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OCT. 28 - NOV. 10, 2016 • VOL. 10 — NO. 22


Sandy Springs Reporter


Perimeter Business ► Filmmaking frenzy hits northern arc PAGE 4 ► Buyers line up for farms, sport estates PAGE 6

Singing and swinging at Heards Ferry

Northside Hospital expansion approved with traffic fixes BY JOHN RUCH

The Heards Ferry Elementary School Chorus delivers a “Best of Broadway” performance, with music instructor Anna Trude conducting, as part of the school’s Oct. 22 Harvest Festival. On inset photo, from left, friends Katherine Billian and Charlotte Skinner take in a ride at the festival. Both girls are in the fifth grade at Heards Ferry.


Holy Spirit Preparatory School, senior

Our system is so decentralized in the United States... it is the most improbable country in the world to attempt rigging an election. Rigging talk is irresponsible and ignorant in those terms. Richard Barron

Fulton County Elections Director

Page 20

See COMMENTARY page 10


Northside Hospital’s major expansion plan and a long-sought package of trafficmitigation agreements were approved by Sandy Springs City Council on Oct. 18. The city considers the traffic agreements — including collaborative planning among three local hospitals — a pilot program for other major Perimeter Center employers. Northside plans to begin work almost immediately on its 8-story bed tower and 10-story employee parking garage, with opening planned for October 2017. “I think it’s time for the community to declare victory and go home,” said City Councilmember Andy Bauman, adding to hospital officials, “We’ll take it out on you if you come back for more and don’t follow through on this.” “Both sides get to declare victory here,” responded hospital attorney Edward Lindsey. “Everybody wins with this plan. And you See NORTHSIDE on page 14

OUT & ABOUT Impact fee hike MJCCA Book Festival could mean Nov. 5-20 Page 17 $300 million

for city projects


New impact fees on real estate developments approved Oct. 18 by the City Council are among the highest in northern metro Atlanta. The city says the fees could raise more than $300 million by 2040 for parks, transportation and public safety, but an organization of developers warns they could inhibit the city’s economic growth. The new residential fees were boosted more than 300 to 500 percent, to up to $6,854 See IMPACT on page 15

2 | Community ■

Vote on Nov. 8 for president, ballot questions, more The Nov. 8 election will decide a new U.S. president, several local legislative offices and ballot questions. One key ballot question is about the proposed Opportunity School District, which would allow the state to take control of schools deemed to be “failing.” For the Reporter Newspapers Voters Guide to key local races and ballot questions, see To check your polling place and to see a customized sample ballot, see the state’s “My Voter” page at




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Eleven local nonprofits are splitting $50,000 awarded by the city through its annual “Serving Sandy Springs” grant program. The City Council approved the awards at its Oct. 18 meeting. The only “no” vote came, as it has every year, from Councilmember Gabriel Sterling, who repeated his stance that, while he supports the causes of the local organizations, he believes taxpayer money should be spent only on direct city policy programs. The organizations and award amounts are:

■ Act 3 Productions ($7,740) ■ Am Yisrael Chai ($4,000) ■ Atlanta Jewish Music Festival ($2,050) ■ Every Woman Works ($2,500) ■ Friends of Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex ($5,000) ■ Mary Hall Freedom House ($5,000) ■ Sandy Springs Education Force ($9,300)

■ Housing Initiative of North Fulton ($5,000) ■ Friends of North Springs High School ($4,195) ■ Sandy Springs Tennis Association ($3,690) ■ Los Niños Primero ($1,525)

3 1 - UNI T TO WNHO M E P R O JEC T A P P R O V ED A 31-unit townhome project at 6555 Roswell Road was approved by the City Council Oct. 18 after developer InLine Communities resolved a driveway issue. PulteGroup proposed the project earlier this year for a narrow lot just south of the Abernathy Square shopping center, between a Zaxby’s and a Steak ’n Shake. The plan got resistance from neighbors for density and screening issues. But the biggest challenge appeared to be how the entrance would work along with an unusual double driveway already there to serve the Zaxby’s drive-through. PulteGroup was unable to work out that issue, but Marietta-based InLine worked it out and gained support from local homeowner associations.

