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Sandy Springs approves neighborhood security camera policy
by Bobby Tedder
April 03, 2014 10:19 AM | 2817 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sandy Springs officials have given the green light to the framework allowing electronic surveillance apparatus to be erected in residential areas.

The Sandy Springs City Council voted 6-0 to establish a neighborhood security camera systems policy at its meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.

Under the plan, 75 percent of a given neighborhood’s population would have to approve cameras being installed there — similar to the proposed implementation of the common traffic calming device.

“I think the feeling is that cameras — being more intrusive than speed bumps — ought to at least meet that threshold,” said Mayor Rusty Paul.

Council members and city staffers discussed logistics of the new policy at length. For example, current property regulations regarding the dimensions of poles the proposed security cameras would be perched on will be applicable.

“Right now, we don’t regulate cameras, per se,” said Assistant City Attorney Cecil McClendon. “What we do is regulate accessory structures — in your front yard setback you are limited to four feet. … Once you go over that, you’re in front of the [Sandy Springs] Board of Appeals and you have to get a variance to [change] that.”

Representatives from the two residential entities who addressed the matter at Tuesday’s meeting disagreed on a relatively quick adoption of the policy, which essentially entails private cameras on public right-of-way.

Tochie Blad, speaking on behalf of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, asked city officials to delay the vote.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to have our homeowner associations weigh in on this,” Blad said. “Even our board hasn’t been able to take a look at this and assess this policy.

“We do support efforts to reduce crime, but we feel like this short cycle is going to inhibit public input on this new policy.”

The River Shore Estates Homeowners Association is the party responsible for initiating talk of cameras being utilized in the area. At the previous council meeting March 18, a neighborhood representative discussed the recent criminal activity there.

Blad proposed a stop-gap measure involving the deployment of Sandy Springs Police Department mobile units at neighborhood entrances.

Karen Dabbs, secretary of the River Shore group, countered that that proposal was not practical.

“We have two entrances to our neighborhood and we only have one mobile unit, so that’s all the police can give us — which makes perfect sense for one neighborhood,” said Dabbs.

“To the extent that policies take more time, they certainly require direction and effort and time. Just please bear in mind that we aren’t fully protected yet with cameras even with the efforts the police have made on our behalf.”

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