Category Archives: NewsWorthy

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

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?

 

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

City Council Discuss “Potential Freeway” Medlock Bridge Rd Widening

During the meeting with staff to discuss the widening of Medlock Bridge Rd to 6 lanes, Mayor Bodker stated the residents were for this project because of the TSPLOST, which was voted on in Nov 2016.

According to the documents supplied by City Hall, the plans were created 10/2016 and finalized 12/31/16. How could we approve it if it wasn’t developed when the vote was taken?

Some other highlights from the meeting:

With the widening to 3 lanes, acceleration lanes will be deemed to be too dangerous and a cause wrecks, according to Public Works Director Tom Black.  

It was not discussed what would happen to all the other acceleration lanes since they are deemed “too dangerous” with the freeway type road. 

In addition, Black also stated, “We think” we will get the approval for 2 new half lights at Prestwick & Winfield on the River.

No one discussed the fact that the additional traffic lights and poor timing in Johns Creek is the primary reason why the congestion happens once you reach the City.

Mayor Bodker stated it was a “minimally invasive design”. Director Black asserted that the noise impact of 2 additional lanes would be minimal, and the St. Ives Residents would not want “those ugly walls” that could serve to reduce the noise impact.

Councilman Steve Broadbent asserted that St Ives subdivision agreed to the construction project. This contradicts the resistance from residents and Board members have advocated, not to proceed with the widening, and to have more time to review.

Councilman Lenny Zaprowski questioned if the Council had already decided they wanted 6 lanes or not. He pressed that he was not given the results of all the studies done along with the Comprehensive Transportation plan.

The Mayor pushed to justify the 6 lanes to the river, even though Peachtree Corners has NOT decided to widen to 6 lanes within their City.

Here is the video of the Council in action, discussing the widening with staff.

Please send your thoughts on this monumental construction project to:

electedofficials@johnscreekga.gov

 

Source: City of Johns Creek. Video: Preserve Johns Creek

Former council member and data scientist Chris Coughlin declares candidacy for Johns Creek City Council Special Election

Chris Coughlin has announced his intention to run for Johns Creek City Council Post 4, recently vacated seat by Bob Gray. The election date TBD, either – April 18th or June 20th.

“Whatever the election date, I’ll be ready. Since my campaign in 2015 and brief term on council last year, I’ve been continuously working on the issues that face our community.

We need someone on Council with fiscal responsibility, government efficiency, and resolving traffic congestion as top priorities,” said Coughlin.

“During my term and campaign, we successfully pushed for the allocation of the massively accrued surplus to parks and capital infrastructure and raised the issue of over-taxation. I attempted to address tax reform and better representation of our citizens through Charter reviews, but these were not high priorities of the Council during that time.

After hearing the concerns of residents, I voted against high-density development (unfortunately, this was later supported after my council term and subsequently approved).

Basically, bringing the priorities and voice of the community to the discussion will result in greater success for the community. The need for municipal efficiency and fiscal responsibility is at an even greater need today as the city stands to rake in over $130 million in new tax revenue coupled with approximately $40 million in debt. We must ensure that this money is properly appropriated and used efficiently.

Coughlin resides in Johns Creek, along with his wife Nicole, four year-old son, and one-year old daughter. “Like I said last time, I chose Johns Creek for the safety, family friendliness, great schools, and diverse culture, but they’re at risk if we don’t address government spending, traffic congestion and overdevelopment. I showed in the past that I can do things more efficiently using data, math, citizen input, technology, etc. by running a campaign on three thousand dollars while others spent over 50 thousand dollars while espousing fiscal conservative ideals. The irony! It’s time to apply that mindset to the government.”

Chris currently works as a Senior Research Scientist at a public company. Chris is active in the community as a volunteer involved with North Point Community Church’s small group married groups ministry and foster support groups, serves on the Johns Creek Mental Health Wellness task force, leads the Johns Creek Traffic Congestion task force, serves as a Director on the Board of the Johns Creek Community Association, and attends civic engagements (e.g., city council meetings).

For further information and current updates on Coughlin’s campaign visit www.votechriscoughlin.com and www.facebook.com/chriscoughlinjohnscreek. You can also email him with your ideas and suggestions at info@votechriscoughlin.com.

Source: Chris Coughlin for Johns Creek City Council Campaign

Zoning Map Update: City Consultants Push for High Density

The City of Johns Creek is undergoing the review on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This is the zoning map of What can go Where within the City.

The consultants hired by the City of Johns Creek have continued to press for high-density housing throughout the review.

A survey was used to gather residents’ input regarding the future development within the city.  At first, the survey provided for response options that only included increased development at different levels of density.  The survey was recently altered to allow for a choice of “none”.  Despite the change, many residents felt the survey was rigged.

St Ives resident Ed Thompson wrote to the consultants:

The survey seems structured to drive to a foregone conclusion: higher density, multi-purpose development, and further urbanization. Several questions are written in a manner that suggests the desired response. As an early example in the survey, the question “A Town Center development will be successful if it is built at an appropriate scale.” implies that a Town Center is imminent.

A further question asks, “Workforce housing gives people who work essential services within the city (police officers, firemen, teachers, medical personnel, etc) the ability to live closer to where they work. Would you be supportive of an initiative to create more workforce housing in Johns Creek?”. What is not asked is whether the respondent would be willing to see the overall property values in the city decline as a result.

Another example is the question, “Creating a diverse business community is key to improving economic development in Johns Creek. What types of businesses would you like to see more, the same, or less?”. The question implies that a diverse business community and economic development should be explicit goals of the city. Why is that more important than providing for a safe, residential community with room to enjoy nature and the outdoors?

Certain questions are posed to lead the respondent to a desired answer, for example, “Facilities that support higher education (i.e. satellite campuses, education centers) are becoming a focus in cities that wish to increase their economic competitiveness by offering courses and degree programs that will lead to higher paying jobs. Would you like to see a higher education center in Johns Creek that would provide courses from Metro Atlanta universities and/or universities from across the United States?”

Finally, the sections asking for physical design and visual design preferences have added an option to select “None” (I don’t recall this as a choice when I took the survey a few months ago). Given the design of the web pages, the option to select “None” is easily overlooked.

In summary, the design of this survey certainly feels as if it was purposely written to provide the “justifications” to suggest that the community supports the continued urbanization and unfettered and ever higher density development that is ruining the character of Johns Creek.

————————– 

Now the Consultants have come up with a proposal for the Atlanta Athletic Club Fields.

According to Citizens for Johns Creek Pastoral Protection, the design includes a 6-acre open area, a community events center, as well as mixed use options including commercial and retail, single family housing, town homes/condos, and a 300 plus unit multi-family dwelling. This plan would also include more of a grid system transportation plan connecting the property to various curb cuts at both Old Alabama and Medlock Bridge.

With the recent widening of Old Alabama Road, and current proposals to widen Medlock Bridge Road, the question must be raised: is the goal of the city to provide traffic relief, or is it to pave the way for additional high-density development?  The development proposal for the Atlanta Athletic Club Fields, and traffic congestion relief objectives seem to be at odds. 

Please take a couple minutes to give your thoughts at the survey link: https://connectjohnscreek.com/public-input/

Sources: Citizens for Johns Creek Pastoral Protection & Connect Johns Creek

Restaurant Week 2017: March 5th-11th

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Source: Johns Creek Advantage