Part 1: Social Engineering and Federal Overreach Coming to Johns Creek?

This multi-part series will explore some lesser-known facts about how the City of Johns Creek has subjected itself to unnecessary and intrusive outside influence and you will find the details startling.

inclusionary-housing

The City has already triggered government compliance mandates that are clearly exposing our city to Federal overreach through efforts toward forced social engineering. If all of this sounds puzzling, read on. It will all be explained with exact quotes from city documents. Let’s begin with part 1.

In the initial stages of our City’s founding, a number of required documents were drafted and adopted by early city leaders such as the City Charter. The city’s Code of Ordinances document was among these. It lists zoning codes along with land use details like permitted lot sizes, set-back distances, environmental safeguards, and much more. Such zoning ordinances are protective in nature, intending to preserve existing land use plans, precedents, and area character.

Most of Johns Creek’s early zoning ordinances were carried over from the land use planning days of unincorporated Fulton County when the existing area precedents clearly favored large suburban lots, low density, and conservative development with Character Area names like “River Estates” and “Autrey Mill Pastoral”. But that was then, this is now.

Today, some are labeling this type of zoning “exclusionary”, as in Exclusionary Zoning. This point-of-view suggests that efforts toward low-density housing lead to the exclusion of some, effectively shutting lower income families out of nice desirable communities.

Exclusionary Zoning proponents claim this is not fair and it amounts to affordable housing discrimination. Some call it “snob zoning” or “NIMBY (not in my back yard) zoning”. Apparently our founding city leaders must have shared in this perspective.

From the earliest days of our city’s formation, the City Zoning Codes document included a little-known section in Appendix A – Zoning, Article IV, Section 4.26, titled Inclusionary Housing Zoning. This Section contains 7,972 words, more words than any other document Section in Appendix A – Zoning. And it all revolves around the word “inclusionary” which you will be hard-pressed to find in your printed Standard English dictionary.

So, let’s explore some of the exact verbiage in Section 4.26:

Section 4.26 – Inclusionary Housing Zoning.  
 
The Ordinance seeks to:
(a) Provide for a full range of housing choices, conveniently located in a suitable living environment, for all incomes, ages and family sizes;
(b) Provide housing to meet the existing and anticipated future needs of very low, low and moderate-income households;
(c) Assure that affordable housing units are dispersed throughout the County by providing such units in all residential developments, except as otherwise may be provided for in this Article;
(d) Encourage the construction of affordable housing by allowing increases in density to offset land and development costs;
(e) Ensure that developers incur no loss or penalty and have reasonable prospects of realizing a profit on affordable housing units by virtue of the density bonus and other incentive provisions herein.

Density Bonus.
A minimum density increase of at least twenty percent (20%) over the otherwise maximum residential density as permitted by the City of Johns Creek Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan at the time of application.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
Federal and State financing in which federal housing tax credits are awarded to developers to raise capital for the development of affordable multi-family rental units.  

Incentives, Assistance and Subsidies.
The Developer of a Development Project subject to the Inclusionary Housing provisions may request that  the City of Johns Creek provide Inclusionary Incentives as set forth in this Section. The goal of  these Inclusionary Incentives is to apply available incentives to qualifying projects in a manner that, to the extent feasible, offsets the cost of providing the Inclusionary Housing Component.

The Director of Community Development shall respond to that request at the time and in the manner specified in this Section, and shall make a determination as to a package of Inclusionary Incentives for the Inclusionary Units as provided in this Section.

 

Based on research conducted with other Atlanta area metro cities, only the city of Milton has similar verbiage in its city codes document. No other city does, including the older North Fulton cities of Roswell, Alpharetta, and the other more recently formed cities of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and even cities that were formed after Johns Creek like Peachtree Corners and Chattahoochee Hills.

bonus_example

So why do you think only Johns Creek and Milton have this section in their ordinance code?

More will be discussed about Inclusionary Zoning later in this series. In Part 2, we will discuss and explain the city’s Federal HUD CDBG block grant and some of the verbiage in the CAPER (compliance) report that was triggered by the grant.

**Update: City of Milton has indicated they have never used the inclusionary zoning and it sunsetted several years ago. They plan to remove it when they revise their code of ordinances. They also have never approved of any apartment complexes.**

17 Responses to Part 1: Social Engineering and Federal Overreach Coming to Johns Creek?

  1. Ernest Moosa says:

    Rather than allow the markets to decide if and what a community is like, non stakeholders of the communities attempt to force the community to become something different.

    Somewhere along our path of democracy, someone decided that everyone should have the right to live wherever they choose at a price point that they can afford.

