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CAC Meeting #12

On August 16th, 2017, the 12th Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting was held at the City Hall, Taylor Farms Conference Room to review the draft Transportation Master Plan (TMP), to discuss the status of the Comprehensive Plan process, to review current public input, and to discuss how to continue to engage the public.  Twelve (12) CAC members were in attendance.

The meeting opened with a reminder that the Comprehensive Plan Update is still open for public comment and will be until at least September 15th and possibly longer if the Mayor and City Council decide to continue to extend the public comment period.  Director Ebert announced that several department staff were leaving to take other positions: Allison Tarpley, the Department’s Executive Assistant will become the City’s Assistant City Clerk; Kylie Adams is leaving to become a Senior Planner for the City of Suwanee; and Christopher Wheeler will be leaving to become a Planner II for the new City of Stonecrest. In addition, the City has decided to in-source the Community Development Department in lieu of contracting for services with CH2M, which will become effective October 1, 2017.  Also noted was that the City is temporarily moving City Hall functions to the old ITT Technical Institute building located at 10700 Abbotts Bridge Road, while it renovates the new City Hall building located at 11360 Lakefield Drive, which was purchased earlier in the year.   Starting in October, City Council and Board meetings will be held in the Municipal Court/Police building located at 11455 Johns Creek Parkway. Because of the City Hall move and loss of key planning staff there will not be a CAC meeting held in September, but staff will try to hold two CAC meetings in October to discuss public comments and decide on any needed changes to the draft Comprehensive Plan Update.

Director Ebert then spent a few minutes going over the hand outs for the night’s meeting that included the meeting minutes from the June 21st CAC meeting; an Agenda Report from the City Council Work Session held on August 14, 2017 regarding the prioritization of the first six (6) TSPLOST projects; a presentation on the draft Transportation Master Plan (TMP);  The TMP’s Executive Summary and Section Three; and a list of public comments thus far received by the City’s consultant TSW from the ConnectJohnsCreek .com website.

Director Ebert then discussed how the TMP relates to all of the regional transportation planning efforts and used a diagram within her TMP presentation to explain how the City’s Transportation Master Plan correlates to not only the City’s Comprehensive Plan as an element of the that plan, but how it fits within several regional transportation plans including: the Fulton County TSPLOST; the North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan; the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) Long Range Transportation Plan; the ARC’s Transportation Improvement Plan; and finally the ARC’s Regional Plan.

The TMP projects are divided into three time periods: years 2018-2023; 2024-2028; and 2029-2038.  TSPLOST Tier I and II projects will dominate the first five years of the TMP, with Tier III projects highlighted for the next five year period.  Other City Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) included installing new sidewalks, street repaving, and routine traffic signal, road and bridge projects. The last ten years will include other projects that should money be available.  There was some discussion as to whether the plan should go out 20 years, since the area’s grow is still changing and making transportation improvements in the next 10 years , may or may not solve some of the City’s transportation congestion problems.

Director Ebert then showed a comparison of the TSPLOST projects that the CAC prioritized and how that list matched up against the proposed list being presented to the Mayor and City Council. While most of the CAC’s top 10 TSPLOST projects were in the Public Work’s list of top six projects, most notably missing was the roadway improvements to the intersection of Medlock Bridge and State Bridge roads.

A discussion then ensued over: why we continue to discuss projects that are already decided upon and why we are not focused on future transportation projects; how moving forward on the Medlock and State Bridge Roadway capacity improvement projects might impact the design of the intersection improvements; how fixing the traffic signalization system on Medlock and State Bridge roads may also impact the design of the intersection; and how adding trailways may have an impact as well. In short, many CAC members felt the entire Medlock Bridge and State Bridge intersection and roadway improvements needed to be designed as a comprehensive solution and not done in sections. Others argued that incremental improvements along both roadways may reduce the amount of changes needed to the intersection. Most agreed that the solution needed to include pedestrian and electric cart transportation solutions, including pedestrian underpasses and overpasses.

Also discussed was the list of sidewalks that the City plans to complete over the next several years. Sidewalk funding was in the FY 2017 budget and is currently in the proposed FY 2018 budget. A list of sidewalks to be constructed was included in the presentation materials. Director Ebert explained that many of our roadway improvements also include new sidewalks. Discussion of where sidewalks are most needed and whether sidewalks were needed on both sides of every street ensued. Comments on sidewalk and roadway improvements evolved into a discussion on how these types of decisions need to be discussed at the local community and residential level and not just as projects presented by Public Works staff to the City Council. CAC members asked if it were possible to establish local neighborhood planning units (NPUs) or Community Boards (CBs) throughout the city that break the city down into smaller geographical areas where citizens would be more likely to be engaged in whether sidewalks were needed on both sides of a roadway, or whether street lighting was needed or wanted, what type of park and recreational facilities should be built, etc.  Director Ebert agreed that this is a great way to increase citizen participation and agreed to propose a couple of ways the City could be divided into smaller residential areas where residents and commercial property owners felt they have a stake in what happens “in their backyard” and where standing Community Review Committees could be established.  The proposed area maps will be sent out to the CAC members over the next several days for their review and comments.

Director Ebert, then directed everyone to the last page of the handout, which had a list of the six transportation categories and asked the CAC members if they would rank them in order of importance. Several CAC members stated that they did not see how they could rank them.  They stated that to rank bridge maintenance below other categories wouldn’t make a difference because if a bridge needed work, then clearly it would get repaired by the Public Works Department.  They decided that it would be better for them to prioritize the transportation projects.  The CAC asked that all of the transportation projects be listed under each of the six categories so that they could see how they fit in the planning process as well as how each project is estimated to cost. This could will be how the STWP should be organized and the group felt that them within each category the projects could be ranked.   The consultant Pond Associates will be able to provide this document in the final draft of the TMP.

The group also discussed the existing 12 Character Areas and Director Ebert commented that the 2018 Comp Plan draft did not include any written descriptions of the areas and suggested that perhaps this Update should also have a paragraph or so about each Character Area and what makes them different from each other.  Irene Sanders agreed to review the existing written descriptions of all 12 Character Areas and to work with at least one CAC member from each of the 12 areas to draft newer versions of the essence of each Character Area.