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Community | 3

Sandy Springs TSPLOST ballot question to be decided BY JOHN RUCH

Sandy Springs voters will help decide the fate of Fulton County’s TSPLOST ballot question on Nov. 8. The 0.75 percent, five-year transportation special local option sales tax would boost the total rate to 7.75 percent in Fulton, excluding the city of Atlanta, which has its own TSPLOST question. The Fulton revenues would be divided among cities by population, giving Sandy Springs $104 million to $119 million, the county estimates, to spend on a list of nine trafficrelief projects. Fulton also has its own list of county-wide projects. The Sandy Springs project list includes, among other items, planning for alternative transit, extending sidewalks and multiuse trails, and upgrading traffic signals. The TSPLOST list includes two projects that are controversial in their neighborhoods, but which also received broad support in TSPLOST meetings and surveys. One is turning the intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road into dual roundabouts. The other is a longstanding idea to widen a two-lane section of Hammond Drive between Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive. Local neighborhood associations

strongly oppose the idea, saying it would mean demolishing dozens of homes and that it has never been backed by a credible traffic study. In recent months, the city has geared up to perform that study and already bought several residential lots as placeholders in case the widening is determined to be a good idea. The T-SPLOST would help fund more property purchases as well as a study and design, including public meetings and at least three alternatives, city officials said. It does not fund any actual construction and city officials emphasized that decision has not been made. The controversial projects gained general community support in public surveys and meetings about the TSPLOST question. For more information, see the city’s TSPLOST web page at

Project list

The following is the Sandy Springs TSPLOST list. Projects in the first two tiers are likely to be funded by project revenue, while Tier Three would get any leftovers. The order of projects within the tiers doesn’t matter, and not included is an administrative fee for county auditing of the projects. All of the projects are already planned and have gone through

public processes; TSPLOST money would just speed them up. TIER ONE ■ Traffic efficiency improvements: a variety of intersection and traffic signal upgrades, $18 million ■ Perimeter Center Last Mile Connectivity: Helping with an interconnected multi-use trail network that can double as right of way for potential alternative mass transit such as light rail or monorails, $8 million ■ Sidewalk program: $11 million ■ Mount Vernon/Johnson Ferry dual roundabouts: $26 million ■ Mount Vernon Highway multi-use path between Roswell Road and the Sandy Springs MARTA Station, $11 million ■ Hammond Drive widening design, $16 million TIER TWO ■ PATH400 extension: Fill in a “missing link” of the multi-use trail from Buckhead to a planned section on the Pill Hill hospital area that will be built as part of the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange reconstruction, $5.5 million ■ Roberts Drive multi-use path connecting Roswell Road and Island Ford Park, $5.5 million TIER THREE ■ Roadway maintenance and paving:

$16.8 million

Pro and con debate Pro and con sides on the ballot question were briefly debated at a Leadership Sandy Springs panel discussion about the TSPLOST, held Oct. 20 at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria hotel. Panelist Benita Dodd, the vice president of the conservative Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said that, while Sandy Springs has a good TSPLOST list, she thinks such tax boosts are bad in principle and noted it is a tax increase of more than 10 percent. “Let me say first, I am not a fan of SPLOSTs. … The thing about SPLOSTs is they tend to become routine,” Dodd said, warning the project lists can become “populated with wants instead of needs.” Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough, another panelist, responded by pointing to the broader economic impacts of traffic congestion. “I think in fairness, we ought to talk to the other side of that, which is the consequences of doing nothing,” McDonough said, warning of continued “gridlock, the lack of [transportation] infrastructure, the potential loss of jobs.”

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10 | Commentary

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Q+A / Can this election be ‘rigged’? In the current presidential election season, candidates and pundits have debated claims of “rigging” an election. Reporter Newspapers asked Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron to explain how officials prevent fraud and tampering. Barron has been Fulton County’s elections director since 2013. He previously served in a similar position in Williamson County, Texas. Q: Is it really possible to “rig” an election? Are Fulton’s elections secure from tampering? Our voting system in Georgia in secure from tampering because it is a stand-alone, isolated system. Nothing is connected to a computer network or to the internet. The touchscreen voting units are only tethered by electrical cords. Our system is so decentralized in the United States, with each state having its own rules and in many instances each county operating independently, it is the most improbable country in the world to attempt rigging an election. Rigging talk is irresponsible and ignorant in those terms. We conduct logic and accuracy testing on each machine before it goes into the field. Vote totals are cleared, as is required by the units, before they go into the field. They are sealed before we deliver them to polling locations. Poll workers verify that the public counts are at zero when they break the seals on Election Day. They also verify the seal numbers when they break the seals. They must balance at the end of the Election Day as well, to ensure that signature totals match vote totals.

