Archive for October, 2008

Sandy Springs Approves Four 303-Foot Radio Towers

The Sandy Springs City Council voted 5-1 to approve four 303-foot radio towers at the northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest corners of Blue Heron Golf Course on Morgan Falls Road.  The approval will allow Sandy Springs Broadcasting LLC and its parent company, American Media Services LLC (both based in Charleston) to construct the four radio towers to create a local radio station, possibly within the Sandy Springs city limits.

The council also granted, under the recommendation of city staff, variances that allowed the towers to exceed the 300-foot maximum height requirement and be located within .25 mile of an existing Georgia Power Co. power lines and two other radio towers.

The approval was not without dissenters.  Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny cast the only dissenting vote.

“I have very serious concerns about the public benefit of having a radio station operate in our community in greenspace,” said Ms. McEnerny. “In return for four towers, with a variance that’s required, and a visible light for 40-plus years, the offset is that we’re going to have a radio station that every hour on the hour broadcast our [city’s] name? … I don’t see any jobs being created.”

Sandy Springs Council of Neighbors Zoning Chairman Trisha Thompson also opposed the towers.

“Over and over and over again, every one of you have said that we need more greenspace in Sandy Springs,” Ms. Thompson said to the City Council. “All of you have been fighting for more greenspace and for park space for the children of Sandy Springs. … Why in the world are you putting a radio tower [near Morgan Falls Park] that will last and last and last? It will be a blight on the community and take away the very greenspace that you’ve been crying for.”

Snellville Revokes Crematory’s Certificate of Occupancy

In the fight that keeps going and going and going, the Snellville Board of Appeals revoked the City’s issuance of certificates of occupancy and development conformance. By a vote of 3-2, the Board ruled that the building plan submitted by the crematory in 2006 differed substantially from the actual operation that opened in September, including the installation of a smokestack.

The Board overruled the city planning department, which judged earlier that the crematory was not substantially different from its original plans and issued the certificates.

The matter will go back to the City Council for a vote sometime in November.

U.S. District Court, Northern Division of Georgia Concludes Outdoor Advertising Company Did Not Have Standing to Challenge Lawrenceville Sign Ordinance

The United States District Court, Northern Division of Georgia granted a motion to dismiss in favor of the City of Lawrenceville, Georgia on Covenant Media of Georgia, LLC’s constitutional challenge to the city’s outdoor sign ordinance.

The Court concluded that Covenant Media could not establish redressibility because even if it won its constitutional challenge to the sign ordinance Covenant Media still could not build its proposed signs. 

The Court also concluded that Covenant Media’s alleged injury – the fact that it could not build its proposed signs – was not a result of any of the alleged unconstitutional actions of the City, but instead due to application of various height, size, location, and certification provisions of the sign ordinance that was not being challenged. 

Because Covenant Media could not establish redressibility and a casual relationship between its injury and the challenged actions of the City, the Court held Covenant Media did not possess standing to file the lawsuit and dismissed it.

Keep ready for GZB’s summary of Covenant Media of Georgia, LLC v. City of Lawrenceville, Georgia, — F. Supp. 2d. —, 2008 WL 4462422, Civil Action No. 1:07-CV-2522-JEC, decided September 18, 2008.

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The Love Shack Closes, But Vows Fight Is Not Over

Johns Creek has fought and fought against John Coretta and his adult-oriented business The Love Shack and may have won by default.  The Love Shack is closing, but vows to continue the fight.

According to the City:

It was the issue of a sexually oriented business close to a residential area, a school bus stop, and 400 young dancers that made the community nervous.

The free market did what the free market does. The community didn’t support it.

According to The Love Shack:

They’re killing a small business they don’t agree with.  That’s not free enterprise. I’m sad my tax dollars would be used to do that.

Firing of Atlanta Arborist Reaffirmed

The inquiry into the firing of City of Atlanta arborist Tom Coffin has concluded that his firing was justified.

On Monday, the city’s human resources director wrote a letter to Coffin that said he was fired by the city’s Planning and Community Development Department “as a result of an unwillingness or inability to work in a team environment.” The three-page letter says Coffin reinspected properties checked out by co-workers without his supervisor’s approval, unnecessarily issued “punitive citations” as the primary means of tree conservation and that he too frequently sought reprimands against his subordinates instead of trying to mentor them.

Coffin has said he will sue for wrongful termination.

Cities and Counties Move Forward to Require Green Building

Conyers may be the first city to go live with anew green building ordinances mandating that all new residential construction and city government buildings 5,000 square feet and larger met earth-friendly specifications beginning January 1, 2009.  The Conyers ordinance cites guidelines from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, and Atlanta-based EarthCraft as ways to enhance public health and welfare.

“The city finds that green buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials and land more efficiently than buildings that are just built to code,” the ordinance reads. “They also create healthier work, learning and living environments, with more natural light and better air quality, and typically contribute to improved employee health, comfort and productivity.”

The Conyers City Council will vote on the proposed green building ordinance on October 1.

The City of Atlanta is circulating its second draft of its own proposed green building ordinance.  Construction of single family homes is excluded from the proposed ordinance, but will be included by later amendments and required by the year 2012.  The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote on this first green building ordinance in mid-November and has plans to consider amendments within the next year.  Here is a pdf of the proposed Atlanta ordinance.

Chamblee has already adopted a mandatory green building ordinance for all new construction of a commercial building, office building, industrial building, multiple residence or senior citizen multiple residence equal to or greater than 20,000 square feet of gross floor area space that will become effective after April 1, 2009. 

Doraville has passed a similar ordinance.

Roswell and DeKalb County are considering following suit.

According to the experts, green building ordinances add approximately 5% to design costs and 2-3% to construction costs, but the extra costs are recaptured in energy savings in the first three years.