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The Johns Creek Planning Commission voted 5-1 to deny the zoning application at a July 10 meeting.JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Historical Society is mounting a campaign to save a 69-foot water oak that stands in the way of a planned Shake Shack near the Publix on State Bridge Road.The tree, with a spread of 100 feet and a trunk 48 inches in diameter, has withstood the test of time dating back more than a century, but it now faces the axe as part of the proposed building project.“In a city with very litt...
The Johns Creek Planning Commission voted 5-1 to deny the zoning application at a July 10 meeting.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Historical Society is mounting a campaign to save a 69-foot water oak that stands in the way of a planned Shake Shack near the Publix on State Bridge Road.
The tree, with a spread of 100 feet and a trunk 48 inches in diameter, has withstood the test of time dating back more than a century, but it now faces the axe as part of the proposed building project.
“In a city with very little remaining that physically ties to its history, the tree is a treasure,” writes Joan Compton, president of the Johns Creek Historical Society.
Compton created a document detailing the water oak, aka the Publix tree. In it, she advocates the denial of site plans for a 3,500-square-foot Shake Shack, which call for its removal. The project would subdivide a .72-acre out-parcel from an 8.65-acre property, which Compton says means there are other options.
The Publix tree is one of 17 heritage trees Compton has listed in an Excel spreadsheet, a project started during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the oldest tree in Johns Creek, near the Regal Cinema, dates to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Each tree tells the history of different parts of the city, she said. Macedonia Cemetery, where locally enslaved people and their descendants are buried, sits just up the road from the Publix tree. The land was once part of the Cherokee plantation.
“Over its long lifetime, the tree would have seen the horse-drawn traffic of traders, travelers, and local farmers on their way to and from the Warsaw and Medlock ferries …” Compton writes.
The tree “evaded the axe and plow,” she writes, and for decades it grew, despite rapid development.
“Saved once as a heritage tree when the Publix shopping center was built, it’s in jeopardy again.”
Shake Shack plans, approved by city staff, were expected to go before the Johns Creek Planning Commission July 10. A final vote of approval is scheduled for a later City Council meeting.
According to the city staff report, the zoning applicant initially considered incorporating the tree, but the existing topography presented a challenge. The tree sits on a 5,400-square-foot raised bed, 4 to 5 feet taller than the surrounding parking lot. Traffic flow was listed as another issue.
To abide by the city’s Tree Preservation Administrative Guidelines, staff placed conditions on the application. For specimen trees — defined by their high value in type, size or age — their removal must be replaced with a greater density in vegetation.
The applicant must also plant a 12-inch caliper hardwood by the proposed restaurant’s patio. Community Development Director Ben Song said the developer’s Land Disturbance Permit would include more detail to ensure the replacement tree’s survival.
While not a requirement, Song said the applicant was also asked to seek an independent arborist to evaluate the tree. The arborist’s report was expected to be filed July 7.
Before the application was accepted, Song asked if the tree could be transplanted, but for a tree that size, the risk could be too great. Lynn Pennington, president of Johns Creek Beautification, assumes the Publix tree would not survive a transplant.
“Based on the root structure, the size of that tree – where could it go? Where could you transport it?” Pennington asked. “It's wider than a double-lane highway.”
Compton sent her document to Johns Creek officials and others in the area, including Johns Creek Beautification, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the city’s natural beauty.
“Most everything, when it comes to development, is taken down,” Pennington said.
She envisioned an alternative, one that has people gathering for picnics under the tree. Pennington hopes the Publix tree could motivate various groups to inventory all the city’s heritage trees and provide signage.
“Everybody respects trees and loves trees,” she said.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Johns Creek councilmembers agreed at a June 6 work session to advertise the existing tax rate of 3.986 mills for this year, creating a ceiling but not a floor.Property taxes are set through millage rates. One mill equals $1 of property taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.While the county has yet to provide a preliminary 2023 tax digest for Johns Creek, homeowners whose property values have risen may pay a higher tax bill if the city’s advertised tax rate is approved. Councilmembers have a...
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Johns Creek councilmembers agreed at a June 6 work session to advertise the existing tax rate of 3.986 mills for this year, creating a ceiling but not a floor.
Property taxes are set through millage rates. One mill equals $1 of property taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.
While the county has yet to provide a preliminary 2023 tax digest for Johns Creek, homeowners whose property values have risen may pay a higher tax bill if the city’s advertised tax rate is approved. Councilmembers have another two months to gather information on how much the tax levy would generate in revenues as the county completes its assessment of property values. The council can adjust the mill levy downward before settling on a final tax rate in August when it has a clearer picture of actual property values.
