coming back. There’s space for the whole family or for just the two of you. Contact Landmark Vacation Rentals today to explore vacation and seasonal rentals in Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Glenville, Lake Toxaway, Sapphire Valley, and Burlingame!



TOLL FREE: 877-747-9234 17 Highway 64, Cashiers, NC 28717 REAL ESTATE SALES: www.LandmarkRG.com

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The Lake at High Hampton Inn

High Falls

Continued from page 19 Kitchen in Sapphire. One of the most popular spots in Sylva is Lulu’s on Main. Guadalupe Café offers Caribbean-inspired fusion, a diverse selection of wines from Spain and

Latin-America and micro-brewed beers. The county’s newest restaurant, The Library, offers both an artistic vibe not only in the food, but in the eclectic décor. Special for summer travelers is the opportunity to experience a musical


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Special Section | 21

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Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information which represents some of the Sandy Springs police reports filed between June 14 and June 21.

B U R G L A RY 1800 block of Windridge Drive — On

June 16, a leasing manager said she saw a man trying to open the office door, which was locked. Soon after, she saw him inside the office near a window that had been opened. Once inside, the man set the alarm off and then fled. 6000 block of Cherry Tree Lane —

On June 17, between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., someone forced a garage door open and attempted to sabotage the resident’s car. Someone loosened the lug nuts on one of the wheels and an unknown substance had been poured down into the gas tank. The perp(s) disabled the generator that runs power to the home and the cameras. The victim noted to the officer that the suspect could be among the many people he has kicked out of the home in the past months. 5600 block of Roswell Road — On June

17, someone unlocked a bedroom window and entered the apartment. The resident said she had just moved in and is still in the transition process. She reported a bottle of liquor missing. 3200 block of Sandalwood Drive — On

June 21, between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., someone entered the apartment through an unlocked back door and stole a jewelry box and its contents, including a Michael Kors watch valued at $250. 5801 Kingsport Drive — On June 21,

the complainant said someone forced a rear window to gain access to a church. Burglars took $1,000 cash from a security box as well as two speakers.

chased a refrigerator and subcontracted for delivery by another company. She told the officer she became worried after overhearing one of the employees tell another, Captain “Leave the door STEVE ROSE, open so we can SSPD come back and srose@sanget some of the dyspringsga.gov whiskey.” She later discovered her iPhone and her American Express card were stolen from the kitchen counter. An attempt to use the card was made the next day, but the card was declined. New Northside Drive — On June 16, a

ride-share driver reported that he picked up a customer at SunTrust Park and at some point realized the customer in the car was not the client. (The client cancelled the pickup shortly after the man got into the car.) The driver pulled into a gas station to allow the man to get cash from the ATM. The man absconded across the street.

8700 block of Roswell Road — On

June 16, staff at a grocery store detained a woman they said stole a pack of Mucinex DM cough suppressant pills. She was cited and released.

OT H E R T H I N G S 6200 block of Mt. Vernon Hwy — On

June 16, a 64-year-old woman reported that she was contacted by phone, from a company called Albion Solutions. The caller, “Mark,” said the company was going out of business and clients were eligible for a refund. She spoke to “Mark,” who said she would receive the refund faster if he could access her computer. She allowed it, and then noticed that “Mark” went to her bank website, supposedly to wire the money to her account. He requested her security information, which she declined to give him, saying the refund should be mailed to her home. At that point, “Mark,” who had an Indian accent, went off the chain, cursing and screaming at the victim. He then locked her out of the computer and hung up. Roswell Road ramp from I-285 — On

June 22, a man reported he accidentally left his iPad in the electrical room of a building overnight. The next day, the iPad was gone.

June 16, a 47-year-old man reported that a motorist pulled a gun on him and threatened to kill him after being detained on the exit ramp due to the victim allowing a pedestrian, in front of his car, to cross the roadway.


800 block of Hammond Drive — On

1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

Between June 16 and June 21, there

were 17 thefts from vehicles.

ARRESTS 6000 block of Glenridge Drive — On


June 16, during a traffic stop, a small amount of marijuana was found in a cigarette box. The driver was arrested.

300 block of Riverhill Road — On June

Dunwoody Place — On June 16, follow-

14, the resident reported that she pur-

ed a small amount of marijuana in the car.

ing a suspicious-car 911 call, officers locat-

June 18, a patrol officer stopped a Kia Sportage after running the tag which came back registered to a Mazda CX9. The officer detained the 16-year-old juvenile driver after checking the VIN and discovering the car had been reported stolen in Roswell. The officer reported finding a credit card and a check for $367 in the juvenile’s pocket. Neither the card nor check had his name on it. The juvenile said he found the

A 24-year-old woman posted her re-

sume with Indeed.com. A company in India contacted her and offered a job. They sent her a check for $4,820 from a Mark George, in Stevenson, Md. The instructions were to deposit the check and immediately send $3,500 to one location and $1,000 to another, in the names of Samantha Lira and Jamel Richard, who were in Texas. Of course, later, the bank called and said the checks were fake. Just after 3 a.m., an officer spotted a

car on Ga. 400 driving with excessive speed — more than 90 mph — given the conditions (rain) and being within a construction area. Three miles later, when he caught up, he stopped the car and interviewed the driver who explained, “I really had to [find a toilet] and was trying to get to the Waffle House at Exit 7.” Now I know we’ve all been in this position when nature rings the doorbell at the Bladder Residence, but just in case it does, please know that there is a Waffle House at Exit 6. Grogan’s Lake Point — On June 22, A

46-year-old woman reported that she received a call from a 219 area code (Indiana, Gary and Valparaiso areas), telling her she owed $7,985 in taxes and would be arrested. She told him to send a formal letter requesting the funds and (of course) the man refused. She told the officer that a moment later, she got a call from someone claiming to be a Sandy Springs police officer, from the main city number. The caller then ended the call. (I’m not sure what that part was all about.)




City of Sandy Springs



An Ordinance to approve the new Sandy Springs Development Code including the Zoning Map.

City of Sandy Springs

Property Location: 1000, 1005, 1010, 1015, 1020, 1025, 1030, 1035, 1040, 1045, 1050, 1055 Manorwood Ct


check in the parking lot of a gas station and the car had a stack of credit cards. He said he helped himself to one of the cards. As far as the car, he told the officer he borrowed it from a friend who lives on Roberts Drive. He was arrested and accused of theft, receiving stolen goods, forgery and acquiring a license plate for concealing.

Present Zoning:



Rezone from TR to TR to allow lot delineation while bringing resulting conditions into legal standing.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission June 15, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council July 18, 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

This Code is intended to amend and replace the current Zoning Ordinance, Development Regulations and Zoning Map. Public Hearings:

Planning Commission (Hearing continued from June 21, 2017) July 20, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council August 1, 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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