Residents Speak Up

As of 9:45 AM on September 20, 2018, more than 1,680 members of our Johns Creek community have come together in a petition to deny rezoning requests that seek to change the existing zoning of a series of properties along State Bridge Road just west of Johns Creek High School in order to build 208 townhomes, stacked townhomes, and quadruplex townhomes on approximately 23 acres. Community opposition has united residents around many concerns with the development proposals. Why join us? Local resident Ashley Jarc has graciously allowed us to share her letter to Yang Chen, Principal Planner for Johns Creek City Community Development Staff.

How can you help?

  1. State your concerns directly to our Mayor and City Council. You can reach all of them with one email address:

  2. Sign the petition here

  3. Get the work out - share this information on social network sites

  4. Talk to your friends and neighbors and educate them about impacts that would result if these requests go forward as proposed

From: Ashley Jarc 
Date: Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 11:10 PM
Subject: High-density housing along State Bridge
To: <>; <>

Dear Planning Commission/Elected Officials of Johns Creek, ,

We are fairly new transplants to Johns Creek and live in the Doublegate neighborhood. We moved to Atlanta from out of state with two small children, and I can assuredly tell you that our decision to move to this city was based on the quality of schools (which according to are not as strong as they were), the safety of the community, and the quality of life - which includes air quality, green space, and trees. About the traffic we had been warned. We absolutely care about of children's education. We also care about other aspects of our community - in addition to our schools.

My husband and I are both graduates of Cornell University and hold graduate degrees from Northwestern University, although my husband is the only one with a PhD. I mention our academic backgrounds not at all to grandstand, but as an attempt to underscore the fact that Johns Creek is drawing new residents from far and wide, both nationally as well as internationally. You are surely aware of this fact, as you also note in your Comprehensive Plan that the demographic makeup of our city, in particular in the Medlock district, will shift sizably in the next several years, although I am unsure why the racial composition is of particular interest to you.

In the short time we have been here (almost three years), we have seen tremendous change in the area, both in terms of the turnover in neighborhoods as well as in construction - of roads and mostly new townhouse communities. Some things excite us, for example, the fact that the city appears to be addressing traffic congestion along Abbotts Bridge Road, and we look forward to the new park along Bell Road. The Comprehensive Plan also seems carefully crafted to address a current lack of downtown, as well as to improve lackluster strip malls and create more pedestrian-friendly areas. On the flip side, we are continually baffled by the sheer destruction that seems to accompany road-widenings and residential development. Why did so many trees need to be leveled to allow for just one additional lane in each direction along Abbotts Bridge/Kimball Bridge? And how could anyone, in good conscience, allow for tens of additional acres to be leveled along State Bridge Road (as you have at the corner of Bell Rd and 141) to rezone for high-density housing? In addition to the watershed issues and losses of habitat that accompany clearing such large plots of land, removal of these trees would prove tremendously detrimental to the air quality and create needless sound pollution in the communities off of State Bridge. 

It's my understanding that Council Member Lenny Zaprowski worked at the EPA for three years prior to attending chiropractic school. Surely, he must have concern for the environment, at least at a local level in the town which he chooses to call home. I am also aware that several council members subscribe to the tenets behind 'Preserve Johns Creek.' For that, I am extremely grateful. Thank you.

Finally, and this is a less pressing issue but one that could surely affect whether we and others choose to call Johns Creek our home for years or decades to come - were you to allow this proposed rezoning and development along State Bridge Road, I have strong doubts that the attraction that has been Johns Creek would remain. Alpharetta admittedly is building and developing through Avalon and in its downtown area, in my opinion quite positively. And there developers are slated to make large sums of money on high density housing as well. But I can't help feeling that if high-density housing precedes (or even precludes) our city's ability to complete the Comprehensive Plan, Johns Creek could quickly become a stodgy, cheaper version of Alpharetta.  Alpharetta townhomes are projected to sell for double the projected 350-450k price ranges the developers list for the JC townhomes. Also, I need not mention how strong Alpharetta's schools are. Alpharetta appears decidedly better at attracting commercial businesses as well as corporations and probably has a better, more diversified tax basis as a result as well. I understand Johns Creek is a much younger community, but let's not rush into allowing developers to make short-sighted decisions that create permanent, long-term problems for our community and its residents.

At the very least, let us not make unnecessary and hasty concessions to developers who will turn a quick profit and leave us with an even greater abundance of housing. We may be a bedroom community, but how many thousands of bedrooms can we handle? If the issue is 'affordable' housing, I believe there are currently close to 100 housing units for sale for 350k or less in Johns Creek. A number of these are also in foreclosure or about to be foreclosed upon. AND, this is supposedly one of the slowest times of years to buy or sell real estate. If we truly cared about affordable housing, we would create apartment buildings with rental caps. Let's call a spade a spade and not sacrifice our environment, atmosphere, and quality of life for support with campaign finance or the benefit of developers looking to make fast money.

Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or concerns. I hope you will seriously consider the ramifications of this type of development as a cornerstone of your legacy. Let's make our city and your legacy good ones for years and generations to come. Step one: reject these appeals to rezone the proposed areas along State Bridge Road. Thank you very much for attention to this matter.

Best Regards,

Ashley Jarc