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Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. was founded in June 2005 and is a Georgia nonprofit, nonpartisan civic and neighborhoods-based organization. CRN represents neighborhoods along the Canton corridor and our focus is on planning, zoning and other issues related to an aging commercial and residential community.  We have a five-member board of directors and twelve members on our neighborhood advisory committee   

We offer three areas for volunteer activity either as a Board member or on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee:

Planning & Zoning, Community Gardening

Police Email Notification Representative



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link to Garden Archive


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October 2017

Update on 2016 Canton Corridor SPLOST planning:  There will not now be a public open house information meeting until Spring 2018 - election season.  CDOT is now combining a look at intersection improvements and sidewalks and there isn't enough money for both.  Guess the plan is to continue to let Canton Rd south do without, and let commercial property owners build sidewalks when they rezone.  To be continued.



September 2017

 Z-50 and SLUP10, Storage Development Group, was approved on Consent at the Sept. 19th BoC zoning hearing.   The site is on the west side of Canton Hwy adjacent to 2197 and south of Racetrac. The large structure will be four-sided brick and will not have any outside storage or parking of heavy vehicles. The zoning calls for sidewalks to be built the length of the 3.3 acre tract. It will also build decel lanes at its two driveways. Permitting is likely to begin early next year and construction of the building should be wrapping up by this time next year. The overall quality of the project is a big step in the right direction for the southern section of Canton Hwy.

 Sidewalk construction is moving ahead on the south side of E. Piedmont from east of Bells Ferry to Canton and from east of  the GA NE RR towards Sprayberry HS.  There is already a continuous path of sidewalks on the north side of Piedmont in both directions.  So when if ever are they going to be installed on Canton Hwy south of Piedmont to Kurtz Rd?  Without ties to a rezoning case, that is. 

It looks like the old gas station at 2120 may not be destined to become a used car lot after all.  It is back on the market.

Racetrac has completed their new location at 4400 Canton at Shallowford and it is very attractive!  They addressed the access issues to comply with stipulations and patrons will be safer because of it.   Now, we hope to see those improvements next to 2337 Canton, including a new driveway at the Liberty Hill signal.

Renovation of Gritters Library, the small but popular community library in Shaw Park, is scheduled to be funded with 2016 SPLOST dollars  While it won't be grand like the new facility in District 2, our area will finally get much needed space for community meetings.

Progress continues on Canton Hwy.  Most of the progress has taken place on Commissioner Birrell's watch.  In terms of being accessible to all constituents, not just the ones who write the big campaign checks, Birrell is the best District 3 Commissioner we have had, and I am a 29 year resident.

Here is a good read in the Sunday NY Times about the future of suburbia.  It is a very different narrative from the standard ARC 'dense-vertical-urban development' scenario we are accustomed to hearing.

The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here

By ALAN M. BERGER
SEPT. 15, 2017

'The suburbanization of America marches on. That movement includes millennials, who, as it turns out, are not a monolithic generation of suburb-hating city dwellers.

Most of that generation represents a powerful global trend. They may like the city, but they love the suburbs even more."

The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here


Alan M. Berger is a professor of landscape architecture and urban design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-director of the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and a co-editor of the forthcoming anthology “Infinite Suburbia.”


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Canton Road Neighbors Summer 2017 Update

Hi everyone,

Planning for improvements on Canton Corridor funded by the 2016 SPLOST is underway now. There will be three areas of focus: 1st an effort to fill sidewalk gaps, with the Public Information Open House expected in the fall. Construction would begin in Spring 2018.

After talking to CDOT about this, I am concerned that once again, the southern section from Liberty Hill to Powell Wright and Westerly Way south, may be shortchanged by SPLOST. This section is the only area in the entire 5 mile corridor to lack this most basic public safety infrastructure. On the east side from 2218 to 2281, grass in the ROW has not been mowed and got waist high. At least, with sidewalks in place, it would be passable. The “littering motorist” also tends to throw less trash in areas that have sidewalks, don't ask me why. Unfortunately there is a shortage of county funding to mow and maintain. Thankfully, the Connector is maintained by GDOT and it looks much better than it did 6 or 7 years ago.

The second phase will focus on intersection improvements. They are Canton at Shallowford, Canton at Piedmont, New Chastain and Chastain Corners. There is funding for a right turn lane on the northbound side of Canton to Shallowford, and there may dual left turn lanes added, southbound to Shallowford. They are needed. It looks like a new right turn from Canton onto Piedmont may be in the works as well. Most of these have been considered for a while.

The third item under consideration will be a concept plan to improve traffic at the Merge on the southern section. This would be partially funded by GDOT, and match SPLOST dollars. This project has been on the wish list for over a decade. Looking forward to see what the county proposes.

