Petition to Ban Clear-Cutting: Aggressive Tree Removal in Johns Creek

Carole Madan, aka ‘Momma Nature’ has started a Petition to Ban Clear-cutting of trees in Johns Creek. She wrote an open letter to City Council last month and has not received any action. Momma Nature is calling on residents to help her.

We have seen devastation with a large amount of land clear-cut on Bell rd for the new subdivisions Bellmoore (~650 homes) & Brookmere (194 homes), Adair Manor as well as Dean Gardens, trees removed as a result of the billboard settlement, etc.

Although the City has a tree preservation ordinance, requirements are not as stringent as other municipalities, and variances & exceptions are often given within rezonings allowing the developers to squeeze in more houses. Below is an example.

New homes in Bellmoore average a lot size of .13.

In nearby Sugar Mill lots average .40, with trees and landscaping between the houses. Tree preservation benefits the community in many ways, from reduced environmental impact to lower density, fewer cars, and school enrollment.

Read & Sign the petition here…

Ask The Candidates: John Bradberry and Vicki Horton on Today’s (11/13/17) Work Sessions and Council Agenda

On November 9th, 2017, we asked the candidates to look at the agenda’s for the Work Sessions and Council Meeting scheduled for November 13, 2017.


Below is the runoff questionnaire: doing something a bit different. DUE MONDAY, Nov 13, 3pm
 
Look at the agendas that will be released later today and provide your thoughts on three of the most important issues on the agenda for the work session and 3 on the city council and discuss why they are important and what would you ask during the meetings and what you want to see accomplished.

Below is the response we received from Post 3 Candidate John Bradberry.  We did not receive a response from Post 3 Candidate Vicki Horton.

Thoughts from John Bradberry:

TSPLOST

The Council Quarterly Workshop is troubling.  The process is being driven by a regional effort, not a Johns Creek resident focus..  Once again, the T-SPLOST efforts that we were told were a POTENTIAL list of projects that would be brought forward for discussion before being approved are in fact being treated as done deals.  The projects in the agenda attachment are identified as COMMITTED.  This includes the widening of 141 from the river to McGinnis Ferry, Jones Bridge Road widening, Old Alabama Road widening, State Bridge Road widening (BOTH sides of 141), and SR120 widening (a GDOT project).  That’s approximately $64MM in road widening versus $3.4MM to improve the Intelligent Traffic System and Medlock Bridge Transit Related Signal improvements.  Are we really saying we’ll spend 20x to widen our roads without exploring signal improvements or other commonsense options first?

 We can’t pave our way to excellence.  We have to pursue credible alternatives that preserve the quality of life and residential character of Johns Creek. 

Comprehensive Land Use Plan – Draft

We are more than six weeks from seeing what the next version of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan will look like.  We have been told that overall densities will be lowered.  However, I feel it is still premature to comment on the CLUP until we see the updated draft.

One of the issues included in the first draft is the creation of work force housing in Johns Creek.  Is this still part of the plan?  This is worrisome.

The City of Johns Creek is defined by it’s political boundaries. Those boundaries do not equate to an absence of work force housing available at a reasonable distance from the job. To insist that we are somehow responsible to provide workforce housing as a community is beyond the responsibilities within our City Charter.

Strategic Plan Update

Now that it has been a year and half since we passed the Strategic Plan, are there items that should be adjusted to ensure that they are in alignment with the overarching goal of preserving Johns Creek as a premier bedroom community?  Since it is our premier bedroom community that has been the source of so much good for our quality of life, we must ensure that everything we do enhances that and does not weaken it.  

 An elected official’s first and foremost responsibility should be to represent the citizens that live and pay taxes here. Supporting residents and businesses with efficient city services and fair city fees should also be an important element in advancing the city’s goals.

It is clear that Johns Creek’s biggest draw for families is our residential character and the great schools.  Families have sacrificed and worked hard to be in this community so their children can get a great education and quality of life.  People do not want high density development and specifically want to limit or eliminate future apartments. I agree.  If a new city center is advanced by the mayor and council  – I will do everything I can with the land development (comprehensive) plan and other measures to protect our residents.  Our community needs protection from additional traffic and high density apartments that could adversely impact home values and put pressure on schools and possibly force rezoning by Fulton County due to so many additional students.

Traffic and high density is what we don’t want. I will work to protect Johns creeks residents from the concerning trends we are seeing.

Work Session Agenda
1.  TSPLOST State Bridge Road Engineering Task Order
 

Widening State Bridge Road does not keep the lights green longer on State Bridge, so this is a partial solution at the very best.  We already know that the normal suggestion for congestion issues is to widen the roads.  But are there more intelligent solutions?  Is some of the congestion due to green lights that are too short in duration, for instance?

