Sandy Springs officials have rejected a plan that would have brought a national car rental chain to the city’s central corridor.
Applicant Sandy Springs Plaza Investments LLC’s bid to move a Hertz Rent a Car into its 6780 Roswell Road location fell short via a 4-3 decision — with Mayor Rusty Paul casting the deciding vote to break a tie — during Tuesday’s Sandy Springs City Council meeting at City Hall.
District 2 Councilman Ken Dishman cited the city Planning Commission’s prior unanimous decision rejecting the same rezoning petition — which called for passenger vehicle and SUV rentals — as part of his rationale for doing the same.
“I’m inclined to not support this,” said Dishman. “My constituents have universally complained about the number of automotive uses that we have already on Roswell Road.
“We already have a number of properties that are zoned for automotive that are not being used [sufficiently]. I’m not so worried about future tenants because they know what they’re getting into. By the same token, the applicant knew what he was getting into and he moved forward with the project without automotive zoning.”
Dishman was joined in voting against the plaza owners by fellow first-year councilmen Graham McDonald (District 3) and Andy Bauman (District 6).
Councilmen Gabriel Sterling (District 4), John Paulson (District 1) and Tibby DeJulio (District 5) voted for it.
“If we’re going to do an automotive use, this is hidden behind a building that’s already there and limited to 15 vehicles and we’ve conditioned it on several fronts right now to keep it safe,” said Sterling. “I understand the concerns, but there are certain times I think we need to have some flexibility
“I’m trying to be as business-friendly as I can while still being sensitive to the areas around it.”
Pete Hendricks, the attorney representing the petitioner, said Hertz approached his client after reviewing the demographics in the area and expressing its desire to set up a “small, limited” leasing opportunity for the company.
“The whole purpose of the rezoning is that at the time the original zoning came in, everybody, including the applicant, agreed that we didn’t need U-Haul trucks sitting out in front of the self-storage component,” said Hendricks. “Restricting that was put in … and it ended up prohibiting leasing of vehicles, so that’s the reason that we’re in here.”
The plaza property, in terms of merchants, is currently at 84 percent occupancy.
“As with a lot of businesses and properties out there, it’s performing at well under 50 percent of what was anticipated,” Hendricks said. “So, while you have some occupancy by no stretch are we in a position to just simply sit back and feel that we’ve got truly an income-producing property.”