ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell City Council held a special called meeting Feb. 17 to review a draft blueprint for the city’s future development.
The draft, prepared by Management Partners and Planning NEXT, will be circulated throughout the city to garner more input and direction from residents as the city maps out its goals and vision for the next five years.
Kyle May, senior planner at Planning NEXT, reviewed the community input the city has already received during the process to help shape the goals and overarching community vision.
The planning document is used as a guide to help elected officials make decisions, allocate resources and begin projects.
“I do want to also emphasize that [the goals] were identified during the community listening and learning sessions and the community summit,” said Amy Paul of Management Partners. “Really you could find the nexus between them and what the council has decided on.”
The city has eight goals, each with several objectives. According to the draft, the goals are:
- Dynamic transportation network that optimizes mobility
- Economic vitality and sustainability
- Outstanding city services
- Outstanding collaboration, community engagement and customer service
- Safe and secure community
- Good governance through organizational excellence
- Intentional and balanced community growth
- Exceptional quality of life.
Consultants held nine meetings over the summer and fall, both in-person and online, to ask residents what they are seeing in the city, to think about the future, how they would describe the city and think about geographic areas that are doing well and that may need improvement.
About 2,150 participated in the conversations, 7,046 comments and ideas were received, and 99 percent reported they felt like they were heard, survey results showed.
But City Councilman Mike Palermo said he thinks the document does not reflect what residents want, and his main concern is that many points in the plan are not addressing key needs and concerns from residents.
In an email response to questions after the meeting, Palermo said the No. 1 issue residents raised was “development and growth pressures leading to poor outcomes,” and he felt that was not clearly addressed in the draft.
“That’s an issue that I have because I feel if we’re going to do a strategic plan, it needs to be led by the residents,” Palermo said at the meeting.
Councilwoman Christine Hall said she was also concerned the draft feels more like an operational document rather than a strategic plan.
Palermo proposed changes that would include ensuring the top optimisms and concerns are clearly being addressed, and prioritizing the goals.
“There were multiple high level goals that clearly and directly address the needs of residents, and there were some that did not,” he said in his email. “By not documenting a tiered prioritization, there is nothing to prevent goals that do not directly benefit residents from being addressed before goals that directly benefit residents.”
Paul said it will be up to the city to set priorities once the plan is approved, and the order will depend on the budget and time required for a project.
Mayor Lori Henry and other council members said they wondered why these concerns weren’t brought up earlier, claiming this is the first time these arguments have been raised.