Old Alabama Rd – Redo’s and Modifications

The Construction crew at Old Alabama Rd must really like the view of Perimeter Church and the pond because they just don’t seem to complete the job in a timely and thorough manner.

Just this Thursday, CW Matthews tore up the new asphalt they laid recently in the center of the road. The 20 foot wide raised median is being installed there.

Old Alabama Rd milled for median August 11th

Old Alabama Rd milled for median August 11th

Questions are raised as to why they did not pour the concrete for the median the same time as the curbs and gutter?

Laying asphalt only to remove it is redundant. Once the median is installed, they will come back and complete asphalt on the road. Then again, they did redo the curb and sidewalk twice.

Another question, why a median at all? Wouldn’t the asphalt be more useful? Another lane for future widening or flex lane? In a recent report regarding emergency services feasibility…

“Numerous traffic control devices such, as curbed lane dividers,  slow emergency response by requiring units to go to the next break before carrying out a u-turn toward an incident on the other side of the street.”

According to the minutes of the initial concept team meeting, which City Staff attended, it was suggested to place the median for the AAC parcel in the event of future development.

The median cut is for future entrance into AAC, along with curb cuts for the undeveloped parcel. Deceleration and acceleration lanes are not included, so this configuration will impact the current traffic flow. The median will also limit the cars stacking in the turn lanes.

All this for a development that does not exist, yet? And what is this development they are providing infrastructure for?


Modifications

According to GDOT, they have approved an astounding $428k in modifications to the project since June 2016. Another $28k was recently requested for traffic control & guardrails. Why was this all not included in the original bid?

Penalties?

Additionally, GDOT has documented the recent milestone of  “failure to open all travel lanes” & “fail to cover milled areas”.

Shockingly, $0.00 Liquidated Damages were assessed to the contract as of 8/13/16.

Who’s Responsible?

City Hall distances itself from this debacle and claims the project rests entirely with GDOT. Yet the pre-planning meeting for the design of this construction included 2 of Johns Creek’s Public Works staff.

It’s unfortunate they did not plan to improve the eastbound traffic onto 141, where the major congestion is.

The Old Alabama Rd Construction Plans are here…

Fulton County To Get Taller

80ft_BB

80 Foot Billboard Example

In what is the highest area in all of Fulton County, is to get even TALLER, upon completion of 80 feet High Billboard at the corner of 141 Rd & State Bridge Rd.

The ENORMOUS Billboard is expected to be seen for miles away throughout Johns Creek, and far into Gwinnett County.

Unfortunately, Mayor Bodker and Councilwoman Cori Davenport did NOT negotiate a usage schedule and the LED advertisements can be glaring into resident windows at all hours of the night.

Other municipalities set limits for billboards, such as turning off from 10pm-7am. The closest LED billboard outside of the City on 141 in Forsyth County is approximately 30 feet high.

The settlement negotiated gave Johns Creek Billboards 50 feet taller than our neighboring city. What a great deal, huh?

C.C Agendas for Monday, Aug 15th


August 15, 2016
COUNCIL WORKSHOP
AGENDA
Taylor Farms Conference Room
12000 Findley Road, Suite 400
www.JohnsCreekGA.gov
1:00 p.m.

 

C. DEPARTMENTAL UPDATES
1. City Manager-Fire Department
a. Update on Feasiblity Study regarding JC Fire Department
b. Presentation of JCFD Five-Year Plan
2. Mayor and Council
a. Discussion of FY2017 Proposed Budget
b. Discussion of City of Johns Creek Strategic Plan
1. Review of current progress
2. Discussion of revisions to the Strategic Plan’s Objectives and Measures
c. Discussion of long term Financial Planning to include TAN discussion
D. EXECUTIVE SESSION
E. ADJOURNMENT
F. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
1. Review of MOU’s with Economic Development Organizations (JCA/CVB/JC Chamber)(8/29)
2. Discussion of Abandonment and Disposition of Right-of-Way of Old Wilson Road (8/29)
3. Update on North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan (8/29)
4. Discussion of Temporary Use of Cauley Creek Fields (8/29)
5. Discussion of Amending the IGA with Fulton County ReUse Water Agreement(8/29)
6. Discussion of Sidewalk Prioritization Metric (8/29)



August 15, 2016
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
 
7:00 p.m.