Q: What are the main types of potential election fraud or tampering, and how does Fulton guard against each of them? I have worked in this field for 17 years in government and in the provide sector. I have yet to see election fraud or tampering. I have been an international elections observer in Macedonia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, and I have witnessed voter fraud and poll worker malfeasance. I have neither heard of valid claims in the United States where I have worked nor have I witnessed anything. Our system is transparent, complex and decentralized. I think that being decentralized, being transparent and lacking uniformity is the best way to avoid fraud and tampering. Q: Last year, the county admitted to errors in the 2012 election that left many voters off the rolls and mishandled or improperly rejected some ballots. What has the department done to fix those problems and ensure they don’t repeat? In 2012 we failed to process voter registration applications on time. We failed to do this in 2004 and 2008 as well. This year we are going to finish ahead of schedule, meaning when Kennesaw State uploads our voter file, we will have completed processing all of our applications. That will be a first for Fulton County in a presidential election. We have targeted the groups that generally vote more provisional ballots, students and seniors, by placing early voting outreach sites at 12 locations around Fulton County. In addition, we have increased our early voting offering from six sites in 2012

to 24 permanent sites this year. With the 12 two-day outreach sites, we plan on having at least 60 percent of voters voting before Election Day. Richard Barron We are also Fulton County going to have Elections Director poll workers specifically assigned to walking lines on Election Day with tablets to check voters’ registration status. This will help us to direct voters that are out of precinct to the correct precinct. A head of household mailing went to every house in Fulton County with a registered voter in order to remind voters where to go on Election Day and the options available during early voting. Q: In your time as director, has the county ever caught anyone tampering with the vote? No, no one has ever engaged in vote tampering in my time as director here or in my 17 years in elections in other jurisdictions. Q: If a citizen has a concern about their vote or the way a poll is run, what should they do? A citizen should contact our office in order for us to investigate the matter.

Letter to the Editor In his recent commentary here, (“Opinion: The Mexican community’s contribution to Georgia’s economy,” Sept. 30-Oct. 13) Javier Díaz de León, the consul general of Mexico in Atlanta, had a lot to say about what he calls “immigrants” and “migrants.” And he outlined what he says are hardships they encounter here in the Peach State. We fear readers with little independent knowledge of actual facts on immigration and the sovereign nation of Mexico may take away a very inaccurate view of reality without some knowledgeable balance to the Mexican diplomat’s presentation. According to the federal government, “immigrants” are people who enter the United States lawfully with the intention of permanent residence. The word “immigrant” should be sacred to, and defended by, all Americans. Illegal aliens are not immigrants. It must be noted that real immigrants have zero problems with any of those benefits in Georgia. What he means is that life

can be difficult for illegal aliens in Georgia. Perhaps space prevented Mr. Díaz from informing Georgia readers that in Mexico, there are severe penalties in place for illegal employment and they are unapologetically enforced. Or that illegals in Mexico have absolutely no chance of obtaining a genuine driver’s license or officially issued ID cards, or attending any education facility without proper documents. Neither can Mexican citizens vote unless they present a very secure Mexican voter ID, complete with fingerprints and (gasp) a photo of the voter. Mexico has been encouraging and facilitating illegal immigration for decades. In 1994, the government of Mexico produced a 32-page “How To” guide containing information to aid Mexican citizens in crossing the border illegally into the United States. It is much easier for average Georgians to grasp the motivation and agenda of the Mexican diplomatic corps if we all note that Mexico uses huge amounts of U.S. dol-

lars sent home by its “migrants” to prop up the Mexican economy. In February, the Mexican central bank reported that money sent home by Mexicans overseas hit nearly $24.8 billion in 2015, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income. Get it? The Mexican consul general to Atlanta assures us that Mexican “migrants” possess “a very high resilience and capability for integration with the members of the communities where they live.” Most of us have doubts about that statement when we see the never-ending marches in the streets of Atlanta by angry and illegally present “victims of borders” screaming that we must end enforcement of American immigration laws and when we see the push for foreign-language voter assistance and ballots in the state of Georgia, U.S.A. Respectfully: No sale, Mr. Díaz. D.A. King President, Dustin Inman Society Marietta SS