There was also a discussion on whether we need to make further changes to a few of the boundaries of the 12 Character Areas.  From some of the comments received to date from the public, residents of Shakerag are expressing concern that both sides of Bell Road should be included in the Shakerag Character Area and that the density for this area should remain at one unit per acre with a country or rural feel.

There was also a brief discussion about where we are in the planning process.  The Comprehensive Plan Update was started in October 2016, a year ahead of time, so the 2018 Comprehensive Plan document does not need to be approved by the ARC and City Council until November of calendar 2018, not calendar year 2017.  This means we can take the time to get the document right.    If we keep the public comment period open through September 30th, then we can review public comments the beginning of October.  Get the draft document revised and if acceptable make a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council by the end of calendar year 2017.  Then the document would have a public hearing at the City Council in early 2018, if approved by the Mayor and City Council the document is then sent to the ARC for a 90-day review period.  Comments from the ARC would then come to the City for incorporation into the document and the plan should be ready for adoption at the end of spring 2018. A Gantt chart will be sent to the CAC members to illustrate the rest of the process.  The TMP does not need to go to the ARC and so when that document is finished it will go directly to the Mayor and City Council for review and approval.

Several CAC members recommended changing the look and marketing strategy to engage and outreach to our residents.  It was suggested that the City’s notice ads be changed to be more engaging. Also suggested was to get out to meet people where they are at grocery stores, school events (i.e., football games), Targets, Starbucks, etc.  Engage the students, perhaps even engage the candidates campaigning for election this fall.  Director Ebert noted that the Department will be under staffed during the month of September and that the City is moving City Hall but will try to come up with ways to get more residents out during the upcoming month.

An October meeting date was not set.  Staff will reach out to the CAC members in early September to establish the next meeting. The meeting ended around 8:30 PM.


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CAC Meeting #11

An 11th Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting was held at the City Hall, Taylor Farms Conference Room on June 20th to review and prioritize the City’s Short Term Work Program (STWP) projects.  Nine CAC members were in attendance.  The STWP section of the Comprehensive Plan’s Community Vision chapter is an implementation document that guides the City on the priority in which capital projects for Land Use, Economic Development, Transportation, Parks and Recreation and Cultural, and Community Facilities should be undertaken over the next five to ten year period. The STWP lists the name and description of the project, which City department is responsible for implementing the work, provides a cost estimate and source(s) of funding for the project and also provides a time table for when the project should be done.  The goal of this CAC meeting was to recommend the priority order of the many projects that were identified within the Comprehensive Plan Update.

Transportation STWP projects were discussed first. The TSPLOST Tier I, II and III projects were prioritized at a previous CAC meeting and so this discussion centered on locations where sidewalks and trailways need to be installed.  It was decided that because of the width of the existing Rights of Ways (ROWs), the varying terrain along roads and planned roadway improvements, the decision to install a sidewalk verses a trailway would be left to the Public Works Department. Thus the group decided to combine the various locations where sidewalks and trailways are needed into one list.

Maps were then used for the discussions based on the four major residential areas of the city: Newtown, Ocee, Warsaw and Shakerag/Tech Park. Area 1 – Newtown was discussed first.  The group made the following recommendations for Area 1- Newtown:

  1. Add sidewalks/trailways where ever sections are missing that lead to schools (i.e., Barnwell ES, Dolvin ES and Autrey Mill MS);
  2. Add sidewalks/trailways along the entire length of Nesbitt Ferry Road;
  3. Add sidewalks/trailways along Barnwell Road; and
  4. Add a trailway along Spruill and Buice Roads to connect to Dolvin ES.

The same discussions were held for the remaining three residential areas. The following recommendations were made for Area 2- Ocee:

  1. Add sidewalks/trailways along Parsons Road;
  2. Add sidewalks/trailways where ever missing sections are along Jones Bridge to Dolvin ES; and
  3. Add sidewalks/trailways along West Morton Road.

The following recommendations were made for Area 3- Warsaw:

  1. Add sidewalks/trailways where sections are missing along Old Alabama Road and SR 141, Medlock Bridge Road including the area south of Old Alabama Road to the Chattahoochee River;
  2. Add sidewalks/trailways to Wilson Road to the Northview HS;
  3. Add sidewalks/trailways to Parsons Road to the Northview HS;
  4. Add trailways from the Country Club of the South along Old Alabama Road to SR 141 to Johns Creek HS and State Bridge ES and shopping centers; and
  5. Add trailway from the St. Ives Country Club along SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road to the shopping centers and Johns Creek HS and State Bridge ES (include underpasses and overpasses as needed to separate pedestrian walkways from vehicular traffic at the Medlock Bridge and State Bridge intersection).

The following recommendations were made for Area 4 – Shakerag/Tech Park:

  1. Add sidewalks/trailways along Parsons Road where sections are missing;
  2. Add trailway along Bell Road;
  3. Add trailway along Rogers Bridge Road; and
  4. Add trailway along the Chattahoochee River from McGinnis Ferry Road National Park Service lands to Abbotts Bridge Road National Park Service lands including the new city lands at Cauley Creek and Quail Hollow.

Land Use projects were discussed and ranked in the following priority order:

  1. Develop and adopt a new Unified Development Code based on the Updated Comprehensive Plan and include new design standards for all major streetscapes within the city;
  2. Develop a master plan and design standards for the future redevelopment of the State Bridge at Medlock Bridge shopping centers and roadway improvements;
  3. Develop a master plan and design standards for the redevelopment of Technology Park Civic Center area;
  4. Develop a master plan and design standards for the redevelopment of the Jones Bridge at State Bridge shopping center area;
  5. Develop a master plan and design standards for the redevelopment of the Haynes Bridge at Old Alabama shopping centers area;
  6. Develop a master plan and design standards for the redevelopment of the Jones Bridge at Douglas Road shopping center area; and
  7. Develop a master plan and design standards for the redevelopment of the Jones Bridge Promenade shopping center area.

