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Council, residents talk MARTA, rezoning
by Bobby Tedder
August 20, 2014 01:15 PM | 777 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City officials and residents have kicked off a new round of possible MARTA rail expansion talks.

MARTA officials conducted a presentation laying out preliminary details about the proposed project before a packed house during Tuesday’s Sandy Springs City Council meeting at City Hall.

“Basically, what we want to convey is we’ve done an extensive amount of outreach and [research] dating back to 2011,” said Mark Eatman, MARTA project manager. “Georgia 400 really is the preferred corridor.”

Based on a survey conducted with Kennesaw State University, about three quarters of the 1,000 north Fulton respondents either approve or strongly approve of MARTA expansion from the North Springs station to the Forsyth County line. Residents were evenly split regarding their preference for light or heavy rail, Eatman said.

Four Sandy Springs residents, given time to comment at Tuesday’s meeting, favored rail expansion west of 400 in the city.

“From a homeowner’s perspective and that of a very small business owner, … there just isn’t any real infrastructure on the [opposite] side,” Nancy Lesser told council members. “I ask as a citizen … that you support MARTA as long as they stay on the west side.”

Potential station locations — not “set in stone” at this point in time — are Northridge, Holcomb Bridge and Mansell roads, the North Point Mall area, Old Milton Parkway and the Windward Parkway area, Eatman said.

“The main story is that the alignment really extends about 12 miles from the North Springs station to the Windward Parkway area,” he said. “Moving forward, we still have some challenges that we want to work with you all and the other communities on … to really get this to an optimal transit solution per area that services the majority of the people.”

Elsewhere on the agenda, rezoning was another hot-button issue.

The council voted 4-2 to defer for 60 days a final vote on an application by Rockhaven Homes for a 15-lot subdivision at 5950 Mitchell Road. That decision came on the heels of a steady stream of complaints by residents citing issues including lack of communication with the developer, site density and stormwater runoff.

District 2 Councilman Ken Dishman and District 3’s Graham McDonald voted to reject Rockhaven’s application outright due to misgivings over the latter’s project’s perceived standing.

“How many times have we allowed a deferral because [the rezoning applicant] didn’t have their act together?” Dishman said. “We’re going to have to put our foot down at some point or we’re just going to get run over continually and our citizens are going to get run over.”

District 4 Councilman Gabriel Sterling countered that deferred development projects in the city generally improve during successive rounds of review.

Attorney Pete Hendricks, representing Rockhaven, said a meeting between the developer and neighborhood residents is scheduled for next week.

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