Old Alabama Rd Update: Another Change Order…

Old Alabama Rd Construction was suspended last month, and the residents are waiting for the contractor CW Matthews to be back on site.

GDOT needed to do a change order to eliminate the left turn lane into the Atlanta Athletic Club parcel. It defeated the purpose of the construction project as it limits the 2 stacking left turn lanes onto SR141 north.

A resolution was signed late Monday. It is unknown at this point how much are the costs incurred for the change order. Drawings and Studies are needed prior to construction resuming.

 

oar_aac

The constant theme in Johns Creek is poor planning and foresight.

Atlanta Regional Commission reported, GDOT received federal funds $3,254,071 in FY 2015 for this project.

The originally cost in 2007, $2,368,833.

Current cost, $9,499,697.

According to GDOT, the project is scheduled to be completed in May of ’17, however our contractor has committed to be complete by the end of this calendar year. That is of course, without any further unexpected issues.

Read Prior Posts here:
Old Alabama Rd – Redo’s and Modifications

The Old Alabama Rd Construction Plans are here…

Old Alabama Rd Construction to Torment Residents for Next 13 months

Shakerag Town Hall: With Councilmembers Stephanie Endres & Lenny Zaprowski

Town Hall with Councilmembers Lenny & Steph; Oct 6th 6:30-8:30pm

City of Johns Creek Online Checkbook

Every wonder where all the tax dollars go since becoming the City of Johns Creek?

A total of $380 million (so far!) has been spent in the past ten years, and finally the Residents can see how that is spent, through the online checkbook.

Here is the link.

2 tips. Clink on the ‘Year’, and tap ‘All Years’, to see the historical spending.

Use the search box, it has a handy drop down tool. (1 note: not all expenses are listed within, and could be under P-Cards, etc)

Lots of interesting expenses, such as:

  • $2200 Amphitheater Dedication sign
  • $1074 for ‘Egg Hunt’ signs
  • $13,720 Coca-Cola products
  • $523,377 Housing Stipends
  • $131,130 Gym Memberships
  • +++ More!

The most STAGGERING Cost is to Ch2M Hill & their various name delineations (Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc…etc)

$90,137,946 (Update: This # includes expenses & vendors, to get a true cost of CH2M, a full independent audit would be needed)

This company has NEVER been put out to REBID.

Leave any interesting finds in the comments!

Burkhalter Amphitheater?

Rumblings from residents in attendance at City Hall hear the Newtown Amphitheater is to be dedicated and renamed “Burkhalter Amphitheater” Saturday, Sept 24th.

No mention was made during the council meeting Monday night, in the agenda packet, or on any previous agenda.

Last time this subject was raised, was during a discussion a few years ago when Brad Raffensberger was on Council. He suggested the amphitheater be renamed to honor Veterans and in conjunction with the wonderful memorial nearby. That idea was squashed by Mayor Bodker immediately.

It does not appear there was a proclamation or resolution voted on by the council to approve of the renaming of the amphitheater.

These stealth-like decisions are not unusual for our city leadership. It is doubtful, something of this caliber would be considered in ‘executive sessions’.

Other municipalities have transparent protocols for renaming and dedicating public buildings and facilities. A common method is a contest and vote for the public to participate.

Typically, dedications are to keep the memory of a community figure, or hero ‘alive’, after they have passed away, to honor their contributions.

Johns Creek is the exception.

Less than 6 months ago, a stretch of State Road 141 (Medlock Bridge Rd) was renamed the ‘Mark Burkhalter Highway”.

Mr. Burkhalter was the State Rep for the area 10 years ago and is highly thought of as the force behind the creation of our Cityhood. Mr. Burkhalter is currently the area board member for GDOT.

C.C Agendas for Sept 19th 2016


September 19, 2016
WORK SESSION
AGENDA
Taylor Farms Conference Room
12000 Findley Road, Suite 300
www.JohnsCreekGA.gov
5:00 p.m.

 

1. Mayor and Council
a. Continued Discussion on FY2017 Budget

The Myth of 31 Billboards: How Our City Council Takes Credit for Saving us From Imaginary Billboards

A brief review of the Billboard debacle from FOIA documents.