Economic Development projects were also discussed and ranked in the following order:

  1. Rebrand the Technology Park to promote a “work where you live” health-focused lifestyle;
  2. Create a public/private partnership to promote a city performing arts center; and
  3. Through a public/private partnership develop a performing arts center.
  4. Economic Development projects were also discussed and ranked in the following order:

Community facility projects were discussed and ranked in the following order:

  1. Renovate the new Technology Park City Hall building;
  2. Purchase land for a 4th fire station and develop a new fire station for the northwest section of the city; and
  3. Construct a new senior community center in the northeast section of the city.

Lastly, parks, recreational and cultural projects were discussed, grouped and ranked in the following order:

Group A:

  1. Construct Morton Road neighborhood park;
  2. Construct State Bridge neighborhood park;
  3. Construct the linear lake park in Technology Park;
  4. Construct the Bell/Boles neighborhood park;
  5. Construct the Cauley Creek/Quail Hollow park; and
  6. Reconstruct/construct the Rogers Bridge pedestrian bridge across the Chattahoochee River to Duluth.

Group B:

  1. Make improvements to the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve;
  2. Make improvements to the Ocee Park;
  3. Make improvements to Newtown Park; and
  4. Make improvements to the Shakerag Park.

Group C:

  1. Purchase land for a Town Square; and
  2. Develop a Town Square.

The CAC meeting ended at about 9:00 PM with the group deciding on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, from 6 PM to 9 PM as the next CAC meeting.  The meeting will be used to review the draft Transportation Master Plan (MTP).

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CAC Meeting #10

The 10th Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting was held on May 17, 2017 to review the City’s roadways for widening, roundabouts and other roadway improvements, to discuss the transportation projects scheduled to be done under the TSPLOST program, to prioritize which activity nodes should be studied in more depth for redevelopment opportunities, to discuss residential density, height and land use criteria for mixed use development areas and to review the existing Character Area and Land Use Maps to the proposed Character Area and Land Use maps to be part of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for consistency with the recommendations of the CAC members. Fourteen (14) CAC members were in attendance (see attached sign in sheet).

Upon entering the meeting, each CAC member was provided with $82 Million of “Creek Cash” and asked to review the Tier I and II TSPLOST transportation projects and rank them in order of their priority and importance by using their Creek Cash. The CAC members were then given another $10 million in Creek Cash and asked to do the same exercise with the Tier III TSPLOST projects.

The top five Tier I and II TSPLOST projects in priority order are:

  1. Medlock Bridge Road at State Bridge Road Improvements
  2. New location Road in Technology Park
  3. Bridge Improvements
  4. Barnwell Road at Holcomb Bridge Road Improvements, and
  5. Bell Road and Boles Road operational improvements.

The top five TSPLOST Tier III projects in priority order are:

  1. Medlock Bridge Transit-related Enhancements
  2. Bridge Replacements
  3. Resurfacing Program
  4. Sidewalks and Trail Enhancements, and
  5. Connected Vehicle Infrastructure (the full lists are attached.)

Next, each CAC members was given three dots with the numbers “1”, “2” and “3” on them and were asked to rank in order of importance which activity nodes were the areas to do in depth planning studies on for future redevelopment opportunities.  The priority ranking of the city’s activity nodes for future redevelopment planning studies are:

  1. Technology Park
  2. State Bridge at Medlock Bridge, tied with
  3. State Bridge at Jones Bridge.

Housekeeping items were then discussed.  Comp Plan brochures  (attached) were given to each CAC member and each CAC member was asked to help get the word out to the residents of the City that the draft Comprehensive Plan update (Comp Plan) and Transportation Master Plan (TMP) documents would be available for review and comment starting the first of June.  There was discussion on the fourth Comp Plan Update Workshop, which will be held on June 1st, 2017 in the City Council Chambers from 7 PM to 9 PM. Our planning consultants TSW and POND will be conducting the workshop and the first hour will be an open house where the public may come in and discuss with our consultants the results of the Comp Plan update and new TMP.  Then a twenty minute presentation will be made to the public followed by a questions and answers session.  The Comp Plan and MTP will be made available to the public online via the City’s website, through website, and via hard copies at City Hall, our two libraries, and at the Municipal Court Building. The documents will be available for review by the public throughout the month of June and July.  In addition the Community Development Department staff will be taking out to the public via traveling blackboards that will pose four important Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Plan questions that we seek the answers to from the citizens of Johns Creek.  CAC members discussed the concept and provided seven potential questions we could ask the greater public. The seven questions posed were:

  1. In Johns Creek I would preserve______________________________.
  2. In Johns Creek which roads would you widen to more than 4 lanes __________________.
  3. If I could change one thing to Johns Creek to improve the quality of life, I would change___________________________.
  4. My perfect Johns Creek park has________________________________________.
  5. If I could improve traffic congestion in Johns Creek I would_________________________.
  6. If I could add one thing to Johns Creek it would be___________________________.
  7. Other than traffic, the biggest issue in Johns Creek is_________________________.


The four questions selected by Community Development staff to ask the public are:

  1. In Johns Creek I would Preserve______________________________.
  2. If I could change/add one thing to Johns Creek to improve the quality of life, I would change/add___________________________.
  3. If I could improve traffic congestion in Johns Creek I would_________________________.
  4. Other than traffic, the biggest issue in Johns Creek is_________________________.

The first debut of the traveling blackboards will be May 20th at the Saturday Farmers Market and Touch-A-Truck event being held at the city’s Newton Park from 8 AM to 12 noon.  The traveling blackboards are then scheduled to be at the May 22nd City Council Meeting and the June 1st Comp Plan Workshop and will then continue to travel around the city for the next several weeks asking the citizens of Johns Creek for their input.