    Housing is just like any other product on the market. And when the government tries to step in artificially manipulate the supply and demand curves, the outcome will be bad.

    We do not all have the right to live on West Paces Ferry Road at a price we can afford. Nor does that area have an obligation to provide such housing for inhabitants that are not there.

    Nor is the local government actually responsible for the local housing stock. We are talking about privately held properties and not government property.

    Isn’t it time for all of this social engineering to end? If government truly wants to do something, work on the other half of the equation.

    Cut taxes, grow the economy and enable the residents to prosper with an economy that is growing more than 2% a year.

    The numbers from the Georgia Department of Labor shows that the rate of job growth is actually much higher outside the congested metro areas than inside them.

    So why do we continue to try and pack as many people as we can into as small an area as we can, at the desires of the government?

    Think taxes…

    http://ejmoosa.com/blog3/2016/06/02/georgias-job-growth-is-higher-outside-of-metro-areas/

  2. Robert Black says:

    Excellent article.

    Thank you for this important information. These puzzle pieces of how city layout unfold is startling.

  3. Judith says:

    Horrible leadership, remove them all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A little piece of me dies every time I see another housing project going up. All that beautiful land and the species inhabiting it being destroyed. And to what end? You can’t get from point A to point B without strategic planning anymore. What used to be a five minute trip to the grocery, has now become a 30+ minute trek. I’m disgusted beyond words.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What is being done to address traffic concerns? Limited building permits is the only solution at this time.

  6. Michael Pelot Hobbs says:

    Agree that the market should drive commodity prices, not government. That being said, it seems our society is moving more towards enclaves of social classes like several third world nations.

    Governments have frequently used tax laws to minimize the accumulation of wealth to the few at the expense of the many. They have also done the opposite. We have tried various methods over time (no income taxes prior to 1912, 95% high-end income tax rates during the 1950’s, lower taxes for unearned income now, etc). Both “soak the rich taxing” and “supply side economics” have not shown to be the success as espoused.. .

    There needs to be a middle way that satisfies a significant majority in our society. There will always be critics on the extreme spectrums of economic thought.

  7. Ernest Moosa says:

    Grow the economic pie and most of our problems disappear.

    Shrink the economic pie and issues multiply.

    The pie has been shrinking for years now. And as we keep raising the tax load and the regulations load on businesses it will continue to do so.

    For the last twelve months ending March 31 2016 corporate profits are 7.82% lower than they were for the same 12 months ending March 31 2015. And despite how may want to paint US businesses, we have seen some of the weakest overall profit growth in our lifetimes over the last 20 years going back to 1970.

    At the same time, Federal revenues were at all time highs in 2015 and started out the same in 2016.

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/14/news/economy/us-government-taxes-record/index.html

    Governments Federal state and local need to ask themselves for every piece of legislation “Will this improve or hinder the prospects of business?”

    If it reduces the bottom line of the business, it is shrinking the pie. If the pie shrinks, we all will end up with less in the long run. Less jobs, less prosperity, less entrepreneurship, and less growth.

    No one has ever taxed themselves into prosperity.

    What path shall we take?

  8. Chuck Patel says:

    Let’s face it, the government knows best. And they have guns. We should be good little slaves and allow them to plan our entire lives.

    This article should wake up the sheeple.

  9. Nealshop1 says:

    I’m not sure I understand the point you’re trying to drive home with this article…is it that our City leaders are allowing government dollars to influence their decisions? Is it that you think Johns Creek is a place that doesn’t need/want blue collar housing? Or is it that you don’t want more cars on the road? I think the only one of those three that I can agree with is more cars on the road, and one of the ways to get cars off our roads is to create an environment where people can live-work-play in our community…that includes the people who staff our nail salons, restaurants, and stores, and they need affordable housing. If we are a community who is too snooty to allow the people who do the work to be our neighbors, then we need to close up all those businesses and we need to be driving into Roswell and Sandy Springs to do our purchasing. I also believe that our city elected leaders have our best interest at heart in most matters, and that what we see on the surface is only part of the story. It would make your articles seem a little less one-sided if you included some direct Q&A with those leaders whenever you’re writing something that derides them.

    • Wally says:

      Could you cite a “Live Work Play” community that encompasses what you think is possible? Have you been around the Perimeter Mall area? That is the ultimate LWP setup, isn’t it? Two MARTA stations, lots of high density housing, lots of jobs, lots of sidewalks, and -lots of congestion.

      No, Johns Creek does not need “blue collar” housing. Let’s eliminate the labels.

      Johns Creek is and does have the best housing in the Metro Area. Why should the current residents of Johns Creek be required to move towards a “less than best” housing picture? Who will be the beneficiaries of that move?

