Congratulations on both of your articles about the north end development plan and the Noble-Couchman efforts to shape it. (“Advocates’ secret concept influences affordable housing talk,” Jan. 19, and “City prepares to map a north end redevelopment strategy,” Feb. 16.) Also, congratulations for bringing the racial component of this redevelopment into the light.
But I am concerned that so few will go on the record about this north end plan. I’m afraid it will be decided in private by the mayor, the landowners and developers long before the facade of community input is rolled out, exactly as City Springs was done.
The Purpose Built Communities connection is telling. Purpose Built is one of the good guys, as they recognize that strong communities and especially better schools are built on the pride of home ownership. Their involvement with Shirley Jackson as spokesperson is a nod to the need for “essential” housing. But I believe the Noble-Couchman plan is primarily an effort to avoid the apartment madness of the Sandy/City Springs development.
Mayor Paul and his development partners shoehorned Square One, IMT, Modera, Cliftwood, Aston City Springs, Aria and The Adley into our downtown area without making any significant transportation improvements. There’s littIe sign of any important retail coming to our new downtown, which is absolutely necessary for the community Paul envisions. We used to have a Panera’s where Modera sits now. It closed because it was difficult to turn left against traffic to enter and equally difficult to turn left against traffic to exit. This pattern is playing out today for every business on Roswell Road and rentals have hardly begun.