OCTOBER 28 - NOV. 10, 2016

Commentary | 11

On earrings and phone rings When my daughter was nearing the end of her high school career and had a Senior Day Off, we did a mother-daughter thing. We got our ears pierced. She had held out for 18 years, and I had held out for, um, longer than that. We went to Claire’s and perched on high-top chairs facing each other, hugged teddy bears and waited for the big staple gun to power through our lobes. It’s how memories are made. I never really wanted to get my ears pierced. I didn’t see a need to have any more holes in my body. And I probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise, but piercing in tandem with your daughter is one of those rare opportunities that you don’t pass up — like when your son asks you to go shopping with him, or your husband wants to schedule a sitting for a family photo. Aside from the unwanted extra orifices, my biggest aversion to the whole piercing process was the fact that I knew that once I did it, there would be earrings. I would start buying earrings, and people would give me earrings for birthdays and Christmas and Mother’s Day, and I would begin to like that. I would learn to linger at the jewelry counter over a selection of dangling objects that never interested me beRobin Conte is a writer fore. It would just be another way to spend 30 bucks a pop. and mother of four who It would be unavoidable. lives in Dunwoody. She That’s essentially the same reason that I didn’t want an can be contacted at iPhone. I knew that once I entered the world of ings, I would be opening a floodgate to a constant river of distractions and apps for distractions. And there would be no turning back. I had a phone I was happy with, much to the chagrin of anyone who tried to communicate with me on it. It was like a 1992 Subaru. It was reliable, yet old and outdated and not much coveted. It had a warped keypad that I used occasionally to text “k” and “here,” and nothing more. But I could drop it roughly 42 times a day (and I did), then literally pick up the pieces, slam them back into place, and redial. It was a 10-year-old Nokia, and it didn’t do much of anything but make calls. It didn’t give me directions, get my emails, take pictures or answer any burning questions I had about Bastille Day. It didn’t even “flip” or “slide.” It just sat there, easily, in my back pocket with its indestructible self, giving me a serendipitous jolt whenever someone buzzed me with a phone call. But as it creaked on in its years and lost parts through my constant dropping of it, it also slowly lost its ability to function, even as a phone. And I eventually had to admit that no one could hear on it very well, not even me. So a few years ago, when my husband presented me with a snazzy new iPhone4S (because I wasn’t worthy of a 5) complete with the promise of a new service provider, I laid my trusty Nokia to rest in my bedside table and entered the world of Distracted Adults. Sure enough, now I’m playing with Pandora when I should be working. I’m checking emails while I’m supposedly exercising. And I’ve joined my peers in relentless texting. We’re all like a bunch of delinquents who are passing notes in class. Texts come in while I’m brushing my teeth or paying bills or making dinner, and like a passel of whining children who are yanking at my legs, they beg for attention. I’ll glance at my screen and find a pressing question or an irresistible Bitmoji staring back at me, so I stop what I’m doing to text back — taking the time to correct the self-correct and choose just the right emoji — and a flurry of exchanges ensues that completely spins me off task. For all of our “live in the moment” advocacy, the smartphone is the ultimate antithesis. I’ve devised a system though, a type of positive reinforcement designed to limit myself from the tantalizing distractions that this device provides: If I can go through an entire day without messing with my phone while working or cooking or eating or exercising ... I’ll buy myself a new pair of earrings.


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12 | Community ■

Candidates Bennett and Hanson face off in House District 80 debate BY DYANA BAGBY

Georgia Constitutional amendment referendums on education and the state judicial qualifications commission were a primary focus of a brief debate between Democratic state Rep. Taylor Bennett and his Republican opponent Meagan Hanson at Oglethorpe University on Oct. 18. The 30-minute debate between the candidates for House District 80, which includes Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Chamblee, also covered traffic issues, Medicaid expansion and what role their political parties play in their decision making. The candidates are vying for the House seat on the Nov. 8 ballot. Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall served as moderator for the debate. Although the allotted time for the debate was one hour, the debate ended in right at a half-hour when Schall apparently had no more questions. Bennett is seeking to be re-elected to his first full term after winning a special election last year to replace former state Rep. Mike Jacobs, a Republican, after he resigned to take a DeKalb County judge seat. The first question asked was about the Opportunity School District constitutional amendment referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Under Gov. Nathan Deal’s OSD plan, schools that receive an “F” rating from the state Department of Education for three years in a row could be temporarily assigned to a new “Opportunity School District” (OSD). Two schools along metro Atlanta’s northern arc are on the list — DeKalb County’s Montclair and Woodward elementary schools, both located in Brookhaven. Hanson said she readily supports the OSD referendum based on results in school districts in Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, which are the models for the Georgia plan. She also began the debate by accusing Bennett of being beholden to Washington, D.C.-based teachers unions that have funneled money into the state to oppose OSD. “You’re probably about to hear my opponent regurgitate teacher union talking points. But the bottom line is we are funding education right now,” Hanson said before Taylor had the chance to answer. “Since 2011, Gov. Deal has increased school funding by $1.5 billion,” she said. “Actually, it’s the local school districts who are decreasing funding for education. The state is doing its part. Now it’s time to hold [local school district] accountable. “This is not a silver bullet, but it’s a step in the right direction and we have to take

