Part 2: Comp Plan Progress?

Given recent events with the city looking at controversial road widening projects, the Comprehensive Plan update project has taken on renewed public attention. This attention is a good thing. The Comp Plan is a very critical document for the city’s future with zoning, transportation, and more. Let’s continue with our analysis of the progress. This is Part-2 of a 2-part series.

For those citizens who attended or watched the videos, many public meetings associated with the Comp Plan update project featured outside speakers and consultants that most certainly promoted high density. One guy from North Carolina spent over an hour presenting busy 3D graphs to convey that high density means higher city tax revenue. Why is the premier residential community in Georgia persistently being subjected to this type of consultant bias? The 3-day workshop presentation document2 mentions high density on page 37. Here is a quote from that document. “Additional traffic generated by increased density is not significant”. The meeting videos showed that some CAC members were definitely swayed by this type of general consultant advice, especially the Business Community members. I do appreciate the tough job the CAC members had to recognize and sort through all the bias they were being exposed to.

Next, exactly how did the dense development proposal for the AAC property come about from the Comp Plan work? A city leader is on record saying it resulted from the CAC meetings with public input3. Yet the development rendering was never created in any CAC meeting that was made available to the public. The completed drawing first appeared in the 3-day workshop presentation document2 that was given to the CAC. In that presentation, the speaking consultant said “the city does think this (the AAC property) should be developed as one cohesive master plan area”4. So someone from “the city” had definitely given direction to the consultants. But not the CAC, and not the public. So the consultants went off and unwittingly stepped on a historic Johns Creek zoning case landmine which then triggered a written rebuke from the current AAC management. Why was the Comp Plan project proposing dense developments on private property?

Bottom line, we should all be quite concerned about the Comp Plan update. Skewed CAC representation, misdirected questions to the public, misleading public surveys, consultants advocating high density, chaotic CAC meetings expressing widespread opinions all over the place – that’s the progress we saw in the meetings. And at one point we learned there were “private draft” CAC surveys that were not intended for the public. According to the Director of Community Development, one of 12 CAC members apparently leaked some information about the McGinnis Ferry road widening from a “private draft” survey, and this type of public disclosure is not allowed5.

So with this backdrop, we all await the new draft Comprehensive Plan which is due to be released real soon. All we can do at this point is hope the outcome of this convoluted and chaotic project preserves and protects the exceptional residential community that is Johns Creek for the next 10-years.     

Sources:

(1) Resident Zones & CAC Member Residential Locations (city document showing demographic data and actual CAC membership)

(2) Connect Johns Creek, shape an exceptional future, Three Day Workshop

(3) City Manager at approximately 01:21:10 in the video from the Town Hall, Feb 22: johnscreekga_a664dcf1-48af-4571-8cab-19738f47768a.mp4

(4) Consultant at 43:22 into 3-day workshop presentation video: johnscreekga_89be1d3f-27a1-458d-82db-a528f03fe528.mp4

(5) Johns Creek Herald, March 8th “False alarm emails upset McGinnis residents”

3 Responses to Part 2: Comp Plan Progress?

  1. EJ Moosa says:

    How did we ever become the premiere residential community we are, with some of the best educated, well employed residents in the state of Georgia WITHOUT all of the consultants coming in and telling us what we need to be?

    Guess we were just lucky, right? /s

  2. Anonymous says:

    This cloak and dagger routine for developing JC has become very redundant. This is the most unheard of and unthinkable approach to government transparency that I’ve ever seen in my life.

    When does Chris Coughlin take office, so he can put an end to this foolishness?

  3. Ed Thompson says:

    Pay attention to WHO has been in charge, with a plurality of support, allowing (indeed, PUSHING) this agenda of ever higher density in Johns Creek. The correlation to all of the road widening projects is clear. Any widening will be used to allow higher density development, and any higher density development requests will be pushed through and the resulting traffic will be used to justify road widening. Under all of these options, the current residents of Johns Creek lose.

    The residents of Johns Creek are increasingly at odds with proposals being promoted by our Mayor, City Council, and staff. Turnout at meetings to discuss road widening, park development, and high density residential development has demonstrated the disconnect between residents and our representatives. Several plans have been temporarily delayed – but beware that they will see new life as part of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) that will be “sold” as being resident-driven through the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). Mr. Zane is doing a great service by revealing the true workings of the CLUP/CAC, and one conclusion is that the process is being manipulated to become the “rubber stamp” of approval to push through those plans to which our residents have already registered their opposition.

    Regarding the question of when Chris Coughlin takes office – that has already occurred. While he will help to provide much needed common sense in the fight against unwanted high density development and increasing urbanization, we need a broader alliance on our City Council to support those goals.

    Let’s be specific: the members of our City Council who consistently support high density, increased urbanization, and rampant road widening include Mayor Bodker, and City Council Members Broadbent, Davenport, and Lin, Those consistently aligned with residents who desire maintaining our suburban residential character include Council Member Endres, recently joined by Couglin. Council Member Zaprowski takes a somewhat pragmatic approach and generally aligns with residents’ concerns.

    If you want a change in direction, reduced reliance of consultants telling us why we should dramatically change the character of our city, increased transparency in City management with the elimination of cloak-and-dagger maneuvers (a “private” draft of a Citizens Advisory Committee report?), then be sure to turn out this November and replace those Council Members who are up for re-election, starting with Mayor Bodker, and Councilperson Davenport.

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