ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell voters will have two choices for City Council Posts 1 and 2 this Election Day, Nov. 5.

The Alpharetta-Roswell Herald reached out all of the candidates with the same questions regarding Roswell’s future. This is part of on an ongoing election coverage series. Candidate profiles on Post 3 and the municipal judge seat will be included in upcoming editions.


Post 1


Donald Horton

What is your stance on development in Roswell?

First, we need to understand that Roswell is over 95 percent built out. That means that most of what will happen is redevelopment. We have many shopping centers and strip malls around Roswell that are underutilized. 

I believe that the city needs to work with property owners to come up with solutions that can help us redevelop those properties into business complexes that would fill a need we have for office space. Most of our existing office space is fully occupied, and in order to attract new businesses, we have to have a place to put them.

How would you cultivate a culture of trust and transparency?

We can start on the local level by making certain members of the community have access to all public meetings though live stream, recorded video and hard copy transcripts. Furthermore, we need to ensure public records are easier to access for all citizens. The situation regarding access to public safety records earlier this year is an example of how we can improve transparency in city government.

If elected, what would be your top one or two priorities?

My top priority when elected is to help restore confidence in Roswell. Like many Roswell residents, I share the same concern that our city government is divided. It’s important we elect leaders who can bring people together to find common ground.

I want to codify the recommendations that came out of the Historic District Master Plan. There are protections in that plan that are desperately needed for our Historic District.


Marcelo Zapata 


What is your stance on development and redevelopment in Roswell?

We need to develop innovative commercial and recreational destination places on our commercial corridors by providing a complete experience, combining original office concepts, entertainment, arts, unique shopping, food and fitness for the community to enjoy.

To resolve this challenge, we need to create a Roswell Economic Development Department with professional capabilities and experience to successfully implement the vision, wishes and needs of the community at large. The Roswell Economic Development Department would coordinate actions and efforts among many different chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, reporting and being accountable directly to all elected officials.

How would you cultivate a culture of trust and transparency?

Transparent leadership and actions are key to fostering, cultivating and building a culture of trust with the community.

I deeply believe on leading by example with a consistent, community-oriented voting record as a result of an inclusive, engaging governance that takes into consideration the vision, wishes and needs of the people in an open and clear decision-making process.

If elected, what would be your top one or two priorities?

To continue standing for our community at large, consistently demonstrated for near four years, and to continue advocating and promoting responsible economic development, because it impacts so many different aspects of our city and our quality of life. 

My commitment to the Roswell community is reflected in my consistent, community-oriented voting record, representing the unheard voices at City Hall, and advocating for a responsible, conservative budget and millage rate.



Post 2


Michael Palermo


What is your stance on development and redevelopment in Roswell?

I have fought against high-density development that would negatively impact the community, and instead fought for destinations, wider sidewalks and the preservation of greenspace. 

Other cities, like Alpharetta, are able to bring in office and destinations because their zoning code is stricter and their Council sticks to their code. In Alpharetta, there is a 1.5-acre property near their downtown; they built 24 condos. 

Meanwhile, contrary to my vote, the majority of the Roswell City Council just approved 96 apartments on 1.3 acres near our downtown. 

Similarly, my opponent’s council member allies voted to turn office-zoned property into multi-family buildings, whereas Alpharetta has denied similar requests. I will continue my fight against these misguided development decisions and push for strategic redevelopment that Roswell needs in my next term.

How would you cultivate a culture of trust and transparency?

We need to return the detailed written minutes of Roswell council meetings that the majority of the council voted to remove. Citizens should not need to watch a three-hour meeting on video to know the specific comments of their elected officials. In the meeting on this topic, it was said it was not our job to spoon-feed residents, but I immediately refuted that we work for the residents.

If elected, what would be your top one or two priorities?

I want to end pay-to-play zoning by ensuring council members who have taken money from developers recuse themselves from decisions that directly benefit those developers. The council members not up for re-election currently do not support my proposal, but with your support, we can change this in my next term.




Geoff Smith

What is your stance on development and redevelopment in Roswell?

We should protect our neighborhoods and Canton Street and promote improvements throughout the Holcomb Bridge Corridor. We need to protect and promote our city’s charm and spread that character throughout our failing commercial districts. 

Who gets off Ga. 400 in Roswell and says, “home-sweet-home?” I want to work to install a community improvement district throughout the corridor, where commercial property owners fund infrastructure improvements. Holcomb Bridge needs to look and feel more like Roswell. 

How would you cultivate a culture of trust and transparency?

Trust and transparency go hand-in-hand. Trust has to be earned from the community through open and honest communication that is backed up by consistent action. I’ve spent 20 years working on volunteer projects in North Fulton and earning the trust of those around me. We need our politicians to be honest, and we need our citizens to be reasonable. 

If elected, what would be your top one or two priorities?

First is to bring a servant-style of leadership to this post. The city enacted a policy for just my opponent, where he isn’t allowed to meet with staff without someone else present, because of his berating of those in City Hall and using them for his own personal business. 

We need to inspire our staff and our residents to work together to make this the best city to live, work and play in throughout the country.  

Second is to use the CID along Holcomb Bridge to bring it up to date and promote repurposing of those failing strip centers to offices. This will improve our stressed tax base and bring in weekday customers for our shops and restaurants. 


Early voting for the 2019 General Election will run Oct. 15-Nov. 1, with weekend voting on Oct. 26. Early voting locations this year include the Alpharetta Library, East Roswell Library, Milton Library and Roswell City Hall. 

Voters can check their registration status and polling location at

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