It’s important that we understand the causes and the nature of the delays as well as the magnitude of the delays during the morning, noon, and evening rush hours.  I want to see  a simulation of the stretch of road, including the changes in the light timing that will provide the improvement in traffic flow.  A third lane should increase the flow of traffic by 45-50% so clearly we are missing some element of performance improvement.

We need to see the design plans for each intersection along the route.  Will they be optimized to reduce the amount of time traffic will be stopped on State Bridge Road to accommodate the traffic from the side streets and shopping areas?  Will we be providing two left turn lanes(or three) at every intersection so that more vehicles can turn in a shorter amount of time?  Will we be creating three left turn lanes as we assisted Gwinnett County with at McGinnis Ferry Road and Peachtree Industrial Blvd?  Are we planning to improve the performance of all the intersections so that you should never have to wait for more than one traffic light cycle during your trip?  

Currently the intersection at the Publix/Target intersection on State Bridge Road has a shared straight and left turn lane.  The intersection would handle many more vehicles in less time if each side had two left turn lanes and two through turn lanes and dedicated right turn lanes, with an intelligent traffic controller that was properly programmed.

Also, could we gather traffic leaving shopping areas at a central location, to be controlled more effectively by a wider and more efficient intersection, and reduce the number of traffic lights needed?  

Do we have the right expertise to perform the kind of performance analysis we need?  If not, then we need to make sure we get the expertise we need hired.

We should not just be rebuilding State Bridge Road to handle the current volume.  We should be rebuilding it to handle traffic in the most efficient and productive way for decades to come.

2.  Regarding the overall TSPLOST projects and the State Bridge Road project specifically, what if any changes is Public Works looking to make to the awarded contracts?  Are you including any new language that holds the contractor more accountable for the time schedule and performance?  Residents of Johns Creek have experienced firsthand the effects of slow progress by road contractors.  This slow progress makes our already congested roads a greater headache for longer than necessary.  This is an additional price paid by our residents and contractors should be held accountable.  Since the time of our residents is valuable and is so important to their quality of life, what performance penalties or rewards can we put in place to guarantee the execution of projects after they have been awarded? I want to make sure that we are getting a good value for the taxpayers’ money AND time.

Final Thoughts

I am concerned not just about what is on the agenda, but what is NOT.  As a council member, I would take my role as a watchdog very seriously because what we do as a city government has a direct impact on the lives of our residents.  And nothing makes a bigger impact on them than traffic. My understanding from the Public Works presentation to Council at the work session on Oct. 16 was that the Staff was going to come back to the Oct. 30 work session with a specific problem statement for our traffic and recommendations (including alternatives) to address that problem statement. Now it is Nov. 13 and we still do not have that deliverable. What is the status of this?  We have got to make traffic relief our top priority. I will continue to hold us accountable to the residents until we make real progress on traffic. 

~Free Recycling in JC~ Shredding Event

Did you know the average American generates:

4.4 POUNDS of Trash & Recyclables per DAY!

That adds up to 250 million TONS per YEAR!!

To generate awareness and increase Recycling, “Keep America Beautiful” has designated November 15th, as America Recycles Day.

Below is a handy chart of what you can recycle.

Click me to enlarge

Per City of Johns Creek’s Solid Waste Ordinance:

Every house in Johns Creek has weekly recycling pickup.

Residential. the city’s basic level of service for residential units shall be as follows: A minimum of once a week garbage pick-up, once a week recycling pick up, once a week yard trimmings, and once a month bulky trash pick up.

FREE RECYCLING
Roswell Recycling Center is located in Alpharetta, near Northpoint mall.
11570 Maxwell Road Alpharetta, GA 30009
  • -Recycle all glass (they separate the different colors of glass).
  • -Plastics, steel and aluminum cans, scrap metal
  • -Newspaper, junk mail, cardboard
  • -Cooking oil, automotive oil, etc
  • -Printers (for free), but electronics with screens cost $10, and refrigerators cost about $25 to remove Freon.
  • -Lions Club box for used glasses & hearing aids.
  • -There’s also a manned Goodwill truck there for donations
  • -A shed box for used books or donate gently used books to lobby trash barrels at Spruill Library for resale.
Below is a handy map of the recycling center layout

FREE Document Shredding Event

SATURDAY, November 18, 2017

9:00AM – 1:00PM

@ Panera Bread Co.

11715 Medlock Bridge Rd. Johns Creek, GA

Breaking News: 2017 Election Results: All Incumbents Re-Elected; Post 3 Runoff Likely

election results

Post 1

Lenny Zaprowski bested Issure Yang by 507 Votes, with 54.09% (3,351)

This was a significant decrease from his 2013 election 67.76% (4240)

Issure Yang tallied an impressive 45.91 (2,844)

As concerned businesswoman/mother, with no name recognition or political experience, she is noted for changing the dialogue regarding the Comp plan draft and highlighting the inclusion of multiple mixed-used developments. Her opponent Lenny Zaprowski changed his rhetoric and came out in agreement regarding the over-development.

