By David Pendered
The Atlanta Regional Commission soon will begin its review of plans to redevelop the site of Glenridge Hall, in Sandy Springs, to a live-work-play community that’s to open in 2020.
Plans call for 1,058 residences; 460,000 square feet of office space, to be built in two phases; and a commercial building with 36,401 square feet, which is about half the size of a typical chain grocery store.
Mercedes Benz intends to occupy 250,000 square feet of office space. The company expects to employ 800 workers in the office building, according to a form the automaker filed with Fulton County development officials. The New Jersey office Mercedes is leaving employs about 1,000 workers, according to published reports.
The residential component includes a mix of townhomes, flats, and apartments:
- 281 townhomes, attached and detached;
- 378 flats;
- 399 apartments.
The first phase is to be complete in 2020. The overall project is to be complete in 2025, according to the Development of Regional Impact form submitted April 8 by Sandy Springs to the Department of Community Affairs.
The filing of the DRI form initiates a review process in which the ARC and state agencies identify the expected impact of large-scale developments and address them before conflicts arise.
The DRI filed for the Glenridge site provides scant information is provided regarding the impact the development will have on water, sewer, traffic, solid waste, and economic development – such as whether the regional workforce is capable to meet the demand created by the project.
The segments on those questions are answered, “Not Selected,” on the DRI form.
The property is owned by SunTrust Bank NA as trustee of Caroline Glenn Mayson Trust No. 2, according to the DRI. Ashton Woods Homes is serving as developer.
Ashton Woods is seeking to rezone the property and receive variances to enable the development.
Recent changes in state law have eliminated the ARC’s ability to determine if a project is in the best interest of the region, and therefore the state. A ruling of “not in the best interest of the region” was a virtual death knell for major developments.
In 2013, the Georgia Legislature revised the Georgia Planning Act of 1989 in order to, “streamline processes and enhance flexibility for local governments and regional commissions in the exercise of their responsibilities,” according to a page on the website of the state Deparment of Community Affairs.
Lawmakers eliminated this section:
- “The review shall result in a public finding by the regional commission or the department, as the case may be, that the action will be in the best interest of the region and state or that it will not be in the best interest of the region and state.”
And replaced it with this section:
- “The department [DCA] may establish rules and procedures which require that local governments submit for review any proposed action which would, based upon guidelines which the department may establish, affect regionally important resources or further any development of regional impact.”