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.


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

13 Responses to MGF Widening: Were the Residents Sold out?

  1. The folks along McGinnis Ferry and Jones Bridge deserve a town hall. Those roads affect all Johns Creek residents and changes there will affect the traffic and quality of life for the entire city forever. Indeed, all residents of Johns Creek should demand a town hall.

    Consider this: Last year the city promised us before the TSPLOST vote that each and every project in the list would have to be discussed and voted on individually by the council. Fast- forward to the last month where the 141 meeting was opened by the city saying that “You voted for this!”. The same thing was said by the city to folks at the MFR meeting last week. As savvy residents pointed out, they only voted for the TSPLOST because they were told that if, and only if TSPLOST passed, would they receive any kind of additional sound abatement and other measures to mollify the effects of the MFR widening.

    The idea that only individual neighborhoods should be met with is wrong. That format denies all of us an open dialogue and limits our ability to hold this city government accountable. It also makes everyone suspicious about what is truly going on. During a process that has already been incredibly mismanaged with much misinformation, why would the city not want to have a town hall on this issue? That’s what is needed to rebuild trust and to achieve consensus. Preserve Johns Creek!

    • John, you make excellent points and I’m glad you’re looking to preserve our residential character. We’re asking the residents to trust the city blindly with this project.

      The residents in this area, including myself, all have concerns regarding the impact of the McGinnis Ferry widening including safety, property values, easements/displacements, noise, privacy, utilization of thorough fare for semi-trailer trucks, costs of the project, proper drainage, accommodating for drivers cutting through Johns Creek, construction time, and the actual efficacy the widening will have on congestion.

      As you know, I’ve went door-to-door of the homes most impacted by the project and some were unaware of it. It’s a sad day when I have to communicate these changes when the city could easily send a postcard.

      I look forward to more town halls where we can make our voices heard and I’ll hit more doors to get the word out!

      Vote for Chris Coughlin!

    • Ralph Colyer says:

      I am very happy to be able to say that I closed on the sale of my home in Johns Creek on February 28th. The mayor and the council are obviously well on the path to destroying the very character that attracted people to live in JC. I had lived in my home for over 23 years and watched the many unfavorable changes to JC, and now I am very happy to get out. However, I do feel sad for those who are left behind.

    • Diann Begley says:

      I agree with John. The City needs to hold a Town Hall meeting for all of the neighborhoods affected by the widening of Jones Bridge and McGinnis Ferry.

      The City wants to hold individual meetings to divide and conquer .
      We need to stick together and make sure every neighborhood is getting the same information.

      Power in numbers!

    • Wayne Haskins, South Forsyth says:

      The accompanying MFR picture in green shows a green snake going through an area not identified and eventually crosses another green snake also not identified. From the picture, I have no clear identity of where the large green snake starts and where it ends.

  2. Lu Post says:

    I’m a member of the Johns Creek Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) where a large group of city representatives, City Council members, and consultants have been meeting for over 6 months to give advice to the council on the forthcoming Comprehensive Plan. Transportation has been central to these discussions. Every CAC meeting is open to the public, including a 3-day workshop specifically for the public held in January. The group has also submitted surveys to the public for comment and discussion. There are many ways that the public can give their opinion other than town halls, many of which can be more productive.

    • EJ Moosa says:

      We need fewer consultants and more consulting with the stakeholders who are paying more than 80% of our taxes and cast all the votes.

      That would be the residential property owners.

  3. Ed Thompson says:

    Some related observations and a question:

    The consultants and staff (CH2MHill) are all in favor of construction projects and higher density. Both stand to make substantially more money when that occurs. Allowing them significant input to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and involvement in the Johns Creek Citizens Advisory Committee is allowing the fox to guard the hen house (unless that first “C” in CAC really stands for “Consultants”).

    Our residents should demand a Town Hall Meeting with our Mayor and City Council to discuss these matters.

    During the March 8th meeting, Asst. City Manager Justin Kirouac stated that Public Works Director Tom Black is simply executing directions he is given by our City Council. If that’s the case, our City Council should be hosting and facilitating a Town Hall.
    Stop hiding behind the assertion that “You voted for this when you approved T-SPLOST”, and sending Public Works to defend these projects.

    If Public Works is simply executing as directed by City Council, our City Council members should each stand up in the Town Hall and publicly state whether they support or oppose the proposed plan. Be accountable.

    Who signed off on this IGA that authorized Forsyth County to make decisions to use eminent domain to take Johns Creek residents’ property? Asked another way, who delegated their responsibility to represent Johns Creek taxpayers and property owners to an un-elected, un-accountable government?

    • Editor says:

      According to the city clerk minutes,
      Councilman Steve Broadbent made the motion to approve the IGA. Former Councilman Bob Gray second the motion. Councilpersons Cori Davenport & Lenny Zaprowski also voted in favor.

      It passed 5-0, with Mayor Bodker signing the IGA.

  4. Suzi Krizan says:

    Did Jay Li and Stephanie E sign this?

  5. I ran into Steve Broadbent at the JC Veterans Association last night. per his request, I am sharing with you his personal commitment that there will be a town hall on the MFR and Jones Br Rd widenings, but only after the small meetings between the city and the individual HOAs. I still would like to see the town hall happen sooner rather than later. Residents deserve to know what their elected reps can do for them and should not have to continue living with the fear of the unknown. However, this commitment to a town hall is a step in the right direction.

    In the meantime, I am wondering when is the city going to post answers to some of the most fundamental questions that have been asked. Questions like, “What are the City’s legal rights and responsibilities in the MFR project?, “What is the specific problem you are trying to address with the widening?”, “Is there data that supports the basis of that problem?”, and “What data, studies, or modeling shows that widening would solve that problem?” should be answered without any further delay. Posting answers to these questions was a commitment the city made to us two or three weeks ago.