Given that the Johns Creek City Council fairly recently punted the decision of widening Medlock Bridge to the city’s Comprehensive Plan update work, and we know the Comp Plan team has already explored controversial aspects of the McGinnis widening, the Comp 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 10-year future with zoning, transportation, and more. But let’s examine the overall Comp Plan update progress so far. This is Part-1 of a 2-part series.
Early on, a Citizen Action Committee (CAC) was formed. The demographic information1 that helped to seat the CAC membership shows Johns Creek to have approx 28,000 residential addresses and approx 1,600 commercial addresses. That’s less than 6% commercial addresses. But the subsequent actual makeup of the CAC showed the Business Community represented at least 26% of the committee, assuming that the 25% representing education, arts, and religious institutions were not also predisposed to support business interests. So, right from the onset, we do not have representation on this team that reflects the makeup of the Johns Creek community.
Next, the work included public workshops directed by consultants where things like consolidating Character Areas were being considered. In one particular workshop, half of my breakout team didn’t even know what a Character Area was. Furthermore, they had absolutely no knowledge of the current Comp Plan. Many citizen participants didn’t know what they were being asked. This problem was not limited to my breakout team.
Next, we had an online city Comp Plan survey that was misleading at best. Some would say it was downright deceptive. For example, one question asked about expanding “workforce housing”, defined in the survey as “giving people who work essential services within the city (police officers, firemen, teachers, medical personnel, etc) the ability to live closer to where they work”. This question was calculated deception at its finest. There is no consistent or accepted meaning for “workforce housing”. The responses to this question could be interpreted to apply to housing for anyone of any profession. In fact, “essential services” could be anything the city or the business community says it is. Because of these problems, the survey was revised at least once since it went live to the public. The extremely low turnout of public respondents has been attributed to citizens that were discouraged by the leading questions and deceptive options, so they never completed it.
We’ll stop here for Part-1. In Part-2 we will focus on the project consultants who, coincidently, were persistently promoting common themes like more urbanization, commercialization, high density, and vertical build out.
(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”
CAC = Citizens Advisory Committee
100% of the members of the CAC are residents, almost all homeowners of Johns Creek, that should be putting the interest of their family and neighbors first.
Some are also business owners (in or out of the City), teachers (in or out of the City), etc, but only a few are retired or homemakers with no business connections.
By the statement “should be putting the interest of their family and neighbors first”, are you saying the CAC business group will promote Johns Creeks’ residential character over their business. You are kidding, aren’t you? You haven’t been paying attention in the CAC meetings, have you? Why do you think the CAC was assembled into the groups like it was?