 

1. Consideration to Approve the July 25, 2016 Work Session Summary and Council Meeting Minutes
F. APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA
G. PUBLIC COMMENT
H. CONSENT AGENDA
1. ACTION ITEM- Consideration to Approve Shakerag Park Improvements
2. R2016-08-17- Resolution to Amend the City of Johns Creek Planning and Zoning, Building Permits, and Land Development Fee Schedules
I. ANNOUNCEMENTS
J. REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
1. Parks and Recreation JCATS Presentation
2. Discussion of Atlanta Motor Festival
3. Presentation of Open Data Strategy
4. Update on Thornhill Gate Acess
K. OLD BUSINESS
1.O201 6-07-15 – Consideration of an Ordinance to Approve Text Amendment (AAMD-2016-001) to the Zoning Ordinance Article III Definitions and Article XIX Administrative Permits and Use Permits
L. NEW BUSINESS
1. PUBLIC HEARING – on the City of Johns Creek Draft FY2017 Budget
2. R2016-08-18- Consideration of a Resolution to Update the City of Johns Creek Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the FY 2016-2020 Short Term Work Program and Authorize Transmission to the Atlanta Regional Commission

Proposed 2017 Johns Creek City Budget

budget_watchIt is that time of the year for the city to lay out its plans and budget for the coming year, and for voters to determine whether their money will be allocated and used effectively on competing community priorities.  The 2017 proposed budget is available for review via the following link.

The budget proposes to maintain the city property tax rate at 4.614 mills, so as to raise $55,957,146, and spend $60,957,146. Five million dollars of savings will be used to make up the difference between revenues and expenditures to accelerate neighborhood street paving, and park development.

The city budget for 2017 essentially shows an overall increase of 1.8% in spending with additional growth funded by improving the accuracy of, and removing the conservatism in, the revenue and expenditure estimates. Historically, the city has underestimated revenues and overestimated expenditures by about 5-6% each.

Although not explicitly stated in the budget, the proposed allocation of city expenditures to community interests appears to be as follows:
45% –   Public Safety – $27.3 million
27% –  Transportation – $16.5 million
15% –  Government Efficiency – $9.2 million
6.5% – Economic Development -3.9 million
6% –    Recreation and Parks – $3.6 million
0.5% – Preserve character and enhance sense of community – $0.3 million
The proposed budget does not include two items that will be on the November ballot regarding an increase in the sales tax from 7% to 7.5% to fund additional road improvements, and a $40 million borrowing to accelerate park and recreation improvements.
  –
Currently, we pay a 7% sales tax, of which 4% goes to the State, and 3% goes to Fulton County.  The 3% collected by the county is in turn distributed 1% to the school system, 1% to MARTA, and 1% to municipal government (Johns Creek).  The county is proposing to raise the total countywide sales tax, except for Atlanta, from 3% to 3.75% so as to collect $16.5 million dollars in additional annual revenues to be spent by Johns Creek on road improvements.  For understanding purposes, this sales tax increase is equivalent to an 83% increase in the current city property tax millage rate.
 –
The city will also be asking Johns Creek voters on the November ballot to approve borrowing $40 million to be paid back over 30 years at no more than 6% interest to accelerate development of park facilities.  The city will be committed to paying back $2,764,000 per year for 30 years, or $85.7 million total including interest, to accelerate this $40 million of development.  I estimate the annual property tax millage rate required to pay off the parks bond at 0.639 mills to last for 30 years.  This a 14% increase in city property taxes.
  –
The associated, continuing, maintenance and operating costs for the road and park improvements have not been presented to the community.  It would be reasonable to estimate that the parks improvements will require an additional 10-15% property tax increase for programming and maintenance costs, and that the transportation improvements will require another 10% property tax increase for maintenance and operating costs.
  –
Parks and transportation improvements are of interest and benefit to all of us, however, we should be aware in casting our vote come November that the associated cost of what we are being asked to approve is equivalent to approximately a 120% increase in the city property tax we currently pay.  Please take the time to study the city’s plans and budget.  In November you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to our government.
  –
Sincerely,
Nancy Reinecke