CRN requested a stakeholder meeting with Cobb DOT for the Cobb Greenways and Trails Plan to learn about and give input on plans for trails (and the lack of) in our area. We met at Covenant Presbyterian Church on July 18th and learned that these plans will be compiled and potentially funded as part of a 2020 SPLOST. Bells Ferry Civic, Chastain Lakes, residents from Marietta-Canton and the Post Oak Tritt area attended the meeting. www.CobbTrailPlan.com

There is a major new rezoning application which will be heard in September: Z-50 and SLUP 10 for a freestanding climate controlled self storage facility. Ironically, this Z-50 is on the same tract as the Z-50 Georgia Kids Project (2014) for a bicycle velodrome. Remember that one? This application however, is very real and is a quality, all-brick structure, similar to the storage facility on Westoak Parkway at Sandy Plains. There will not be any outside storage or parking of RVs, boats, heavy equipment, cement mixers or “the like”. It is planned for the 3.39 acre tract by the driveway to 2197 Canton Distribution Center. In fact, it will be in front of the distribution center. This will be an attractive, quiet operation and requires only 10 parking spaces. The applicants plan to install 600' of sidewalks and attractive street landscaping. If you think we are pleased about this one, you are right.

AGWC, owner of the 3.39 acre tract being rezoned has repurchased the adjacent 1.87 acre tract which is just south of Racetrac. It was owned by Liberty Church of Cobb Parkway.

The old service station at 2120 Canton Hwy, vacant since 2002, had the gas tanks removed several months ago and now has a new owner.  Investor/attorney Tom Mitchell Esq of Marietta has acquired the property from Petroleum Realty as Petroplex Joint Venture LLC.  That address is listed at 533 Johnson Ferry Suite 450: M3 JOINT VENTURE LLC next to AUTOPLEX PROPERTIES LLC.  A Google search for Autoplex lists used car dealerships - Atlanta Autoplex Inc on Fairground and Autoplex Imports on Cobb Parkway.  The property was purchased on July 25.  It is currently zoned GC and will have to come in for rezoning.  If used car sales are contemplated, it will also need a Special Land Use Permit. 

We are still waiting for Racetrac to move their driveway to align with the signal at Liberty Hill, and create the inter-parcel access drive from Westerly Way to the new drive. CDOT will be building the decel lane and sidewalks from the new drive to Westerly Way.

The new Racetrac on Canton at Shallowford agreed to stipulations to prohibit any left/southbound turns onto Canton Rd from the Canton access point. We hope that the turn will be restricted, for safety's sake. That is a badly congested, accident prone stretch of road. Otherwise the new Racetrac looks very nice.

As everyone knows, the real estate market is hot and investors are interested in houses in older subdivisions that they hope they can buy low, fix up and rent or sell at a profit.
Beware of some companies that send mail outs offering to buy for cash "as is".  One neighbor received several mailings and then a salesman came up his driveway demanding to go inside and make him an offer.   The salesman threatened to call code enforcement about repairs if the homeowner wouldn't sell.  The resident told the salesman to get off of his property and called police.  The salesman is called "Ahmad" and drives a midsize white SUV with a red dealer tag. Do not be bullied by aggressive salesmen - tell them to get off your property and call police.

On a more pleasant note, we wonder what properties might be purchased with the 2008 Parks Bond. As you may know, our hope for acquisition of the 7 acre property on Kurtz Rd (with lake) did not come to pass. However, there may still be an opportunity for greenspace in our area, most likely, the 50 acre Tom Phillips property on Ebenezer. At least, we hope so.

That's all for now. Enjoy the summer.

Carol Brown

Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.







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The previous owner of 4 undeveloped parcels on Shady Lake Dr, assembled with the lake at 756 Kurtz told me about the rare plant on her property.

"The native vegetation on the site houses abundant wildlife that is not normally seen in such a populated area.  We have a grove of Beech trees, Hickory, Red and White Oaks, Black Walnut trees many of these are specimen trees in addition to the many native wildflowers and wild orchids."

  It has been 8 years since the Parks Bond list of 29 was released.  The map above indicates the monkeyface orchid could have been in the area and seen 6-10 years ago. It is possible it could have been a more common monkey orchid but we will never know.  Those lots are being developed soon and even though it will be attractive, the natural beauty will be lost. 

This is really the conclusion of the story for the Kurtz Rd properties.  A few, more developed sites may be acquired for public parks.  But even that will require persistence from those who want to set aside land for the future.  Even now after the Bonds have been issued, at least one commissioner is trying to stall the process.

Enough. It is years past the time to do the right thing and buy greenspace.

Honor your promise to the people and carry out the voter's mandate.



The one that got away - Kurtz Road, one of the "10"

- Carol Brown

One of the properties that was on the final list in 2009 and again in 2017 is the 7 acre tract with 3 acre lake on Kurtz Rd.  Below, a blog looking back at community efforts to save the land and what makes it so special.

 


The one that got away - Kurtz Road, one of the "10".