some bold leadership and we’ve got to do the right thing,” Hanson continued. Bennett said he opposed the OSD referendum because he does not favor putting loPHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY cal schools un- Rep. Taylor Bennett, left, a Democrat, debated his Republican opponent, Meagan Hanson, right, at Oglethorpe University on Oct. 18. der a state-run plan. “I believe acministrator. cess to quality education is a fundamen“It will be administered by an appointed tal right for every child,” he said. “I want individual [appointed by the governor] and to be clear that I am pro charter schools, would close out local control,” he said. “The pro public schools and pro private schools. question I’d rather we be asking is, ‘What But I want to ensure that whatever choice can we do to make smart investments parents make for their children is the best into our teachers and students so they can choice.” achieve the success we require of them?’” He said he didn’t believe Georgia had Hanson rebutted Bennett’s answer by lived up to its promise of ensuring quality saying, “Number one, he just did what I education for all students, saying the state said he would do — he regurgitated teachhas underfunded public education since ers’ unions talking points.” 2002 by billions of dollars. An OSD solu“This would not be a statewide school tion is “putting the cart before the horse,” system in the least,” she said. “It doesn’t Bennett added, because control of selecttake control [of local school districts]; it ed schools would be put under control of holds them accountable.” a statewide agency with an unelected adBennett and Hanson also took on the contentious Judicial Qualification Commission referendum also on the Nov. 8 ballot. The referendum would get rid of the independent watchdog agency that monitors state judges and replace it with another committee to be run by the state legislature. Hanson supports the referendum; Bennett opposes it. “I’m not exactly a fan of bringing [this committee] inside the legislature and allowing the legislature to appoint members,” Bennett said, adding he believed appointees would be subject to political influence if the referendum is approved. “I think it’s important to maintain separate bodies of government and I don’t think this [referendum] does that,” he said. Bennett also noted the controversial background to the bill. State Rep. Johnnie Caldwell (R-Thomaston) is a sponsor of the initiative. Before being elected to the legislature in 2012, he was a Griffin County Superior Court judge who was forced to resign after the JQC investigated him on charges of sexually harassing a female attorney. Hanson said she would rather have elected officials appoint members to a judicial watchdog group than members of the State Bar of Georgia. “We have the opportunity with this amendment to have it so that elected officials who are accountable to you will oversee” the committee, she said. On the pressing issue of traffic, Bennett said one of his first tasks after he was elected was to set up a meeting between the city SS

OCTOBER 28 - NOV. 10, 2016

Community | 13

of Brookhaven, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation to determine ways to get funding for projects to ease congestion in the city. Hanson chided Bennett for not putting forward any transportation bills during his first year in office. She said if elected she would request to be put on the Transportation Committee and the MARTA funding committee. She said she would work with state legislators to find innovative solutions to ease traffic, supported MARTA expansion and also a comprehensive review of the district’s major traffic areas, such as North Druid Hills Road, Johnson Ferry Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Bennett said solving transportation issues takes time and that it was important to not sacrifice the quality of life when finding solutions. He also said legislators currently serving in the General Assembly fail to make transportation a top priority. “I can’t emphasize enough how behind the ball we are,” he said. “It takes a little political courage to step up and create the capital investments we need to build our infrastructure. If we don’t do that we will absolutely build ourselves out of our communities.” On the issue of health care and Medicaid expansion in the state, Hanson said she was wary of accepting federal funds to do so because the money comes with “strings attached.” Bennett said he fully supported Medic-

aid expansion in Georgia because it is “an economic and moral imperative.” Both candidates agreed with Gov. Deal’s veto of the “campus carry” firearm bill last year and said they supported background checks, including for those with mental health issues and also in instances of domestic violence. On a question about party affiliation, both candidates said they were not afraid to put what they believed to be right for the district over what their party supported. Bennett said one of the first bills he sponsored was to remove the DeKalb County CEO, an issue not popular with the Democratic delegation, but that was a position he knew his constituents supported. Hanson said she parted ways with Republicans when she opposed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the campus carry bill. In closing arguments, Hanson said the district deserved a state legislator who is “more action than talk.” Bennett pointed to his co-sponsorship of what is known as the “rape kit” bill, with lead sponsor and fellow Democrat Rep. Scott Holcomb of Doraville. He said despite the bill’s opposition by Republican Sen. Renee Unterman, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, the bill was passed by the legislature in the final minutes of last session because “being on the right side of history” always defeats those in power.