CAC members were then engaged in a discussion regarding the TSPLOST projects by the Community Development Director, Sharon Ebert and the Public Works Deputy Director for Traffic, Tom Udell.  The issue of whether projects on the TSPLOST list could be changed or not done was discussed.  It was explained to the group that the City’s Attorney has reviewed the matter and will be providing the Mayor and City Council his written opinion at the next City Council meeting to be held on May 22, 2017. In general, there is little wiggle room to deviate from the TSPLOST projects as defined in the city’s TSPLOST list. For example, if the project description states that the road is to be widened, then the roadway must be widened.  Tom Udell explained that certain words in the transportation industry have specific meanings. For example, the word “capacity” means adding more lanes for vehicles, “widening” has to be for cars while “multi-modal” includes both vehicle lanes and bike and pedestrian lanes. Tom acknowledged that given most lay people do not understanding industry terminology, it may not have been clear to the public what they were approving when the TSPLOST was on the November 2016 Referendum.

The group discussed the need to make sure the road widenings kept the roadways well landscaped and green. There was also discussion on whether projects could just not be done.  Some CAC members did not want any of the roadways in Johns Creek widened. There was discussion on if a TSPLOST project cost came in more than what was estimated how that might affect all of the Tier I and possible Tier II projects.  Tom Udell explained that funding for TSPLOST is generated from a ¾ of a penny sales tax in Fulton County and this sales tax revenue is then provided to participating municipalities based on population. It is anticipated that the City of Johns Creek may receive up to $82 million in TSPLOST funds over the next five years for Tier I and Tier II projects. Projects within Tier I may be reprioritized, but they must be completed prior to moving onto Tier II and then Tier III projects. A question was raised as to what would happen if the solution to a project like the intersection improvements at State Bridge and Medlock Bridge roads ended up costing triple the cost of the original estimate and therefore used more TSPLOST funding then planned for, would the City then still be obligated to complete the remaining Tier I projects even if there wasn’t enough funding left.  It was explained that the TSPLOST Tier I projects would be completed based on the tax revenue raised, the City’s prioritization of the projects and the actual cost of work for each project.  The City may also choose to leverage federal or State transportation funding to offset increases in the costs of the TSPLOST projects.  The CAC members were asked if they wanted to review each area of the City with regards to roadway improvements and to discuss road widening projects and other transportation improvements.  The group decided that it was not necessary.

The next review exercise was to go over the changes made to the City’s twelve Character Areas. Each change was described to the group using the revised Character Area map showing the boundary changes and recommendations for the changes.  The CAC members agreed with the new character area boundaries.

The Existing and Future Land Use maps were then reviewed with the CAC members. Director Ebert explained how the residential density information from the new Character Map had been brought into an updated future land use map by using various shades of light and dark yellow and light and dark orange to reflect one, two, three and four dwelling unit (DU) density maximums in the various residential character areas. Thus, the new and updated future land use map (see map attached) reflects all of the actual types of land uses:

  1. Utilities
  2. Residential (1DU/Acre)
  3. Residential (1DU/Acre)
  4. Residential (1DU/Acre)
  5. Residential (1DU/Acre)
  6. Recreation – Public
  7. Recreation – Private
  8. Schools, Religious Institutions, Municipal
  9. Commercial – Office
  10. Commercial – Multi-family
  11. Commercial – Retail/shopping centers
  12. Mixed Use – Low Intensity, and
  13. Mixed Use – High Intensity.

Since residential densities per acre had been determined for the residential land uses areas along with height maximums of no more than three stories/40 feet and the type of housing had been restricted to only single family detached in the four residential areas, the criteria on residential density, height and uses for the mixed use areas still needed to be determined.  The new Land Use map indicated a number of potential activity node areas within the City where Low Intensity Mixed Use might be desired. The only area on the map where High Intensity Mixed Use was proposed was in Technology Park. A long discussion then proceeded on what constituted high and low residential densities. The Community Development staff presented to the CAC members a series of examples of residential densities  and heights using photos and site plans of the new Town Center in Brookhaven (17 DU/acre), Glenwood Park in Atlanta (12.5 DU/acre), Suwanee Town Center (3.6 DU/acre) and I’ON in Mt. Pleasant, SC (3.1 DU/acre).   The CAC members discussed the fact that how dense housing looked on a site did not always mean that it felt dense or actually was dense.  They discussed how the Town Center at Brookhaven did not feel crowded when some of the CAC members had been there or similarly that Glenwood Park did not feel crowded when we had visited it on the CAC tour last fall. There was a discussion on how integrating green open space into the residential mix helps to reduce the feeling of overcrowding as Suwanee’s Town Center did not feel like a lot of residential units.  Community Development staff also presented examples of shopping centers that were redeveloped into mixed use developments using the town center  in Mashpee, MA, Mizner Park in Boca Raton, FL and Santana Row in San Jose, CA as examples.   Additional examples of new mixed use developments were also provided to the CAC members using the new town center in Woodstock, GA, Crabapple, Milton, GA, and Vickery in Cumming, GA, Serenbe, GA and Birkdale Village in Huntersville, NC (see attached photos).

The outcome of much discussion was that High Intensity Mixed Use development should be permitted in Technology Park, but only in the area confined by Medlock Bridge Road to the west, south of East Johns Crossing, and east of Lakefield Drive. This area is comprised of approximately 94 acres of land including the City’s approximately 21 acre linear lake park.  The rational presented by one CAC member was that there would remain a buffer of office and institutional land uses separating these high intensity uses from any surrounding residential areas.  Permitted uses would include entertainment, restaurants, commercial, office and residential. Housing types permitted would include single family detached units, duplexes, triplexes, townhomes and stacked flats, but no multi-family garden style apartments.  There was a great deal of discussion on what the maximum residential density should be with a final agreement among a majority of CAC members of 16 DU/acre. The CAC members also discussed the need for a gradation of density within this mixed use area of high, medium and low residential density and there was agreement that this level of detail would be worked out in a future area study of this 94 acre area. The maximum height permitted in this area of Technology Park should be no greater than five (5) stories.

The CAC members then discussed what Medium and Low Intensity Mixed Use residential density should be. A final agreement was reached among a majority of the CAC members that 8 DU/acre should be the maximum Low Intensity Mixed Use permitted and that 12 DU/acre should be the maximum Medium Intensity Mixed Use. Correspondingly, the maximum height in a Low Intensity Mixed Use area should be three (3) stories and four (4) stories in a medium intensity mixed use area. The Future Land Use Map will be updated to reflect these changes including adding the category of Medium Intensity Mixed Use.