When I got the call from Mr. Yazdi a couple of weeks ago, his voice was strained “Well” he said, “Like they say, free at last”. The property owner had just received a phone call from Cobb County, telling him they regretted they could not purchase his property for greenspace. I felt his pain – it had been nine years since the wooded, environmentally sensitive 6.93 acre tract with 3 acre lake had been in potential park status. Actually, our collaboration went back 10 years, when his property came in for a rezoning in June 2007.

                  
  

The white stone house at 756 Kurtz Rd was built in 1956 and trees lining the road hide the lake from those driving by. The first owner, Black, also built the dam in 1956. The lake is fed by springs and by Noonday Tributary 3. The land on the hill above is still undeveloped and a gravel road covered in leaves borders the lake and leads to the back of the dam. The undisturbed tract and the lots above have created a safe haven for wildlife and plants rarely seen in Cobb's ever-expanding urban jungle.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources lists 24 rare elements in Cobb County, including 11 animals and 13 plants. The Etowah River Watershed lists 11 rare elements, including 6 animals and 5 plants. At least one of the rare plant species, Platanthera integrilabia (Monkeyface Orchid) was identified on one of the parcels proposed for purchase as greenspace. Species that can be seen frequently include deer, raccoon, possum, coyote, hawks, several species of owl and many other species of bird, Canadian geese and mallard. When you walk up the driveway and look out over the lake from the carport, the first reaction is surprise – this isn't what you would expect to find a mile off of I-75. Walk up the gravel road behind the lake, and you feel like you are walking in the woods in North Georgia. Its almost a miracle that this small area of natural beauty has been able to dodge the developer's bullet for so long.

In July 2007 CRN had been organized for only two years – but was started during the real estate bubble which led to the Great Recession. There were plenty of opportunities to learn about land use and zoning code – and like June 2017, the market was hot and good times were never going to end. Even so, the original site plan for the Kurtz Rd property (Z-67, R-20 to RA-5) seemed over-the-top. Cobb's Zoning Staff must have felt that way too, as they reviewed the application to drain the lake and cram over two dozen units onto the 6.9 acre site, into the floodplain. Z-67 was Continued and the zoning attorney was told a revised site plan was needed. He and the applicant complied and by the August Planning Commission, a new plan was produced that featured a downsized, engineered lake (a retention pond, actually) and featured 13 lots.

The community was not satisfied with the revision and there was disagreement in our group about what was needed to allow the applicant to rezone his property and still preserve the lake, wetlands and trees.Several of these members lived in proximity to the site and owned land with a lake, creek and acreage in floodplain. They had concerns about being downstream from a more heavily developed 7 acre tract.

The revised plan requested R-20 to R-15 OSC (Open Space Community) and the Planning Commission recommended approval and preservation of additional trees on the site. The Board of Commissioners continued the case until September for further revisions and time to address stormwater, buffering and site plan issues. In September, a new plan was produced with 8 lots and a more natural lake. It was deleted to R-20 OSC with over 78% of the property set aside as open space. The zoning was approved unanimously.


A year and two months later, the public would get a chance to vote on a 2nd Parks Bond Referendum for $40 million dollars. The market was starting to cool off and Mr. Yazdi was in no rush to develop the land. He loved the site and agreed that I could nominate his property to be purchased for greenspace. The first Referendum had been successful, and in November 2008 the public approved the second Parks Bond by a 65.3% landslide.




The 2008 Parks Bond followed the same process as the 2006 Bond. In the spring of 2009, the Parks Department opened up the nomination process for properties. The 2008 Bond received 347 property nominations from the public. This was lowered by 70, since the landowners were not willing to sell. Some properties had a contingent of supporters who showed up at Board of Commission meetings to speak on behalf of their favorite parcel. Mrs. Wylene Tritt was among 80 landowners who spoke in support of her property (Landowners flood parks bond hearing, Hungerford, A., MDJ, 04/23/09). I nominated Kurtz Rd and several others and then moved on to other issues.

The process was competitive, which in hindsight, may not have been the best way to conserve land. The appointed Citizens Committee sifted through volumes of data and by summer, had created a list of properties that met 10 predetermined criteria. First, if the property was in an area underserved by parks. “The committee ranked the rest of the criteria in this order: parcel sizes, potential for long-term public use, environment, accessibility, linkages to other parks and trails, topography, hydrology, history and whether the property is in danger of imminent development”(Secrecy shrouds Cobb’s parkland plan, Pickel, M., Redmon, J., AJC,05/03/09).

Finally, on October 26th the MDJ featured a map of 29 properties selected by the Citizens Advisory Committee. 756 Kurtz Rd and 4 lots above the lake on Shady Lake Drive had made the list as an assemblage. They were at the bottom of the list, but no matter, our group and many in the community near the lake were excited by the possibility and started lobbying the Commissioners in earnest.