***

Post 3

Is heading into a runoff. John Bradberry missed the mark by approximately 125 votes.

JOHN BRADBERRY 48.19% (2,975)
VICKI HORTON 42.05% (2,596)
MARK VENCO 9.77% (603)

Runoff date is December 5th

***

Post 5

Stephanie Endres Landslides into her re-election.

STEPHANIE ENDRES (I) 71.44% (4,402)

CHRIS JACKSON 28.56% (1,760)

***

Mayor Race

Bodker won unopposed

***

Fulton County Chairman

Despite his numerous commercials and mailer, Gabriel Sterling didn’t make the runoff.

ROBB PITTS (D) 38.14% (49,095)

GABRIEL STERLING (R) 27.98% (36,022)

KEISHA S. WAITES (D) 33.88% (43,615)

Runoff date is December 5th

***

All numbers are unofficial until certified by Fulton County BOE.

 

City Council Candidates Voter Guide: 2017

/

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 7th.

7 am – 8 pm

Voting will be at your assigned poll.

Find your Polling Location here!

 

Why do you want to be a Councilperson?

Discuss 1 Tax you want to reform, if not, why?

How do you think the traffic woes should be improved?

What issue in Johns Creek you would like to Address?

What are your thoughts on creating a park in Johns Creek capable of hosting sports tournaments?

$ Candidate Campaign Donations: Post 1 & 3

 

$ Candidate Campaign Donations: Post 5 & Mayor

 

Ballot

 

Source: Fulton County Elections

2017 Campaign Donations: Post 5 & Mayor

Post 5

Stephanie Endres

Chris Jackson did not submit Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report to the online portal for public viewing. CCDR forms would be required if he is spending more than $2600. We have requested his forms and will update.

Update: Chris Jackson has told the JCP he did not exceed the $2600 in donations. He also indicated he did not accept donations, except from his family members.

 

Mayor

Alex Marchetti

Mike Bodker

Lots of donations from developers and connections to City Consultants. He also received a very large donation from the Realtor PAC, who only support candidates that are favorable to affordable housing.

Source: City of Johns Creek

Big Money: Mixed Use in Johns Creek

There has been a tremendous push from some Elected Officials and community members encouraging Mixed Use Development and eager Landowners to cash in on their land by having it rezoned. What is Mixed-Use?

Mixed-use development is a type of urban development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or industrial uses, where those functions are physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections.[1][2] Wikipedia


Concerned Residents in Medlock Bridge requested the JCP publish the following renderings from a local realtor and longtime resident, Dagmar Sand’s facebook page. Her property along with her neighbors is for sale. Combined, it is a large amount of land, abutting Medlock Bridge next to Johns Creek High School.

Mixed-Use is a very lucrative for developers. The profit margin can be 3-5x or more of what a single story commercial property would generate. Also, it is an income-producing asset with the continual revenue stream from rentals and tenants, as opposed to owner-occupied.

With State Bridge Rd set to be widened to 6 lanes from 141- Kimball Bridge Rd from TSPLOST, what do you think of this proposed development?

Image Source: Dagmar Sand’s Facebook page

2017 Campaign Donations: Post 1 & 3

Post 1

Issure Yang is primarily self-funding her campaign.

100% of her donations are from Johns Creek Residents, with no ties to Developers or the Real Estate industry.

Lenny Zaprowski has a few donations from the real estate industry. Atlanta Realtors Political Action Committee and a Residential & Mixed Use Developer.

64% of the total donations collected was from ‘Outside Johns Creek’.

Post 3

Correction:

The JCP was alerted one of Vicki Horton’s donor is a Johns Creek Resident and voter, even though the Post Office has her address listed as Roswell (She is on the city border). We corrected the calculations below.

 

Vicki Horton has 23 donations, 9 from ‘Outside of Johns Creek’ which comprises of 26% of the money collected.

74% of the total donations are from Johns Creek Residents.

Vicki Horton has 23 donations, 10 from ‘Outside of Johns Creek’ which comprises of 31% of the money collected.

69% of the total donations are from Johns Creek Residents.

John Bradberry’s campaign is 100% funded by Johns Creek Residents, with no ties to developers or the Real Estate industry.

Although John Bradberry missed the deadline for submitting the latest campaign finance disclosure, he provided the JCP with a copy. It is pending the City Clerk’s approval.

Correction: Mark Venco alerted the JCP that he submitted his paperwork in person with the City Clerk (and is not on the server along with all the others).

Mark Venco stated that he is 100% Self-Funding his campaign, and is not taking donations.

Mark Venco did not submit Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report, which is required if spending more than $2600.

We will publish Post 5 & Mayor Donations separately

Source: City of Johns Creek

Ask the Candidates: Discuss 1 tax you want to reform, if not, discuss why.

