Urban Core Density proposed for Devore Road in Alpharetta


Another rezoning application has been filed with the City of Alpharetta for yet another high density urban mixed use development. This one calls for 200 apartments in a 6 story building, 80 condos in 5 story building, 64 townhouses or homes and more than 130,000 square feet of office, retail and commercial space on about 12 acres of land. That works out to nearly 30 residential units and more than 10,000 square feet of office, retail and commercial built per acre of land.

To help you understand how dense that is just picture a high school football field without the end zones. Then imagine a typical Trader Joe’s with 29 apartments, condos or townhomes stacked on top in that little space.

Every property owner in Alpharetta has a constitutional right to apply for rezoning on their property and I will do my best to consider how such a dense urban core could ever be in the best interests of our community. But over the years I have consistently stated my belief that dense, urban development will absolutely destroy the very qualities that have made Alpharetta the greatest place in Georgia to raise a family and do business so it is hard to imagine hearing any justification that I haven’t already heard a thousand times.

For the time being though, I will just shake my head in disappointment that prior decisions by our mayor and council have lead property owners and developers to believe this type of urban core density is appropriate for such a site in Alpharetta.

You can find the application and supporting documents on the city website here.


Another 111 apartments slated for Alpharetta’s Milton High School district

ECHO on Westside

An article in yesterday’s Atlanta Business Chronicle announced yet another apartment complex to be built in Alpharetta’s Milton High School district. This new development would be in addition to the 400+ apartments already being proposed right down the street by MetLife and Lincoln Properties in an effort to urbanize the Northpoint area.

Pollack Shores Real Estate Group is building a 111-unit luxury apartment community with 5,600 square feet of retail space in Alpharetta.

ECHO at North Point Center will be built at 10105 Westside Parkway, Alpharetta, Ga., 30009

Click on the picture above to read the full article with more details.

Alpharetta Planning Commission faces urbanization in Milton High School District… again

Tonight the Alpharetta Planning Commission will review an application for another high density mixed use project with more than 400 apartments in the Milton High School District. It seems like just yesterday I was standing in front of the Alpharetta City Council explaining this would happen if they approved the original application.

But that was way back in 2011 when city council members supported the Comprehensive Plan’s goal of a 85% to %15 ratio of single family homes to apartments and told me there was no effort to bring heavy rail MARTA to this city. Recently a resident who remembers those discussions asked me to repost an article I wrote as a concerned resident and local blogger. So in light of this historic occasion I give you this golden oldie from distant past of February, 2011:

Why would Alpharetta trade 1800 jobs for 500 condos? MARTA

Below is a letter submitted by MetLife to justify the Peridot project proposed for Alpharetta. The new project would remove more than 1800 potential jobs from the site in return for building 500 condominiums. Why would the Alpharetta City Council do that? I will let Mr. Ikwut-Ukwa of MARTA’s planning office explain:

“MARTA is also working with the City of Alpharetta to initiate an LCI for the North Point Mall area as part of a proposed north line rail extension. In the past the City of Alpharetta had also inquired from MARTA on the feasibility of having the proposed rail station at a location across SR 400 from the Mall in the vicinity of the development site. MARTA has not yet made a firm decision on the station location but believes this development will add to the density in the area, making for a better transit supportive environment.”

For at least five years the City of Alpharetta has been working with MARTA to increase the density of our city so they can justify bringing trains here. Funny, I don’t remember Alpharetta voters being asked about that. It must have happened at a charade charrette.

IF an Alpharetta mayoral or city council candidate comes knocking on your door this summer to ask for your vote don’t forget to tell them how you feel about the urbanization of Alpharetta to lure MARTA. Obviously they think it is a good idea. They just don’t want you to know.

Let the fun begin!

Last week I qualified to run for a second term on the Alpharetta City Council and no one registered to oppose me. So barring unforeseen circumstances I have again been granted the opportunity to serve as the elected representative of the 60,000+ people who call Alpharetta home. For that I will always be grateful.

And as I continue the work begun in 2012 I am determined to do a better job of keeping the public informed during this next term. One of the best ways I can think to do that is using this blog to update and interact with the people of Alpharetta about issues affecting our city.

A few years before I considered running for office this blog was created to let people know about current events which shape the future of this place we call home. Over time it was the insight gained from writing those articles that drove me to public service. I could no longer just stand by and report as the relentless pressure to urbanize Alpharetta threatened to destroy the quality of life that makes it so special.

Back in 2008 a recession brought urbanization to a grinding halt for a while. Three enormous mixed use developments approved during the previous real estate bubble sat dormant and the people who were pushing for Alpharetta to be just another urban core with bad schools, high crime and MARTA stations were nursing badly depreciated investments.

The biggest concern for our city council at that point was how we could breathe life back into our local economy… and we did. But our success has again fueled a determined few to rejoin their quest of turning Alpharetta into a dense urban core.

