Taxpayers pick up the tab for Windward Mill road improvements

Back in 2008 the Alpharetta City Council approved a high density mixed use project for the intersection of Windward Parkway and Northpoint Parkway. The developer of the project is a man named Penn Hodge and he calls the proposed project Windward Mill. Many residents were upset that the Windward Mill project would add 500 condos to the site and result in 12,000 more vehicular trips at the congested intersection but the Alpharetta City Council unanimously approved the project.

One of the justifications councilmembers cited for their approval was that as a condition of the rezoning the developer would be responsible for millions of dollars in road improvements to accommodate his enormous project. You may remember that the same talking point was recently used by City Council as they tried to explain their recent approval of the MetLife high density mixed use project on Haynes Bridge Road.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that I would be paying for road improvements to accommodate a 15 story condo tower that I didn’t want built in the first place. Well not just me, every tax payer in the state of Georgia is now paying for the road improvements that are Penn Hodge’s responsibility.

As you can see in this press release the North Fulton Community Improvement District has announced that the Georgia Department of Transportation will pay more than $600,000 to, “add a right-turn lane along Windward Parkway, from the north-bound exit all the way to North Point Parkway”. Curiously the press release doesn’t mention that one of the zoning conditions for Penn Hodge’s project on that corner was that there be “an eastbound right-turn lane along Windward Parkway”.

So how did Penn Hodge, who sits on the board of the North Fulton CID, convince the state of Georgia that taxpayers should pay more than $600,000 for the road improvements he was obligated to make? I don’t know but it seems like a great question to ask the executive director of the North Fulton CID, Brandon Beach. You see Mr. Beach just happens to also be the North Fulton representative on the board for the Georgia Department of Transportation. Small world isn’t it?