Letter To The Editor: Trusting the Messenger

The recent Johns Creek Herald article (10/25/17) about “trusting the messenger” is so full of malarkey I really don’t know where to begin. So let’s start at the top.

The first few paragraphs sound like Mr. Hurd just recently discovered the Internet and wants to warn folks that not everything on the net is true. And this warning seems particularly important since Mr. Hurd wants to conveniently confuse reader blog comments from other posted content. This, combined with his lecture on “sourcing” in the context of a comment blog makes you wonder if Mr. Hurd has ever visited modern online news sites like Yahoo or CBS News, among hundreds of others. If we could just go back to the days when print editors controlled reader feedback with very limited print space.

The second paragraph sounds like Mr. Hurd believes the Internet is the only place we have fake news. He says the “national media” is plagued by it on the Internet. Otherwise, Mr. Hurd apparently believes the “national media” (or is it “the system”) never contrives stories or references unnamed or anonymous sources and they always consider the motives of all anonymous sources. All of this is laughable so far!

Next, we move on to the Mayor defending the city’s openness. I’m not aware that anyone in JC is complaining about this. But there is a big difference between making city information available and keeping citizens informed. In the Mayor’s defense on this topic, a large part of Johns Creek residents don’t bother to be informed.

Next up are claims made by the Mayor against the JCP. As reported, these claims have very little detail. And, are we talking about reader blog comments? The same goes for the claims of Mr. Carrel with no reported investigation into his “friend” sources. And once again, is Mr. Carrel talking about reader blog comments? Is Mr. Carrel and his friends aware that comments don’t immediately appear on the JCP after they are submitted? I’ve seen many comments on the JCP that were entirely opposed to any apparent “narrative” and they were nearly ALWAYS posted by an anonymous source. What are these posters afraid of, busy city residents with families? Then the Mayor chimes in with how “he’s been told of several cases where comments were edited to change their meaning to further the Post’s narrative”. What about those sources, Mr. Hurd?

The Mayor doesn’t want to launch a (frivolous) lawsuit about this during his campaign but he is quite happy to discredit or smear some of his JCP detractors if he can. After all, they seem to be quickly growing in numbers and voting power, and this is very scary to the business, development, construction, consulting, and contracting community in JC. The first attempt at publicly discrediting the JCP backfired a few weeks ago with the involvement of an overzealous citizen who did more harm than good to the JCP smear effort. Mr. Hurd didn’t seem to want any part of this. What we have now is V2.0 of the smear effort and Mr. Hurd cooperated this time, less than two weeks prior to election day. But the big question is, can we trust the messenger?

By Zane Edge

Most Secure House in USA for Sale in Johns Creek

Can’t be safe enough, in the safest City in Georgia.

In the event, you need ballistic shielding from a barrage of AK-47 bullets, or need to escape through a waterfall garage, batman-esque style, the house for you is available, only in Johns Creek.

Tucked away in Country Club of the South, is a massive estate, partially buried underground that would make “preppers” jealous. With its own three artesian wells, solar energy system and geothermal heating are enough to sustain the residents for years off the grid.

Within the Eco-Friendly, Green Compound, there is plenty to keep the new owner, occupied in the event of a catastrophe, with its own bowling alley, wine cellar & grotto, art gallery, hot tub, billiards, full fitness gym, shooting range & movie theater.

Public Records report the owner has collectively over 10 acres on separate adjacent parcels surrounding the compound. It is not known if that is included with the sale, though it is presumed so, for the price tag of $14.7 million.

Here is the link, if you are interested….

Can You Trust The Johns Creek Herald?

The Johns Creek Post also asked the Johns Creek Herald a few questions.  Here is their perspective on their job.  Answers were supplied by the editor Hatcher Hurd.


1) It frequently appears you have a very close and cozy relationship with certain elected officials in Johns Creek and other municipalities. Do you feel an obligation disclose this to the readers?

The question implies that we do not give fair or balanced information to our readers because of our relationships with elected officials. Of course we know the city’s elected officials well and regularly communicate with them – that’s been Appen Media’s job since 1990, and with the city since it was incorporated. Public officials are representatives of the people who elected them, so our ability to accurately communicate the opinions and priorities of those in office it is an asset to the Johns Creek community.


2) What criteria is used when the Johns Creek Herald decides to praise one council member and chide another publicly?

We report facts. We don’t take sides in our news coverage. If we do pen an opinion it is placed on our opinion pages and labeled as such with the author’s name clearly identified.


3) Does the Mayor automatically receive free space for opinion letters, such as who he is supporting, in elections? (Ex: John Flores endorsement)

No, but we do offer city and government officials a courtesy guest column on rare occasions if it is for the public good


4) The City is on track to pay over $25k for advertising to the Appen this year, in addition to $182k in past years. With such a lucrative relationship with the city, do you feel an obligation to disclose this to the readers?

