With all the decisions happening at City Hall, it is no wonder that many residents go to City Council meetings with the intent to speak out about issues concerning them.
More recently, many residents from the Shakerag area have been speaking out about the plans for a Mega Sports Complex on rural Bell Rd.
Concerns over traffic, congestion, lack of proper infrastructure to handle the thousands of cars per day, environmental sensitivities with the river proximity, noise, and lighting pollution (attendees, whistles and field lighting), and financial concerns with the build-out costs, and yearly & long term maintenance costs & sub-police station, got more folks speaking out in City Meetings.
A steady stream of residents was questioning the judgment and motives of the leadership, over an array of issues.
Soon after, Mayor Bodker proposed and council approved limiting public comment to 30 minutes, with 3 minute maximum per speaker. Councilpersons Chris Coughlin & Stephanie Endres voted against the changes.
Hot Button Issues: Term Limits & Free Speech
Councilman Lenny Zaprowski voted in favor of limiting the public comment. Although he previously stated he won’t deny residents the right to public comment, he changed his position to align with Mayor Bodker, coincidentally after the Shakerag residents spoke out about the Mega-Sports Complex, a project he’d been a big proponent of.
So how do our Sister Cities handle public comment?
Both Alpharetta and Milton have open public comments for as many residents that show up for the meetings.
In addition, they have public comment prior to voting on individual agenda items. For example, if they are voting on spending $500k on widgets, or adopting a new logo, they will listen to the resident’s feedback before voting.
Also of interest, both Cities have Term Limits for their elected officials, which is another thing Mayor Bodker refuses to do in Johns Creek.
Sources: City of Alpharetta, City of Milton & City of Johns Creek