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Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody Mayors: No Plans For Future Moratoriums

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Brookhaven Mayor John Arthur Ernst Jr.

Mayors of three of Central Perimeter's biggest cities see no future need for development moratoriums in the near future.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, Brookhaven Mayor John Arthur Ernst Jr. and Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal all said they do not see a need to prevent some types of commercial development in their districts after a recent spate of moratoriums on various projects in all three jurisdictions.

The mayors were on a panel Thursday morning at Bisnow's Future of Central Perimeter event where they also spoke about concerns about transit ridership, new road projects, bus rapid transportation plans and the need to work with school systems to mitigate congestion during morning commutes.

Sandy Springs and Brookhaven most recently had short-term bans — Sandy Springs with new hotel developments and Brookhaven with development along Buford Highway — that have since lapsed as the cities rejiggered zoning requirements.

Shortal said he doesn't expect to extend a moratorium on multifamily projects in its city after the current ban sunsets in August. Dunwoody installed a six-month moratorium on wood-framed apartment projects in May after the state passed a law that prohibited cities from demanding that multifamily projects over a handful of stories must be built using steel frames.

Dunwoody passed an ordinance in 2014 that required developers to frame commercial projects with steel if they rise taller than three stories. Shortal said the city has been working with the state fire marshal's office on drafting new fire safety codes for apartments in light of the state law allowing them to be stick-built. He said the city's biggest concern was how fast stick-framed buildings can become engulfed in fire compared to steel-framed ones.

“If you watch some of these apartment buildings go up [in flames], it's scary,” Paul said.