We are always happy to be transparent with government spending in our publications. It is also part of the city’s public records. Our records show the City of Johns Creek spent $18,977.50 in legal advertising as required under the law in 2015 and $18,148.75 in 2016. For display advertising (things like festivals and special events) they spent $6,628.10 in 2015 and $18,952.10 in 2016. Both numbers represent <1% of Johns Creek Herald’s revenue.


5) How does the revenue the JCH receives from Johns Creek affect the criticism that may or may not be made regarding important issues?

It has zero affect on our coverage. We strive to be fair and balanced and write to inform the public.


6) I regularly pull the FOIA records logs and have yet to see your name requesting documents in the past 2 years. How and why do you circumvent the proper method for acquiring documents with the city?

As it pertains to the city, a FOIA request is not the “proper method”. Most of the time we simply ask for the information we seek from the department responsible for the information. If there were ever a case that we were not given information that we feel the public has a right to, we would certainly make a FOIA request.


7) What research does the JCH do in matters such as the Traffic Lights, to affirm that indeed they are the best money can buy? Where is the documentation to support such statements?

Most purchases of equipment are done through state contracts. Georgia, like many states, submits for bid a whole range of equipment such as police cars and a range of other products that will allow it to get the best price.
The state ensures that the equipment meets its required specifications. Vendors typically allow counties and cities to participate on the state contract. Obviously, the state can negotiate a far better price than an individual city or county. The state also ensures the products are of good quality. It would be beyond our means to test and evaluate all of the equipment and materials the city buys. And rather pointless also.


8) Does the City of Johns Creek get to review stories before publication and offer suggestions or modifications?

No. The only times we would offer any kind of a review or partial review would be for a complicated issue like an annual budget to verify line items and numbers are accurately labeled and correct.

Ask the Candidates: How do you think the traffic woes should be improved?

Johns Creek Herald Interviews JCP


Hatcher Hurd, editor of the Johns Creek Herald sent the following questions. Below are our responses:

ONE: What do you see as the role of the Johns Creek Post in the community?

Johns Creek does not have a dedicated source of news to inform the residents of the important information. Over the years we have noticed that the JC Herald omits or does not fairly represent local issues and events that we have seen occur at City Council Meetings. We feel it is important to provide another perspective for the residents.

TWO: Do you see Johns Creek Post as an alternative source to the community to tell what the city council is doing?

We are considered the SOLE SOURCE for information regarding the city. JCP is the only site that posts videos, contracts, zoning cases etc. Most other news outlets repeat the press releases of the city verbatim.
The City of Johns Creek has a 4 full-time staff dedicated to informing the residents of what they want and how they want the residents to perceive things.

As long-term invested homeowners, it is our duty and privilege to inform residents of potential issues and ongoings that would impact our quality of life and home values.
We provide a different perspective especially on important issues that affect how the City will look and feel in the future

THREE: You post anonymous messages that are critical of the city or that have what appear to be obviously phony names (Michaela Badker, for example). Do you know the real identities of the people who make these posts? What journalistic standards do you use in printing these posts?

We do not post anonymous messages. We allow anonymous comments as do most websites on the net. I don’t recall a commenter on the JCP website with that name.

The CIty of Johns Creek allows Michaela Badker (whoever that is) to comment on the City’s facebook page. You should direct that question at the City Staff.

FOUR: People have complained that when the post rebuttals to claims made in other posts, you take them down right away. Why do this? Wouldn’t it be better have those responses on the record?

First, you are assuming the JCP take down people’s rebuttals. We do not.
We would also like to point out that the Johns Creek Herald is under no obligation to post Letters to the Editor. It is safe to say that both the Johns Creek Post and Johns Creek Herald do not post libelous and defamatory content

FIVE: Some have said they don’t respond to posts on your site because they are afraid of “retaliation” in the form of cyberbullying or cyber harassment. What is your response to those allegations?

That is why we allow anonymous comments. It is the Residents who are afraid of retaliation from the City for speaking out about issues.

Ironically, those that have been complaining the most in the public arena have used aliases to post attacks not only against the JCP but other Council Members as well on the Johns Creek Post. We find the hypocrisy rather disturbing and unprofessional, especially from an elected official.


Jennifer Jensen is a strong advocate for a responsible, citizen centric government. As an environmentalist, and proponent for improving the quality of life in Johns Creek, she frequently speaks out against over-development, visual pollution, and compounding traffic.

She is best known for stopping critical issues within the City such as: the 400 foot Super Tower, toxic roadkill dumpster, Michigan Thru-turns and 6 Lane widening of Medlock Bridge rd.

Marchetti Withdraws from Mayor Race: What Happened?

The man who promised term limits ensured Johns Creek wouldn’t have them.

What happened?

Alex Marchetti signed and notarized an affidavit withdrawing his candidacy on Tuesday. It was submitted to the City Clerk and Fulton County Elections immediately pulled his name from the ballot counting. They posted notices at the voting locations.

