Alpharetta City Council Meeting Agenda May 22, 2017


Below is the agenda for tonight’s Alpharetta City Council meeting. The meeting will take place at Alpharetta City Hall at 6:30 p.m. If you cannot attend the meeting in person you should be able to watch from your computer you can find it at this link barring any technical difficulties.

I apologize for the late notice here but the information was only passed along to me after 7:00 o’clock Friday night and I had to review the hundreds of pages of supporting documents myself before I could make the time to publish it here. You can always check the city website where it is usually posted by Friday night.

It is an enormous agenda with several zoning cases including the Fuqua/Peridot/MetLife high density mixed use development which I expect to be removed from the table now that it has a slightly reduced number of apartments in addition to numerous initiatives and workshop items along with more discussion of next year’s budget.

If you have questions or constructive comments please feel free to post them in the comments section of this post and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

A. Retirement Proclamation – Lyn Kennedy
B. Alpharetta Arts Awareness Day
A. Council Meeting Minutes (Meeting of 05/15/2017)
5-15-17 Official Minutes
B. Alcoholic Beverage License Applications
Alcohol Licensing
A. CLUP-17-03 / MP-17-05 / Z-17-05 / CU-17-05 /V-17-16: Northwinds Summit/Pope & Land
 NOTE: This item will be neither heard nor discussed during this meeting. It has been    deferred by the Applicant and will be placed on the Planning Commission Agenda for    Thursday, June 1, 2017.

B. PH-17-12: Design Review Board Ordinance and Design Guidelines Amendments
  NOTE: This item will be neither heard nor discussed during this meeting. It has been        deferred at the request of City Staff. A future date for consideration has not been      scheduled.

C. CLUP-17-02 / Z-17-04: Taylor Morrison/40 Cumming Street/DT-R
NOTE: This item will be neither heard nor discussed during this meeting. It has been deferred by the Applicant and will be placed on the Planning Commission Agenda for Thursday, June 1, 2017.

D. Z-17-03: Thompson Street / Burnett Circle / DT-LW
Consideration of a request to rezone 5.78 acres from R-12 (Dwelling, ‘For-Sale’ Residential) and R-15 (Dwelling, ‘For-Sale’ Residential) to DT-LW (Downtown Live-Work) to allow for the construction of 44 ‘For-Sale’ Townhomes. The property is located on the north side of the Thompson Street and Westside Parkway intersection and is legally described as being located in Land Lot 802, 1st District, 2nd Section, Fulton County, Georgia.

Staff Report
Council Agenda Report
Aerial Map
Location Map
Zoning Map
Site Plan
Applicant Exhibits
Multi-Use Path
Academy Park Meeting Summary
Academy Park Sign In Sheet
Citizen Part B Report
Tree Assessment Report
Tree Survey

E. PH-17-06: Burnett Circle Road Abandonment
Consideration of a request to abandon the Burnett Circle right-of-way. The property is legally described as being located in Land Lot 802, 1st District, 2nd Section, Fulton County, Georgia.

Staff Report
Council Agenda Report
4.24.17 Site Plan
Location Map
Adjacent Property Owners

F. PH-17-15: Unified Development Code – Text Amendments (1st reading)
Consideration of text amendments to the Unified Development Code to add a definition to Section 1.4.2 and determine appropriate zoning districts in Section 2.2.
Staff Report
Council staff report
Sec 3.4 Uses Allowed by District
Sec 1.4 Definitions

A. MP-16-13 / Z-16-11 / CU-16-19 / V-16-26: TPA/Fuqua Development / Peridot
NOTE: This item was tabled by City Council on Monday, April 17, 2017. It must be removed from the table prior to discussion or consideration.

