Some solutions are simple, too often made complicated by “politics.” I try to simply do “the right thing.” Here are my positions on various issues. Please contact me with your opinions.
Job Development / Smart Growth
Good development can enhance a community’s character and quality of life, just as poor development can diminish it. There is a “balance” between quality growth and Quality of life. A good balance improves our ability to attract better growth. Bad decisions hurt our ability to bring in good quality development. I have worked consistently to upgrade the quality of development for our county by improving our building standards and zoning codes.
The biggest challenge facing us is correcting the imbalance between residential and non residential growth. Put another way, we have too many homes and not enough businesses on our tax…we depend too much on single-family homes. We must do all that we can to recruit the best “mix” for our county’s future.
We must begin to overcome being just a bedroom community to Atlanta. We are well positioned because of interstate access and proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. We must “get the word out” nationally and are doing so by better funding or county’s Development Authority. We know that that businesses look at the state of schools, transportation infrastructure and roads, cultural and recreational opportunities and general Quality of Life as location criteria. We have work to do here but there’s great potential in Douglas County.
Protecting Neighborhoods from Commercial Encroachment
Protecting neighborhoods is a highest priority for me. We have a zoning map which homeowners should be able to rely on when making the biggest investment of their lives – buying their home. We should “stick to the map” consistently, but occasionally property owners will exercise their constitutional right to request a rezoning to a different use.
I do not look favorably on commercial development coming too close to residential areas. I do not favor “linear development”, that is, commercial developments, one after another along our roads. Development in “commercial centers or “nodes” is a proven and effective way to concentrate growth, reduce trips and generally enhance Quality of Life in a community. Where commercial developments are approved, they must have adequate buffers and transition areas to protect the quality of life of nearby residents.
This is not just a “tree huggers’” issue, but a serious economic issue as loss of healthy environment drives up costs related to air quality, water quality and general health – particularly of children and the elderly. General Quality of Life is diminished as the environment is compromised. A balance between development and the environment is possible and profitable for all.
The treatment of our environment – good or bad – drives the “character” of our community (county). The fundamental question is simple: Do we want to preserve a unique character among metro counties or do we want to look just like Cobb or Gwinnett? I’m for remaining “different” by retaining those things that make us unique.
We have a tremendous resource in our water supply which is largely self-contained within our county. Over development and poor site management will have serious impacts on our water quality. Effectiveness of erosion control measures and protection of stream buffers and wetlands are essential.
Parts of Douglas County retain a very rural character, in part because of zoning. I want to preserve these areas by maintaining the present zoning. Green spaces are a legacy for future Douglas County citizens and the preservation of water quality, tree cover, habitat and passive recreation areas will ensure that we remain unique among the metro Atlanta counties.
There is a tremendous need to re-connect our citizens to their commissioner and thus their government. When I first ran for office, I pledged to be available, responsive and proactive in communicating with the entire district. I have worked tirelessly to do so. I established “3rd District Community Updates”, an email network between my office and many homeowners’ associations, civic groups, churches, clubs and individuals so that when an important issue faces you and me in the 3rd district or the county, you will know about it in a timely manner.
I “invite myself” when I see an HOA meeting sign along a road and attendees are surprised to see a county commissioner show-up at their gathering. When possible I attend every meeting - of any size or type – that I am invited to. Please invite me to your next gathering and test me!
Because of the ten year review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, delivered to the state in 2013, I established 3D VISION…a citizens’ panel to advise me and the county about desired changes to the “comp plan”. This group was an effective venue of engaged citizen participation and will remain in-place as an advisory group, providing input to me about the direction, concerns and needs of our county going forward. Generally, meetings will be on a quarterly basis. If you would like to participate – let me know.
By-the-way – I am the only commissioner with my home number on my county business card.