Religious retreat center seeks to build funeral urn structure BY JUSTIN FEDICH A Catholic retreat center is seeking to add a columbarium — a place to inter cremains — to its 20-acre complex on Riverside Drive. The Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center at 6700 Riverside Drive held a community meeting about the proposal on Oct. 19. Officials said the columbarium is a request from people who attend the silent, meditative retreats. “One of the things we thought would be a wonderful addition to the retreat is, as you’re thinking through your own mortality, you’d be with the ashes of people who have already transitioned,” said Cathi Spornick, the center’s development director. The Ignatius House has been open for more than 50 years and has hosted retreats for the last 20 years. More than 3,000 people come to stay at the retreat center throughout the course of a year, with nearly every weekend being booked with retreats, officials said. The center does not have a graveyard or a columbarium, both of which are common at many churches around the area. The center did not have information on the size of the proposed columbarium. Representatives said it would create room for

360 spots for urns to be stored. The plan is to build the columbarium so that it doesn’t stand out, but rather blends in with the rest of the retreat property and follows the contour of the ground. “It’s not very intrusive to what we’re doing here,” said Executive Director Maria Cressler. The Oct. 19 pre-application zoning meeting was a requirement by the city of Sandy Springs to make sure the center’s neighbors don’t have an issue with a columbarium. No community members attended. The center can now apply to get a use permit to begin the plans and specifications to get a building permit. If the use permit is received in February, former Ignatius long-time board member Hal Lamp said he expects all the construction to be completed on the columbarium about a year from then, in February 2018. “It’s not big, but it’s going to have quite a bit of structure to it,” Lamp said. The center has carried out a large expansion and renovation in recent years and first mentioned the columbarium in 2010 as part of those plans. The center’s spiritual retreats are open to people of all faiths, and the columbarium would be as well.


Join the City of Sandy Springs As We Honor Our Nation’s Veterans This year’s celebration will take place at the Veterans Memorial located at the Concourse with the keynote address given by CWO5 Edwin E. Harman III, USMC

Nov. 11 • 11:30am

Concourse • 5 Concourse Pkwy (Queen Building) SS

14 | Community

On the Cutting Edge of “Nice Moves, Nana!”

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Northside Hospital expansion approved with traffic fixes Continued from page 1 don’t get that very often in politics.” For the hospital, the plan meant zoning approval for the tower — containing 62 beds immediately and up to 68 more later — and a 105-foot-tall garage with 1,271 spaces meant to consolidate employee parking. For the city, it means the hospital agrees in writing to collaborate with other Pill Hill hospitals on traffic planning; to create a bicycle and pedestrian plan; to improve wayfinding; and to institute a hightech “smart parking” program that directs drivers to open spaces in the right spots. The deal drew its sole “no” vote from the hospital’s local councilmember, Tibby DeJulio. He unsuccessfully sought deferral because the final details of traffic mitigations were not worked out until just hours before the meeting, leading Mayor Rusty Paul and city staff to apologize for the lack of time for officials and the public to digest them. DeJulio noted the lack of clear information on such basics as bed counts, squarefootage and total parking numbers, and the mayor briefly tripped up in reading the approval motion because it contained outdated language. But other councilmembers agreed that the general agreement was what they were looking for. “It’s a good agreement,” said Councilmember Gabriel Sterling. “It sets a good example for other hospitals to follow.” Paul and the council began pushing Pill Hill hospitals a year ago to overcome their historical private and competitive natures to coordinate and collaborate on traffic planning in the increasingly car-choked medical center at Peachtree-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads. Frustrated with slow-moving talks, the council essential-

ly declared a moratorium in June on Pill Hill garages like the one Northside intends to build. That resulted in a rapid series of meetings and agreements. The key part of the traffic agreement is the coordinated planning and information-sharing among Northside and Pill Hill’s other two hospitals, Emory Saint Joseph’s and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, as well as with city staff. Paul later said that type of coordinated planning is a model the city will urge Perimeter Center companies to imitate. “We … believe this cooperative effort between the medical community and the city creates a public-private model for alleviating other work-related traffic hotspots,” Paul said in an email. Northside agreed with the importance of the traffic-planning effort. Besides the city-leveraged agreements, Northside also agreed to a Perimeter Community Improvement Districts proposal to expand and share the results of a Pill Hill traffic improvement study it is funding. “We need to work on traffic solutions and we have already begun doing so,” Lindsey said. But the hospital also pushed back a bit, with Lindsey saying that Pill Hill traffic is largely a problem generated by nonhospital commuters. He said 82 percent of Northside employees already arrive via “traffic amelioration” methods—meaning anything from riding MARTA to adjusting schedules to avoid rush hours. The city wasn’t done asking for further collaboration. Councilmember Chris Burnett said Northside must come up with a long-range strategic plan to lay out any more expansion goals, and Lindsey indicated that can happen.