      By the way, the cars are NOT on the road by themselves. They are on the road with people in the cars. So on the one hand you want to bring more people into the community, and yet you do not want their cars.

      Like it or not, people come with cars. So make a choice. But you cannot argue for more people but less cars. That is not a model that works anywhere in Georgia.

    • Editor says:

      @Nealshop1 The important question is: Should City government be forcing housing market outcomes like this? We don’t have a government oligarchy in this country.

      Ultimately, voters decide what’s in their best interest, not politicians. Stay tuned, future articles in this series will have more information and ask many questions.

      Anyone is welcome to comment on this website, including city leaders.

      • EJ Moosa says:

        Here’s what most people do not understand. Johns Creek, like all the other cites, are having their demographics looked at by all sorts of government groups. Some are elected, some are appointed by local and regional governments.

        Read the documents. There is one objective in mind.

        http://www.atlantaregional.com/land-use/housing

        People that care should read this statement for starters. The end objectives appear to me to have a homogeneous community north-south and east-west.

        “The primary housing-related objective identified in PLAN 2040 is to “promote places to live with easy access to jobs and services.” Promoting residential choices in locations that are accessible to jobs and services can be accomplished by:

        Building compact development in existing communities with integrated land uses that will minimize travel distances and support walking, cycling and transit.
        Increasing housing, services, and employment opportunities around transit stations.
        Providing a range of housing choices to accommodate households of all income levels, sizes and needs and to ensure that workers in the community have the option to live there.
        Protecting the character and integrity of existing neighborhoods while also meeting the needs of the community.”

        I have not voted directly for the election of anyone as a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

        Have you?

        Yet here they are working diligently to redesign our communities to what they feel is best.

        Read the last line again:

        Protecting the character and integrity of existing neighborhoods while also meeting the needs of the community.

        The character and integrity of our communities will ONLY be protected after we meet the “needs” of the community, as they have defined them.

      • EJ Moosa says:

        Another thing: The residents of Johns Creek wanted to become a city for greater local control and less control by Fulton County.

        Yet we are moving in the opposite direction. We are ceding control in areas across the board to outside groups. Most of these groups are government, but they are NOT elected.

        Why are we doing this? The answer is simple: Money.

        Are we really going to allow our community to sell it’s destiny for the sake of money? More importantly, do we even have a choice?

        The majority of our City Council does not seem willing to say no to ceding control. On more than one occasion the phrase has been used that we have a “gun to our head”.

        Then ask yourself why they don’t draw a line in the sand and fight back?

  10. Saying NO 2 the Cronyist Agenda says:

    Hey Nealshop1 a.k.a. “Anonymous,” the lover of Big Government, why don’t you and the “elected leaders” you finance with hefty campaign contributions, stop being “too snooty” and rent a room in your(their) mansion or your(their) basement to “the people who staff our nail salons, restaurants and stores.” Share your ride with them to work as well.

  11. Tom says:

    When will the people stop letting the government from running their lives. The Federal Government, the state government, the country government should not be making decisions for individuals in Johns Creek,

    When is the County of Milton going to be reformed to provide for seniors being given the same tax breaks as other counties in Georgia? When is the city going to stop decreasing the property value of our homes with their policy of going what Washington and Atlanta wants not what the people who the represent want?

    • Stephanie Endres says:

      When the people stand up and hold representatives accountable for what they promised on the campaign trail and hold accountable for the decisions made in the position. Also, citizens banding together in numbers – this is the most powerful statement We The People have to be heard. At the local level, we are all neighbors and that is powerful for communication and connections. Watching streamed council meetings is a good place to start.

      http://johnscreekga.gov/Residents/City-Clerk/Meeting-Agendas-Minutes.aspx

  12. Lakisha Kaseem says:

    Stephanie, you go girl!

    Don’t let Bodker, Broadbent, Burkhalter, Davenport and other other corrupt politicians and their cronies turn our beautiful city into another Buckdead!!

    … And, how soon will Bodker be moving into the “active senior” apartment complex he voted to approve?(Remember he said at that council meeting that he was planning on it!)

    —–

    Just read the following link as to what the corrupt fellow Burkha lter and senile Broadbent had said:

    https://www.johnscreekpost.com/ask-the-candidates-high-density-apartments/

    Lastly, the fellow who spoke at the council meeting yesterday who wanted his kids to be able to “ride a bike to the ice-cream shops” has plenty of options other than taxpayers footing the bill to subsidize Tech Park to implement the “District” He talked about other “successful” cities. He can move to one and take his friends with him as well. It’s a free country!

    https://www.johnscreekpost.com/ask-the-candidates-district/

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