Because Marchetti went to great lengths to remove himself, he automatically ensured the re-election of Mayor Bodker. Had he remained on the ballot and won, and not swear-in, the City could have had an immediate special election to allow residents to vie for the Mayor seat.

Unfortunately, eager residents who mulled running for Mayor in August (but did not, so as to not water down the opposition votes) also missed the “write-in” ballot affidavit September deadline.

Though Fulton County elections are not counting Marchetti’s votes, voters are welcome to “write-in” a candidate. The total number of write-ins will be displayed after voting closes.

Dear City Council: Stop the Clear Cutting of Trees

As a resident of Johns Creek Georgia, as a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist, I implore the members of the Council of Johns Creek to become aware of the devastation of our natural habitat by unscrupulous developers. We must enact laws to prohibit clear-cutting. Period. Today

This is not rocket science. This is common sense. We should have done this years ago but before it is too late before the last stand of beautiful native trees is destroyed by greedy ignorant people who can’t realize they’re destroying the air and water quality of our very existence. If we ban clear-cutting the logical extension of this thought process will be developers will figure out ways to put in their sewer and electrical installations without destroying the world.

I am a grandmother now. For those of you who have children and grandchildren, you must realize it is our duty to make sure the world is not destroyed before they have a chance to grow up.

Please, please hear my words.

Momma Nature

Sponsored Post: Vicki Horton “My Commitment to You”

I am thrilled and excited to be running for Johns Creek City Council Post 3.  This note is to highlight WHY I am running, HOW I will conduct myself and WHAT you can expect from me.

WHY I am running:

I am running because I know I can help us transition Johns Creek from a startup city to a mature city.  I have very unique set of skills and those skill sets are directly related to the requirements of a City Council Member and the issues facing Johns Creek now and in the future.  I have helped community leadership, residents and businesses for 25 years navigate the same issues we face:

  • Residential involvement and inclusion
  • Land use planning
  • Zoning and Permitting
  • Transportation
  • Infrastructure
  • Organizational Development
  • Policies and procedures
  • Economic base development
  • Tax digest content
  • Mayor and Council education, coaching and facilitation
  • Workforce Development
  • Millennial retention and attraction
  • Aging population

I know I can help us because I have done this before, many times, for 25 years.

HOW I will conduct myself:

I am an extremely consistent person, steady, unwavering, but willing to compromise when it is clear that is required to lead to the optimal outcome for all.  Below are things you can expect from me, I will:

  • Find common ground and work together
  • Ask questions
  • Do my research
  • Ask questions again
  • Bring outside the box, proven sustainable ideas to Johns Creek
  • Make decisions that are in the best interest of our residents, businesses, and schools

WHAT you can expect from me:

The following are a few of the qualities you can expect from me when I am your Council Member. I am:

  • A visionary
  • Focused on a holistic approach
  • Level headed
  • Passionate in the pursuit of answers
  • Focused on fact-based decision making
  • Steadfast
  • Calm
  • Collaborative
  • A leader who leads by example
  • Functional in my approach
  • Authentic, consistent and congruent
  • A “bridge builder”
  • A person who will always hold my Council Mates and myself accountable

I will do the job you have asked me to do in the time frame you elect me to serve.

EXPERIENCE AND PLATFORM:

If you review and appreciate my qualifications and experience, resonate with my goals and respect the way I conduct myself then I would be honored to receive your vote.

When elected, I promise to serve and execute the duties and position of Council Member to the best of my ability with integrity. I will work with the Council, City Staff, and other City leadership to shape the future of Johns Creek into a Community that exceeds the expectations of its residents, businesses, and visitors.

One final thought, first and foremost, we are ALL residents of Johns Creek, unified in our love for our community and our wishes for its prosperous future. I am one of us and I will represent all of us to the best of my ability.

This is my commitment to you.

Respectfully,

Vicki

Councilwoman Stephanie Endres Protect Us From Approving an Unseen $2 Million Lighting Design

In a recent work session, only Stephanie Endres kept the Johns Creek City Council from approving a $2 million lighting plan which no one has seen on Abbotts Bridge Road. Watch as she asks the hard questions on your behalf and keeps us from being forced to approve any plan on short notice.