Residential property taxable values in North Fulton County can only increase by 3 percent or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower.
Johns Creek Finance Director Ronnie Campbell said the millage rate has a “cascading effect” on both the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
Because this year’s budget anticipates holding a steady millage rate, the city is expected to use surplus funds left over from this year’s budget to compensate for any shortfalls if a lower millage rate is adopted. The discussion on the potential use of property tax stabilization funds – surplus money used to offset property taxes – will likely be taken up at a future work session, Campbell said, once the city receives the new tax digest from Fulton County.
The first of three public hearings on the millage rate is set for July 25 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The second will be held Aug. 8 at 11 a.m. and the third, later that night as part of the City Council meeting at 7 p.m.
In other matters at the work session, the council agreed to fully fund construction for Creekside Park, rather than phase the work. The project is estimated to cost $35.5 million.
About a third of the cost had already been allocated to the project, using funds from the transportation special purpose local option sales tax – or TSPLOST – the parks bond, general fund revenues as well as Tourism Project Development funds. An additional $10 million of TSPLOST II funds will be dedicated to the park as well as anticipated surplus revenue.
“As far as where the money comes from, and how quickly does it get paid for … is not really what's in front of [us],” Mayor John Bradberry said. “It's more about, ‘Are we still 100 percent committed to what we previously outlined in terms of our plan for Creekside Park?’ … For me, it's an obvious answer — 100 percent yes. Yes, I am.”
The City Council also agreed to add permanent lines for football at one of the synthetic turf fields at Cauley Creek Park for a total of $75,000.
City Councilman Chris Coughlin said he had concerns about prioritizing football over other sports, and looked to use enrollment numbers to determine how to mark the fields.
“The city hasn't supported the program in so many years,” Councilman Larry DiBiase said. “It has been slowly dwindling because there's nowhere to play. Would we want our children to hop a fence?”
Homegrown in Alabama, Cookie Fix is making its way up I-20 as a part of Johns Creek’s planned mixed-use development, Medley.In a previous post by What Now Atlanta, 11 restaurants were announced to come to the suburban location. Cookie Fix is the first dessert eatery planned for the mixed-use site.Founded and owned by Amy Jason,...
Homegrown in Alabama, Cookie Fix is making its way up I-20 as a part of Johns Creek’s planned mixed-use development, Medley.
In a previous post by What Now Atlanta, 11 restaurants were announced to come to the suburban location. Cookie Fix is the first dessert eatery planned for the mixed-use site.
Founded and owned by Amy Jason, the Johns Creek store will be the first in Georgia. This particular store will be a franchise location, owned and operated by Missy Moon out of the Atlanta Metro Area.
In addition to Cookie Fix, Moon just signed leases for two Nothing Bundt Cake franchises: Columbus Park Crossing North, 5555 Whittlesey Blvd Columbus, GA 31909, and at Fayetteville Pavilion, 72 Pavilion Parkway GA 30214.
Gary Woodward, Senior Vice President, JLL Tenant & Landlord Representation, was Missy’s broker on all three upcoming franchise leases.
Future patrons of Medley who may be familiar with Cookie Fix can expect the same type of experience from the existing locations.
“Our menu changes daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally. We have 25 different varieties per week and about 100 different cookie varieties per year,” Jason said about the menu.
Although the Johns Creek location will be a franchise, it will offer consistency in the menu and freshly baked goods with no warming drawer.
Customers can also expect to consistently enjoy Cookie Fix’s top three-selling cookies – chocolate chip, heavenly peanut butter, and salted dark chocolate caramel.
Cookie Fix is based in Alabama, beginning with Amy Jason’s passion for desserts. From an early age, she loved to bake sweets and transitioned from less extravagant desserts to cookies as her life as a mother and wife got busier.
Amy Jason explained to What Now Atlanta that after successfully baking cookies for friends and family, she was encouraged by a mentor to sell her cookies to the masses.
Jason opened her first location seven years ago in Homewood and expanded to Cahaba Heights in Vestavia, Alabama. Huntsville opened as the third Alabama location and the first franchise for the organization.
