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City of Johns Creek seeks input on future plans of the City

September 15, 2017

Comp PlanThe City of Johns Creek continues to seek resident input on the City’s Comprehensive Plan.   The purpose of the plan is to review and update the City’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan.  The plan seeks to preserve and protect residential neighborhoods and carefully manage future development growth.
Resident input is vital to shaping the future of the City of Johns Creek.  The City released a draft version of its Comprehensive Plan Update on June 7, 2017.  Residents are requested to review the plan online and provide feedback.  
The draft Comprehensive Plan update was developed through two public planning workshops held last fall and a 3-day workshop held in January 2017. In addition, a geographically diverse 25-person Citizen Advisory Committee comprised of residents and three City councilmembers was appointed in September 2016 by the Mayor and City Council.  The committee held 10 planning meetings to establish goals, policies, and 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 over an 8-month period to gather citizen input and create a first draft of the Plan.  The public comment period on the first draft has been open for three months and will continue to be open until the City Council takes final action to approve the plan, sometime before November 2018.
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. These villages are focused on properties that are existing retail shopping centers as well as a compressed area of Tech Park (bound by Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek Parkway and East Johns Crossing).
The updated plan creates a parcel specific Future Land Use Map and provides recommendations for specific density, height, and use restrictions for all parcels in the City. 
With respect to transportation, the plan identifies and prioritizes future road projects for traffic congestion relief and new sidewalks and trailways that will connect residential neighborhoods to schools, shopping, libraries and parks.
The citizens of Johns Creek will continue to have ample opportunity to review the draft plan and provide feedback. The draft plan and all of the information regarding the plan and the planning process are available at www.connectjohnscreek.com.
Additionally, a public hearing will be conducted prior to the draft being sent to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for their review.  The ARC’s review typically takes 90 days. A final draft will then be issued for another review by the public before going before the Mayor and City Council for their review and approval.
The City is required by law to adopt an update to the Comprehensive Plan by November 2018.  
There is no deadline for receiving public input and the City welcomes comments and suggestions at any time, and in any manner in which the public would like to present it to the City.
A few key tidbits from the Updated Draft Comprehensive Plan that reflect the commitment of the City to preserve and protect our residential neighborhoods, reduce density, and create opportunities for appropriately scaled and contextually sensitive commercial development include:
The recommendations in the Comp Plan update will lower the rate of development growth compared to the current Comp Plan.
Since incorporation of the City of Johns Creek, only one apartment complex was approved for construction and the number of units approved amounts to only 8 percent of the total number of apartment units in the City.  
The City as a whole has an extremely low residential density of 1.6 units to the acre.  The Comp Plan Update would lower the rate of growth in the City compared to the current Comp Plan.
New townhomes in the residential character areas are recommended to be eliminated in the Updated Comp Plan.
Currently, mixed use development is allowable in commercial zoning districts with no restrictions on density and an 8-story height limit in Tech Park.  The Comp Plan update recommends restricting mixed use to a handful of existing retail shopping centers and a condensed portion of Tech Park (bounded by Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek Parkway and East Johns Crossing).  The updated Comp Plan restricts density for mixed use and lowers the height limit to 5-stories.