Video Source: City of Johns Creek

Commentary: Ernest Moosa

Comprehensive Land Use Plan Draft Update: New Timeline

 At the City Council meeting Monday night, Community Development Director Sharon Ebert gave an update to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Draft. She has received feedback from over 200 residents. She requested Council to extend the timeline and create a second draft (to lower the density and make the document easier to read), which will be ready early 2018.
 –
These changes are a result of the vocal residents who read our post published on Sept 9th: Land Use Comp Plan being PUSHED Thru Despite Residents Concernsin response to the lack of action from City Hall to implement reasonable suggestions to improve the readability of the document, and the understand the drastic changes proposed.
 –
For historical context, on Sept 15th, we were contacted by the City Manager, regarding that post. Below is his email and JCP responses are in RED.
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Dear Jennifer,
I noticed your posting about the comprehensive land use plan on your personal blog. I reviewed the information and found some factual errors and misleading statements included that I thought you would like to be made aware of so that you had the ability to correct the information.
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  1.  “Land Use Comp Plan being Pushed Thru Despite Residents Concerns”
Comment:  The title is misleading.  The Comp plan is in its first rough draft form, has not been reviewed at a Council meeting by the Mayor and Council, has not had a public hearing and is not scheduled for a vote. The public process is just beginning.
Who here knew there would be multiple drafts and review processes?
No one. Please review your timeline on the connectjohnscreek.com website.

Clearly, this is not clear to anyone. It seems like Y’all are making this up as you go along. Also from the website, the LATEST Blog. Please note the date for public feedback is stated as Sept 15th.
It is being pushed thru despite concerns. Please review the above screenshots and the town hall July 25 discussion and make note of all the suggestions to improve the readability and understanding of this document. Where is the “better” before and after maps?  Plenty of suggestions were given, and not implemented. So yes, this is getting pushed thru, particularly when you are NOT executing the recommendations of the Mayor, Council, and Residents.
 

Please provide a timeline/action line for the residents so that they know where we are in this process.  For instance, if this in its first rough draft form, when is the 2nd rough draft going to be released?  Will the residents have an opportunity to provide feedback again?  How many drafts can we anticipate?

  1.  Some major points were missed:
    *  Major reduction in new residential development in all character areas
    *  No new townhomes in any residential character area, only single family detached
    *  Updated Comp Plan will result in a 65% reduction in the number of housing units compared to the current comp plan.  (14,000 current and 5,000 proposed)
    *  Transitional areas in the current comp plan have been eliminated along with allowable mixed use in those character areas
    *  91% of the future land use map shows no changes to existing land uses.
  1.  Mixed use development will be decreased
    *  Mixed use development is currently allowable in all C-1 zoning districts.  The draft Comp Plan only allows for mixed use developments in a compressed area of Tech Park bounded by Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek Parkway and East Johns Crossing and some existing but not all retail shopping centers where walkability is desirable.  This is a significant decrease in the amount of land where Mixed Use would be considered.  Furthermore, the mixed use category has been further limited in the updated Comp Plan.
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Where and what were they considering? (see highlighted)
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  1.  Low Intensity Mixed Use –
    *  Medlock and State Bridge – The commercial areas located at this intersection are not listed for any mixed-use redevelopment.
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Please view for the rendering potential redevelopment
Why is the CAC including sketches and renderings of properties in a rough draft if this is not the intent?  Please see that they are removed from the next version of the draft, Since this is news there is a second version.
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    *  A small area at Bell Road and McGinnis Ferry are currently designated in the 2008 comp plan for mixed use.  No change in this Comp Plan update except it would be recommended for the lowest intensity mixed use.
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  1.  High Intensity Mixed Use –
    *  Barnwell and Holcolmb Bridge is limited to the shopping center that fronts Holcomb Bridge Road and borders the City of Roswell.
    *  Only the much smaller core area of Tech Park is recommended for high intensity mixed use, not the whole area.  The area recommended in Tech Park bounded by Medlock Bridge Road and JC Parkway south of East Johns Crossing
    *  The High Intensity Mixed Use density is lower than what is currently permitted in the Comp Plan for the Medlock Bridge Corridor Area which does not cap density, just height.  The 16 units per acre recommendation is a reduction from what is currently built in the area and the height restriction is being recommended to go down from 8 currently allowed to 5 stories.  Furthermore, the total land area allowed to be in High Intensity Mixed Use is considerably smaller than the Medlock Bridge Corridor Area.
Why must the CAC include any high intensity mixed use in our Comp Plan?
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  1.  City’s current residential density is 1.6 units to the acre.  The comp plan update will lessen the rate of growth compared to what would be allowed using the current Comp Plan.  We have a very low residential density in Johns Creek compared to our neighbors, which is desirable and will not fundamentally change via this comp plan except to lower the rate of growth from our current path.
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This is a false argument. Johns Creek already has more residents per acre than anyone around us. How will the new plan lessen the rate of growth?
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Furthermore, residential density and commercial development are not the only factors that lead to increased traffic.  Single entrance subdivisions and pass through traffic also contribute to traffic congestion.  While you can argue that even one additional square foot of development or 1 unit of housing will exacerbate traffic, it is important to note that since the City’s incorporation, as shown below most of the existing density related to non-single family housing was created in the 1990s and early 2000s prior to the city’s incorporation.  Assisted Living/Senior restricted housing has no impact on schools and have minimal impact on traffic compared to other uses.  The growth in the number of apartment units is less than 1% per year and only included one apartment development.  Townhomes units have increased by less than 1% per year.  Townhomes will no longer be allowed under the updated Comp Plan.
 
