Jim Gilvin is the only candidate for Mayor of Alpharetta who does not rely on developers to fund his political campaigns and keep a roof over his head.
Why is that important? Click on the video below to see.
The campaign disclosures for the May 22nd special election to fill Alpharetta’s vacant Mayor’s office and two city council seats have been posted on the city’s website for public review. You can see the reports at this link: https://www.alpharetta.ga.us/government/voting-elections/campaign-disclosures
Unfortunately my opponent filed spreadsheets using such a tiny font that it will be difficult for most people to see how many high density mixed use developers and commercial property owners have funded his campaign. As a public service I have posted them below so you can enlarge them for easier inspection.
Alpharetta has had a written goal limiting apartments for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately that goal has been repeatedly ignored by my opponent despite his campaign promises. Here is the truth.
Alpharetta voters deserve to know the truth. The truth is that my opponent Chris Owens is the Vice President of Development for a consulting firm that does traffic impact studies for many of the developers building projects in Alpharetta. Strangely that relationship does not show up on his campaign disclosure.
The Alpharetta City Council meeting this week included two zoning cases where developers hired Chris Owens’ firm to perform their traffic analyses. According to the analysis provided by Chris Owens’ firm those two projects will add more than 5,000 car trips to Alpharetta traffic every day.
Last year Councilman also voted to spend 6.9 million dollars of taxpayer money on a parking deck needed for one of his client’s buildings downtown.
Alpharetta residents deserve a mayor who is working for us not developers.
Click below for documentation
This week’s Alpharetta Herald has a great article explaining the differences between my record and the record of my opponent as we served together on city council. You can read the whole article about the candidate forum graciously hosted by Bike Alpharetta last week at this link. Below is a sample.
Mayoral candidates Jim Gilvin and Chris Owens, both members of the City Council until recently, spent a large share of their time discussing growth and what residents could expect under their administrations.
Gilvin immediately set out to distance himself from the recent growth spurt the city has experienced in residential, commercial and office developments, particularly in the Downtown District. He said he has been the lone voice on the council, voting to reign in high-density developments and apartments.
The fallout from this growth, Gilvin said, has been the city’s inability to keep up with traffic and other services. The problems the city now faces with traffic and pedestrian safety, he said, can be tracked to bad decisions the City Council made without calculating their impact.
He said he would encourage the City Council to weigh the cost of development on the city’s infrastructure and on its aesthetics before approving major projects that come before the council.
He was the only council member, he said, to fight against approval of a 168-unit apartment building as part of the downtown City Center project, a building, he added, that will obscure Alpharetta City Hall.
I know everyone is busy this time of year. But this is a critical election for Alpharetta. The new mayor and two city council members will help set the course for our future and it will be important for that future to reflect the vision of the residents who live here.
Please take the time to research the records and platforms of everyone currently running for office in the May 22nd election. And don’t forget that early voting at any Fulton County Library begins April 30th!
Serving the people of this community for the last six years on Alpharetta City Council has been the greatest honor of my life. And now that Mayor Belle Isle is running to be Georgia’s next Secretary of State I have decided to run for the office of mayor.
The coming new year will bring a timely opportunity for the people of Alpharetta to decide where they want to go from here. I look forward to participating in that discussion.
I will continue to serve our residents in my current capacity until the office of mayor has been vacated but there has been a great deal of speculation about potential candidates to replace Mayor Belle Isle so I wanted to be transparent about my intentions. Below is today’s press release announcing my campaign.
Thank you for your support.
Alpharetta Councilman Jim Gilvin Announces Campaign for Mayor
ALPHARETTA, GA, December 28, 2017
Alpharetta City Councilman Jim Gilvin announced his campaign for mayor today. Alpharetta’s current mayor, David Belle Isle, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to be Georgia’s next Secretary of State last spring.
“I appreciate the dedication and energy Mayor Belle Isle brought to his time as mayor. Our city has come a long way and Alpharetta is a much different place because of his leadership. And as the people of Alpharetta begin looking to the future it’s important for them know there is a candidate with a proven record of public service who will deliver on their priorities for the years ahead.” Gilvin said.
When elected to council in 2011 Gilvin originally ran on a theme of “Growth We Can Live With” and he believes voters appreciate his consistent record on balanced growth even when it was unpopular with other members of council. “I voted to preserve the green space and trees in front of city hall where high density apartment buildings are being built now and took a lot of heat from other council members for that. But I promised the people of Alpharetta a village style city center and honoring that promise was more important to me than being popular with politicians and developers.”
“At this critical point in Alpharetta’s history our residents have an opportunity to set the course for our future. I have a plan to restore balanced growth and preserve the qualities that make Alpharetta the best place in Georgia to raise a family and do business. My plan reflects three priorities I always hear from constituents- do a better job of balancing growth, provide real solutions for traffic congestion and invest in areas outside of downtown.” Gilvin said.
