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Sandy Springs Adopts Neighborhood Surveillance Camera Policy

The policy provides neighborhoods with installation options on private property and regulations to install cameras on public property.

Credit: Patch file.
Credit: Patch file.

From the city of Sandy Springs

During its April 1, 2014 council meeting, the Sandy Springs City Council adopted a policy regarding the installation of surveillance cameras within community neighborhoods. The adopted policy provides neighborhoods with installation options on private property as well as provisions and regulations to install security cameras within public property.

“Surveillance cameras offer communities potentially useful tools for dealing with neighborhood crime," said Mayor Rusty Paul. "While the city prefers that these cameras be located on private property, we realize that installation may not always be feasible within private land. These adopted changes are intended to provide the neighborhoods guidance in reviewing their options."

Prior to the policy's adoption, city ordinance provisions allowed neighborhoods to install security cameras on private property without a permit as long as the camera pole is less than four feet in height. 

Under proposed text amendments to the zoning ordinance and the revised policy, to install a camera pole between four and 12 twelve feet tall on private property, the neighborhood must show support of 75 percent of the property owners within the neighborhood and 100 percent of the property owners within 100 feet of the proposed camera. 

The process includes an initial meeting with city staff to review requirements and documentation needed to proceed with administrative approval. The community development director will issue approvals for installation for neighborhoods meeting the ordinance and policy requirements.

The city council also authorized a process for the city to convey a portion of public right-of-way for the purpose of installing neighborhood surveillance cameras. The process includes an initial meeting with city staff to review requirements and needed documentation to proceed with the process.

A neighborhood must have in place a corporation composed of homeowners, a legally organized Homeowners Association, with the ability to carry liability insurance as required in the neighborhood camera systems policy. The neighborhood is required to show support of 75 percent of the property owners within the neighborhood and 100 percent of the property owners within 100 feet of the proposed camera.

Neighborhoods who request the use of right-of-way are required to publish a Notice of Public Hearing in accordance with Georgia law and to post the property for 30 days in advance of the public hearing. The HOA will also be required to provide a land survey completed by a Georgia registered land surveyor, and must conform with all local and state regulatory standards for the specific portion of right-of-way. The city’s Public Works department will review all applications to determine whether any right-of-way conflicts exist including potential utilities conflicts and future road projects.

The requesting HOA will be responsible for all costs associated with the process, including permitting (electrical, utility, etc.), posting of legal notices, installation and maintenance, as well as carrying a minimum of $1 million comprehensive general liability insurance.

As a condition of conveyance of right-of-way, the city reserves the right to re-acquire conveyed property for the amount of $10 and other valuable consideration should the property be needed for other public use as deemed necessary by the city; the HOA fails to maintain required insurance; the conveyed right-of-way ceases to be used for the purpose of housing the neighborhood camera/s; or the HOA ceases to exist as a corporate entity. The HOA will also enter into an indemnification agreement with the city.

“There were many considerations taken into account in developing this policy. We are entering unchartered territory. Our process to use public land for surveillance cameras is onerous, but a level of detail needed,” added Mayor Paul.

The policy changes were the result of a request from the Rivershore Estates Homeowners Association, which is seeking to place security cameras in public right-of-way as an added safety measure within its neighborhood.

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