The CAC members then reviewed each of the four major residential areas within the city and determined which activity nodes should be permitted to go to a Mixed Use and which should remain Commercial. The following areas were recommended to be kept as commercial, only because there is already a high number of apartment and townhome units surrounding these activity nodes and any additional residential units would only add to traffic congestion:

  1. State Bridge at Medlock Bridge – all four quadrants
  2. State Bridge at Jones Bridge – Kroger Shopping Center
  3. Medlock Bridge at Abbotts Bridge – all four quadrants
  4. Jones Bridge at Abbotts Bridge – all four quadrants
  5. Douglas Road – the Kroger Shopping Center, and
  6. The Medlock Bridge Shopping Center at Wilson Road.

It was discussed that redevelopment could occur in these locations, but that the desired outcome would be a more walkable retail/commercial “Main Street” environment without additional housing units.

The activities node areas that were recommended to be permitted to go to either Low Intensity or Medium Intensity Mixed Use were:

  1. Newtown – all three shopping centers – Low Intensity Mixed Use
  2. The Jones Bridge Promenade (southeast quadrant) – Low Intensity Mixed use
  3. Douglas Road – the two story Bottoms Up Beverages Shopping Center (northwest quadrant) – low Intensity Mixed Use
  4. The Grand Pavilion at Kimball Bridge and State Bridge – Medium Intensity Mixed Use, and
  5. The Holcomb Bridge Shopping Center (between Nesbitt Ferry and Barnwell roads) – Medium Intensity Mixed Use. There was also discussion whether the area just north of the Holcomb Bridge shopping center that includes the Rivermont Condos and Colony homes could be included as Low Intensity Mixed Use, but no decision was made due to the fact that some of the area is part of the River Corridor.

The CAC meeting ended at about 9:15 PM with the group deciding on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, from 6 PM to 9 PM as the next CAC meeting.  The meeting will be used to review the second draft of the Comp Plan and the TMP.




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Draft Plan Available for Comment!

Johns Creek seeks community input on the draft version of its 2017 Comprehensive Plan, please review the press release from the City below:

June 07, 2017

The City of Johns CreComp Planek has released a draft version of its Comprehensive Plan update.  The purpose of the plan is to review and update the City’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan.  The plan seeks to preserve residential neighborhoods and manage future development growth.


The draft Comprehensive Plan update was developed through two public planning workshops held last fall and a three-day workshop held in January of this year. In addition,  a 25-person Citizen Advisory Committee comprised of residents and three City council members was appointed in September 2016 by the Mayor and City Council and held ten planning meetings to establish goals, policies, changes to the Character Areas and the Future Land Use Map. City staff from the Community Development and Public Works departments worked with planning and transportation consultants, TSW and Pond Associates, over an eight month period to gather in citizen input and draft the Plan.

The updated plan outlines five new goals that focus on:

1)    Creating a city-wide multi-modal sustainable transportation network that reduces traffic congestion, increases intra-city mobility, and includes complete streets, cart, bike and pedestrian pathways that connect neighborhoods to schools, parks, shopping centers, and institutional destinations;
2)    Creating an identity for the city that guides future development while preserving its residential neighborhoods and exceptional quality of life;
3)    Expanding the city’s economic base to retain and attract high tech industries while protecting residential home values;
4)    Providing superior recreational and cultural activities throughout the city, and
5)    Developing tools to implement the goals, including developing a Unified Development Code with architectural and site design standards.

In an effort to preserve the residential character of the community and reduce future residential development and density, the plan focuses on lowering densities in residential areas and creating neighborhood villages in key locations within the City.

The updated plan creates a parcel specific Land Use Map and provides specific density, height and use restrictions for all parcels in the City. The Land Use Map identifies sections of the Technology Park Area, Newtown Area, Ocee Area and Jones Bridge Road at State Bridge area as potential neighborhood villages in established commercial areas in the City that should be further studied to permit redevelopment and a possible mix of retail, office and contextually appropriate residential development.

With respect to transportation, the plan identifies and prioritizes future road projects and new sidewalks and trailways that will connect residential neighborhoods to schools, shopping, libraries and parks.

The citizens of Johns Creek will have ample opportunity to review the draft plan and provide comments throughout June and July. Additionally, a public hearing will be conducted prior to the draft being sent to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for their review this summer. The ARC’s review typically takes 90 days. A final draft will then be issued this fall for another review by the public before going before the Mayor and City Council for review and approval.

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CAC Meeting #9

Meeting #9 – April 27, 2017
This meeting was held to review the first draft of the Comprehensive Plan update. The draft plan was advanced to the CAC members on 3 days prior for review. The meeting focused on reviewing Section 3- Community Vision.

The vision statement was first reviewed. The CAC made some comments to help refine the vision statement, specifically about calling attention to greenspace, health and healthcare, and vibrancy. Next, goals were reviewed, and the CAC made some suggestions to further refine them.

The next area of review was the draft plan’s proposed policies. While the Project Team included policies that received a majority from the CAC previously, there was discussion on eliminating policies based on how much consensus they originally recieved from the CAC, and whether or not they would be well-received by the public. Lastly, a discussion about future land use map and its designations was had, and some suggestions were passed along to the Project Team

The CAC also made requests to the Project Team with regards to making the plan even clearer for users in the form of more explanatory information and clearer photos, graphics, and maps.

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CAC Meeting #8

Meeting #8 – March 30, 2017
This CAC meeting focused on updating Character Area boundaries, developing the Future Land Use map, and refining citywide transportation policies and projects. CAC members were broken up into 4 groups to focus on these three tasks for smaller subareas in the City: Newtown, Ocee, Warsaw/River Estates/River East, and Shakerag.