NEIGHBORHOOD CALL TO ACTION

FRIENDS OF KURTZ PARK

PLEASE HELP US PRESERVE THIS 10+ ACRE SITE

AS A COBB COUNTY PARK

THIS SITE HAS MADE IT TO THE FINAL CUT OF 29 PROPERTIES FROM THE ORIGINAL 390 BEING CONSIDERED FOR PURCHASE BY THE $40M COBB PARKS GREENSPACE INTIATIVE

WE ARE UP AGAINST MANY LARGER TRACTS IN OTHER AREAS OF THE COUNTY AND OUR AREA IS VERY UNDERSERVED. WITH THIS TRACT WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO CREATE A PARK MUCH LIKE THE EAST COBB PARK ON ROSWELL RD. WE NEED YOU AND YOUR NEIGHBORS TO LOBBY OUR COMMISSIONERS TO PURCHASE THIS PROPERTY SO THAT WE ALL MAY ENJOY THIS

WE CAN HAVE A PART AND A VOICE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS PARK IF WE WORK TOGETHER. THIS PROPERTY COULD HAVE WALKING TRAILS; A LAKE FOR FISHING, PICNIC AREAS AND THE HOUSE COULD BE USED FOR A COMMUNITY CENTER FOR LOCAL SCOUT TROOP AND COMMUNITY GROUPS.

PLEASE VISIT OUR BLOG SPOT AT

http://friendsofkurtzpark.blogspot.com/

CALL OR EMAIL OUR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Sam Olens – Chairman - solens@cobbcounty.org 770-528-3300

Tim Lee Dist 3 – tlee@cobbcounty.org 770-528-3318

Helen Goreham Dist 1 – hgoreham@cobbcounty.org 770-528-3313

Bob Ott Dist 2 – bob.ott@cobbcounty.org 770-528-3316

Woody Thompson Dist 4 – woody.thompson@cobbcounty.org 770-528-3312

Friends of Kurtz Park will be holding our first meeting at the home on the site Wednesday November 3, 2009 at 7 PM. Friends of Kurtz Park will be hosting open house and tours on Sunday November 8 at 2 PM, Saturday November 14 at 2 PM. If you need further information please call 404-xxx-xxxx.

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The flyer above was distributed to area neighborhoods to gather support for the Kurtz property to be purchased as a park by Cobb County with proceeds from the $40 million dollar Parks Bond.  We also had a petition, shown below, that received 200 signatures from area residents.

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After release of the list of 29, CRN started a Friends of Kurtz Park effort which included a series of Open House events, a petition, both online and paper, a blog, and we discussed how the property could be preserved if it were not purchased with the Parks Bond funds. We were aware of the successful Friends of East Cobb Park effort, but our community was much smaller and lacked the resources to start a campaign that could save the 7 acre tract. A flyer was created with meeting dates of November 3rd, 8th and 14th. The events were held as planned and a nice crowd of local residents attended both weekend Open House tours. Based on articles in the AJC and MDJ, we believed that action on the Park properties was proceeding as expected (Cobb Commissioners to tour proposed park land, Pickel, M.L.,11/16/09, Atlanta Journal Constitution), (County to tour parks bond parcels, 11/13/09, Marietta Daily Journal). Then, shortly after a rumor began circulating, the MDJ printed this story: (Cobb halts Parks Bond Process for 90 days, Howard, M. E.,11/19/09, Marietta Daily Journal). This delayed any further action on Parks Bond until February 2010. We were surprised and disappointed.

Park advocates waited patiently until after the holidays and in early February the decision to halt the Parks Bond issuance was announced.

Camp, K. R., Olens: 'Parks Bond is gone', 02/05/10, Marietta Daily Journal  

Millions for parkland in Cobb County ‘highly unlikely'

(Pickel, Mary Lou, Millions for parkland in Cobb County ‘highly unlikely', 02/08/2010 Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Faced with a falling tax digest due to the ongoing recession, Olens said that acquisition of park property could not be made without raising the millage rate - and no tax increase was a promise that was made to voters in 2008.

The owner of the Kurtz Rd. property, Mr.Yazdi, had patiently worked with our group as we tried to get his land purchased for greenspace.  However, it was now clear that the option was off the table.  After renting his property out to a family that damaged the house, by June it was vacant again and local races for District 3 Commissioner and Chairman were well underway.  Chairman Sam Olens had stepped down to run for Attorney General of the State of Georgia and District 3 Commissioner Tim Lee had stepped down to run for Chairman. Thea Powell was appointed to act as Interim District 3 Commissioner and a race to fill Lee's seat had 3 candidates. One of the candidates, JoAnn Birrell, would be elected to replace Tim Lee as District 3 Commissioner in 2011.