The top priority for Jim Gilvin will be to ensure city policies reflect balanced growth outlined in Alpharetta’s comprehensive plan. He cites zoning decisions that ignored limits on apartments as a prime example. “When I was elected the comp plan had a clear goal established for the ratio of single family homes and apartments. But the ratio has consistently been ignored and we have seen thousands of apartments approved. I have been a vocal advocate for single family homes over apartments and it is time we honor the goal we set.”
When discussing how he plans to reduce traffic Gilvin says that it is important to have a mayor willing to prioritize resources for traffic relief and who understands how poor zoning decisions make congestion worse. “Zoning variances and taxpayer subsidies have been granted for enormous projects downtown without any consideration of their impact on traffic. Every property owner has a right to develop their property within limits outlined in the comprehensive plan. I never want to interfere with that. But many residents are frustrated by city support for variances and government subsidies that make traffic worse.”
Gilvin also says he is optimistic about road capacity improvements and transit proposals designed to relieve traffic as part of the North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan. “For the first time since I started talking about traffic and transit a decade ago I am actually hopeful we may be able to set priorities based on data about costs, efficiency and the impact on traffic rather than just political agendas. But if we continue to approve height, parking and density variances on already congested corridors our residents are never going to see an improvement.”
Another priority for Gilvin is to invest in the renewal of the Northpoint Parkway corridor and Alpharetta’s residential areas. “Over the past few years our mayor and council have spent a tremendous amount of money reviving downtown and we have achieved excellent results. It is time for us to bring that same focus to renewing the Northpoint corridor while increasing our support for residential areas. The city is already working with Northpoint property owners to update the corridor and we need to be as committed to that revival as we have been for downtown. We also need to ensure the parks and infrastructure which support Alpharetta’s residential neighborhoods are brought up to the high standard our residents should be able to expect. Building twenty-six acres of passive parks in residential areas, expanding the Greenway trail system and providing community centers on both sides of GA 400 will improve the quality of life and property values for everyone.”
Gilvin is enthusiastic about the years ahead. “Alpharetta is a special place and our future is bright. The delicate balance of great schools in a beautiful setting with a thriving business environment will continue to draw families from all over the world as long as we preserve that special character. For the last six years I have consistently sought that balance for the people of Alpharetta and now look forward to continuing that service as mayor.”
Jim Gilvin has lived in Alpharetta since the late 1990’s along with his wife, Mary Anne, and their two children Justin and Sarah. The Gilvins live in the Windward subdivision and attend Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church. Jim Gilvin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Georgia Southern University and is a small technology business owner.
Supporters of Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach’s MARTA tax increase bill, SB 313, have made many claims about public support for the legislation. As an elected representative of 63,000 people who live in Alpharetta I know many of those claims are inconsistent with the truth. That is why I am pleased to release the findings of an objective, statistically valid poll which demonstrates the people of North Fulton overwhelmingly oppose such a tax increase for the purpose of extending heavy rail in the region.
Legitimate Poll shows Overwhelming Opposition to Rail in North Fulton
Voters in the 5 major cities of North Fulton county have spoken and oppose a massive tax increase to support a Marta heavy rail extension. When presented with a reasonable and accurate set of facts, the poll showed a clear landslide rebuttal. Women opposed the tax increase and rail line by almost 63% and Republicans by almost 69%. Democrats also opposed by a slim majority and African-Americans opposed by over 66%. All age demographics were a majority against the tax increase and rail line. The poll was conducted by Landmark Communications a respected, non-biased firm.
In an earlier post I wrote about my experience at the state capital last week. For more background you should also read this article about the hearing at GeorgiaPol.com.
As I testified at the senate hearing Senator Beach commented, “We can disagree without being disagreeable” and I couldn’t agree more. That is why some of the comments made by him and others supporting his 50% MARTA tax increase are so troublesome.
That doesn’t make sense to Beach. MARTA’s opponents, he said, are desperate for solutions. “Some of the politicians are saying, well, nobody is going to use it, and then in the next sentence they’re saying it’s going to create so much congestion coming into it. Well, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to have all this congestion, you’re going to have ridership. Just tell me one or the other.”
“The politicians are scared to death” of MARTA expansion, Beach said in an interview earlier this week.
What a perfect example of heavy rail supporters insulting their opponents and misleading the public without addressing the facts laid out by their opposition. Senator Beach’s assertion that politicians say, “nobody is going to use it” is just false hyperbole.
I have never heard it said by any opponent of heavy rail. However I have repeatedly pointed out that the U.S. Census shows only 2% of Fulton County residents ride heavy rail to work.