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OCTOBER 28 - NOV. 10, 2016

Community | 15

Impact fee hike could mean $300 million for city projects




Continued from page 1 on houses and condos. The fee structure also includes exemptions, described as “affordable housing,” that are intended to encourage middle-income “workforce” housing and the demolition of older apartment complexes to be replaced by ownership developments. Other fees apply to commercial, office and other types of development. Mayor Rusty Paul said at the council meeting that “largely what we’re doing is rationalizing and modernizing” the impact fees, which had not been updated since 2008. The Council for Quality Growth, a Sandy Springs-based developers’ organization, has “concern” about the amount of the impact fee increase, said James Touchton, the group’s policy and government affairs director. That concern is focused on the park-related impact fee increase, which formerly was $165 and applied only to new housing, but now is more than $4,500 on new housing. “While we believe parks and recreation, as well as multi-use path systems, are highly beneficial to the quality of life in our communities, we have serious concerns the approval of a 2,600 percent increase in these impact fees by Sandy Springs potentially inhibits economic development activity in this thriving community,” Touchton said in an email. Impact fees are intended to offset the increased costs the city pays to support new developments with services such as policing or infrastructure such as roads and sidewalks. In Sandy Springs, separate fees go to transportation, public safety and parks and recreation, with an amount that may vary depending on the development’s type and size. According to a city presentation last year, Sandy Springs had some of the lowest impact fees among nearby cities. Under the previous fee rates, the highest total impact fee for a new residential unit in Sandy Springs was about $1,646. That was higher than Atlanta’s, which is about $1,500, but Milton and Roswell may charge over $4,000 and Alpharetta may charge nearly $6,500, according to the presentation. The newly adopted Sandy Springs fees are among the highest in the region in many categories. The City Council approved the new impact fee structure Oct. 18 without any presentation or discussion of their actual amounts. SS

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22 | Public Safety ■

Police Blotter / Sandy Springs The following incidents and arrests represent some, but not all, of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police Oct. 8-12. The following information was provided by Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department from its records and the information is presumed to be accurate.

R O B B E RY „„6800 block of Roswell Road. On Oct. 9,



block of Abernathy Road. On Oct. 11, a Kawasaki ATV was stolen from a job site.

9, the victim said just after midnight, she was returning to her apartment with her 18-month-old son. She said she called her boyfriend at the apartment to see if all was clear since it was late at night. He said it was. She exited and walked towards the apartment, at which time she was confronted from behind by a tall man who demanded her chain. The man was armed. He snatched her chain and a chain on the child’s neck. He grabbed her purse, then fled. He is described as a black male, 20 to 30 years of age, 6-feet1-inches, 200 pounds, in a black baseball hat, black jacket and jeans.

B U R G L A RY „„700 block of Hammond Drive. On Oct.

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8, furniture was taken from a storage area at the Park Towers Condos. „„300 block of Huntcliff Village Court.

On Oct. 8, sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. someone entered an apartment and took several items including a PlayStation video game system and


„„4000 block of

E. Conway Drive. On Oct. 12, kitchen appliances were taken from a home under construction. „„1100 block of Hope Road. On Oct. 11,

a paint sprayer, two air compressors, a circular saw, nail gun and reciprocal saw were taken from a vacant home under renovation.

„„200 block of Northwood Drive. On Oct.



a man said that just after 9 p.m. he was standing next to his pickup truck when another man came up from behind and grabbed him, demanding his property by saying, “Give me what you’ve got.” The victim said he turned and kicked the man in the chest, prompting the suspect to run away. The suspect was an unknown male in black hoodie, jeans and white shoes.

LG 80-inch TV. There had been some rift with a roommate who recently left.

THEFTS „„5800 block of Glenridge Drive. On Oct.

8, a woman reported that she placed her purse in her office and left for a short time. When she returned, $800 and a credit card were missing. All of the other employees had access to the office. „„6900 block of Roswell Road. On Oct. 8,

a 2000 Toyota Celica was reported stolen. „„227 Sandy Springs Place. On Oct. 8, a

93-year-old man reported that while he was shopping on the Halloween aisle at Kroger, another man ahead of him dropped a bag of candy. He reached down and picked it up and when doing so, bumped into the victim, almost knocking him down. The victim said he felt something touch him on his back pocket. The man immediately left the area and the victim then saw a second man leaving the aisle. He then realized his wallet had been picked from his back pocket. The victim then saw a third person who appeared to be signaling one of