Billboard Settlement: More Questions than Answers regarding the Ethics

At the Johns Creek City Council meeting held on Monday, July 25th, responding to questions raised by citizens during the Public Comments period, Mayor Bodker admitted both he and Councilwoman Davenport, negotiated the settlement agreement, and apologized for not disclosing that Councilwoman Davenport is a close personal friend of the Hartrampf’s, the Billboard Company Executive.
Both were adamant, they got the best deal for the City, and felt no laws were broken.
WAS THIS THE BEST DEAL FOR THE CITY?
The settlement essentially gave the Sign Companies, new locations and allowed for LED Billboards, something that was not common when the original contested applications were submitted many years ago.
Much of what was negotiated in the settlement is already state law.
Mayor Bodker has repeatedly warned the City would have had 4 sided billboards, if for not the settlement. Yet, GA state law prohibits 4 sided billboards on State roads, and also has rules for the brightness of LED signs.
Mayor Bodker takes credit for negotiating an agreement that reinforced State Law and did not actually improve on it.
WAS DUE DILIGENCE DONE?
With such an important, and long-standing impact as a result of the settlement, why was no expert in negotiating and arbitrating hired on behalf of the City?
We are left to wonder why Mayor Bodker and the City Council decided that they should be the negotiators rather than hire a professional who deals with these types of issues on a regular basis, understood the state laws in their entirety, and would have negotiated from a stronger position.
Remember, this is the City that hires consultants for everything: from the ‘District’ planning, ThrU turns, roundabouts, park bonds and to where to place a stop sign…
WAS IT APPROPRIATE TO ACT AS NEGOTIATORS?
One of the most important roles an elected city official is to make sure that everything appears and is above reproach.  Just because somethings isn’t illegal, does it make it appropriate or the best thing to be done?
 –
ETHICS COMPLAINTS DISMISSED
 -–
A Citizen filed an ethics complaint, questioning if the Mayor and Councilwoman Davenport had the authority to negotiate and also the ethics of negotiating with a personal friend. All charges were dismissed.
 –
Within the Billboard Ethics complaint, Councilperson Cori Davenport responded that she “arranged the meeting”.
Monday meeting, Mayor Bodker stated that they acted as “good cop-bad cop” and he was the bad cop.  Council Member Davenport was crucial to getting them back to the negotiating table after Bodker acted as “bad cop”.  
– –
Would this information change the outcome of the ethics complaint ‘dismissal’ by the Hearing officer?
 –
QUESTIONS SURROUND THE HEARING OFFICER
It also appears this Hearing Officer was not qualified according to the City’s “Code of Ethics: Administrative Hearing Process”. The Hearing Officer was located 7.5 miles from the City, and should have been at least 10 miles away.
“All complaints filed hereunder shall be heard before a Hearing Officer who: (i) shall be a competent attorney at law of good standing in his or her profession, (ii) shall have at least five (5) years’ experience in the practice of law, and (iii) shall not maintain an office within a ten (10) mile radius of the City of Johns Creek, Georgia.” Code of Ethics
Furthermore, the Hearing Officer’s office is in close proximity of the City Attorney’s office.
Was there No other attorney in GA available to give an impartial investigation?
 
WHO IS LIABLE?
 –
It appears the City did not include indemnification in the contract. GDOT includes one in their permit application.
 –
“agree to hold the GDOT harmless and indemnify GDOT for any damages caused either directly or indirectly by the erection and maintenance of said structure.” GDOT Outdoor Billboard application.
 –
Is the City liable for damages caused directly or indirectly because of the Billboards they issued permits for? Other Municipalities include these waivers in the contracts. Where is Johns Creeks?
 –
OTHER QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
 –
If it was such a great settlement agreement, why was the relationship kept secret?
  —
This relationship should have been made public and disclosed from the very beginning. But it wasn’t. How could this be okay?
For a City that touts transparency, it surely lacked it here, and leaves us to wonder where else?
 –

Part 3: Social Engineering and Federal Overreach Coming to Johns Creek?

This multi-part series has explored some lesser-known facts about how the leaders of Johns Creek have subjected the city to unnecessary and undesirable outside influence. This influence involves zoning ordinances (Inclusionary Housing Zoning, Section 4.26) that are totally out of context with the spirit and intent of all other zoning laws we have to preserve and protect the existing character of our community. This influence also involves mandates tethered to the pursuit of Federal funding that have already triggered Federal intrusion and efforts to socially engineer our community. Our city has most certainly opened the door for Federal overreach right into our back yards.

Granted, as mentioned earlier, the Federal funding pursued so far has been limited to relatively small amounts. But no matter how small, the Federal mandates still come into play. And you can see from the CAPER report our city is clearly setting the stage to engage further as a Federal “entitlement community”. Do you want our city to develop a dependency for this funding? Do you want to live under CAPER mandates? Do you want the Federal government to suddenly issue new guidelines, directives, or executive orders that “clarify” or “reinterpret” outside mandates in ways the community doesn’t want? Would you like to see the Federal government suddenly threaten to cut funding even with no legal basis like you currently see with several US states? Do you want the city embroiled in Federal lawsuits to defend itself?

As for Inclusionary Housing, it should be noted that the following clause is specified in Section 4.26: Participation in the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Program shall be voluntary for a twenty-four month period after which it will sunset until the Mayor and City Council can assess the effectiveness of the program and determine the conditions for its future implementation. But when does this participation begin? Did it begin already?

Will it start commensurate with developer negotiations for The District? Will developer compliance with Section 4.26 be openly discussed and considered in zoning board hearings? Will the zoning board be required to consider such compliance a plus even if citizens are totally opposed?

In an effort to make sure the Inclusionary Housing program is not geographically isolated, Section 4.26 has numerous stipulations to ensure distribution, including a statement that the program must be dispersed in all residential developments. Really? How in the world did this section of ordinances get included in our city code? Why was it approved and adopted? And once we give in to this social engineering, what if our city leaders decide the Inclusionary Housing program is ineffective? Are we going to uproot families and tear down dense subsidized housing units to put things back like before? No, of course not, reversing this program would be literally impossible.

