A push for north end redevelopment and better ways to plug the city’s leaky water system are main topics on the Sandy Springs City Council’s annual retreat, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23.
The daylong meeting — scheduled to start at 8 a.m. at Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road – is where Mayor Rusty Paul and the council set policy priorities for the coming year.
The two main agenda items follow through on Paul’s remarks during his swearing-in earlier this month about his policy goals for what may be his final term in office.
Redevelopment of the older shopping centers and apartment complexes along northern Roswell Road has long been a city goal. But last year, the city formulated more proactive strategies and incentives in its new land-use plan and zoning code.
At the same time, affordable housing became a prominent issue in the planning discussions, and particularly focused on that north end redevelopment idea, as new construction could displace hundreds of moderate- or low-income residents. Paul is forming an affordable housing task force, likely to develop a fuller and possibly citywide policy. In additional, local philanthropists have a previously secret concept for mixed-income, mixed-use redevelopment of a particular north end area, which has influenced some of the current city policy as well as the forthcoming efforts.
All of those ideas presumably will have more clarification following the council retreat presentation on “North End Redevelopment,” which will be led by Andrea Worthy, the city’s economic development director.
The city’s water system is another perennial issue that Paul hopes to resolve once and for all. The system was built, and is still operated by, the city of Atlanta, and is notorious for such problems as leaks that go unrepaired for months. While officials say communications with Atlanta have improved, a deal to allow Sandy Springs make its own repairs fell through sometime last year. Paul has said he hopes new Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will work with him on a better system – or Sandy Springs will sue for control of the pipes.
With something of a Revolutionary War flavor, City Manager John McDonough’s retreat presentation on the topic is titled, “Water Independence.”
Also on the agenda is an update on the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project from Georgia Department of Transportation officials. Every city department also makes some form of report on the past year’s accomplishments and work to come in 2018.
Immediately following the retreat, the council will hold a special called meeting – an executive session to discuss unspecified “litigation.”