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OCTOBER 28 - NOV. 10, 2016

Public Safety | 23

the other men. A short time late, two unauthorized purchases of $400 and $700 were made at a nearby Target Store. „„Now folks we all know there’s a spe-

cial place in Hell for child molesters and those who pick on the weak and the elderly. I’ve added these three to the Hell Train. „„8725 Roswell Road. On Oct. 10, wit-

nesses said that they were outside, next to a Starbucks. The victim was outside of the Starbucks smoking a cigarette, but had left her laptop on one of the outside tables because she intended to continue studying. They watched a man go into the Starbucks and walk around the store without ordering a fancy something. The man walked back outside and prepared to get into an occupied car, driven by another suspect, when he reached across the railing and snatched the laptop. One witness ran to the car and grabbed the laptop. The suspect yelled to the driver, “Just go!” and then dropped the laptop and jumped in the car. The car sped off. The victim, meanwhile, was banging on the window of the car, screaming at the driver. The car left south on Roswell Road. The laptop apparently survived the encounter with no damage. Starbucks staff said they had interior cameras, but they were not functioning properly.

vice was there on the same day she noticed it missing. The maid service employees were contacted by the officer and told him they had no knowledge of the incident.

„„6800 block Roswell Road. On Oct. 12, a

2008 Honda Accord was stolen. „„1600 block of Summit Springs Drive.

On Oct. 12, the resident said her medication was taken from her bedroom. The exterminator was there earlier. „„500 block of Wedgewood Way. On Oct.

„„A man on Huntcliff Village Drive said

he saw charges on his Bank of America account and found that $200 had been

transferred to his roommate and $49 used to pay an LA Fitness account, also his roommate’s. He since found another charge for $51.

„„5500 block Glenridge Drive. On Oct.

12, a man said he placed an envelope with $1,005 for rent in the mail slot of his apartment’s leasing office. Someone intercepted it and the office said they did not receive it. „„Thefts of rent money and mail slots

are not uncommon. We’ve seen coat hangers with sticky stuff on the ends used to retrieve the envelopes from the floor inside the office. Other methods have been used as well. With that much at stake, make it part of your monthly schedule to go and hand that check off personally.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES „„There were 17 reported thefts from ve-

hicles between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11.

A S S AU LT „„8800 block of Dunwoody Place. On

Oct. 11, a 29-year-old man was shot in the leg while walking through a wooded trail between two apartment complexes off Dunwoody Place. The man told police he was walking on the trail.

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„„A man reported that he took Uber to

Buckhead and got “pretty drunk.” He said the next day he was unclear on the previous night’s events. He discovered that during or after he withdrew some money from an ATM, someone stole his card and withdrew $2,000. „„A woman reported that she found

fraudulent addresses on her credit report. The addresses are in Atlanta; Hopewell, N.Y.; and Warrenton, Va. She said her ex is on the short list of sus-

Authentic Japanese dishes, noodles & sakes.

2, the resident said her Chanel Chance Perfume, valued at $150, was stolen from the upstairs bathREAD MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT room. She said the maid ser-

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404.252.7998 • 5920 Roswell Rd. Sandy Springs, GA

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Petition Number:



Sheldon Taylor, Regent Partners, Inc.

Property Location:

5900 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road

Present Zoning:



Rezone from MIX to MIX for the development of a hotel, multi-family building, and restaurant project with two Use Permits for increased height (hotel and multi-family buildings) and a concurrent variance for a reduction in required parking spaces.

Public Hearings:


Petition Number:



City of Sandy Springs


An Ordinance to Amend Section 19.3, Administrative Permits, (Private Swimming Pools), of the Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission November 17, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council December 20, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Planning Commission - November 17, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council - December 20, 2016 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


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

24 | ■


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tasen kathydean@atlan


nes add ts and smartpho omputers, table le’s enience to peop comfort and conv a few swipes or taps, With lives every day. ription refills presc to pizza anything from from car services thing every and can be ordered, duled. Online ents can be sche to doctor appointm no one lives too far from a s that , shopping mean her it’s groceries they need, whet store to get what

alerts to clothes or a car. apps that provide There are weather dar apps that send itions and calen intments. dangerous cond birthdays and appo y, list hand out reminders for lists ping es keep shop crossword Handheld devic and even help with out TV programs touch in puzzle clues. keep can ly, everyone Most important texting and friends through with family and to be the most , and that seems many to s social media sites offer fit that technology demographics important bene 2014 fact, Facebook’s t users over older adults. In the number of adul that ed show ious rt prev repo g the increased durin the age of 55 had 80 percent. d by more than three-year perio

Continued on page


,a e from Pam Koch help with her iPhon held recently Sandy Myers gets y, during a class Bluehair Technolog y Springs. volunteer with Church in Sand olic Cath tle Apos at Saint Jude the

65+ % 89 2.5X

offers these readers fresh, timely and engaging information focused on where they live.

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102816 Sandy Springs Reporter