It should also be noted that planned housing with Inclusionary Zoning goals is nothing new and it has been implemented elsewhere. Proponents say it results in reduced commute times for workers who cannot afford to live where they work. Going further back in time, some liken Inclusionary Zoning in communities like Johns Creek to “rent control” districts in places like New York City. There! You just saw Johns Creek and New York City used in the same sentence.

It should also be noted that our City Council has debated the issue of accepting Federal monies with strings attached and some Council members have expressed serious concerns. But we seem to steadily inch forward with more involvement, step by step.

This series of articles will end with something to think about. The Federal government, through HUD, is working right now to collect and analyze detailed demographic data in municipalities throughout the US down to the zipcode level, with a particular focus on major city suburbs.

The City of Johns Creek recently made some of this data available for public access. This HUD program results from recent Federal (Executive Branch) directives and it is called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. One of the goals of the program is to relocate HUD Section-8 recipients from the inner cities to the suburbs. Some areas where this program has already been implemented include Dubuque Iowa and the Dallas metro area including Frisco, Plano and McKinney. Unfortunately, these social engineering experiments didn’t exactly go well even to the extent that the intended beneficiaries didn’t benefit.

Is this where the city of Johns Creek is headed?

What can you do? Write the City Council: electedofficials@johnscreekga.gov

Demand that our Code of Ordinances be revised to exclude Section 4.26. Urge the city to stop the pursuit of Federal funding with compliance mandates and unwanted outside influence.

Let the citizens of Johns Creek decide what happens in Johns Creek. After all, that is why we voted to form the city, isn’t it?

Old Alabama Rd Contractors – To Get Second Contract in JC

City Staff are Recommending Hiring the Same Contractor that is doing the Old Alabama Rd project, for Abbotts Bridge Rd, between Jones Bridge rd & Parsons Rd.

CW Matthews had the lowest bid, and Public Works Staff cited CW Matthews responsiveness and being responsible as the reasons to hire them.

Councilwoman Endres pointed out several issues during the July 11th Work Session.

  • No deadlines were stipulated in the contract.
  • Public Works did not include a schedule for contractor to adhere to (which is an option).

With the ongoing drama of Old Alabama Rd, she was concerned that would replicate on another major road within the City. Staff were directed to review the Contract and improve upon it.

Old Alabama is managed by GDOT, and has been a painful process to watch and experience, holding a major road and nearby subdivisions hostage. The meager 1/2 mile is ‘expected’ to finish by the end of the year.

 

3 Petitions Float Around the Creek

Johns Creek is awashed in Petitions.

petitions

The newest Petition is seeking the Resignations of Mayor Bodker and Councilwoman Cori Davenport for “poor judgement and a lack of ethics”.

Read more about it here…

 

The second Petition is seeking “No More Billboards in Johns Creek” from Clear Channel and Action Outdoor Advertising. Read more about it here…

The third Petition is from 37 Main Venue, requesting for “fair reading of dB levels” in the proposed Noise Ordinance, which will be voted on Monday night. Read about it here…

 

#Dumpstergate Update

The City has moved the Roadkill Dumpster to Cauley Creek Sewage Plant land.

Below is the video of WSB at the site.

http://www.wsbtv.com/web/wsbtv/news/local/north-fulton-county/city-moving-roadkill-dumpster-after-complaints/407483179

City Staff were utilizing the dumpster, surely they SMELLED the odor, EVERY time they visited it.

Both Public Works (Ch2M Hill) and Right of Way Maintenance (Optech) are outsourced and have contracts with other municipalities nearby, such as Peachtree Corners and Forsyth County.

Was Roadkill from outside Johns Creek put in the dumpster? It surely was frequently used.

Stinking – Super Tower Land

Many of you may recall the Super Tower land behind Pikes, adjacent to Johns Creek High School, and City Trail system.

The City bought land, had the easements and building permits approved for a 420 foot Super Tower, with flashing high intensity lights to ward off airplanes.

It was expected to be over 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Mayor Bodker and City Staff were highly criticized for even considering the plan, let alone pursuing it, all without due diligence.

Citizens vocalized mass opposition, which resulted in the tower being placed in Forsyth County.

dumpsters

Roadkill in the dumpsters are ruining local businesses.

Nonetheless, the City bought the property, and now has allowed Public Works to utilize it for for dirt and gravel storage.

Public Works also has a few dumpsters in the lot.

The dumpster have become a public safety concern, quality of life, as well as economic issue. Roadkill and waste are being dumped in the dumpsters, creating a odor and stench that is most unwelcome.