Comp Plan Character Areas Proposed 2017 040517


Top Land Use Concerns:
-The lack of parks
-Overuse of Newtown Park
-Aging neighborhoods and shopping centers
Top Transportation Concerns:
-Congestion on Old Alabama Road
-Congestion on Barnwell Road near the school,
-Lack of walking paths from the school to nearby subdivisions as
Proposed solutions include:
-Reconfiguring the shopping centers on the corners of Old Alabama and Haynes Bridge Road to include pedestrian access and connectivity between the four corners
-Adding pocket parks wherever possible
-Making Holcomb Bridge Road a gateway into the City
-Adding left turns along Old Alabama Road to ease congestion
-Constructing pedestrian paths between schools and existing subdivisions where possible
-Adding sidewalks along Barnwell Road and Brumbelow Road with a connecting natural trail path between them

2. OCEE:

Top Land Use Concerns:

-A lack of public park land,
-The over development of vacant lands
-Empty shopping centers
Top Transportation Concerns:
-A lack of road connections
-A lack of entrances/exits in subdivisions
-Lack of pedestrian access between residential areas, schools, and shopping centers
-To solve these issues, the group recommended:
-Redeveloping underutilized shopping centers (such as the ones at Jones -Bridge/Sargent/Douglas and Jones Bridge/State Bridge) into low-intensity mixed-use, walkable shopping districts
-Converting vacant parcels into parks or keeping them green
-Placing a local road at Taylor Road Middle School and Chattahoochee High School to create another exit
-Creating additional public streets around Jones Bridge Road and State Bridge Road to create additional ways around the intersection
-Adding sidewalks along Jones Bridge Road, Parsons Road, Abbotts Bridge Road, and Sargent Road
-Adding a back entrance to Seven Oaks


Top Land Use Concerns:
-A lack of public park land
-The overdevelopment of vacant lands
-Inappropriate land uses near residential subdivisions
-Too many big box stores and shopping centers with large parking lots fronting the roadways
Top Transportation Concerns:
-Poor signal timing
-The lack of a local road connecting Old Alabama Road and State Bridge Road
-No local way around the intersection of SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road and State Bridge -Road coming from all directions
-The threat of widening the roadways
-The lack of safe pedestrian access across SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road and State Bridge Road
-Few sidewalks and trails connecting shopping centers and schools to nearby subdivisions.

Proposed solutions include:
-Keeping the Medlock Bridge Corridor character area, but only allowing commercial, office, and civic land uses and confining it to parcels adjacent to SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road’s right-of-way
-Developing a strategic plan for the future redevelopment of the area along SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road from Parsons Road to Medlock Crossing Parkway
-Creating regulations that require undeveloped parcels of land abutting residential subdivisions to conform to the existing zoning of the subdivisions
-Redeveloping underutilized shopping centers into walkable shopping districts;
-Purchasing available large tracts of land to use as future park lands
-Placing a local road be placed through the Perimeter Church property to connect Old Alabama Road and State Bridge Road
-Creating public streets either around or through the shopping center parking lots at SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road at State Bridge Road to get around the intersection
-Locating roundabouts at the following locations: Old Alabama Road/Buice Road, Old Alabama Road/Thornhill entrance, Wilson Road/Abbotts Bridge Road, Bell Road/Abbotts Bridge Road, and Parsons Road/Abbotts Road



Top Land Use Concerns:
-Containing commercial growth within limits of Technology Park (including Standard Club)
-Utilizing land along the Chattahoochee for a ‘Shakerag’ greenway.
-Developing lands that are currently designated as conservation easements (should they be developed) as low-density (1-3 units/acre) residential housing.
-Pine straw business at McGinnis Ferry and Bell Roads:
-Desire for ‘pop-up’ patio business, beer garden/food truck, and art installation space
Top Transportation Concerns:
-The widening of McGinnis Ferry Road into 6 lanes needs to occur, but the design should be neighborhood friendly
-SR 141/Medlock Bridge Road should be kept as 4 lanes
-All other roads to be kept/maintained at two lanes
-Lack of multi-use trails
-Lack of sidewalks – they should be everywhere
Proposed solutions include:
-New developments should provide connections to existing roads.
-Need to study school traffic to see where improvements can be made to relieve congestion and provide safer routes for students
-Place roundabouts at intersections of Rogers Bridge Road, Bell Road, and Rogers Circle, and entrances at Foxdale subdivisions.

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CAC Meeting #7


In attendance: Sharon Ebert, Adam Williamson, Eric Lusher, Andrew Antweiler, City Staff, CAC Committee Members

Please find a copy of the presentation below:



This meeting was held to discuss the CAC policy survey results, transportation concept development, future land use map development, and the character area map.

Policy Survey

In the previous CAC meeting the committee decided to create an internal policy survey to understand priorities in the City moving forward. Each member was asked to “agree, disagree, or comment” on the statements listed. Overall the results were consistent and a clear direction was given to the consultant team. A copy of the presentation is posted in the website which shows each individual policies and how they were received. This feedback will be incorporated in our draft recommendations available in the coming months. There was discussion about question structure and how to proceed with the survey from here on out. The survey is reopened to the remaining CAC members who did not get a chance to take the survey, per their request. These updated results will be available at the next CAC meeting.

Transportation Plan Development

The transportation team discussed corridors and active transportation options. Regarding the corridors the discussion topics included SR 141 and State Bridge widening possibly being reevaluated and whether adding six lanes to McGinnis Ferry was plausible. Several non CAC members showed up to the meeting in opposition to the McGinnis Ferry widening idea.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most of the car trips head SW from Johns Creek – most trips generated on 141 S
  • Scenario testing for future travel pattern was conducted by the transportation consultants, each travel demand model takes 48 hours to create, this tool is used by the ARC for long range transportation planning. Travel demand model assumes 2040 growth projections but maintains infrastructure outside of Johns Creek to be the same (i.e. road widening, bus rapid transit).
  • Widening McGinnis Ferry to 6 lanes only increases travel time by 4 minutes over 141 at 4 lanes. Widening E-W not likely to relieve most N-S movements. CAC and public adamantly against this 6 lane widening.
  • Long term bus rapid transit proposed along State Bridge Road – opposition to bus service, worry of low use was a concern of the CAC.
  • SR 141 through JC is the preferred route to jobs in central Atlanta as seen through traffic pattern modeling.
  • Widening 141 to 6 lanes would reduce peak period travel time by 4.5 minutes just in Johns Creek – CAC and public adamantly against this widening
  • CAC idea about staggering school bus usage in the morning to help traffic problems
  • Roundabouts popular option for slowing down traffic and decreasing accidents throughout the City

Land Use Plan Development

Key Takeaways:

  • Future land use plan to tighten up uses and deter future legal issues
  • CAC doesn’t want the city to become a strip mall – Medlock Bridge specifically– tighten up character areas along 141
  • Residential nodes suggestion – propose nodes for more detailed study of transportation and land use for internal CAC discussion at next meeting
  • City created density map to illustrate current densities to CAC
  • Is the 14k-15k additional units from the previous Comp Plan appropriate? No – as of now, the Project Team will suggest new number based off CAC feedback
  • Future land use plan and designations was well received by CAC

The next CAC meeting will be held on 03/30/2017.