I don’t see where it is stated that townhomes are not allowed in the draft plan.
Please provide the data and rate of change of “pass-through traffic” over the last ten years. Examine your own demographic data.  One of every two homes has school-age children, higher than neighboring communities by 50%. Non-rush hour traffic has seen the greatest increase in volumes because of this trend.
  1.  Dividing and Diminishing Shakerag
    *  The current Comp Plan allows for up to 3 dwelling units per acre for the Shakerag Character Area. The proposed Shakerag area reduces development to no more than 1 unit per acre.  Some of the existing area in Shakerag was cut out and moved to McGinnis Ferry.  It is true that those parcels would remain in the up to 3 units per acre category.  If they were retained in the Shakerag area they would be lowered to the one unit per acre standard.  Staff has received comments that keeping the area North of Bell Road in Shakerag and not moving it to McGinnis would be desirable.  We are reviewing that recommendation with the CAC and staff is also reviewing that specific input received
  1.  Proposed new road along cemetery – inappropriately located
    *  There is no mixed-use development proposed at State Bridge and Medlock Bridge Road.
    *  The private drive was sketched as a concept that has not been reviewed by Mayor and Council.  The idea was to use the existing drive as a new local public street to try to alleviate traffic congestion.  The road (as sketched) would be no closer to the cemetery than the current private drive.
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This is false, the road is north of the current driveway. I am happy to show you in person. Remove this and other items like this from the next Draft version, since there will now be a second draft.
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  1.  Roundabouts
    *  The comp plan suggests areas where a roundabout should be studied further if it would help move traffic and improve safety.  The Comp Plan update is not recommending that the roundabouts be installed.  It is recommended that they be studied further.
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Please read the title. Potential Roundabouts. Isn’t the comp plan the right place for recommendations(policy more or less) for roundabouts? Why was this included?
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  1.  Public comment
    *  We are not ending public comment on September 15th.  We will accept and consider all comments up to the point that the plan is approved by Mayor and Council.  The citizens of Johns Creek will continue to have ample opportunity to review the draft plan and provide feedback. The draft plan and all of the information regarding the plan and the planning process are available at www.connectjohnscreek.com<http://www.connectjohnscreek.com/> and the draft plan has already been available for review since June 7, 2017.
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Please review the Town Hall video (link above) from July 25th. This was last time the council as a body discussed when public comment ended for the draft. Has there been any discussion on the dais since then extending that date? No.
 
Are you indicating that there has been roving meetings or consensus obtained without a public meeting to move the Sept 15th date?
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    *  Additionally, a public hearing will be conducted and Council will weigh in on the draft and its future drafts prior to the draft being sent to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for their review.  This public hearing has not yet been scheduled.  The ARC’s review typically takes 90 days.  A final draft will then be issued for another review by the public before going before the Mayor and City Council for review and approval.  All of these phases will have public comment encouraged.
    *  The City is required by law to adopt an update to the Comprehensive Plan by November 2018.  We still have 14 and a half months until our deadline.
    *  There is no deadline for receiving public input and the City welcomes comments and suggestions at any time in any manner in which the public would like to present it to the City.
    *  We encouraged comments on the first draft by September 15th so that we could share these with the Citizens Advisory Committee and Mayor and Council and for considering these comments as staff updates the first draft into the 2nd draft which will be made available for public review and comment.
  1.  Additional thoughts:
    *  The five policy goals were not listed in your post.  These are the key drivers of the whole comp plan:
i. Creating a city-wide multi-modal sustainable transportation network that reduces traffic congestion, increases intra-city mobility, and includes complete streets, cart, bike  and pedestrian pathways that connect neighborhoods to schools, parks, shopping centers, and institutional destinations;
ii. Creating an identity for the city that guides future development while preserving its residential neighborhoods and exceptional quality of life;
iii. Expanding the city’s economic base to retain and attract high tech industries while protecting residential home values;
iv. Providing superior recreational and cultural activities throughout the city, and
v. Developing tools to implement the goals, including developing a Unified Development Code with architectural and site design standards.
    *  The link to the 1st draft of the comp plan is a <http://www.connectjohnscreek.com/> if your readers want to see the actual document and all of the other documents and items related to the comp plan.
Please review the website yourself, to see where you are stating inaccurate information about the timeline & Sept 15th.
 
Also go through the comp plan draft again. Notice an important word missing? DRAFT! Every page should be watermarked with Draft on it. Now you will need to include which draft version. This is amateur hour, and it is costing the taxpayers money and time.
 
Finally, can you please explain why the City is developing plans for a private property?

Breaking News: Marchetti QUITS Mayor Race

The October Surprise SHOCKS the City. Alex Marchetti withdraws his candidacy for Mayor, at the Standard Club Candidate Forum tonight.