In July 2010, Canton Road Neighbors and NE Cobb Homeowners Group hosted a Candidate Meet and Greet for the Chairman Candidates (Tim Lee and Larry Savage) and the District 3 Commission Candidates (Earl Stine, JoAnn Birrell, Steve Moon).  All were running in the GOP Primary.  Had there been a Democratic challenger, they would have been invited and welcomed as well.  The Meet and Greet was held at 756 Kurtz Rd, the 6.8 acre parcel we had hoped would be purchased for green space with the 2008 Parks Bond. The 3 acre lake is in the background of the candidate photo shown below.  We hoped that having the event on the Kurtz property would be a way to show its potential as greenspace to those who would be elected to the County Commission.


L-R: Tim Lee, Earl Stine, Larry Savage, JoAnn Birrell, Steve Moon 
Then-interim Commissioner Thea Powell (center) and her husband were also in attendance.


After the Meet and Greet concluded, I returned the house keys to Mr.Yazdi who told me that he had found some really good tenants for the property who could repair the house and take care of the lake.  I thanked him for his help the past few years and with support from CRN members and permission from GDOT and Marietta, focused our energy onto a new community project: a perennial garden in public right of way on Canton Connector.     Link to Garden Archive               


The 2008 Parks Bond issue lay dormant until the 2016 race for Commission Chairman began.

Continued

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Racing to stay ahead of questioning media and aggravated greenspace activists, Cobb County released this information to the MDJ:  Boyce: County moving forward on 5 properties with parks bonds


Five landowners have agreed in principle to sell to Cobb County.  It doesn't take too much thought to guess which property in District 3 is in negotiation with the county - wait - we read that there was not going to be any negotiation . . 
But the important thing is that finally, after 8 years, public pressure, media scrutiny, questions about transparency and contradictory statements about process, Cobb may at last acquire 5 properties with $27 million of the $40 million approved by voters in 2008. This is in contrast to the warp speed demonstrated in funding another BIG park in SE Cobb.

The AJC interviewed a landowner in Acworth who was apparently unwilling to accept the county's low offer. 
Acworth goat farm dropped from Cobb parks list amid money concerns.







Parks Bond Update-  4 of 10 gone - 8 years of effort down the drain

http://www.mdjonline.com/news/cobb-county-parks-bond-property-update/article_82865f76-3f53-11e7-paf70-071882eda0f4.html

Cobb County Parks Bond Property Update May 22

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners continues to move forward to negotiate the purchase of $27.4 million in parks properties authorized through the parks bond measure approved by the board on April 11.

“Of the original 10 properties identified as the highest in priority, four have been removed from consideration based on the fact that the county was not able to reach an agreement with property owners or the properties were unsuitable for park purposes,” according to Pat Riley, the real estate attorney in the County Attorney’s Office who is handling negotiations on behalf of the county.

Properties removed from the nominated list were located on Baker, Post Oak Tritt, Fowler and Kurtz Roads.

Riley advised the board of developments at an Executive Session on Monday. Given the removal of properties from consideration, the Board has directed that additional properties be added to the active list under consideration, according to Riley.

Discussions regarding real estate acquisition are proper for executive sessions under the Open Meetings Act.

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756 Kurtz Rd. 7 ac, A. Yazdi, Dist. 3  below:


2820 Baker Road, 54 ac, Charline Cambron, Dist. 1- gone

Acworth goat farm's open house to promote property's park potential

4701 Post Oak Tritt Road, 14.1 ac, Kenneth Clary, Dist. 2 (the only property in Ott's District)

201 Fowler Road, 31.9 ac, Mike P. Fowler, Dist. 4


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Canton Road Neighbors Spring 2017 Update

Hello all,

There is some happy news out there and many of us are ready for it! On Tuesday April 11, Cobb Commissioners authorized the release of bond funds to acquire greenspace.

Although $24.7 million is available from the $40 million 2008 Parks Bond, Cobb's AAA Bond Rating brought in a Bond Premium of $2.8 million extra, to total $27.5 m to buy greenspace.  Transactions can now get underway.

Link to MDJ articles.

http://www.mdjonline.com/news/cobb-county-could-execute-parks-bond-tuesday/article_751308ea-1bf8-11e7-a283-cb546779b5d2.html

The article shows the October 2016 list of 13 proposed properties to be acquired, but the list is somewhat modified now and only Commissioners know which properties are on the short list.

ww.mdjonline.com/news/cobb-board-of-commissioners-approve-million-parks-bond/article_ae3c1c54-1f1a-11e7-8615-1fec926d9fb6.html

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Its time to give your input on a new Parks Master Plan and a Survey is online at Cobb Parks website.

You will be surprised to see how many different types of parks there are. Cobb County wants to hear from as many of you as possible. Sharing your vision for the future of Cobb County Parks is convenient and easy using the online survey. Don't delay, LINK TO SURVEY.

https://cobbcounty.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7713:p-a-r-k-s-master-plan-public-input-survey&catid=282&Itemid=353

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Another important planning exercise will soon be underway: Trails and Greenways.