Consideration of a request to amend the Peridot (A.K.A. MetLife) Master Plan and previous conditions of zoning to allow 320 ‘For-Rent’ residential units, 167 ‘For-Sale’ Attached units, 55,500 square feet of retail/restaurant use, 664,400 square feet of office use, and a 200-room hotel. A rezoning is requested on 15.51 acres from O-I (Office-Institutional) to MU (Mixed-Use) and a conditional use is requested to allow ‘Dwelling, ‘For-Rent’ and ‘Bank, Savings and Loan’ uses. A variance is requested to allow first floor ‘For-Rent’ dwellings on three building sides and to allow first floor ‘For-Rent’ dwellings on a Storefront Street. The property is located on the west side of Haynes Bridge Road south of Lakeview Parkway and is legally described as Land Lots 744, 745, 752, and 753, 1st District, 2nd Section, Fulton County, Georgia.

Council Agenda Report
Applicant Response to Conditions 5.15.17
Aerial Map
Zoning Map
Location Map
Revised Site Plan w Median Change
Tabled Plan 4.12.17
PC Approved Site Plan
2011 Approved Site Plan
Deck Elevations 4.12.17
Exhibit A Townhome Product
Multifamily Elevations
Updated Traffic Info
Citizen Email
Citizen Part B


A. North Fulton Community Improvement District Expansion Request
Cover letter
Expansion list
NFCID Annexation Resolution
Expansion map

B. Janitorial Services for City Facilities, RFP 17-113
Janitorial Services for City Facilities, RFP 17-11
Cost Proposal for RFP 17-113

C. Downtown Shuttle / Trolley Pilot Program
Downtown Shuttle / Trolley Pilot Program
LOI – City Solutions
LOI – Aspen Limousines

D. Approval: Release Of An Indication Of Interest To Solicit Potential Public / Private Partnership In The Development Of A Performing Arts Center
NOTE: This item was tabled by City Council on Monday, October 24, 2016. It must be removed from the table prior to discussion or consideration.
Approval of the Release of an Indication of Interest
Performing Arts Center Indication of Interest Draft

A. Kimball Bridge Road Bicycle/Pedestrian/Operational Improvements (TSPLOST)
Kimball Bridge Road Bicycle/Pedestrian/Operational
KBR West Concept

B. Old Milton Parkway Capacity Improvements (TSPLOST)
Old Milton Parkway Capacity Improvements (TSPLOST)
Alternative 1 – Grade Separation
Alternative 2 – Widening

C. Alpharetta Downtown Parking Study Update: Existing Conditions And Next Steps
Parking Study Update

D. Presentation and Discussion of the Recommended Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
Presentation and Discussion of the Recommended Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
FY 2018 Budget (excerpt)


Government spends millions to promote another inefficient transportation program… Yay!

There is an innovative bike sharing program in Washington D.C. which manages to be both inefficient and expensive so of course the government will now spend millions of dollars to subsidize the program.

As reported in the Washington Times article D.C. bike-sharing program crippled by own success:

This summer, the city’s innovative bike-sharing program has been crippled by its own success when it comes to commuting during rush hour, with bike racks completely empty — or just as often, completely full, making it impossible to drop off a bike.

“Are you going to take one of these?” pleads Jeff Menzer as he props up a bike next to a full station. Several other Bikeshare members already have shaken their heads at the sight of no empty slots and churned toward another station some 10 blocks away. “I was only going five blocks, and now I’ll have to make an eight-block walk.”

Only a government bureaucrat would think spending millions of dollars to support this program is a good idea. It is a perfect example of the brilliant thinking that has driven our nation to the verge of bankruptcy.

Any person in D.C. could buy their own bike for less than a hundred dollars, ride it wherever they wish for free, park it for free and have it waiting for them anytime they need it. That simple, cost effective and efficient program fosters self reliance and requires no government spending. So of course the government must take nearly 2 million dollars from taxpayers to support a system that is inefficient and expensive.

According to the article the bike club only has 15,000 members but the federal government is going to spend $1.9 million to expand the system. At that price the feds would be better off just buying every member a bike. It would be more efficient and save the taxpayers half a million dollars!

AJC: “Cherokee could be tough sell on transit vote”

The latest edition in the AJC’s ongoing series about the upcoming vote to increase Georgia’s sales tax explores the reaction in Cherokee County. I will post some highlights below but you should read the whole thing here.

But it’s an open question whether using part of the transportation tax for mass transit somewhere else in the region might be a lightning rod for residents in the distant suburbs, including Cherokee.


