Roswell residents could see changes and improvements made to popular areas of the city, such as the Holcomb Bridge Road Corridor and Historic District, thanks to the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
During the June 14 mayor and city council meeting, council members approved two separate motions on Roswell’s 2040 comprehensive plan, or “roadmap” for the city’s future. The 201-page plan provides long range policy direction for land use, transportation, economic development, housing, public facilities, intergovernmental agreements along with its natural and cultural resources.
The plan is intended to serve as a guide for elected and public officials by providing the framework for evaluating development proposals.
Residents were able to give their opinions and respond to surveys at several public meetings and workshops conducted by the city and its consultant, Pond and Company. During an Oct. 29 workshop, attendees expressed desire for a mixed-use town center area for Holcomb Bridge Road at SR-9. Another workshop found that residents would consider a vibrant mixed-use town center “conducive to a live, work, play lifestyle.” The plan integrates the Big Creek Parkway extension and includes “significant preservation” of the Big Creek as a greenway area to act as an attractive anchor and amenity for the redevelopment vision.
The city also developed a “Needs and Opportunities” list to break down components of the comprehensive plan. Some of the needs include controlling development in the Historic District in order to maintain historic identity, protecting the city’s natural resources such as streams, floodplains and other waterways, and providing affordable rents in desirable areas.
Among the areas of opportunities, the plan suggests leveraging Canton Street as a popular destination with historical value, extending trails along the Chattahoochee River and maintaining and enhancing Roswell’s small town feel with access to big city amenities.
The city is required by the state to update the document every five years and submit it to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission for review and approval. Once the DCA and ARC have reviewed and approved the document, the comprehensive plan returns to the city for additional revisions and final approval.
“There isn’t a firm deadline, but the state has to approve the plan by October 31,” Roswell spokesman Jonathon Copsey said. “We have to give them time to review our plan, give us their changes, and then we make those changes and get it back to them by that time. We like to give plenty of time for that process.”
During the first motion in which council members Christine Hall, Matt Judy, Mike Palermo, Marie Willsey and Matthew Tyser voted in approval, the plan was approved to transmit to the state for review.
However, there is an unknown number of suggested edits to the plan submitted by council members that both the public and other council members have not seen. The city did not say how many suggested changes there are, but that the changes will be reviewed by the 20-person stakeholder committee.
“I can’t have a conversation about these items tonight,” Mayor Lori Henry said. “I think that we need to be very clear that we’re not transmitting these items as a stamp of approval. We’re transmitting them for further discussion so that the committee can review and we can have the discussion.”
Council members voted 4 to 1 to reconvene the Comprehensive Plan stakeholder committee to review suggested changes to the plan within the next four weeks. If approved by council, these would be sent later as an amendment to the state.
Willsey abstained from voting.
“I do not find it transparent or responsible to vote on a list that I haven’t seen and no one in the public has seen,” Willsey said. “I hope that it will be made public very soon so that I can take a look at this list, but at the moment I just can’t vote on something I haven’t seen.”
“We are not voting to adopt the plan tonight, just voting to submit the plan to get process started,” Tyser said.
For more information on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, visit https://bit.ly/2S0Llto.