Help plan trails and greenways throughout the county

Cobb County is starting an exciting effort to develop a roadmap guiding the expansion of greenways and trails throughout the county. The plan will identify priority corridors for new greenways and trails and provide recommendations for building upon and improving the existing network to make them more accessible to everyone. As part of the process, staff will be reaching out to community members across the county to learn more about your priorities for trails in the future. If you are interested in becoming involved in the process, contact Eric Meyer at Eric.Meyer@cobbcounty.org.

The current trail directory: https://cobbcounty.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7547:trail-system-directory&catid=793&Itemid=2912

This plan will be updated, with the kickoff in the spring. This planning process will be coordinated with PARKS master planning effort.

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An exciting new development in Cobb's efforts to expand Transit: The Board of Commissioners approved Route 10X, a limited-stop route from KSU to Georgia State University. The route will stop at key destinations on Cobb Parkway and then travel south on I-75 to the Marta Arts Center Station, to Georgia Tech and Georgia State. This will decrease the travel time for riders on Cobb Parkway. For the article, Link to MDJ

http://www.mdjonline.com/news/kennesaw-to-atlanta-county-approves-route-x-implementation-plan/article_9b6ddeec-ffc0-11e6-87e2-631e5382a9e8.html

Route 10X should be running next Spring 2018 and the HOV lanes will be open by summer 2018. So traffic relief is in our future.

That's it for now – we will update you as more information becomes available.

Carol Brown

Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.

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Local governments with multi-use trails and paths that are bike, pedestrian, golf cart and NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) friendly.

Peachtree City, GA


Self-driving cars could be a boon for aged, after initial hurdles, Chapman, M, NYT

Proposed Cobb County resolution would express interest for passenger rail Gargis, J, MDJ

Proposed Resolution urging Georgia to retain control of Rail Line for potential use of passenger rail

Chairman Mike Boyce

Honorable Members Cobb County Commission

March 26, 2017

I recently read the MDJ Op-Ed by Senator Lindsey Tippens.

The proposed resolution urging the State of Georgia to retain control of the 137 mile rail line leased by CSX would leave open the possibility of shared use of the existing line between freight and passengers. This option should also be explored with the existing rail line leased by Georgia Northeastern Railroad.

This is a long range transportation plan, comparable in scope to the network of managed lanes, now under construction on the NW Corridor.

The metro Atlanta region has the 4th worst traffic congestion in the United States and our population is not nearly the size of New York or Los Angeles. It should be apparent to anyone who drives on or near the northwestern section of I-75 that a solution must be found, and it will require multiple options.

Planning for the NW Corridor Managed Lanes began in 2002 and had many revisions before construction in its present form. Another solution is the creation of Cobblinc Route 10X which will offer limited stop service from Kennesaw State University/Town Center down Cobb Parkway and on to the Marta Arts Center Station, Georgia Tech and Georgia State University.

In Cobb County, planning for trails and greenways is about to begin. This is of critical importance in order to create safe and attractive corridors for those who wish to use alternative modes of transportation for personal enjoyment and to reach key destinations. It is critically important that sidewalks be connected and that bike lanes be grade or barrier separated so that average citizens will feel that they are safe to use.

The market always brings changes, and the appearance of Uber, Lyft, and delivery services offered by Instacart, Shipt, and retailers like Amazon and Walmart, insure that the public will have fast and inexpensive access to groceries, even if access to transportation is limited or nonexistent.

The public must realize that neither Cobb nor the region can build enough roads to solve the transportation problem. The potential to upgrade two existing rail lines to allow shared use between freight and commuters is an important option that the State of Georgia must keep in play.

Please vote to support this resolution.

Carol Brown, Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.



Canton Road Neighbors March 2017 

The March update opens with some Parks information no not the Braves/Suntrust opening, but the status of the $40 million dollar Parks Bond issue, still hanging out there since 2008. At Tuesday morning's Board of Commissioners' meeting, in response to Sierra Club activist Roger Buerki's comments, Chairman Mike Boyce informed the public that the final list of potential park properties has been selected and an appraiser is making the rounds Upon completing the appraisals, the county will contact the property owners to see if they are still interested in selling.  After voting to issue the Bonds in January (4-1 Ott opposed), the public was told that the Bonds would be sold in April.  So finally, after eight years, $24.7 million will be available to purchase parks, from a list of 10 to 13. We have a general idea of what is being considered but unfortunately, and not quite transparently, the list has not been made public.  Also still hanging out there is the remaining $15 million, to bring the total up to the voter approved $40 million.  

There have been several cringe-worthy moments on TV 23 and in the news this year.

1. In first place is the Cobb Parks Coalition's rattling tin cup demonstration to emphasize their demand to the BoC (and particularly the new Chairman), that there is still a $15 million dollar deficit to fully fund the $40 million 2008 Parks Bond.

2. Second runner up has to be Chairman Boyce's public put-down of Cobb DOT chief Jim Wilgus, who sent a private note to the County Manager stating that Cobb had already built enough infrastructure for the new Stadium and did not owe the Braves another $14 million.

