Ask the Candidates: What are Johns Creek’s 3 biggest challenges, and how would you propose to address them?

*Although John Flores did not respond to the questionnaire, we included his name and photo to show he is on the ballot and was not omitted on our part.

City Council is Derelict: Students in Danger

Week after week, council meeting after council meeting goes by without the City Council addressing the most singular action that could impact everyone’s lives within the City of Johns Creek.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS!

The City council NEVER discuss the Traffic Lights! (here are suggestions)

  • What could be improved?
  • Which lights needs extending?
  • Where are the backups?
  • Where are the rear-ends?
  • Where are the T-Bones?

The traffic Light at Medlock Bridge Rd & State Bridge Rd is the source of woes and cardiac upset for many residents.

Clearly, the lights CAN BE IMPROVED.

Residents have made real suggestions on improving not only the function of the traffic light at 141 and State Bridge but also 141 and St. Ives/Grove Point and State Bridge.

One suggestion made was to install a sensor which detects when the traffic is backed up before it gets to Grove Point Road, and when it reaches that point, turning the 141 Southbound light red.  This makes sure that there is room for vehicles exiting both neighborhoods to be able to clear the intersection when they have a green light.  What sort of intelligent traffic system actually allows what we see to occur?

Another suggestion made to City Officials is to have the left turn protected arrows for that intersection occur at the end of the green light cycles for 141 north and southbound, giving a bit more time for traffic to move south on 141 before Grove Point/St. Ives receive the green light.  This allows the Medlock Bridge traffic to proceed with a right turn if vehicles are not making a U-turn from the 141 Northbound lane, and it potentially eliminates conflicts with St Ives vehicles once St Ives receives a green light, for the Medlock Bridge vehicles will have in many cases already cleared the intersection.

Nearly, every morning, the backup reaches the main gate of St Ives. This impacts the ability for the cars and buses to safely exit and get in the southbound lane. This is due to the very short 20 second green light on the 141 and the less than adequate amount of time given to southbound through traffic on 141 Southbound.

Once again we must question the intelligent lights if regardless of the length of the backup, the light does not adjust appropriately to handle that backup.  Also, we once again must ask why the third lane through southbound using the asphalt we have has yet to be implemented?

Light cycle, after light cycle, you can wait and there will be a backup “in the box”. So cars and buses enter the box and wait till they can to go south.

We must ask this question:  Could a traffic operator charged with keeping this intersection clear of vehicles do so manually?  We believe the answer is yes.   And if so, why can’t the intelligent lights then also do so?

We believe that the traffic will only do what they are programmed to do.  Therein lies our biggest problem.

 

Below, the cars on the Medlock Bridge Rd Northbound side get a green light. Only the right lane of cars can drive. The left lane is impeded by the bus waiting to get into the southbound lane.

How safe is that City Council & Mayor?

Aren’t we suppose to be the “Safest City” in Georgia?

What about the schoolkids on the bus?

What about the drivers that blow through the red lights because the light cycles are soo short, only a few cars get to go?

When will you take action and improve the traffic lights?

Oh, and by the way, this is NOT the first time the JCP has written about this.

We published the post below in May 2016.

Will they EVER hold their staff accountable?

Complaints have still fallen on deaf ears.

Ask the Candidates: How do you propose to address traffic congestion in Johns Creek?

*Although John Flores did not respond to the questionnaire, we included his name and photo to show he is on the ballot and was not omitted on our part.

Ask the Candidates: What do you want to achieve on Council?

*Although John Flores did not respond to the questionnaire, we included his name and photo to show he is on the ballot and was not omitted on our part.

City Council Candidate Forum: Tuesday, March 21st 7-9pm

Need an Absentee Ballot?

Are you a college student, military or overseas, traveling or just want to vote by mail? It’s easy and free!

FYI: Request 2 Ballots: 6th Congressional District Special Election; City of Johns Creek City Council Post 4 Special Election

Get your absentee ballot here

MGF Widening: Were the Residents Sold out?

With an astounding 200+ homes impacted by the proposed McGinnis Ferry Rd Widening, one has to ask “How did we get here?”.