This is negatively impacting Pike’s business, as customers do not want to shop for plants with the rancid odor in the air.

With the millions of dollars the City has spent for the trail system in the area, wouldn’t a playground and benches be better for this City owned land?

playhouse_10

Wouldn’t a playground like this be a better use of the land?

A beautiful playground, garden and greenery could make it a wonderful destination for walkers and strollers, and help nearby businesses with foot traffic.

Neighbors, do you think the land should be converted into a playground and garden?

Refugees Expected in Coming Months

According to World Relief, who works with local churches to help “refugees replant their lives in a new culture”,  Johns Creek Baptist Church volunteers recently underwent training to learn how to help Refugees get settled in Johns Creek.

In the coming months, when World Relief receives the Asylum Seekers, the volunteers from Johns Creek will facilitate the Refugees to move into area apartments to resettle and rebuild their lives.

The State of Georgia has an extensive array of programs using Federal Funds to the help these refugees. More information is here…

Johns Creek, is the most dense City in North Fulton has plenty of apartments to choose from to meet the needs of the refugees.

Part 2: Social Engineering and Federal Overreach Coming to Johns Creek?

This 3-part series explores some lesser-known facts about how the city of Johns Creek has subjected itself to unnecessary outside influences and Federal government overreach.

In part 2, we will look at the recently obtained Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant and the mandatory Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) that was triggered by the receipt of Federal money.

All of this is subjecting our city to Federal overreach through efforts toward forced social engineering. You see clear Federal overreach today with US states that are currently filing lawsuits in response to Federal funding cut threats. And in these cases, the Federal threats have no real basis in law. But the states have been forced into litigation.

One of the consequences of forming the City of Johns Creek was the loss of Fulton County grant money to local area charities like the Drake House, North Fulton Community Charities, and other important social services. Rather than look internally within the city for this funding, the city ended up pursuing a Federal grant, specifically CDBG funding.

This funding had serious strings attached with required compliance to a myriad of Federal mandates. These mandates are summarized in a Federal document called the CAPER, Federal HUD form HUD-40110-D. Let’s examine some text excerpts from our city’s 2014 CAPER.

The city responded as follows to an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice study in 2010: Since 2011 the City has approved 480 apartments including 90 age-restricted, reduced cost apartments for seniors and in 2013 approved 216 high density housing units.

Additionally, the City Council has approved funds to launch a study for the development of a City Center that encourages the development higher density residential and rental properties within walking distance of employment opportunities.

In response to general questions, the city stated: The City Council approved the construction of 264 apartment housing units in 2011 and while the city did not approve any new apartments in 2014, there are currently 3,133 tenable units in the city. (Barrier 1 & 7)

The City Council approved 214 higher-density owner-occupied projects in three separate zoning cases in 2013. (Barrier 1 & 7)

The City launched a regional arts festival in 2013 and held again in 2014 and 2015 that includes entertainment that specifically celebrates the diverse culture and the varied minority groups within Johns Creek. (Barrier 4)

The Mayor of the City continues as an active participant at the Atlanta Regional Commission, particularly as an advocate for public transit. He has been installed at the first vice president of the Georgia Municipal Association, and will continue to work toward economic stability initiatives in that role. (Barrier 13)

Hud LogoThe City has posted links to education materials for Fair Housing from HUD and Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) on the City web site for our community.

City staff has hosted public fair housing workshops and is making plans to partner with Fulton County on workshops going forward.

The City will continue to consult with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Metro Fair Housing Services of Atlanta. (Barriers 3, 4 & 14)

In response to questions about addressing barriers to affordable house, the city stated: …the City has taken positive steps towards encouraging additional high density, rental housing in conjunction with a city center development plan.

In response to questions about community development, the city stated: While Johns Creek remains in the earliest stages of its identification as an entitlement community the city continues to monitor use of all CDBG funds through normal accounting procedures under the direction of the City Finance Director and CDBG Program Administration.

In response to questions about managing the process, the city stated: City staff is regularly briefed on CDBG requirements as per training and advice received by the Program Director, Program administration staff and the Deputy Director of Community Development.

Program administration consults regularly with HUD offices when questions arise and HUD’s response is communicated to staff and City Attorney as appropriate.

Keep in mind these are just a few excerpts. In all, the Johns Creek CAPER for 2014 contains 19 pages. Parts of it are inapplicable since we have not yet triggered all possible compliance mandates.

In closing for Part 2 of this series, if you have read both parts up to now you should be scratching you heads. How in the world did our suburban agricultural community of unincorporated Fulton County get tangled up with Inclusionary Housing initiatives, developer subsidies for higher density projects, and HUD compliance mandates?