3. In third place: Community Developmnt Director Dana Johnson's response to Commissioner Cupid about the safety of outdoor cafe seating in suburban malls, with no protective fencing or enclosure. Johnson suggested that you would probably be safer at a table in a parking lot than   on the Square. Johnson delivered his opinion with a straight face.  The amendment to allow restaurants in Unincorporated Cobb to serve alcoholic beverages at tables out of doors without any type of protective fence or enclosure was proposed by Commissioner Ott. It was adopted 41 Commissioner Birrell opposed. 

The Cobb Parks Master Plan update has completed their series of open house meetings and soon, there will be a public survey available.  This will be posted online within the next few weeks at Cobb Parks website.  We will provide a link when this becomes available. The online survey will be followed by a random telephone survey. The Parks department wants to hear from as many people as possible,what you would like to see added to the Parks system in the future.

Cobb DOT is also initiating a trails and greenway planning effort to be rolled out this Spring. From this week's Cobbline:
Help plan trails and greenways throughout the county Cobb County is starting an exciting effort to develop a roadmap guiding the expansion of greenways and trails throughout the county. The plan will identify priority corridors for new greenways and trails and provide recommendations for building upon and improving the existing network to make them more accessible to everyone. As part of the process, staff will be reaching out to community members across the county to learn more about your priorities for trails in the future. If you are interested in becoming involved in the process, contact Eric Meyer at Eric.Meyer@cobbcounty.org.

This plan will be updated, with the kickoff in the spring. This planning process will be coordinated with PARKS master planning effort.

An exciting new development in Cobb's efforts to expand Transit:  The Board of Commissioners approved Route 10X, a limited-stop route from KSU to Georgia State University. The route will stop at key destinations on Cobb Parkway and then travel south on I-75 to the Marta Arts Center Station, to Georgia Tech and Georgia State. This will decrease the travel time for riders on Cobb Parkway.  For the article, Link to MDJ


For the residents of Cobb's neighborhoods who are concerned about the ever-increasing density being approved in rezoning cases, here is a link to a presentation by the authors of Retrofitting Suburbia,  Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson.  Published in 2008, it offers many interesting ideas, but as is often the case, good ideas don't always get implemented in the real world.  Just the ones that make money.

That's it for now.
Carol Brown Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.

 



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Planning Commissioner Christi Trombetti resigns - LINK to AJC

Job well done Christi - Thank you!!  The volunteers that Christi referred to include Jill Flamm / ECCA, Robin Meyer / MIC, Keli Gambrell / PLAN and Carol Brown /CRN. More recent leadership to emerge in the County includes Tullan Avard /Bells Ferry Civic Assoc, Melissa O'Brien / West Cobb Advocate, and Libby Barnett / Concerned Citizens of East Cobb


Annual appointment of Commissioners to oversee County Departments:  Download the PDF at the bottom of this page.

Commissioner Birrell will retain oversight of the Community Development Department.  This will be helpful in her ongoing efforts to work with the business and residential community to address revitalization of the Canton Road Corridor and the old Sprayberry shopping Center at Sandy Plains and E. Piedmont.  District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid was named Vice Chairman for the year and will run BoC meetings if Chairman Boyce is absent.


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Boyce becomes Chairman, MDJ, Gargis, J.  LINK

Lee's Legacy, AJC, Lutz, M.  Link

"Be Bold" Lee's last BoC Meeting, MDJ, Gargis, J.  Link


CRN 2016 Wrap

One of the highlights of the year's activity for CRN included co-hosting a Forum for Commission Chairman Candidates Mike Boyce, Tim Lee and Larry Savage at Covenant Presbyterian Church last May. We worked with Bells Ferry Civic Association to sponsor the 90 minute forum. While the attendance was not high, local video producer Bob Wood recorded the forum and posted a link to YouTube – in all it was seen by nearly 350 viewers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ebxW_4Mi70

Our zoning caseload was about average with 9 Rezoning, 4 Other Business and two Variance cases.

At least four cases, 3 rezonings and 1 variance, were significant in that they will bring about change in several sections of the corridor and will create one of the first new residential communities in the area in over a decade.

A pair of rezonings for Racetrac bookend the northern and southern end of the Canton Corridor. Z-95 (2015) on Canton at Shallowford (east) will be a new development. The site will feature a 5.500 sq ft market and 24 fueling points. There are a number of stipulations that will regulate the flow of traffic at this busy intersection. As expected, new sidewalks will be installed, as well as street landscaping and the Corridor's trademark Pedestrian street lamps. Construction will begin early next year.


Z-21 was approved in April, on Canton at Liberty Hill. This Racetrac station has just been remodeled, and the decade-long vacant gas station next to it has now been demolished. The plans to build a deceleration lane, sidewalks, a new main driveway at Liberty Hill and an access road from Westerly Way to the new driveway are still in the design phase and will likely be reviewed by the county by February. The new driveway will give customers a safer entrance and exit via a new signal at Liberty Hill.




V-70, Sovran Realty, is actually Uncle Bob's Storage, visible at the curve just before the “merge” and Rib Ranch on Canton Hwy. The view will change to include a new 3 story self storage building with landscaping and no heavy trucks visible from the street. This will be a game-changing improvement in the appearance of the corridor for drivers headed northbound. The renovations are planned to begin in February next year.


Z-80, Pearson Communities, will bring changes to the 15 acre site at the intersection of Shallowford and Shallowford. The new residential community was approved in 2014 as Z-37 with a density of 5.81 upa, targeted to age 55+. The applicant acquired three acres on the south side and brought it back in as Z-80 with a higher density. Input from Staff, the Planning Commission and CRN scaled it back to 5.81 upa and a new total of 5 acres of greenspace set aside along the stream that runs through the property.


The greenspace will be usable as an amenity and will have have natural trails. The main entrance on Shallowford will be limited to right-in, right-out and there will be a second entrance on Shallowford connector. The rezoning for RA-6 will stabilize an older neighborhood to the south and will contain the spread of commercial development to the node at Canton. Pearson has developed a similar community in Towne Lake, Woodstock.

Also noteworthy is OB 77, which finally brings a new owner and Tenant to Rex Horney's brick building at 775 Hawkins Store Rd. The facility will be used for softball training.

Z-95 (2016) will bring improvements to Fontis Water, 3929 Canton Rd. The company has occupied the location for many years and is “grandfathered”. A new warehouse will be built to contain the operation and parking of semi-tractor trailers will no longer be necessary.

For the most part the applications were constructive and enabled improvements to the area. We feel that allowing Contractor as a Special Exception in NRC needs another look. It has exceeded its original intention to accomodate older, “spot-zoned” parcels near residential neighborhoods. In some cases it has enabled an industrial function, which is not a good fit. Several applications have worked as intended but others have not. Its current viability may act as a deterrent to assemblage of parcels for new, more upscale development.

The Perennial Garden on the Connector just past Sandy Plains struggled through a tough, dry summer and the absence of several garden friends. We were very pleased to get assistance from several young Elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints who volunteered at two garden workdays. These young men are on a two year mission for their church and community service is part of that mission.

Canton Road Neighbors held two Board Meetings and welcomed Ron Nakfoor from Marietta-Canton subdivision as a Director at Large. Delon Barfuss was elected Vice President. We welcome Eric Hill as Neighborhood Advisory from Chadds Ridge HOA.

We met with attorney Kevin Moore and Eric Hill of Chadds Ridge to discuss Z-80 and with attorney Parks Huff and Chimney Cottages to discuss Z-21. CRN's work on zoning cases before they ever reach the Planning Commission results in many cases placed on Consent Agenda.

Parks Bond

CRN engaged in the effort to get the 2008 Parks Bond released by the Board of Commissioners. In addition to talking to our Commissioner and others, we sponsored two Change.Org petitions which totaled over 300 signatures county-wide.

Thanks to leadership shown by Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and Bob Weatherford, it looks as though a motion to issue the Bonds will be forthcoming early next year. The Commissioners are almost finished touring the potential park properties and we hope to see the final list soon. I would like to see the final list carried forward to any new Park funding mechanism, whether it is a Bond or SPLOST. We do not need a new nominating/competitive process. These properties have been thoroughly vetted and it is time to put up the money for them and quit talking it to death.


Finally, we must note the changes coming to the Chairman's office in Cobb. Tim Lee can look back on 14 years in office with many achievements. There is no doubt that he gets credit for starting the revitalization of Canton Corridor, and the progress is visible to all. Credit also goes to Commissioner JoAnn Birrell for carrying on the mission, to Planning Commissioner Christi Trombetti and to the business owners who participated (willingly or not) in the effort to spruce up the Corridor. CRN gets credit for over 10 years of planning advocacy on the Corridor, often negotiating a balance between the concerns of homeowners with those of business. At the same time all concerned have tried to hang onto the long range plans for revitalization. It hasn't been easy, but it appears to be working.

In his closing remarks as Chairman of the BoC, Lee stated: “My comment to the board is please do not let a small, noisy minority eat away at our greatness.” The outgoing Chairman was not referring to greatness of the individuals on the Commission but to the County. However, his remark misses the point that progress is often made because a small, noisy minority of citizens (who care enough to take the time to engage) have pushed for change. The Constitution guarantees those rights and we are better because of it. Cobb is a good place to live but it is not perfect. We can learn from others and from our own mistakes. The responsibility to balance the needs of residents with that of business must be taken seriously. Low property taxes are little consolation if the right to quiet enjoyment of your property and property value have been compromised.

Along with the Chairman, we can look back on past accomplishments, but we will also look ahead and resolve to do better in the coming year.

Carol Brown, M.R.P., Chairperson, Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.







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