Nearly 2 years ago, the City of Johns Creek, negotiated a deal with Forsyth County to place a radio tower on the County line. In exchange, the City agreed to the widening of McGinnis Ferry Rd, all on Forsyth County’s terms. Below in yellow are excerpts from the IGA.

A. The City agrees to the following:

6. To work in good faith with the County in advancing the Project, to include cooperation and  assistance with, to include the joint submittal of, any permits, grant(s) or funding requests and/or regulatory approvals.

Also within the IGA is more questionable judgment.  So rather than, line the road the best way possible, the City is looking for the cheapest way possible.

Of course, Forsyth wants to pursue the cheapest option as they are paying the bulk of the expense.  But we have one of the wealthiest counties working with one of the wealthiest cities.  Why would we not work to do it the right way rather than the cheapest way that can get approved?
Look at the half-assed traffic roundabouts we have because we were trying to do it on the cheap.  Now everyday drivers who use it can be reminded of what a lousy job the City of Johns Creek did.
 –

The City agrees, however, that the primary – but not sole – consideration in establishing and  approving the alignment is the minimization of Project costs;

Finally, the most daunting statement, that will impact families, property values, and communities: Eminent Domain.

ARTICLE 2 AUTHORIZATION TO ACT IN THE CITY

The County shall have the requisite authorization to undertaken any and all necessary activities within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City in furtherance of the Project, to include – but not be limited to – land acquisition, eminent domain, land disturbance, permitting…

em·i·nent do·main

The government takes possession of private property for public use, with payment of compensation.

Our City agreed to allow Forsyth County eminent domain over Johns Creek properties.

Source: City of Johns Creek

Can you hear me? Nope, Not at City Hall!

With regard to the audio problems in the Open House meeting on 3/8, I have a few audio/video suggestions for future Johns Creek Town Hall and Open House meetings, both in the existing and future City Hall Council Chambers room:

1. Check that microphones are working and the signals are properly routed and mixed to the audio/video recording device before the meeting starts. If not, fix obvious problems before the meeting starts.


2. For the purposes of recording, distribute a few mics around the audience area with a low gate threshold (preferably in ceiling). This will result in some ambient noise, but at least the audience members speaking will be recorded. This is much better than gated silence.


3. Mix the audience mics differently for recording versus PA. A low audience mic PA gain will minimize feedback and encourage audience members to speak up (for the recording).


4. A mixing console device with multiple bus outs or multiple send outs will help tremendously. Most modern units have these features.


5. The new Council Chambers should be outfitted for superior PA and audio/video recording. Anything less is unacceptable to the city that is “the exception to the everyday”. I know our city leaders want transparency in these meetings, especially when Tom Black speaks.

This Is Why We Are Frustrated With Traffic (In 90 Seconds)

In less than 90 seconds,  anyone should be able to clearly understand why we are frustrated with traffic and why we think that there are improvements that can be made without paving six lanes the entire length of 141.

While I took this video in Peachtree Corners, it was only because I saw it as an example of what ails us in Johns Creek.  We all experience the same thing on a frequent basis in Johns Creek.  It just happened to be convenient for me to film at this location.  Frustrated with the additional 10 minutes it took to get to Earth Faire at 12:30 p.m., I made it a point to stop and record it.

The questions I keep asking is why.  What does it take to resolve these sorts of issues with our traffic lights?


The video was taken Friday, March 10th 2017, just before 1:00 pm.  I am facing north on 141 on the eastern side of the intersection.

Be sure to watch to the very end where you will see as I zoom just how far the backup extends.

 

Update:

Saturday Afternoon gave me the opportunity to record the same issue, this time coming from Johns Creek.  With the sped up video  below, skip to 48 seconds in the video and hear recommendations for resolving this issue WITHOUT any additional paving needed.

This problem could be resolved sooner rather than later.

Editorial: Johns Creek Public Works Holds Meeting to Demonstrate Their Disconnect from Residents

Johns Creek City Council hosted a Public Information Open House for McGinnis Ferry and Jones Bridge roads projects on Wednesday March 8th starting at 6:00 PM.  To say that the packed house left the session disappointed would be a gross understatement.