A public-private project to add toll lanes to I-75/I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties could wind up on the final list of projects the tax would fund.


“People in our group will actively oppose it,” he said. “We think the government needs to back off and let this economy recover a little bit first.”

The snippets above illustrate three of the biggest challenges facing the state of Georgia and the various Chambers of Commerce which are pushing the tax increase.

First, the majority of urban dwellers won’t vote for higher taxes to pay for roads while the majority of suburban dwellers won’t vote for higher taxes to pay for mass transit they won’t use. Watching tax increase advocates attempt to convince both groups they will get what they want should be entertaining.

Second, will taxpayers vote for higher taxes to build toll roads that will take even more money out of their pockets? I can’t speak for Cherokee County residents but based on our experience with the false promises about GA 400 tolls in Fulton County I personally wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Third, the U.S. economy is in the tank so is it really the time to take more money from people suffering from 10% unemployment, sinking property values and rampant inflation for food and gas? I think politicians are underestimating how sick taxpayers are of being asked to did deeper and deeper for more taxes regardless of how good the cause.

There are a lot of politicians, consultants, lobbyists and developers dedicated to passing this tax increase and don’t doubt for a minute that they will do whatever it takes to get it passed. They will also promise gullible voters anything to get their vote so don’t forget my maxim when it comes to tax increases,”Once you vote to give the government your money they will do with it what they damn well please.”

Nothing to see here… move along… move along

A curious thing popped up on the city of Alpharetta’s website the other day.

It comes as no surprise that Brandon Beach wants the Alpharetta City Council to accept his billion dollar vision for taxpayer subsidized public mass transit. Mr. Beach simultaneously acts as the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s CEO, the North Fulton Community Improvement District’s Executive Director as well as the 6th District representative on the Georgia Department of Transportation and I have personally heard him pitch his vision to the Windward Rotary Club as covered here at the Alpharetta Patch. I have also noticed that local Chamber of Commerce officials along with representatives of area Community Improvement Districts are currently conducting an extensive public relations campaign to promote taxpayer subsidized trains on the northern perimeter of Atlanta. You can see what I mean here and here.

So Mr. Beach’s proposal is not a surprise and there is nothing wrong with businessmen and their employees lobbying Metro Atlanta taxpayers to pay an additional 8 Billion dollars in sales tax which will be spent on transportation projects. When the projects could make them billions of dollars it just makes good business sense. Kind of like when the Cobb County CIDs spent $150,000 to make sure the local SPLOST tax passed.

The only surprise is that once again the Alpharetta City Council is making crucial decisions about the future of our city without actively soliciting the consent of their constituents. I pay a great deal of attention to what is going on in the City of Alpharetta and take care to read every public notice and press release I find. Yet the appearance of the transit item on Monday night’s Council agenda was a complete surprise to me.

I think it is fair to say that 99% of Alpharettans won’t even know the transit issue came up unless the local print media bothers to publish a story after the fact. The decision of approving Mr. Beach’s transit vision of the future is a crucial one. It is a decision that could affect every person in this city for generations to come and may decide how billions of dollars in taxes are spent. Yet there are only a handful of people that even notice what is going on.

Nothing to see here… move along… move along.

View from a Political Outsider – Georgia’s Transportation Tax

Jim Galloway’s recent Political Insider column in the Atlanta Journal discusses Georgia’s recently rejected “trauma tax” and how that rejection will impact the state’s proposed sales tax increase in 2012. I respect Mr. Galloway. His Political Insider column provides a great deal of insight into the world of Georgia politics… but being an insider has its price.

In the case of tax increases Mr. Galloway’s insider viewpoint prevent hims from seeing the issue from the perspective of the political outsider (otherwise known as a typical voter). As a political outsider perhaps I can help.

Right now there is a failure to communicate in Georgia. The communication failure stems from the fact that too many elected officials aren’t listening to the voters. Instead of listening to voters politicians spend their time listening to each other along with the bureaucrats and lobbyists that surround them. After talking amongst themselves this political class hammers out a mutually acceptable solution to whatever the perceived problem is and unveils it to the public. Of course the solution always involves confiscating millions of dollars from Georgia’s taxpayers so the taxpayers frequently reject the proposed solution once they find out about it. The whole process is a tremendous waste of time and a big part of the reason government rarely solves anything. If more elected officials juat made a point of talking to people outside of their echo chamber a great deal of time and money could be saved and some progress might actually take place. 

