City Council Tables Decision on Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment

At the City Council Meeting on Monday June 18, 2018, the Mayor and City Council voted to table a decision on Text Amendment A-18-001.  The Council’s thinking was that the decision on this section of 28.2 in the Zoning Ordinance would best be taken up when the City redoes the Zoning Ordinance starting in second quarter 2019.  The plan from the City Council is to bring this up at the Dec. 10, Council Meeting, and then table it again until sometime in 2019 when it can be part of the discussion during the rewrite of the City’s Ordinances.  There was strong feeling that there should be public input on possibly making this better rather than removing it at this time.  They felt that this seemed “rushed’, and they want the Community Development Department to spend more time on this issue.  This idea was championed by Councilmembers Endres and Broadbent.

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The vote to table the Text Amendment was five to two.  Those in favor were Councilmembers Endres, Broadbent, Lin, Bradberry and Coughlin.  Against were Mayor Bodker and Councilman Zaprowski.  The Mayor was very adamant that this section be removed because the City Attorney felt it was unconstitutional.  It looked like Councilman Zaprowski also wanted it removed.  In its place, both of them wanted to lengthen the time a land owner has to reinitiate a denied land use petition from twelve months to either eighteen or twenty four months.  The Mayor felt that the Council was just delaying the inevitable, and the section in question would eventually be removed.

It was a very interesting public hearing.  At the beginning of the Council Meeting, the Mayor warned everyone in the audience to keep their emotions in check.  However, during the Council’s discussion on the Text Amendment, it was the Mayor and Council whose emotions flared up.  The Mayor made a comment that pretty much angered the rest of the Council.  If you get a chance, you can watch the public hearing on the City’s website.

So, the above decision, considering the City Attorney’s opinion, is probably the best outcome we could hope for.  It was also good that the vote was five to two because that helps to ensure that the City will go through the above process and make this part of the Ordinance rewrite with public participation and input.  We will have to keep an eye on this issue as it moves forward.

Special thanks are in order for David Neuringer, Tom Corrigan, Grady Barnhill, Kevin Brown and Ray Ghorieshi for speaking last night, and all the folks who attended the Council Meeting.  It was a very late night that did not conclude until after 11:00 pm.  Also, a note of thanks to Steve Zedeck for coming up with the idea of keeping this section in the Zoning Ordinance and making this part of the Ordinance rewrite with public participation and input.  He e-mailed this idea to the Mayor and City Council.

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed the Mayor and Council, and who signed the Preserve Johns Creek Petition.  We hand-delivered 350 printed petition forms, and emailed all 434 petitions completed by the start of Monday's meeting to the Mayor and all members of City Council.  It is highly likely that if we did not make our voices and opinions known to the Mayor and City Council, that this Text Amendment would have been approved.

With the tabling of this Text Amendment, our attention should shift more fully to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).  These topics are completely interrelated as the updated CLUP will set the stage for efforts to rewrite our Zoning Ordinances.