The following is a guest post from Julie Hogg. You can read Julie’s work at the Alpharetta-Milton Patch.
When it comes to local politics, I’ve been known to carry on a bit. Sometimes I just get riled up. I can’t not speak about issues meaningful to me.
One thing that is meaningful to me is Alpharetta and saying that holds some irony because I didn’t choose to live here – circumstances just converged to bring me here. I wasn’t happy here for the longest time, but then I had the opportunity to actually DO some things for this city; you know, get involved. And I got involved with the thing I care the most about: getting people into the garden, whether that be the Alpharetta Community Garden or the Alpharetta Arboretums at Webb Bridge, Wills Park, Cogburn Road Park, all of which I’m honored to say I had a part in creating. I believe with my whole heart that if folks would get out of the house and connect with that great mysterious, wondrous, beautiful place – nature – that we would breath, hear, see, eat, sleep, and think better. And most importantly to me, I think if we would calm down and release ourselves from electronics and the pressures of life to just ‘be’ in the garden or in the woods at a park, we might find clarity in our souls.
And so, when local Councilpersons flippantly talk of changing the tree ordinance or chopping down 66 trees for City Center or building houses right next to a flood plain (in 2013!) or squeezing in more subdivisions, which, regardless of the zoning, IS in and of itself, creating more density, I get upset because they’re messing with my garden – our garden.
Of concern to me at present is the potential sell-off and development of 13 acres of land on Rucker Road that contains flood zone and flooding potential. I blogged about this last Monday on the Alpharetta-Milton Patch. Since the 13 acres of land on Rucker are adjacent to my neighborhood, I attended a neighborhood meeting about it. Present at this meeting were residents, an attorney, a city councilman, a city staff person, and representatives for the builder/developer. But that is all I can say as I was requested not to write about the specifics of said meeting in a blog (well, specifically, a blog on the Alpharetta-Milton Patch, but I’m being extra sensitive here). Was this meeting THAT super secret and scintillating? You’ll never know, my friends. But what you can know is that I was asked not to write about it. Interesting, huh?
There is a statement that sellers and their representatives often say in these situations. “It’s my land. I have the right to sell it!” Well, let’s clarify this idea a bit. Thanks to our Constitution we have the right to own and dispose of private property. But. We do not have a guaranteed right to a sale. Sales are not about rights. They are about market forces. And market forces are reined in by common sense, local ordinances, and the well being of the people at large – which is what makes eminent domain possible, but that’s another story. Our Alpharetta City Council is proving that they believe that all medium to large parcels with a ‘for sale’ sign should be sold to developers no matter what the impact on nature or the larger community, both now and in the future. I call that government intervening in market forces. I also call it irresponsible. There are some other words that come to mind but that I can’t prove. You can draw your own conclusions.