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CAC Meeting #6

February 2, 2017

In attendance: Sharon Ebert, Adam Williamson, Laura Richter, Richard Fangmann, Andrew Antweiler, City Staff, CAC Committee Members

This meeting was held one week after the Three Day Workshop to discuss the results and materials produced. First a presentation was given by TSW and POND on draft land use and transportation concepts developed thus far. Pond led the conversation with reviewing three alternatives for the 141 corridor. Please refer to the posted presentation from the Workshop.

  1. Freeway option
  2. Grade separated street option
  3. Designing more local streets in commercial areas to divert traffic option

Additionally a trail map was presented to show a potential multi-use trail system throughout the City. TSW then led the land use portion looking at the three nodes that the CAC chose previously. These concepts were ultimately about showing a grid with walkable sized blocks. The land uses depicted show a healthy mix of uses, but are variable and depend on the market conditions in the City. Land uses shown aren’t important in this exercise as they purely conceptual, but illustrating the transportation component and generating alternative routes is what could be an important tool to the City. Land uses vary over time,  think of towns with traditional street grids where uses change frequently.

Following the presentation each member of the CAC was given time to speak about their personal opinions on all items discussed by the Project Team. This served as an extremely helpful tool to guide us into the next steps of the project. Below the overall takeaways from this discussion are listed:

-Transportation plans and ideas need more detail and clarification including: overall master street plan development and individual projects for roads eg. 141 etc. Support for maintaining the 4 lane section of 141 was heard and to add multi-modal access to it with mutli-use trails on either side for bike/ped/cart use.

-Expand transportation, land use and transportation initiatives into policies that the Project Team will draft based on public input further detailing ideas we have heard. These policies will serve as basis for future projects the City can focus on in the twenty years.

-Explore other nodes’ potential other than the ones from the Workshop. Jones Bridge/State Bridge was mentioned the most among many. Additionally, the Atlanta Athletic Club site should remain green or low density residential.

-The CAC would like a second survey drafted that will contain policies for the public to agree/disagree/and comment on. The Project Team is developing this now.

Please email with any questions.

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Public Meeting #3

January 26, 2017

This meeting was held on the final day of the Three Day Workshop. The Project Team prepared a presentation and several physical plans displayed on the walls showing concepts of the nodes studied including: Medlock/Bridge State Bridge/Atlanta Athletic Club, Tech Park and Newtown Park. These concepts are purely conceptual and are used to illustrate a potential scenario for each area. Any developer driven redevelopment and its mix of uses would go through a City approval process based off this community driven Comprehensive Plan. With this said, it’s important to understand transportation implications of these concepts, creating a grid system at these nodes and incorporating them into a master street plan promotes ease of movement through these nodes and multi modal access for future growth.

The first portion of the meeting was an Open House format for people to walk around and view the physical plans as well as Land Use boards that had been displayed all three days. The Project Team followed up with a presentation outlining the work produced during the three days including the transportation and land use concepts. Please review the posted presentation for full details. Three concepts were discussed for 141:

  1. Freeway option: designed for moving traffic as efficiently as possible, would include on an off ramps, cons could include not designing for ped/bike/cart use and diminished aesthetics of corridor
  2. Grade separated street option: grade separation at the intersection of 141 and State Bridge to increase traffic flow, cons could include not designing for ped/bike/cart use and diminished aesthetics of corridor
  3. Designing more local streets in commercial areas to divert traffic option: using the redevelopment of key nodes (Medlock/State Bridge, Tech Park, etc) as opportunities for new public streets to give drivers/bicyclists/pedestrians/carts alternative routes

A master trail system plan was also presented to show continuous loops throughout the City that would carry bike/ped/cart movements. This would give citizens an option other than getting in their car for local trips and could reduce the number of cars on the road in the future.

Next the land use concepts were presented. These land use concepts were framed by changing trends in City form. Johns Creek’s model for the past twenty years or so has been to place buildings in the center of a lot and surround it with parking. You can only drive between buildings and walking/biking is afterthought. A lot of suburban American sees this land pattern – but it can be fixed incrementally over time to improve access and traffic flow. This is implemented by having building face streets and public spaces as well as integrating them into a street grid. These concepts can apply to big cities or small towns.

  1. Tech Park
    • Currently we have “scattered buildings, not oriented to any street”
    • Overtime ewe change this by introducing new streets to form blocks
    • Enhancing the existing greenway to accommodate multi-use trails
    • Integrating the already master planned park and new City Hall
    • In time there is a network of streets, multiple options for access
    • This concept shows a mix of uses – as these are variable – it is the infrastructure and street system that matters
  2. Medlock Bridge/State Bridge
    • This concepts integrates some existing retail into a new village form
    • The Project Team shows the Regal, Target, Home Depot, Historic Warsaw School, Whole Foods and Publix remaining, but the rest of the commercial properties reorganizing, facing the streets and resting in a grid
    • New Streets are introduced on all four quadrants integrated with trails, landscaping and parking to create “complete streets”
    • The Athletic Club site reflects the same principles aforementioned and also includes an idea for a performing arts center and a series of green spaces
    • This site also included a creek trail in the buffer behind the property which would run through the whole development adding another layer of connectivity
  3. Newtown Park Node
    • This concept shows that after a life cycle of a shopping center it can be reborn as a more walkable village
    • A round about is integrate4d into the Haynes Bridge and Old Alabama intersection
    • Buildings are brought up to the street and new streets form internal grids for alternative routes including trails connecting to Newtown Park

Lastly the Project Team presented a case study in Sugar Land, TX. A City with similar stats to Johns Creek this is illustrating an example of a largely suburban community integrating a town village development into their existing landscape. This development includes a City Hall, public town green and mixed use.

