CAC Meeting #5

Jan. 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 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.