Must Watch Video… (double click video to enlarge)

Links to Documents listed in the References:

Map of 31 “Vested” Billboard Locations

Supreme Court of Georgia Billboard Ruling

The map of 17 locations without Fulton County existing rezoning
conditions that would prohibit the installation of the billboard

Billboard Settlement Agreement

Billboard Settlement Map


Post of the Status Regarding most recent Billboard applications:

2 Billboards Hit Roadblocks: 1 Taken Down


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4-3 Vote to Lower the Property Tax Millage Rate – An average of $33/year

property-taxesFor the first time in 10 years, the City’s Property tax millage rate was reduced.

Four Council Members, Lenny Zaprowski, Bob Gray, Stephanie Endres & Steve Broadbent voted to reduce the property taxes the equivalent of $1 million.

By calculations, it comes out to $33/year for the average house in Johns Creek.

Councilmen Bob Gray & Lenny Zaprowski were advocating for a $3 million reduction which would equate to $100/year per house. Councilman Broadbent would not support a meaningful reduction, even with the City’s yearly surplus.

Council Members Jay Lin, Cori Davenport & Mayor Bodker Voted Against the small reduction and were in FAVOR of increasing taxes.

This comes on the heels of the proposed LARGEST TAX INCREASE EVER, the City Council voted for the TSPLOST IGA to place the  on the Ballot.

Council Members Jay Lin, Cori Davenport, Mayor Bodker & Steve Broadbent Voted For the TSPLOST IGA.

Council Members, Lenny Zaprowski, Bob Gray & Stephanie Endres Voted Against it.

Voters will get to decide in November if they want to double their taxes with TSPLOST, and send much of the money to elsewhere in Fulton County.

Jay Lin: Violated his Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Many of you may recall the flurry of mailers from the last City Council election.
Jay Lin spent tens of thousands of dollars on Giant postcards stating “No tax increases” &  is “committed to holding the line on spending and rolling back the millage rate“.
 –
Below is a mailer from his campaign indicating he sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. This document is a PROMISE “to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.
Lin_taxpledge_mailer
Lin_taxpledge_mailer2

Councilman Jay Lin was sworn in January 2016.

Since then he has voted for 3 tax increases:
 –
1) Voted to Allow an IGA for TSPLOST on the ballot – Largest tax increase EVER in Johns Creek
 –
2) Voted to place a $40 million Park bond on the ballot
3) Lin made a motion for keeping millage rate same (which was a 3% tax increase) He Voted AGAINST reducing the millage rate (which reduced taxes)
 –
 Here is a link to the video from the millage rate vote. Watch Jay Lin in action.
 –

This is NOT the first time Jay Lin has fallen through on his campaign promises.  He struggled to attend Council meetings not that long ago…

We reached out for comments from Jay Lin’s election opponents. Todd Burkhalter did not reply. Below is from Chris Coughlin.

“While this doesn’t surprise me as we often see our elected representatives vote against their campaign rhetoric that got them elected, I’m surprised in this instance that Council member Lin has flip-flopped so quickly in his term.

I’m also confused of why, in the same meeting, he thought we could cut the budget by four to six percent, but then was the one to motion to increase property taxes by approximately three percent.

As I’ve developed a friendship with Jay following the election, I’d encourage him to clarify his positions and philosophy as that would be in the best interest of the citizens, and come in line with the positions he espoused on the campaign trail for the remaining three years of his term.”

– Chris Coughlin

Tell Jay Lin your thoughts on breaking his campaign promises at ElectedOfficials@johnscreekga.gov

Mayor Bodker Hosts Town Hall: Sept 15th 6-8pm

Mayor host Town Hall Sept 15th 6-8pm

The Historic Macedonia African Cemetery

Near the corner of Medlock Bridge Rd and State Bridge Rd is an under-appreciated historical site..

It is a point of contention between St Ives neighbors, and the billboard company, as they petition to erect a HUGE sign nearby.  Within 500 feet  is (against state law).

Below is an article that someone wrote about the cemetery many years ago.

Thanks to good work of the St Ives neighbors in 1998, they successfully had Fulton County use imminent domain to maintain and protect the cemetery.

Unfortunately, when we became the City of Johns Creek, the cemetery has been neglected and is currently a dumping site and homeless encampment.

