Jul 28, 2014

City Council Approves Revised City Center Plans

Alpharetta's City Council majority approves City Center plans after successful revisions.

City Council Approves Revised City Center Plans City Council Approves Revised City Center Plans City Council Approves Revised City Center Plans

Alpharetta's City Center plans were approved at Monday's City Council meeting, and more changes are anticipated for the parking and service support areas of the City Hall building. The size of the park area near the library also could change.

Monday's City Council meeting was planned as a workshop, however, the meeting allowed for community members to voice their concerns about the revised plans for the

Architects presented the most recent revisions, including the proposal to shift what they are calling street "E" to the west toward Main Street by 20 feet. "It still should work in alignment with the traffic signal at the current intersection," said a representative from the design team at  Smallwood and Reynolds. 

By changing the alignment of street "E," the library could be located on three acres, as previously promised, he said. That also increases the total size of the park north of the library to about five acres.

Architects also eliminated some proposed commercial development in order to keep parking spaces.

"It also preserves an area of park land of approximately .58 acres, which we'd use to develop to use as a more gracious landscaped entrance to the City Center," he said.

Additionally, designers increased the width of the town green by 40 feet. Expected park and greenspace areas in the City Center total 9.42 acres.  

Councilman Jim Gilvin said he is concerned that traffic could increase as a result of the commercial component in the City Center. "I don't recall us discussing how many car trips might be contemplated in this plan. Were there any traffic projections done to tell us how many car trips we might be adding in that parcel at this point?" he said.

At this time, no projections for that area have been done.

On the matter of City Hall parking and service areas, curb carts or roll out containers are being considered as an option as opposed to dumpsters behind the building, which could result in the reduction of park space. 

Parking accommodations at City Hall remain an issue as the parking deck is not going to be attached to the building. The distance from the deck to the building has been a concern for citizens and council members.

"I just don't see that we have this handicapped parking in front of City Hall right, and I don't think on street parking is going to get it," said Councilman Mike Kennedy.

A proposal for on-grade parking has been made that accommodates parking in front of City Hall across the street.

A resident pointed out that there is sufficient parking planned in front of City Hall. "There really is parking in front of City Hall. Mike Sullivan made that clear last week."

Alpharetta resident David Bristol praised the council members for their attention and detailed eye to the project: "I think we have a visionary council behind this project, and I really want to commend you for doing this."

Resident Kim Bailey said she feels the city is not getting what they were promised, though. "I think this has gone a long way, but I still don't think it's what we were promised. The City Hall still sits on land that was purchased with park bond money, and I'm not convinced that this is five acres when you take out the City Hall." Bailey also expressed concerns about the square feet of retail space in the site plans and if there is a maximum cap on other uses.

Mayor David Belle Isle reminded Bailey that these are preliminary plans. "This is a site plan, and there will be other opportunities for community input as we go along. We're not presenting a package turnkey situation here. We want input along the way."

Construction for the city project is slated to begin sometime in 2013, and Alpharetta residents are encouraged to give input as project plans progress. 

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