Are city leaders 180-degrees out-of-sync with the vast majority of city residents? Are city residents too busy to see this social engineering storm brewing in their back yards? It should be noted, the CDBG money received in 2014 amounts to only $270K.  But regardless of the amount, the compliance mandates still kick in.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where all of this information will be summarized and analyzed further.

Billboard Settlement Examined

Billboard Agreement Highlights:

  • 10 Total Billboards within the City
  • 27 Preselected Locations within 8 Areas
  • Maximum Size: 14′ x 48′
  • Height Range: 60′ to 95′
  • Liberal Tree & Vegetation Cutting
  • Ad flips every 10 seconds / 24 hours day
  • City can advertise on 5 signs, 56 days of year

Billboard Content Restriction Highlights:

  • No Adult Businesses
  • No Massage Parlors (not in zoning compliance)
  • No Abortion Services
  • No Bail Bonds & Pay Day Loans, Pawnshops
  • No Hookah Bars
  • No Objectionable Material
  • No Terrorist Propaganda

Poles to be Clad in Brick or Stone to Match Adjacent Architecture

BB_base

With the high standards for architecture in Johns Creek, Mayor Bodker sought to have the nicest Billboards in the USA, with the Poles to be Clad in Brick or Stone.

It appears that this has not been done with some of the live billboards already constructed.

Some interesting tidbits in the legal mumbo jumbo:

“This Agreement represents the compromise of doubtful claims and is not an admission of liability by any Party.”
(Compromise of doubtful claims?)
 –
“In the event… this Agreement is declared invalid by a final, non-appealable order of a court having subject matter jurisdiction, the rights of the Advertisers under the orders entered in the Lawsuit shall be reinstated.”
(Go back to the original locations, while the new ones are already erected? How would that work out?)
“the City may indicate its preference for alternative locations either on Exhibit “A” or located on other sites selected by the City in its sole discretion, but the final decision as to the alternative location(s) shall be selected by Advertisers”
(So there could be new locations that are unknown?)
Source: City of Johns Creek

2 More Billboards Coming to a Sky Near you

Another Billboard for McGinnis Ferry Rd

Another Billboard for McGinnis Ferry Rd

The horizon in Johns Creek continues to be filled with Billboards.

Another Massive Billboard (similar to the picture) is being erected on McGinnis Ferry Rd.

The land is within Tech Park, which has strict CC&R’s, that protected landowners and business with high standards regarding architecture, design and such. It is shocking that this construction was allowed.

The intersection of Medlock Bridge Rd & State Bridge Rd may have Billboard in the future.

An application was submitted for Fairway Package (China Winery) Shopping Center. It is expected to be 80 Feet Tall and 48 Feet Wide.

fairway_Package

The remaining potential locations narrow down to the list according to City Hall:

• West side of State Bridge Road from Kimball Bridge to Morton
• East side of State Bridge Road from Kimball Bridge to Morton
• North side of State Bridge Road near Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road
• West side of Medlock Bridge Road at Abbotts Bridge Rd.
• McGinnis Ferry Road (3rd Billboard on MGF)
Source: City of Johns Creek

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.**

CC Agendas for Monday, June 20th


June 20, 2016
WORK SESSION
AGENDA
Taylor Farms Conference Room
12000 Findley Road, Suite 400
www.JohnsCreekGA.gov
5:00 p.m.
1. Public Works
a. Discussion of transferring $180,000 to Capital Improvements Program for the Installation of a sanitary Sewer Outfall at the Bell @ Boles Roundabout
b. Review of Bid Award for the Old Alabama Road and Brumbelow Road Signal Reconstruction
c. Review of Amendment to Project Framework Agreement (PFA) between the City and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for the Engineering Phase of Barnwell Road/Holcomb Bridge Project
d. Review of Amendment to Project Framework Agreement (PFA) between the City and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for SR120/Abbotts Bridge Road to Parsons Road Project
2. Mayor/Council
a. Open Records Monthly Reporting Request for City Council
3. City Manager
a. Review of Clean Up Budget Amendment for FY2016
b. Discussion on potential Recreation and Parks Funding and Project List
c. Discussion of additional survey regarding Parks Bond
d. Review of recommendations for Park Design Consultant
4. Community Development
a. Review of recommendation of vendor selection for Comprehensive Plan Update