Cookie Fix is also opening a franchise location in Franklin, TN and is excited about expanding its footprint in Medley.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek City Council reviewed a proposed $79 million fiscal year 2024 budget at its July 11 work session and considered funding gaps for capital projects.“[The budget] sets priorities to accomplish some very exciting goals for our community, while still maintaining careful stewardship of not just the taxpayer dollars, but also the taxpayers trust,” Johns Creek Mayor John Bradberry said.The proposed budget assumes a rollback rate of 3.716 mills from the current 3.986 millage rate, and...
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek City Council reviewed a proposed $79 million fiscal year 2024 budget at its July 11 work session and considered funding gaps for capital projects.
“[The budget] sets priorities to accomplish some very exciting goals for our community, while still maintaining careful stewardship of not just the taxpayer dollars, but also the taxpayers trust,” Johns Creek Mayor John Bradberry said.
The proposed budget assumes a rollback rate of 3.716 mills from the current 3.986 millage rate, and projects a 3.3 percent increase in revenue. The council previously set aside $1 million to stabilize the millage rate.
Johns Creek Finance Director Ronnie Campbell also said there was an unexpected increase in anticipated property tax revenues, based on the preliminary tax digest from Fulton County. Property taxes would fund 29 percent of the proposed budget.
The budget is built around four themes — investing in parks, streets and infrastructure; advancing technology and service delivery; strengthening city staff; and enhancing the city’s public safety framework.
At the work session, some councilmembers questioned several unfunded capital projects in the proposed budget.
Councilwoman Stacy Skinner highlighted the unfunded construction documents for an outparcel at Cauley Creek Park. The work, estimated at $200,000, would include designs for parking, walkways and trails.
Overall, more than $3.3 million in requested capital projects were left unfunded.
The budget is filtered through the city manager’s office, then passed on to the mayor. Bradberry said he cut three capital improvement projects from the draft he received.
City Manager Ed Densmore said the council would have opportunities to adjust levels of funding.
The Johns Creek fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, so officials have roughly two months to agree on a final spending plan.
The public will have opportunities to weigh in. The first public hearing for the budget will be Aug. 8. The second hearing, as well as formal adoption, is slated for Sept. 12.
“There's always a gap between what was asked for and what we funded,” City Councilman Chris Coughlin said. “And, we generally debate out those capital projects to align with our strategic priorities.”
In other matters at the work session, the City Council agreed to establish an in-house Recreation and Parks Department. Up till now, the city has contracted parks services through Jacobs Engineering, which answered to the city’s Public Works Department.
The transition is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.
“This is really, really exciting,” City Councilwoman Erin Elwood said. “I've long wanted Parks to be freestanding as its own department because it just symbolically means a lot.”
With Cauley Creek Park now online, the city has around 400 acres of park space.
The department will have eight full-time employees. Five of the positions are new, including a capital projects manager. Erica Madsen, former city engineer with Johns Creek, will head the department as its director and is reviewing resumes.
According to the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget, the new department will have a dozen part-time positions.
At the regular City Council meeting that followed the work session, officials recognized Liz Hausmann for her service to the community. Hausmann, former Fulton County Commissioner, was a charter member of the Johns Creek City Council.
“I have to say that I've had the privilege of serving this community for 20 years, 20-plus years,” Hausmann said. “So many things have happened over those two decades, but really, the most impactful thing to me, personally, is starting the City of Johns Creek.”
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned that a child was left inside a metro Atlanta daycare during a fire evacuation this week.[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln was at the O2B Kids daycare in Johns Creek Friday, where parents said that while they were notified about the fire, they were not told about a child being left behind....
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned that a child was left inside a metro Atlanta daycare during a fire evacuation this week.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln was at the O2B Kids daycare in Johns Creek Friday, where parents said that while they were notified about the fire, they were not told about a child being left behind.
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Johns Creek fire confirmed that they responded to reports of a fire on Tuesday. A small kitchen fire sparked after a box was left on the stove.
After the building was evacuated, an employee who also had a student at the facility realized their child was not outside.
“The cook went in to get the child,” fire officials said. The employee found the child napping in a corner.
Lincoln spoke to school officials, who said that while they did notify the parents of the child directly involved in the incident, their policy doesn’t require them to alert other parents about it.
They said the noticed the child was missing during a roll call after the evacuation.
Officials said that since this incident, they’ve had multiple fire drill training sessions with employees to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Still, some parents Lincoln spoke to were upset. One parent who didn’t want to be identified said she wasn’t told about the child being left behind.
“It’s almost disheartening,” she said.
The child involved in the incident was not hurt. The state sets fire protocol daycares should follow, including that they must conduct fire drills monthly. It’s also required to document the drills for two years.