In preparation for the meeting, Public Works and City Management staff set up graphic representations of the affected roads and surrounding neighborhoods.  Tables were set up with the intent of hosting stations to address specific questions.  That intent, however, did not come to pass.

The meeting was called to order and facilitated by Public Works Director Tom Black, and Assistant City Manager Justin Kirouac.  Attendees quickly became frustrated by several conflicting statements, and a nerve was touched when the crowd was told (more than once), “You voted for this.”  It was at this point that the anger of the crowd ignited, and control of the meeting by Black and Kirouac was lost. 

City Council members Stephanie Endres and Lenny Zaprowski stepped forward to help address some of the questions being posed.  Councilwoman Cori Davenport was also in attendance, as was City Council candidate Chris Coughlin.  Conspicuous by their absence were Mayor Mike Bodker, Councilman Steve Broadbent, and Councilman Jay Lin.

Several meeting attendees expressed their anger, stating that they had been encouraged to vote Yes on the T-SPLOST referendum this past November after being advised by Public Works staff that the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road was a “done deal”, and that the only way to minimize the impact was to support the T-SPLOST referendum.  Then during the meeting on March 8th, they were told that final decisions on the McGinnis Ferry Road and Jones Bridge Road projects were within the power of Johns Creek to decide, and would be pursued since the public had “voted” to approve them.  Conflicting information was provided throughout the meeting with regard to just how much control Johns Creek will actually have on these projects, further frustrating attendees.

Another point of concern is the degree to which Forsyth County is controlling the design of the McGinnis Ferry Road project.  This project is being pursued based upon a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Forsyth County and Johns Creek, but delegates much of the design and decision-making to Forsyth County.  Johns Creek residents expressed their concerns that they perceive that their interests are not being adequately represented by our City Council and Public Works department.  Several residents are set to lose most of their private property, and over half of the value of their property if the project goes through as planned.  While there will be a direct impact on those property owners who will have at least a portion of their property taken by this project, there will also be an impact to the value of all property owners, to the extent of their proximity to increased road noise and other associated impacts that will negatively affect quality of life issues.

The Jones Bridge Road project was described as entirely within the control of Johns Creek.  Several residents commented that Jones Bridge Road doesn’t experience the congestion that would warrant a widening project, and that it seemed the project was being pursued as an adjunct to the McGinnis Ferry Road project.

Similar to a prior meeting to discuss the proposed widening of Medlock Bridge/141, residents expressed their concerns that our city seems intent on increasing road capacity due to traffic that originates outside of Johns Creek, and that the spending of our local tax dollars to accommodate that traffic comes at the expense of the quality of life in Johns Creek, and will result in a radical altering of the residential character of the community.

The two recent meetings to discuss road projects in our city demonstrate that our City Council and Public Works department have a significant disconnect between their proposed plans and the desires of the residents of Johns Creek.  I applaud the City Council members who attended the meeting to listen to their constituents.  It’s clear that the residents of Johns Creek expect the balance of our elected officials to make themselves accountable to the people who elected them, and to stop drawing false correlations between the desire to address traffic congestion, and what appears to be a wholesale effort to pave our way to some mythical traffic nirvana.  If we continue to purse that path, we’ll be left with a massive concrete parking lot surrounded by residential For Sale signs.

Register to Vote Deadline: March 20th

Register online here: Takes 2 minutes (just need your driver’s license!)

Coming Soon: News Businesses

Snowy Rolls Ice Cream will be an exciting addition to the Creek. It is located near Pikes, 5779 State Bridge Road.

The “Stir-Fried” Ice Cream is rolled in view for patrons.

Source: Snowy Rolls FB


Nancy’s Chicago Pizza is located next to the Dollar Store on State Bridge Rd. This the former location of Stevie B’s pizza.

John Flores to Run for Johns Creek City Council

Senior Development Officer for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, John Flores, announced Thursday that he will be a candidate for the open seat in an April special election for City Council of Johns Creek.