June 20, 2016
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
AGENDA
7:00 p.m.
1. Consideration to Approve the June 6, 2016 Work Session Summary and Council Meeting Minutes
F. APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA
G. PUBLIC COMMENT
H. CONSENT AGENDA
1. ACTION ITEM- Consideration to Approve Privileged Resolutions Recognizing Eagle Scout Anshuman Verma, Troop 3143 and Eagle Scout Srihari Muralidhar, Troop 2000
2. O2016-06-09- Consideration to Approve an Ordinance Amending FY2016 Budget in the Amount of ($94,714) to Replace Damaged Police Vehicles
I. ANNOUNCEMENTS
J. REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
a. Eagle Scout Presentations
b. Update on Implementation of Strategic Economic Development Plan
c. City Manager Monthly Report
d. Update on Nuisance Ordinance (Stakeholders)
K. OLD BUSINESS
1. O2016-06-10- PUBLIC  HEARING and Consideration of an Ordinance to approve RZ-15-013 –  10900 Block of Medlock Bridge Road and the 10900 Block of Bell Road from C-1 (Community Business District) Conditional and O-I(Office-Institutional District Conditional to C-1 (Community Business District) to Allow a 140-unit Active Adult Apartment Development and Concurrent Variances VC-15-013-1 to Eliminate the 40-foot Landscape Strip Along Medlock Bridge Road and VC-15-013-2 to  Eliminate the 25-foot landscape strip along Bell Road
L. NEW BUSINESS
1. ACTION ITEM- Consideration of Amendment to Project Framework Agreement (PFA) between the City and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for Engineering Phase of Barnwell Road/Holcomb Bridge Project
2. ACTION ITEM- Consideration of Amendment to Project Framework Agreement (PFA) between the City and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for SR120/Abbotts Bridge Road to Parsons Road Project
3. ACTION ITEM- Consideration to approve TSPLOST Intergovernmental Agreement with Fulton County

Apartments, Apartments: They’re Back!

The Bell Rd/141 Apartment Developer is Suing the City, over the denial received back in December. There is currently a settlement agreement to be voted on by Council, this Monday, June 20th 2016, 7pm.

Though the terms and specifics of the development are not disclosed, below is the public notice placed on Bell Rd briefly, before being removed. The Sign on Medlock Bridge Rd, is obstructed by the rail-guard. City Staff are responsible for the sign placements.

There also was no public notice in the legal ads or on the City Website regarding this Public Hearing, which is required. Both the poor signage and no public notice in the newspaper are in violation of the City’s own code of ordinances.

With No information provided to the Citizens, is this Back-Dooring the Apartment Complex into the City?

The developer is currently seeking 140 Apartments, and would like to cut into the landscaping strips to squeeze the Apartment Complex into the small area of land.

Bell_apts

This new trend happening at City Hall is disturbing, and the residents are the Losers in these scenarios. After years of opening zoning (we will write about that in a future post) Developers sue the City for a better deal.

We spoke to an Alpharetta Councilman about the issue, and he said they do not have this problem of frivolous cases in their City. If someone sues Alpharetta, they will Vigorously fight it out in Court, thus developers are very cautious to litigate. Also in recent years, Milton has successfully fought in court and denied as a council, rezoning for apartments.

It appears this Developer wants to settle because they will lose the lawsuit in court. If they could get better deal in court (10 story apartment building?!) they would not seek to settle.

Frankly, this development should go through the proper process in place, with full disclosure to the Citizens, and reapply a year from their application date. Or better yet, develop according the Land Use Plan, and not try to change it!

This is the location of the proposed funeral home a few years ago, which the Landowner withdrew the rezoning application on his own accord.

Interestingly, the Landowner for the Bell Rd Apartments, also owns the corner of Abbotts Bridge Rd and Medlock Bridge Rd. Key land for any future road improvements such as the proposed the ThrU turns or some other concept. Will this land be included with the Apartments approval?

Most importantly, we have not seen any intersection improvements to date, despite more and more homes (1k+) added down the road.

With so little time or information provided to the Residents, let City Council know your thoughts.  electedofficials@johnscreekga.gov

 

Proposed Toilets for Bell / Boles Roundabout

Staff are recommending a Sewer Line Extension be placed near the Bell / Boles Rd Roundabouts for future toilets. The price tag is $180k, just for the pipes. Future costs could add up to well over $500k, for the construction of the building, and ongoing maintenance and daily cleaning.

Security Cameras are also expected to be installed to monitor for safety. These ‘out of the way’ restrooms are havens for drug use and other illicit behaviors.

restroomThe proposed “Pocket Park” is adjacent to the roundabout and is 2.33 acres.

The roundabout is condense in sized, troubling motorists as they maneuver around it. This was done to maximize the Pocket Park footprint.

Readers, will you drive to the Roundabout to visit the park, or do you think mainly Residents in the area will utilize it?

 

37 Main: Tin Roof Troubles & Solutions

According to 37 Main’s FB page, a large(40 foot) sound wall concept was denied by the City and Neighbors.

37_Main_FB_Response

 

JCP obtained the engineering report commissioned by the owners of the property 37 Main is leased upon. There is no mention of a wall as the solution. (Thought that would cost a LOT of money).

The corrugated metal roof with lightweight exterior insulation is a significant cause of the problem. Isolated Gypsum Board Ceiling, acoustical doors & Concrete roof are listed as Corrective Noise Control Options.