To no avail, the City has not responded to why they have neglected this cemetery and not sought to the pursue legal title and to transfer maintenance rights to preserve the history.

We advocate their position changes in the short future.

Sponsored Post: Koi & Goldfish Show; October 8-9th. Free Admission!

Koi & Goldfish Show October 8-9th 2016

2 Billboards Hit Roadblocks: 1 Taken Down

Historic Cemetery

Historic Cemetery

 

GDOT is reconsidering issuing the permit for the billboard at Fairway Package (141/SB) due to state laws regarding proximity to a cemetery.

The historic Macedonia freed slave cemetery is within 500 feet of the proposed location. A full survey of the area is expected in the near future.


MGF_BB1

Billboard Pole went up June 2016

MGF_BB

Billboard Pole came down August 26th, 2016

 

A work stop order was placed on the new McGinnis Ferry Rd Billboard and it has now been taken down.

The adjoining landowner contended that the CC&R’s were not validly adopted for Tech Park, and lacked permission to construct the Billboard. It was also indicated the Billboard would have had an adverse impact on the Lakefield Shopping Center and the entire Johns Creek community.

Interestingly, the other Billboard on McGinnis Ferry Rd near LA Fitness is also on land under TPA CC&R’s. Will that be contested and taken down?


The billboards are a moving target due to the settlement, as they have a list of NEW locations to choose from, and there is also a clause in the settlement if the listed locations don’t work out, they can get another location within the City (that is unknown to the public). See below.

It is not clear in the agreement who at City Hall chooses these NEW UNKNOWN locations, or if they go before the Council for approval.

If Advertisers  determine  these  consents  cannot be obtained,  then  they  shall  inform  the City  and  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,  either from  Exhibit  “A” or from  alternative  locations  identified by the  City as described above, after considering the  City’s  input.

Source: City of Johns Creek

C.C. Agendas for Monday, August 29th


August 29, 2016
WORK SESSION
AGENDA
Taylor Farms Conference Room
5:00 p.m.

 

D. DEPARTMENTAL UPDATES
1. City Manager
a. Review of the Memorandum of Understanding for Economic Development with Johns Creek Advantage
b. Review of the Memorandum of Understanding for Economic Development with Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce
2. Public Works
a. Discussion of Sidewalk Prioritization
3. Community Development
a. Presentation on the Proposed Atlanta Motoring Festival
4. Mayor and Council
a. Continued discussion on the temporary use of Cauley Creek Fields
b. Continued discussion on proposed FY2017 Budget
c. Discussion of Town Hall Meeting Schedule
E. EXECUTIVE SESSION
F. ADJOURNMENT
G. * FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS- September 19, 2016  Work Session
1. Review of bid award for Concrete Repair and Roadway Patching Contract
2. Review of Ordinance Amendment regarding Final Plat Approvals
3. Discussion of Local Government Lighting Project Agreement (LGLPA) with GDOT for Kimball Bridge Road
4. Discussion of Traffic Calming Policy
5. Discussion of 2017 Special Events Calendar
6. Discussion of Amending IGA with Fulton County for Reuse Water


August 29, 2016
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
AGENDA
7:00 p.m
1. Consideration to Approve the August 15, 2016 Council Meeting Minutes
F. APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA
G. PUBLIC COMMENT
H. CONSENT AGENDA
I. ANNOUNCEMENTS
J. REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
1. City Manager Monthly Report
2. Presentation and Swearing In of K-9 Officer Dane
3. Kickoff for the North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan (NFCTP)
4. Discussion of Thornhill Access
K. OLD BUSINESS
1. PUBLIC HEARING – FY2017 Budget Discussion
L. NEW BUSINESS
1. O2016-08-16 PUBLIC HEARING and Consideration to adopt the 2016 Millage Rate for the City of Johns Creek

Council’s Rude Remarks to Residents

A concerned JCP reader requested we publish this video.

During the August 15th Council meeting, residents from several neighborhoods were chatting while the Council adjourned to executive session.

Upon returning to the dais, Councilwoman Cori Davenport states “Those people just stay here, don’t they have homes?” Councilman Steve Broadbent chimed in “Lives, haha”.

Note to Council: Yes these people have homes, and pay property taxes and you are spending it, and on track to increase taxes for the upcoming year!

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?