A special election for city council is being held April 18th to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of city councilman Bob Gray, who is running for Congress. “I’m running to bring new energy and real solutions to the Council,” said Flores. “Johns Creek has become the best place to live and raise a family in Georgia, and I want to work to keep it that way.” “Having served in leadership positions in both the private sector and the not -forprofit sector, I have helped lead efforts to maximize growth for several organizations while improving the efficiencies of those organizations as well. I’ll rely on that proven management experience and efficiency skills to improve Johns Creek.”

“I will work to strengthen our public-private partnership model of government. By injecting more private competition into our city services, we get the highest quality services at the best price for the taxpayer. I will also fight to keep taxes low and fight for real traffic solutions.”

“We need to ensure that we properly manage our greenspace and parks, helping to make sure that the public enjoys these assets. I will work to help local community organizations expand uses of parks in order to ensure that our community gets the best engagement possible,” said Flores.

John and his wife, Aimee, have been married for six years and have three children. The family lives in the DoubleGate subdivision of Johns Creek and are active members of Northpoint Community Church. John studied Political Science and Economics while attending Texas A&M University. Aimee attended Auburn University and then worked for ten years as an elementary school educator.

141 “Freeway” Widening: DELAYED

City Council has Voted to DELAY the 6 lane “Freeway” widening project, till the Comprehensive Land Use Plan is finalized, along with studies and plans that are underway.

Conflicts of Interest with Public Works?

It is not a secret at City hall that Ch2M Hill has a generous contract. It has never been sent out for competitive bidding. We have previously written about Ch2:

Ch2M Hill: Big Bucks with No Competition

Problems Plague Public Works Contractor

Ch2M Hill is contracted to manage Public Works & Community Development. Both are departments that benefit from development and construction.

Tom Udell, Traffic Control Operator

Ch2 also controls the traffic lights.

Is it a conflict of interest that the same company that benefits from construction & TSPLOST, also manages the traffic lights?

At the Town Hall meeting Wednesday night, Public Works Director Tom Black, insisted the traffic lights are synced perfectly and cannot be improved.

Do you think the Traffic Lights can be improved?

City Council has recently discussed Ch2’s contract. Instead of sending the contract out to bid, for many companies to competitively bid in a free market approach and lower the costs for taxpayers, Mayor Bodker insisted on renegotiating the contract with Ch2. As usual, Mayor Bodker had his votes lined up on the City Council to do just that.

For the Ch2 contract, Mayor Bodker tapped Councilman Jay Lin to oversee the renegotiations.

Ch2 donated $1000 to Mike Bodker’s Committee for Johns Creek, Inc and has donated significantly to the GA Republican Party, which is known to funnel donations to candidates to remove the direct accountability. 

It is also rumored that Ch2M Hill sponsored Bodker’s GMA inauguration in 2015.

Do you think there are conflicts of interest?

Source: City of Johns Creek; Image Source: GDP

Dean Gardens Subdivision: Construction STOPPED

Looks like Lennar bit off more than they can chew.

The corporate headquarters has ordered the local Atlanta division to stop construction and NOT sell homes, despite the long waitlist.

The large homes, squeezed on small lots, had a price point of around $700k.

Lennar is known as a quantity, tract builder.

We wrote about the Dean Gardens rezoning here…

Much of the land was unbuildable and had severe erosion problems. With the property affronting the Chattahoochee River, the Metropolitan River Protection Act & Atlanta Regional Commission have strict rules for development within 2000 feet of the river.

It is speculated that it cost $12-13million for the land development (demolition, earthwork, etc). Millions of dollars worth of hardscaping and landscaping were removed during the demolition.

Lennar bought the land from Tyler Perry for $9.2million.

Although Lennar was approved for 70 houses, it appears they will only be able to squeeze 68 homes.

This would break down to $325k per house, before any construction costs.

With the price point, parcel size, and quality offered, it appears not feasible to sell and make a profit.

 

Are you in Favor of Term Limits for City Council?

What do you think of term limits for our local elected officials?

In recent years there was much turmoil regarding the Mayor and Council choosing not to hold special elections and keep the seats empty to control the votes.

Both Councilwoman Stephanie Endres and Chris Coughlin campaigned on a Citizen Charter Commission, to fully review the charter and make recommendations.