The recent trauma tax debacle is a perfect example of miscommunication between voters and politicians. I have lived in Georgia for 40 years and I have never once had a person tell me they wanted or needed more trauma centers in the state. But despite the fact that average people didn’t think there was a problem, some hospital lobbying group convinced Georgia’s political class that a problem did exist. Once the lobbyists convinced the politicians there was a problem they all got together and hammered out an agreement that was acceptable to them. As usual the solution called for Georgia’s taxpayers to cough up millions of dollars. So once they were satisfied with their solution the political class went to the people of Georgia. The voters weighed the option of paying millions of dollars to solve a problem they had never heard of or faced and said no. The whole process was a complete waste of time and money that could have been spent on one of the real problems facing Georgians.

 A similar process is taking place now in Georgia’s struggle to address transportation infrastructure needs. Both the voters and politicans seem to agree that Georgia needs transportation improvements in this case but the trouble is that the political class and the voters disagree on the solution.

The political class say they could fix the problem if they only had more money. What the political class doesn’t understand is that the voters don’t blame infrastructure needs on a lack of money, the voters place the blame on the political class. Taxes in Georgia are the 16th highest in all of the United States while transportation spending is 49th out 50. See the problem?

But Georgia’s political class won’t accept the fact that they have been the problem. Instead, the politicians and lobbyists  sat down together and once again hammered out an agreement acceptable to the politicans and lobbyists.  And once again their solution is to raise taxes… billions and billions of dollars in taxes. That solution must have sounded awfully good in their echo chamber because a few months ago the political class unveiled this genius idea to great fanfair and they patted themselves on the back so hard that Atlanta’s chiropractors must have made a fortune.

But the people that will pay for this enormous tax increase are not impressed, they are hurting. They face 10% unemployment while the other 90% are still unsure of the future. More than 12,000 Georgia homes were foreclosed in July. IRA accounts and home prices are going down while grocery and gasoline prices are going up. To make matters worse their federal income taxes are going up in a few weeks and they will have even less money to spend. Georgia voters are hurting and they find it offensive that political insiders have decided taxpayers need to pay billions of dollars more to fund transportation improvements. While transportation improvements might bring jobs to Georgia in a decade or so, the state’s taxpayers would have to cough up billions of dollars that could have gone to pay their mortgage or put food on the table in the meantime.

During Georgia’s recent economic boom transportation issues were a top priority for Georgia taxpayers. Voters pleaded for road improvements but the political class ignored their pleas and spent the money elsewhere. Now that the economy has tanked the roads are no longer the highest priority for voters. Money is the top priority now and the politicans find the shoe on the other foot. So as the political insiders plead for money to improve roads in the current environment I fully expect Georgia’s voters will ignore their pleas in return.

 You can read Mr. Galloway’ Political Insider column on here:

(Added 12/2/10 ) P.S. I forgot to mention that Mr. Galloway conspicuously chose not to allow comments on the column cited above. It is the only recent column which doesn’t permit comments and I don’t ever remember seeing him block comments before. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

You’ve come a long way baby!

There is no way the AJC would have printed this 5 years ago: “U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and others’ vision of transit-driven, dense urban communities should wait until we first make headway on reducing regional traffic jams.” It makes so much sense I think Andre Jackson must have slipped a peek at GA Jim lately.  

Seriously though, I have taken plenty of shots at the Atlanta Journal Constitution over the years so I do want to acknowledge the change in their coverage the past year or so. The addition of Kyle Wingfield and the subtraction of Cynthia Tucker on the editorial page have made Atlanta’s paper much less predictable and therefore more readable and interesting.

Congratulations AJC! The bad news is that you must be pi**ing off people on both sides of the aisle now. The good news is that they both have to read you to find out whose turn it is.

Read the whole thing here: