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Horton, Bradberry face off in runoff:

Johns Creek Post 3 candidates talk about issues

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Post 3 candidates John Bradberry and Vicki Horton are in a runoff to decide the final seat for the 2018 City Council.

The election will be Tuesday, Dec. 5. The two candidates submitted to a Q&A session on the issues for the campaign.

John Bradberry

Bradberry

What is your vision for the city of Johns Creek in 10 years or 20 years from now?

I want Johns Creek to be considered the best place in north metro Atlanta or Georgia to live and raise a family. I want to see us preserve Johns Creek and its quality of life. I see my role as to look out for the best interests of the residents.

The goose that lays the golden eggs is our premiere bedroom community. So I want to improve that and protect it.

The first thing is to get the comprehensive land use plan right. I want to make sure that will be locked down and tight as we can make it and as low density as possible within the law. I don’t want any surprises. I would like a monthly report from staff on its progress.

I am skeptical of the widening of State Route 141 and Jones Bridge Road. Those projects are not in our best interests.

But these are TSPLOST projects. The city is committed to following through on them, are they not?

It is my understanding there are still things the council must approve to move forward. If that is not the case, someone must explain that to me. Are we bound to shoot ourselves in the foot if a project is not in our best interests? More lanes will only bring more traffic through Johns Creek.

Is economic viability an issue in which the city should be proactively involved? Should the city have a strategy for a prosperous business community?

I think there is a role to play. But the first priority should be to make the existing business environment the best it can be for those existing businesses here now.

Economic development by its very nature means we have some shortcomings that we are artificially trying to overcome.

I would say we have more fundamental problems for our businesses. Business taxes are certainly a drag on our businesses and so is traffic. Traffic, traffic, traffic is the No.1 thing that impacts our businesses and quality of life. We have to get that right.

It has been said Johns Creek is a city without a face – just subdivisions and strip centers. Do you support a city-sponsored revitalization plan similar to those executed in Duluth, Alpharetta and Woodstock? In short, a city center.

I am in favor of starting a city center, as long as it is low density and as long as it is not going to adversely affect traffic. We need to get all the stakeholders together and get the conversation started.

But it should start from the ground up, not the top down. I think it can be a plus for the economics [of the city]. But it needs to be something that complements Johns Creek and our residential character.

Look at Alpharetta. It’s almost overbuilt. I think they’ve done too much quickly. Some things have been very good like their walking trails which I think will be very successful.

Some of their high-density development is bringing in more tax revenue per acre. But it is bringing in much less tax revenue per resident. Eventually there is going to be a price to be paid for that.

I definitely want to see us get started on a city center. But I would like to plant an acorn rather than try to transplant an oak tree. All the downtowns we see like Roswell and Alpharetta started with a seed built upon for hundreds of years.

The vision is what is critical. I just want to see us get started.

Vicki Horton

Horton

What is your vision for the city of Johns Creek in 10 years or 20 years from now?

Even if we wanted to stay exactly where we are, it would be impossible because there are so many outside forces affecting us. A lot of those outside forces come from sources we have no control over.

I have heard a lot of talk in this election from people who say ‘I’m going to do this, and here is how it will work.’ The fact is there are a lot of entities we will have to work with – some that we have to answer to.

My vision of the city is for the leadership of the city to be dynamic in their interaction with these other groups. Because if we don’t have a seat at the table, it’s going to be very hard for us to present our vision.

So we end up receiving their vision of us. I want us to have all of our leadership at the table – as well as citizens too. The comprehensive plan is an important tool for this.

We should have a land use plan and zoning that are consistent with each other. And we as a city are in control of the land use plan, not the developers. Johns Creek has a character that is very unique.

So my vision in 10 years is that we have appropriate growth consistent with the vision of the community. And it should play well with the vision of all these other groups within our region. No growth is unrealistic.

Is economic viability an issue in which the city should be proactively involved? Should the city have a strategy for a prosperous business community?

I absolutely believe the city should be proactively involved in moving the city’s economic viability forward. We cannot rely solely on property taxes. Residential property tax is a disproportionately large part of the city’s revenue. We have to create a better balance.

I am not a fan of chasing big companies around and trying to get them to locate here. What I am an advocate of is connecting the academic world with the work world and our residents.

You put them all together you can create a place where people can thrive and grow their own businesses.

It has been said Johns Creek is a city without a face – just subdivisions and strip centers. Do you support a city-sponsored revitalization plan similar to those executed in Duluth, Alpharetta and Woodstock? In short, a city center.

The feedback I have been getting is people want a sense of community and some level of a city center. The people I have talked to all say they want some level of a city center or multiple city centers.

They don’t want something as extravagant and as dense as the last plan.

But they want somewhere to go, to walk, to go to eat and have a nice dinner with their family – not something grandiose with 10-story buildings.

If that is what they want, then give them that. But it should not be the council’s vision. It should be the council executing the vision of the community. That’s what good councils do all over the country. They get that feedback and then they make that happen.

So my vision would be for the citizens to have more to be proud of than just the schools. Johns Creek should have a national reputation as a community that figured out how to take care of the problem issues – from traffic to land use to residential issues and property taxes.


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