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Town Hall Meeting on The District, May 12

April 29, 2015

The District mapThe public will have another opportunity to weigh in on The District from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on May 12 when Mayor Bodker and the City Council hold a town hall meeting on The District in the City Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall, 12000 Findley Road. 
 
If you are unable to attend the town hall meeting, you can view it live or archived on the City of Johns Creek website by following this link.
 
What is The District and why are we considering it?
The City of Johns Creek is in the process of conducting a study to plan for the future of a 728-acre area centered around Technology Park in order to create a dynamic central business district (The District). 
  
These are the primary concerns the City is trying to address:

Families in Johns Creek are not putting down lifelong roots. The District will serve as a town center that anchors the community and keeps families in Johns Creek long after their kids graduate.

Johns Creek must enhance its competitive identity to level the playing field. The District will enhance the city's competitive identity with neighboring communities. Although Johns Creek is among the top 2 percent of largest cities in the U.S. in terms of population, it lacks a central business district to attract upscale development. It can be a place Johns Creek residents and business people can proudly take family, friends or visitors.

Johns Creek is not retaining and attracting enough young professionals. Strong corporate employers look for a young, vibrant workforce of business professionals when choosing where to locate. The District would provide the kind of environment that attracts this key workforce with dining, shopping and social gathering spots.

Johns Creek lacks a healthy, sustainable tax base. As the City continues to grow, revenue needs to grow with it. The obvious solution: Bring new commercial development (which produces more tax revenue than residential and requires fewer services), and let the additional business growth generate the revenue to help cover the City's needs in the future.

To accomplish these objectives, the City hired a multi-discipline team headed by Urban Design Associates (UDA) to help explore the feasibility of The District and to work with the community to help draft a blueprint to guide its development over the next 30 years. The UDA team includes experts in design and architecture, land use, transportation, real estate, and retail economics to ensure that every aspect of The District has been considered.

The process is community-driven. Many factors will shape the final product of this effort, such as the economy, interest by developers, state approvals, and cost. No factor is more important or more imperative than community input and acceptance. UDA devised a three-phase process with public input prominent in all three phases, using focus groups and different types of citizen feedback formats. At this point, The District is a conversation; not a foregone conclusion. Each citizen has a chance to influence the City's trajectory for generations to come.

UDA kicked off the latest stage of the planning process during a week-long design charrette that took place April 13-17. A wide range of concepts were shown to the public at that time. You can view the consultant's April 16 presentation here
  
Nothing is set in stone. The maps and design concepts shown at the charrette reflected a broad range of ideas to start a community discussion. Please understand that the Mayor and City Council have not committed to any of the ideas that were put forth by the consulting team. The city wants to ensure that all alternatives are explored by the community before any redevelopment plans are conceived.

The City Council established guiding principles to ensure that The District planning process and the final redevelopment plan is reflective of community priorities. 
 
District Design Objectives (in no particular order)
  • Create a compelling development unique to Johns Creek and the region while not sacrificing the high quality residential character found elsewhere in the city
  • Provide a safe downtown destination with an appropriate mix of uses that are attractive to multiple populations
  • Design a downtown that is scaled appropriately for Johns Creek
  • Include dining, retail, office, an appropriate housing mix, and the arts to ensure vibrancy during business hours, early evenings, and on weekends
  • Integrate existing and enhanced water features and an appropriate amount of open and green space amenities in the design
  • Create a street and block network that accommodates a walkable core
  • Preserve the integrity of adjacent neighborhoods
  • Understand and mitigate any secondary impacts of the development on the increase in traffic, degradation of public safety, overcrowding of schools, and burdens on the park system.
  • Attract private development to improve the economic yield of the land and generate financially accretive tax revenue for both development needs and citywide improvements
 
What's next?
Late spring-early summer: UDA, working with City staff, refines design concepts/maps and analysis

Mid-summer: UDA presents draft plan to the community in a public meeting, followed by a public input meeting in which the community can discuss details of the plan with design staff. Based on feedback from the public, UDA revises the plan further and submits final concepts/designs to the City.

For more information or to learn about opportunities for public input, please visit the City website or follow us on Facebook. Or interested citizens can provide information with an online form.