Yet while Senator Beach’s assertion that politicians say “nobody” is going to ride MARTA is false, his assertion that some say it’s going to cause more congestion is true and supported by facts.
Only 5% of the people who live in the zip code surrounding the North Springs MARTA station in Sandy Springs use heavy rail to get to work.
And since only 846 people who live within walking distance of the station take trains to work MARTA had to build enormous parking garages. Why? Because most of the people who ride the trains have to drive cars to the station.
That is why rush hour traffic around North Springs is so bad the state of Georgia is spending a billion dollars trying to fix the problem while Sandy Springs is considering building monorails and the Perimeter CID is designing ways to expand surface streets to accommodate more cars, buses and trolleys at taxpayer expense.
So when Mr. Beach demands to know whether it is “one or the other” the response is “the other” because no politician says nobody will ride MARTA trains. Instead informed politicians say that while a small group of people around train stations will ride them the overwhelming majority of riders are forced to drive cars to the station making traffic worse.
Which means a bill dictating MARTA must expand using expensive, inflexible heavy rail lines along GA 400 will force commuters to crowd surrounding streets exacerbating congestion. The only public transportation that can effectively address existing congestion issues while improving economic development opportunities is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
The people of North Fulton are tired of congestion on the arterial roads and surface streets around GA 400. Of course other people have a vested interest in making sure transit forces people to visit the Georgia 400 corridor.
That’s why it was perfectly reasonable for Senator Beach to sponsor Senate Bill 313. Senator Beach is President of the North Fulton Community Improvement District (CID) a tax district created specifically to increase the property values of commercial properties along GA 400.
Understanding that, it makes sense for Senator Beach to pretend that North Fulton is doomed if taxpayers don’t spend billions of tax dollars to extend heavy rail into the CID there. No law forces political decisions to be decided on objective facts. So if Senator Beach supports a regressive tax increase which takes money from single moms in East Point to build train stations on three properties within the North Fulton CID it is perfectly fine. Even if it doesn’t seem fair, it’s good business for the CID.
Which is why it was also perfectly reasonable for Mr. Mark Toro to speak in favor of Senator Beach’s MARTA tax increase. Mr. Toro is a partner in North American Properties, the company now selling their Avalon mixed use development in Alpharetta. If Avalon is worth $500 million now it should be worth tens of millions more with a MARTA station. That’s just good business.
That’s the same reason Mr. Toro was a vocal supporter of the failed Tsplost tax that would have brought heavy rail to Atlantic Station in 2012. Now that North American has sold Atlantic Station and has Avalon on the market it is no surprise he supports a bill forcing Johns Creek retirees to pay for a MARTA station there.
And if Mr. Toro has to tell people who live in the City of Atlanta that objections to Senator Beach’s proposal are based on “racism” and a “bunch of old white guys”… so be it. If that’s what it takes to convince minority taxpayers in Atlanta they should pay for a 2.4 billion dollar amenity in the North Fulton CID, that’s just good business.
But the truth is that most elected officials in North Fulton support expanding some form of transit. Objections to Senator Beach’s 50% MARTA tax increase are not based on racism, irrational fears or muddled thinking but on sound reasoning and fiscal responsibility.
SB 313 diverts billions of dollars from efforts to build a sustainable transportation network that can support a vibrant region and directs them to an overpriced, inflexible mode of transportation that primarily benefits the commercial properties like Avalon within the North Fulton CID. To characterize principled, informed opposition to Senate Bill as irrational fear or uninformed reactionary politics is insulting.
A decision of this magnitude deserves better.
Below is the agenda for Monday night’s Alpharetta City Council meeting along with highlighted links to many of the supporting materials. Please feel free to leave questions and comments about agenda items in the comment section and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.
|I. CALL TO ORDER|
|II. ROLL CALL|
|A. Proclamation – Police Captain Gary Cann|
|IV. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG|
|V. CONSENT AGENDA|
|A. Council Meeting Minutes (Meeting of 11/16/2015)|
|B. Alcoholic Beverage License Applications|
|C. Financial Management Report for the month ending October 31, 2015.|
|VI. PROJECT UPDATES|
|A. Convention Center|
|B. City Center – Private Development|
|C. City Center – Public Development|
|VII. PUBLIC HEARING|
|A. CU-15-07/PH-15-11/V-15-19 Chick-fil-A/Avalon|
|B. PH-15-21 UDC Changes- Definitions and Text Amendments (1st reading)|
|VIII. NEW BUSINESS|
|A. Amending Chapter 18 of the Code (Parking Enforcement Officer) – 1st Reading|
|A. Proposed Design: Old Roswell Plaza|
|B. Bond Discussion|
|X. PUBLIC COMMENT|