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Johns Creek approves Parsons Road development, with caveat

Johns Creek City Council

The Johns Creek City Council votes 6-1 to approve a new 10-acre single-family subdivision off Parsons Road July 25. Councilman Chris Coughlin was the sole dissenter.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek City Council approved a controversial new single-family subdivision across from Abbotts Hill Elementary School July 25, though the approval came with a caveat.

The application, submitted by The Providence Group, called for 29 single-family homes on a 10.1-acre parcel off Parsons Road, with a density of 2.86 units per acre. The council’s approval was for just 20 homes with a density of up to two units per acre.

Three residents took to the podium to oppose the project, using up all 10 minutes allotted them during the public hearing. Major concerns focused on the initial proposal’s density and the small lot sizes, which were set at a minimum of 5,000 square feet. The lot falls in the Medlock character area, and the city’s comprehensive plan recommends capping residential developments in the area at two units per acre.

Representatives of The Providence Group noted the lot is on the very northern end of the Medlock area, nearly abutting the Johns Creek North character area, which recommends densities of up to three units per acre. They also said they initially planned for 37 lots in the development, but reduced the number to make the density better suit the city’s plans.

City staff had recommended the project be approved with the 29 homes, but the Planning Commission recommended denial at its July 5 meeting.

The vote to approve fell 6-1, with Councilman Chris Coughlin dissenting. Councilman Larry DiBiase made the motion to approve the project with just 20 homes.

Developers were quiet as DiBiase made his motion. One resident yelled from the audience that she did not want the development approved at all. When Coughlin said he would vote against the approval, a small group of residents applauded him.

LOST tax

During Monday’s meeting, Mayor John Bradberry and other members of the City Council encouraged residents to contact the Fulton County Commission regarding proposed changes to the county’s local option sales tax distribution.

Fulton County has typically taken less than 5 percent of tax proceeds, and the remainder divided up among its cities. This year, the county has announced it wants its share to rise to 35 percent — a 600% increase.

Bradberry called Fulton County’s requested increase a “crazy number,” noting it would decrease the city’s share of the tax revenue from 7.7 percent to 5.3 percent, a drop of nearly $8 million. He said that if the increase in the county’s share went through, Johns Creek would have to raise its millage rate by 1.58 mils to balance its budget.

Bradberry said it was unclear what services the county was providing to justify the increase.

“They have not increased services,” Bradberry said. “Their geographic area that they provide services has shrunk to only two square miles of unincorporated area, and meanwhile, their revenues have gone up dramatically.”

Johns Creek and other North Fulton cities have joined to oppose the county’s tax share increase, and negotiations continue.

Reach Jake Drukman at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @DrukmanJake.

Jake Drukman was a reporter with Appen Media Group and covered local government.