JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Persons interested in Johns Creek’s plans to develop a town center will have a chance to sign up for a front-row seat soon.
At its May 4 work session, the Johns Creek City Council agreed to open up applications for the Town Center Master Plan Advisory Committee.
The city’s comprehensive plan, finalized in 2018, outlined plans to develop a town center around Technology Park and the new City Hall. The next step is to appoint a committee to oversee the creation of a master plan. The group will include 25 residents and business leaders.
Per the guidelines the council approved, 12 committee members will represent a specific area of experience: arts, large business, small business, commercial development, economic development, neighborhoods, land use planning, planning oversight, real estate, recreation and parks, and transportation.
The remaining committee members will be resident volunteers from any background. The composition is more flexible than guidelines Mayor Mike Bodker proposed earlier this year, though Councilman Lenny Zaprowksi indicated the guidelines were still stricter than he would prefer.
“I just feel like this is a little exclusive,” Zaprowski said. “Why do we need someone who has [experience] in planning and land use? I mean that’s great, but we have staff who can help with that.”
Bodker has stated he intends to select a group that represents various age groups, racial and ethnic groups and professional backgrounds. Though technically almost half the board could be business leaders that live outside the city, the mayor reassured the council that he intends to put forward a board that’s mostly residents.
“We need residents on this board,” Zaprowski said. “I don’t mind if they’re fresh residents who haven’t been involved in things. I just want to give the residents a chance to take a look at this with an open mind and see what they come back with.”
The self-nomination process will be open for 30 days. Council members will have two weeks to review the applications and make their recommendations. Each council member can recommend up to three candidates for each position.
Then, the mayor will have 30 days to narrow the candidates down to 25 recommended appointments. That list will go back to the council at a work session and then at a council meeting for approval. The entire process will take three months.
The mayor and City Council agreed to a slight deviation from the process outlined in the city’s code. Per Councilwoman Erin Elwood’s request, before the names are announced publicly, the mayor will send the council members his recommendations for them to review privately.
The mayor said this was done in the interest of easing the other council members’ concerns and to ensure there will be no surprises.
“In the interest of transparency, we’re not going to have a behind-the-scene negotiation of who gets on,” Bodker said. “You can give me any initial feedback. I will consider it, but I can’t guarantee I’ll make any changes.”