Noise_Study1

 

With over 2000 signatures on the petition, fans of the establishment appeal for 37 Main to remain in Johns Creek with fair db levels, so they can continue rocking.

With the resistance to turn the dial down, Money is the obstacle to implement improvements to contain the sound within the building. $200k is needed, and the Owners of 37 Main are unwilling to spend more.

Why not have a fundraiser? If the 2000 petitioners donated $100 each, this could easily fund the solution. 37 Main could have a celebratory concert for those that contributed. Win, win for all.

Sources: 37 Main FB page & Newcomb & Boyd Exterior Noise Study of 37 Main

Me Versus You: Your Rights End Where Mine Begin

In the City of Johns Creek, there is a very interesting battle taking shape over a proposed noise ordinance which is meant to address sound(and the sound waves that generate vibrations) from a commercial business, which is detrimental to the homeowners nearby.

At first glance, it would seem to be a rather easy situation to address.  There are the usual questions people like to discuss:

Should residents next to a commercial property expect to hear silence?

Does the commercial property owner have a right to do business?

What is an acceptable level of sound one should be expected to tolerate?

The list could actually be somewhat endless.  Why?  Because in this day and age, too many parties want to do as little as legally possible.  They choose not to remedy the harm they have caused to another party, and will try to as little as law mandates.

That is a shame.

Are we in a society where we wait for the government to tell us what is the right thing to do? Apparently so.  This issue has dragged on for two years.  Children go without sleep on school nights.  People cannot enjoy their own homes more than half the evenings in a week.

I can empathize.  I live in the same neighborhood as those affected, although I cannot hear the music or the vibrations from my home.  What I have struggled with for the last ten years pales in comparison, yet is along the same lines.  Lawn care companies have arrived on my street on Mondays and Fridays and just after 7:00 am have started with the relentless leaf blowers and lawn mowers.  Because they do multiple homes, this goes on for hours.  Twice a week.

I am a night person.  The intrusion of sound is more than disturbing for me.  So I can only imagine how terrible it is for my neighbors.

I even heard several of my neighbors speak for the establishment in question.  I have been there myself and enjoyed it. I heard City Council members speak out about what might be a remedy and what it might cost. I heard supporters speak out on the venue about the money invested by the owners.

They seem to be forgetting one thing.  We are talking about rights.  As a Libertarian I am a firm and complete believer in rights.  And in this case, even if it was just one home with one resident being negatively affected, it is one home too many.

Individual rights are the cornerstone of the American system of justice.  And despite how it appears at times, we are not granted “more” rights because we are part of a group.  That may be the way inept politicians have attempted to deal with things, but it was a boneheaded approach and should be reversed.

Because the individual has rights, they must be protected even IF another party suffers material losses.

Why?  That’s simple.  In this case the business had the burden of making sure that they did not violate the rights of anyone as they went into business.  Was it up to the homeowners to make sure the business did their due diligence before opening?  No.  That rests completely with the business.

Sure, it sucks for the business.  But that is their job and not the job of the residents.

We cannot have a society where we look at some residents and say “you must make a sacrifice because there are more of us than you, and we want it”.  Especially when it is a for profit business at the expense of your residents.

Were I to be causing damages to my neighbors, I would not wait for a law to be passed to address it and tell them tough luck.  I would do all within my power to remedy the situation on my own.

The City Council of Johns Creek needs to start with one basic purpose:  protect the rights that come with the property for BOTH parties.

Unfortunately, for the business involved, one does not get the right to generate vibrations which are then sent into the homes of neighbor, which then reduce the rights of the homeowners to enjoy their own property.

If the homeowners had some way to reduce the rights of the business to operate to the full enjoyment of the business, we’d have already been in court and had this situation resolved.

Rights start with the individual.  Another party does not have the “right” to diminish your rights for the benefit of themselves.  To do so would effectively eliminate our way of life.  We’d have mob rule on every issue.

In this instance, the business did not and does not have the right to send sound waves and vibrations trespassing into the neighboring homes.  Yet they have been doing so for two years.

The business can do the right thing before the City Council takes action, or they can wait and be forced to take action.  The choice is theirs.

Ask yourself this question: If your next door neighbor suddenly got a dog that barked from 9:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m., how long would you tolerate it?

Would it matter that the dog won dog shows and was popular with others who did not live next door?

Exactly.

When the battle becomes Me Versus You, no one is entitled to more rights at the expense of the other party.

Equal treatment under the law is easy to enforce, once you remember the law is based on individual rights.

I’ve heard some say that the someone will win here and someone will lose.  That is the wrong conclusion.  If the rights of the homeowners are not upheld, then we will all be losers.

We will learn rather quickly that the rights we know we should have and thought we had, that they are only give to us by government, and not protected by our government.