In the last four years more than 1000 new apartments have been built or approved in the City of Alpharetta. And our community development department is recommending 400+ more in an urban mixed use development already approved for Milton High School district. All of this is added to the hundreds of townhouses and single family homes on tiny lots that have also been approved. This type of urban density threatens our schools and crowds our roads. We have to be more careful or Alpharetta is going to end up just like any other concrete jungle at the end of a MARTA line.

As a community we cannot build a wall around Alpharetta and refuse to change. But as a community we need to evolve in ways consistent with the vision of the people who live and vote here. That is the only way we can assure Alpharetta will remain the greatest place to do business and raise a family in the state of Georgia.

So it is time to revive GA Jim. I have to do a better job of letting all of you know about the issues shaping our city’s future so it is once again time for me to host this forum called GA Jim.

To foster a healthy discussion commenting is encouraged but understand this is not an official City of Alpharetta website. This website belongs to me and while I hope you will use it to exchange information and views this will all be conducted at my discretion. Any disrespect shown to me, other commenters, elected officials or city employees will not be tolerated. Life is too short for that kind of crap.

So let the fun begin!

North Fulton Redistricting update

Well it looks like the North Fulton High School Redistricting is a fait accompli. While not yet official there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the final redistricting map will be the one presented to the school board today. You can click on the picture below to enlarge the map and you can find more information here.

North Fulton Redistricting update

I am told that there was nothing said in yesterday’s meeting with school board member Katie Reeves that indicated any chance of the redistricting map being changed at this point.

Let this serve as a reminder to all of us: The only feedback most elected officials want from you is your vote.

It is up to each of you to act accordingly.

Meeting tomorrow with Fulton County School Board Member Katie Reeves

Below is an email I received today about an opportunity tomorrow morning to discuss the local school redistricting with our representative on the Fulton County School Board, Katie Reeves. I know this is late notice but it is an important issue and I wanted to pass it along in case anyone is interested in attending:


As I am sure you are aware by now, there are redistricting decisions being made
by FCSS that affect our Milton cluster. Unfortunately, we arrived rather late
“in the game” as some communities who have previously been affected
by such decisions were ready with their arguments, plans, and matching t-shirts.

Though it was unexpected, it turns out that the latest proposed map will have a
major impact on the high school beginning Fall 2012 but extending far into the
future. We need to communicate to the board and superintendent (who decide the
final map with their vote) that we have significant concerns. Katie Reeves is
our district’s representative and her regularly scheduled community meeting
happens to be this Tuesday at 9:30am at Crabapple Crossing Elementary School .

Please plan to attend so that you can hear information firsthand from Ms.
Reeves and show support for Milton . Previous experience with such meetings
leads me to caution you that respectful and informed dialogue are best heard.
You may not feel conversant enough with the complex issues to speak up, and
there may not be time for all who want to speak to do so.


You have likely already seen one petition and there will be at least one other.
If you agree with the content of these documents, please sign and send along so
that the board hears our “Milton Voice.”

Last, please forward this email to those you know who share that voice.

Thank you!

The urbanization of Milton High School

Tonight will be the final public meeting held by the Fulton County Board of Education about the new high school redistricting in North Fulton county. As parents gather for their last opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposed plan I would like to point out something that may not be obvious to the casual observer.

The new school district proposed for Milton High School encompasses the recently approved MetLife mixed use project and most of the area being slated by the City of Alpharetta for high density urbanization. Below is the newly proposed redistricting map for Milton High School:

Now compare the new Milton School district with the map below which is what the Community Development Department of Alpharetta is proposing in their new land use plan:

The areas in color are locations that the city of Alpharetta want to build out as high density mixed use projects and it covers much of the southernmost portion of the proposed Milton High School District .

So as parents of Milton High School students attend the meeting tonight they should be aware that the city is proposing thousands of apartments or condos be built in what would be their children’s new school district. Unfortunately it appears that neither the Fulton County Board of Education nor the City of Alpharetta care about that fact.

Final North Fulton High School Redistricting Meeting Wednesday

There will be one more meeting for the people of North Fulton County to voice their concerns about the new high school redistricting plan. Wednesday’s meeting is the last one scheduled before the final recommendation is made to the Fulton County Board of Education so if you have concerns you’d better speak now or forever hold your peace.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at Alpharetta High School (3595 Webb Bridge Road, Alpharetta 30005; click for Google Map)
from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. You can find more information at the Fulton County School website here.

Alpharetta High School Redistricting Continues Next Week

Next week on Wednesday, March 16th, the Fulton County School System will host the second of three public meetings to determine attendance zones which will be used when the new high school in the city of Milton opens. The meeting will be held at Alpharetta High School on Webb Bridge Road from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The new districts will have a major impact on two of the best public high schools in the state, Alpharetta High School and Milton High School, in addition to the new school on Bethany Bend Road. And since the great schools of Alpharetta continue to be the foundation of our property values this process will affect your home’s worth whether you have children in the schools or not.

There are only two more meetings planned so if you can’t make it next week make sure to mark your calendar for the final meeting on April 13, 2011. You can keep abreast of the latest developments at the Fulton County School website here: http://bit.ly/estsjn