Last night the Alpharetta Planning Commission took up the issue of taxpayer subsidized apartments for seniors. The commission voted to deny the petition but the Alpharetta City Council will eventually have the final say.
The subsidized senior housing will be an important decision for Alpharetta because it would once again ignore our land use plan in favor of adding more high density residential housing. It would also lower the city’s ratio of owner occupied properties to rental properties even further below the 85% as required by law.
But even more than the fact that the proposal is bad for Alpharetta, what bothers me most is that my tax dollars are being used to lobby my elected representatives against my own interests. As I mentioned in this previous blog post, employees of the City of Alpharetta used public resources to circulate emails in favor of the proposal and offered to give bus rides on to seniors that were willing to attend zoning meetings in support of the proposal. I found that use of public funds inexcusable and to their credit it seems that the City of Alpharetta put a stop to the activity.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Fulton County. Someone emailed me the picture below that shows a Fulton County bus from the Dorothy C. Benson Multipurpose Complex which brought seniors from Sandy Springs to the Alpharetta zoning meeting last night. In case you didn’t make the connection the Sandy Springs senior center is named after the leading proponent of the subsidized housing project, Ms. Dorothy (Dot) Benson.
So who paid to bring people from Sandy Springs to lobby a planning commission meeting in Alpharetta? Was it the developer? Was it Ms. Benson? Or was it the taxpayers of Fulton County footing the bill to support this advocacy?
I respect Ms. Benson and all of the private citizens that support the developer’s zoning proposal. They have every right to come from anywhere they wish and lobby my representatives. But I should not be forced to pay the bill for them to do so. If Fulton County has money to spend on this kind of activism I am sure there are seniors in Alpharetta that would love an air conditioned ride to the next Tea Party rally.