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March 20, 2013JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The residents on Brumbelow Road awaiting a traffic signal at the intersection of Brumbelow and Nesbit Ferry Road will have to wait a little longer until some tempers cool and some "misunderstandings" are cleared up between the cities of Roswell and Johns Creek.
At the March 11 Johns Creek City Council meeting, the council voted 5-2 (Mayor Mike Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart dissenting) to withdraw the city's permit request to put in the traffic light it has sought since 2009.
The reason behind it was the Roswell Transportation Department had voided Johns Creek's previous permit because it did not appear to be following the design plan for the location of the light pole. Nor had any construction begun for the additional Brumbelow turn lane.
Roswell also included a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlined what it wanted Johns Creek to do and re-file a permit request. The last item on the MOU rankled councilmembers the most. It stated Roswell would control the timing of the signal.
Johns Creek councilmembers saw that as a veiled threat to keep Brumbelow traffic backed up despite the traffic signal by lengthening the signal's interval.
Contacted the next day, Roswell Mayor Jere Wood said he didn't see anything that could not be settled by the cities' two mayors thrashing out some details. He said his city's permit was based on a certain design, but construction didn't appear to be following that design; he pointed to the pole being in the wrong place.
"The work appeared to be inconsistent with what we had approved," Wood said.
Johns Creek staff conceded they had not started with the road improvements first, but that was to save that work for warmer weather. Nevertheless, this triggered a stop order from Roswell. The MOU, Wood said, was to get everyone on the same page before work continued.
If the MOU upsets the Johns Creek City Council, that is negotiable.
"They are looking at the MOU as a take-it-or-leave-it offer, but it is simply our stated position. What needs to happen is for Mayor Bodker and myself to sit down and hash out an agreement and take it back to our respective city councils," Wood said. "I think it would get cleared up rather quickly then.
"The bottom line is we just want to be sure they will do what was agreed to," he said. "Best practices in installing a signal are to do all of the road work first."
Johns Creek councilmembers had been handed a timeline of the negotiations for Brumbelow going back to 2009, and gave vent to their frustration at moving this forward. Only Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart lobbied to keep lines of communication open.
"I'm not ready to walk away from this," Stewart said.
Bodker agreed. He saw no point in withdrawing the permit they re-filed. But the other members of council pointed to the MOU as just another delaying tactic and voted to withdraw the permit.
Wood said nothing is going to be solved by sending messages back and forth to the two bodies. He says a face-to-face would likely put everything right.
Meanwhile, the residents on Brumbelow will just have to wait.