Mayor Bodker was vehemently opposed to a Charter Commission and alternatively cherry picked the Charter Task Force which was composed of a few of his campaign supporters: Johns Buckett & Cleve Gaddis. Susan Grissom was also on the task force and is unknown if she donated to Mayor Bodker.

Chris Coughlin wanted to be on the task force and was advocated by Bob Gray, Stephanie Endres & Lenny Zaprowski. Not enough votes to override Mayor Bodker, who was opposed to including Chris Coughlin.

Nonetheless, the task force moved on with Bodker’s chosen few and has completed its recommendations, which conveniently omitted term limits.

Councilwoman Endres and Councilman Lenny Zaprowski brought the issue up.

The Mayor stated in the Work Session February 13th that he was VERY opposed to term limits because the position is part time. Mayor Bodker felt it took 7 years before he had developed the relationships to become effective.

This Monday Night at City Hall is a Public Hearing regarding the proposed Charter changes.

Would you like to see Term Limits or other changes not proposed?

Come speak at the public hearing or email City Council

electedofficials@johnscreekga.gov

R2017-02-05 – PUBLIC HEARING and Consideration of Resolution for Legislative changes to the City Charter
Source: City of Johns Creek

AAC: Land Not For Sale or Development

According to a letter from the President of Atlanta Athletic Club, the land is not for sale or up for redevelopment.

Dear Members,

Many of you have already seen a rendering developed by a group commissioned by the city of Johns Creek to develop various land and road scenarios within the Johns Creek boundaries. One concept drawing specific to AAC’s property west of 141 describes a developmental plan which has appeared on social media under the title “State Bridge/Medlock Bridge Node.”

The purpose of this communication is to reaffirm the Club’s position, as I stated numerous times and again at the annual meeting this month, that the Club’s 80 plus acres across the street are not for sale. There are absolutely no plans short or long term to develop a liquidity event for our valuable property. The property is useful as it is for the Club and serves as an important asset.

It is quite presumptive of Johns Creek to develop plans for a property the city does not own. Both Kevin Carroll and I, separately, have registered our strong disappointment to Mayor Mike Bodker that the city would put us in the position of having to deal with the members’ concern regarding a hypothetical developmental plan for the Club’s west of 141 property. We have asked for the city to issue a retraction and/or clarification to what has been published with regard to the AAC property.

Please communicate this message to any of your fellow members who might question you about this topic.

As always, I am available via email or phone to discuss this matter or any other Club topic you have.

Regards,
David Smith, President
Atlanta Athletic Club


AAC was NOT told about the City Consultants plans for changing the zoning that would lead to a MASSIVE redevelopment of mixed use, apartments and commercial businesses.

There were several curb cuts in the consultants plans, which ironically line up to the ill-placed curb cut that was placed on Old Alabama rd. The 20 foot median originally installed, reduced the stacking lanes to go North on Medlock Bridge Rd. It was redone to its current state, shortly afterwards.

You can read that post here…

The real question is why is GDOT, the City of Johns Creek and the consultants hired, continually pushing for this parcel to be redeveloped?

 

Johns Creek: Turning Your Home Into A Revenue Source

The City of Johns Creek wants to use permits to turn your home into an additional revenue source.  Without that permit you do not have the City’s “permission” to make repairs.

per·mit1

VERB

  1. give authorization or consent to (someone) to do something:

    “the law permits councils to monitor any factory emitting smoke” · 

    [more]

    synonyms: allow · authorize · give someone permission · sanction · grant · 

    [more]

NOUN

  1. an official document giving someone authorization to do something:
    “he is only in Britain on a work permit”

In a mere decade, residents who voted to become a city for local control of issues that mattered to them( Police, Fire, Traffic) are now seeing the City attempt to take local control of repairs inside their homes.

And that local control is coming with a price, as they demand your dollars and your time be in compliance with this questionable overreach of government authority.

The reasons behind this overreach?  $$$$$ 

Medlock Bridge Rd “Freeway” Widening Town Hall

City Council bowed to pressure over the egregious plans to widen Medlock Bridge Rd to 6 lanes.

Town Hall @ City Hall

Wednesday, Feb 22nd 6-8pm

12000 Findley Rd, 3rd Floor