Key Takeaways:

  • Public understands alternative routes at nodes and is generally supportive of this initiative
  • Condensing commercial is preferred rather than promoting sprawl
  • Public would like to maintain or enhance character of 141, design street for local residents not through commuters
  • Turning derelict shopping centers into temporary or permanent green spaces is another idea heard
  • Partnering with developers to help curb the costs of building new infrastructure (streets, trails, etc) was supported
  • Public wants to continue the development of low density housing (i.e. single family detached units on 0.5 acre lots or more) versus condos/apartments/townhomes
  • New developments near public schools (esp high schools) should be designed to promote walkability/bikeability/golf cart use so students can safely utilize off-campus lunch and after school destinations without the use of a car.

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CAC Meeting #5

January 19, 2017

In attendance: CAC Committee, Sharon Ebert,  City Staff

The CAC members asked at their December meeting for an additional meeting to be held prior to the 3-day January Workshop (scheduled for the 24th, 25th and 26th) to ensure they had a full discussion on the Comprehensive Plan’s Goals and Vision Statement. Staff from the City of Johns Creek facilitated the meeting. Eleven of the 26 CAC members attended.

A power point presentation was given by Sharon Ebert, Director of Community Development that followed the meeting agenda. Discussion centered on the comprehensive plan update’s goals. The ten goals that had been previously discussed at the December CAC meeting were grouped into four primary goals focusing on:

  1. Creating a city-wide multi-modal transportation network
  2. Creating a City identity
  3. Expanding Economic Development opportunities, and
  4. Providing superior recreational and cultural activities city-wide.

A 5th goal was introduced by city staff to ensure the city’s zoning ordinance and development regulations would be updated to reflect the 2038 Comprehensive Plan.

CAC members in attendance all agreed that fixing the city’s transportation issues was a number one priority goal. There was some discussion on focusing transportation on two key objectives: fixing through traffic congestion; and creating local traffic pathways that allow for getting around the city without having to use major transportation routes.

The discussion on the City’s identity included comments on our current identity as a premier residential community verses what we may want to be in the future. Examples were given that Milton is also a premier residential community but is known as an equestrian community; Alpharetta has branded itself as The Technology City of the South; and Peachtree City is considered a golf-cart community. There was discussion on Anand’s presentation from December to be known as a premier healthcare and wellness community. Should the city be more focused on residential verses commercial, can it be both? Discussion also centered on our excellent school system and that is why most people move to Johns Creek. The identity issue still needs further discussion.

The goal of expanding the city’s economic development focused on including innovative businesses and not just high tech businesses. Also there was discussion on how much we should expand our commercial activity. We currently have a tax base where approximately 80% is supported by residential taxes and 20% by commercial taxes. Should we try to expand the commercial tax base to 25% over the next 20 years to help support the cost of superior services that the city desires? If we expand our economic base will it infringe on our residential neighborhoods? (No one wants that to happen.) Can the expansion occur on the existing footprint of our commercial center and within Tech Park? Staff believe this is very doable. How do we get a hotel and conference center to locate to the City or upscale restaurants? The identity of the City and the decline of suburban technology office parks in general is one reason why new businesses and supporting commercial enterprises are not locating to our city. Zoning became a part of the discussion and how it had a great impact on what is being proposed in the city and what the city’s land uses look like. Changing the zoning and land use could have a major impact on controlling growth patterns within the city.

The 4th goal of providing superior recreational and cultural activities was discussed in the context that we have virtually no meeting space for business meetings or for family events like weddings. Is it possible to attract a venue that can provide some of those spaces? Also discussed was the need for auditorium space for theater, dance, and music presentations.

The discussion of the 4 goals lead to reviewing two proposed vision statements:

Option #1

“Johns Creek strives to provide for a premier residential community that supports educational excellence and a vibrant business community, with ease of movement throughout, an alive town center, and exceptional recreational facilities and a vibrant business community.”


Option #2

“Johns Creek strives to create an identity through preserving its premier residential neighborhoods, creating a more efficient transportation system, developing a vibrant town center, providing exceptional recreation and community facilities, and fostering a strong business community.”


Option #1 was the preferred version as it was simpler. There was some discussion that supporting our schools should be in the vision statement even though Johns Creek does not govern the school district. A revise version is presented below:


Option #1

“Johns Creek strives to be provide for a premier residential community that supports educational excellence and a vibrant business community, with while providing ease of movement throughout, an alive town center, and exceptional recreational facilities. and a vibrant business community.”


The 3-day workshop was briefly discussed. CAC members were encouraged to reach out to neighbors to get them to participate in shaping their city’s future. CAC members may attend the workshop during any of the following time frames:


Tuesday 24th, 6-8 PM OPEN HOUSE

Wednesday 25th, 2-5 PM OPEN HOUSE and 7-9 PM COMMUNITY EDUCATIONAL SESSION on the City’s economic health; and

Thursday 26th from 2-7 PM. OPEN HOUSE.


Lastly, the City Council’s late December announcement that they will be purchasing the property located at 11360 Lakefield Drive in Technology Park as our new City Hall location was discussed. Most everyone thought the location was a strong one, being next to the new lakes parkland and the investment will help redevelop Tech Park. Most felt this would make the Town Center be in Tech Park, but that we could and should redevelop our shopping centers to become live-work-play neighborhood villages so that all areas of the city had a center to call their own.

A CAC follow up meeting to the 3-day workshop will be scheduled approximately 7 to 10 days after the workshop for the Consultants to share all of the information with the CAC members and to sort through the public’s many ideas about their visions for the city prior to the consultants’ rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan.