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Andrea

Major project gets nod

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Wow, this is a biggie -- 965 new homes!

Major project gets nod

The new 965-home development will rival its close neighbor Hamilton Mill in size. The $25 million single-family development at the far edge of Gwinnett near Barrow County would have more homes than any other Gwinnett project reviewed by regional planning officials since July 2001, according to regional impact reports posted online.

"We're all moving here, and we all want our subdivision to be the last one approved," planning board member Floy Jumper said. "It's designed to make this a community similar to Hamilton Mill."

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It will not be long before GA 316 is packed with cars all the way from the Barrow line to Atlanta. I remember when 316 was first getting built. You could get from north Atlanta to Athens in about 50 minutes. Once you passed Lawrenceville, it was smooth (read: well over the speed limit) sailing all the way till GA 316 ended....at that time at Timothy Rd. I have always wondered why growth has been retarded along 316...and especially in Barrow and Oconee counties. Well I guess now they are being discovered in earnest and expect to see more of these type developments in the next few years in Barrow county.

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It will not be long before GA 316 is packed with cars all the way from the Barrow line to Atlanta. I remember when 316 was first getting built. You could get from north Atlanta to Athens in about 50 minutes. Once you passed Lawrenceville, it was smooth (read: well over the speed limit) sailing all the way till GA 316 ended....at that time at Timothy Rd. I have always wondered why growth has been retarded along 316...and especially in Barrow and Oconee counties. Well I guess now they are being discovered in earnest and expect to see more of these type developments in the next few years in Barrow county.

Whatever happened to that plan where the Washington Group consortium was going to add toll lanes to 316? Is that just on ice?

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Whatever happened to that plan where the Washington Group consortium was going to add toll lanes to 316? Is that just on ice?

If you want my honest opinion, I don't think making this a toll road would do much good. GA 29 runs almost the same route as GA 316. People are cheap and all it would do is cause them to use GA 29 instead of GA 316. I do think that there are many intersections in eastern Gwinnett, Barrow and Oconee counties that should be made into overpasses with entrance and exit ramps. I remember driving back and forth to school and once you are sailing at 90 miles an hour, it is quite disturbing to have someone trying to dart across the intersection in front of you. I have seen many a bad accidents on that stretch of road.

The last I heard of this proposal though is that it was put on hold indefinitely. I'm sure it will rear its head again soon. I do thin

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just dandy! :D

Well, it seems that that's what most people want.

If you don't take Atlanta's suburban counties into account, it quickly disappears from the ranks of major cities.

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If you don't take Atlanta's suburban counties into account, it quickly disappears from the ranks of major cities.

This is undoubtedly true, but much of that has to do with the simple fact that much of the population resides in the suburbs, not because they are overly important, per se (of course, then again, were they to reside intown, Atlanta could arguably be a different place altogether). Perhaps this will begin to change in the next 10 - 20 years. I'll hope for it, in the least.

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And the project was not approved by ARC, yet Gwinnett as usual approves it b/c it is in the best interest to them, not the region.

Yep. That's one of the essential problems facing Atlanta and similar cities -- the vast majority of people in the metro area want to keep moving further and further away from the city. Unless you count the mindboggling traffic and the higher fuel costs associated with the suburbs, there's really not a lot to deter them. And most people don't seem to care much about those things.

I'd imagine that a lot of people who move to Atlanta rarely if ever come into the city or even inside the Perimeter, unless they have to get to the airport or a ballgame. I've talked to people who transferred in to work for big companies like UPS and their image of Atlanta, even after living here for several years, was basically what they saw around Windward Parkway or Alpharetta.

It will be hard for the ITP areas to compete with that until (a) the city schools are seen as equivalent and (b) the neglected parts of town perceived as "bad" areas are remedied. That's one of the reasons I say Atlanta cannot afford to leave its neglected neighborhoods behind. The northeast side of intown (Emory, Buckhead, VA-Highland, Decatur, Morningside, etc.) has largely dealt with those issues and is therefore viewed as desirable for families as well as singles and couples without kids. Many people are willing to pay a high premium for a more urban environment *if* they know the schools are good and they feel safe and secure.

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This is undoubtedly true, but much of that has to do with the simple fact that much of the population resides in the suburbs, not because they are overly important, per se (of course, then again, were they to reside intown, Atlanta could arguably be a different place altogether). Perhaps this will begin to change in the next 10 - 20 years. I'll hope for it, in the least.

Probably 80% of the metro Atlanta population lives in the suburbs (which I loosely define as anything outside the Perimeter these days). As I mentioned in my other post, I don't really think that's likely to change unless Atlanta addresses the profound cultural and sociological issues that underlie this situation. Questions of race, economic class and the perception of parity in education and personal security won't be resolved overnight. Perhaps the positive effect of the pathetic state of the region's traffic and mobility problems will be to force us to at least begin having those conversations.

Although I'm often frustrated and disappointed, I honestly don't think the situation is hopeless. Real change will require not only the stick of suburban gridlock, but the carrot of improved urban living as well. It looks to me like both of those factors are coming increasingly close to reality.

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Well, it seems that that's what most people want.

If you don't take Atlanta's suburban counties into account, it quickly disappears from the ranks of major cities.

In the USA, there are quite a few "small" cities with large metros. However, if you really do your homework, you will find that most of those "large" cities are only large because of annexation. Atlanta is unable to annex anything, because it's surrounding suburbs are opposed. According to Wikipedia, Atlanta has rallied to well over 425,000, recovering it's 1980 population. It is growing at a significant clip, and that is what is important. Atlanta has been one of this nation's 100 largest cities for well over a century. Fewer cities than you imagine can make that claim. Atlanta has all it does because of it's metro, not the inner city. I guess in today's world, that matters most. Looking at this development, it looks as though Atlanta will have a very healthy core into the foreseeable future. It won't be long it will have more than it's peak population, and keep growing. In America, the future of cities appears to be the young, hip urbanites and the young professionals with single households and large numbers of same sex households. If that is thier future, so be it, but it's a wonder any American city can retain population.

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Looking at this development, it looks as though Atlanta will have a very healthy core into the foreseeable future.

Do you think that will be true if larger family-sized homes are limited to the suburbs and kept outside the city limits?

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Well, if you are talking about cities not having many households with children, MOST cities in the USA are growing with young single households I think. I read somewhere that San Francisco was losing almost all it's school kids and may have to close a large number of schools. It seems families continue to abandon the city, while young single professionals and urbanites and same sex couples migrate into the cities. Maybe that is thier only hope for survival. I'm not sure cities "need" familes, just people. Who knows? It may very well be the end of American cities ultimately.

PS What exactly did you mean by "if you don't take the suburban counties into account, it disappears from the ranks of major cities? I may have misunderstood your meaning.

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It will be hard for the ITP areas to compete with that until (a) the city schools are seen as equivalent and (b) the neglected parts of town perceived as "bad" areas are remedied. That's one of the reasons I say Atlanta cannot afford to leave its neglected neighborhoods behind. The northeast side of intown (Emory, Buckhead, VA-Highland, Decatur, Morningside, etc.) has largely dealt with those issues and is therefore viewed as desirable for families as well as singles and couples without kids. Many people are willing to pay a high premium for a more urban environment *if* they know the schools are good and they feel safe and secure.

Agreed.

However you forgot a few extra reasons why intown sucks to live in if you're a family.

For one cost of living intown is way more than suburbia. If you're an average family (mom, dad and 2.4 kids), you can't afford to live intown on 1 income, unless mom's working too. But my wife already has a job as a full-time mom, so it really limits our choices intown. So the logical route would be the suburbs where land is cheaper, housing more affordable, and property taxes are way lower (have you ever looked at Atlanta's property tax???!). Also, space issues are important for many people. While there seems to be a shift towards smaller lots and higher density, many many people still want the 1/2 acre and an actual yard (the quintessential American dream). I happen to be one of them.

The suburbs can allow you to get more house, for less money, and still live close to an urban center (in my case the Marietta Square) where you can live out all your urban fantasies and still be only 5 minutes away from playing catch in your own yard with your kid.

It really boils down to economics, as it does with thousands of other suburban dwellers. Oh, not to mention Atlanta's schools are abysmally horrendous. So yeah, they've got to work on those issues before they get my attention.

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It seems families continue to abandon the city, while young single professionals and urbanites and same sex couples migrate into the cities. Maybe that is thier only hope for survival. I'm not sure cities "need" familes, just people. Who knows? It may very well be the end of American cities ultimately.

You've touched on something that is very important.

Of course cities, counties, states, and entire countries need *people* to sustain them into the future. But what they really need is babies.

If you look at countries in Europe (esp. Italy, Spain, and Germany) they aren't producing enough babies (natural birth rate) to even maintain their populations. These countries are literally dying away because people have stopped having babies. The birth rate of Italy, at a rate of 1.23 children per woman is the second lowest in the Western world. It takes a birth rate of around 2.2 children per woman to reach sustainability. 30 years from now Italy won't even have a home-grown work force to keep it running because there aren't enough babies now. sad.gif So it will rely on immigrants to run businesses and factories, which will ultimately change the whole cultural fabric. Its happening in France as well. Muslims are increasingly making up a larger percentage of the population, and yet France's population has nearly leveled off because French women aren't having enough kids.

America is simply mirroring this European trend, only we're about 10-15 years behind them. But its happening here too. Its a sad consequence of our modern way of life. 100 years ago it was considered a blessing to have children. Now it seems people see it as a curse. What a pity.

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. Oh, not to mention Atlanta's schools are abysmally horrendous. So yeah, they've got to work on those issues before they get my attention.

Make sure you do your research. There are three Atlanta Public High Schools that rank higher than Marietta High School. (graduation percentage, percentage of students going to a four year college, SAT scores, and gross median of family income) Not that income determine's how good/excellent the school.

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Make sure you do your research. There are three Atlanta Public High Schools that rank higher than Marietta High School. (graduation percentage, percentage of students going to a four year college, SAT scores, and gross median of family income) Not that income determine's how good/excellent the school.

Did the research.

This is silly... you gave me no choice but to defend myself! It looks like *you* need to recheck your sources. I'd hate to see this board get sidetracked over the issue of school performance but heregoes...

I don't know about grad rates or students going to college, but SAT scores are readily available and are decent in evaluating school performance. Only one Atlanta school outperforms Marietta on the SAT. Grady High School has an average 1100 score. Pretty damn good. But then you look at the rest of Atlanta's high schools and it starts to get depressing real quick. The next closest school to Grady is North Atlanta High School, with a score of 933. Grady looks like a diamond in the rough.

City of Atlanta High School SAT Scores:

Grady 1100

North Atlanta 933

Mays 876

Douglass 833

Southside 812

Therrell 792

Washington 788

South Atlanta 761

Crim 753

Carver 743

City of Marietta High School SAT Scores:

Marietta 1018

Cobb County High School SAT Scores:

Walton 1157

Lassiter 1121

Pope 1104

Wheeler 1071

Harrison 1051

Kennesaw Mtn 1051

Sprayberry 1044

Kell 1024

Campbell 1001

McEachern 993

North Cobb 992

South Cobb 939

Pebblebrook 891

Osborne 881

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PS What exactly did you mean by "if you don't take the suburban counties into account, it disappears from the ranks of major cities? I may have misunderstood your meaning.

I was replying to posts that said (sarcastically, I assume) "more sprawl for Gwinnett" and "just dandy."

In my opinion it's a mistake to ignore or discount the importance of suburbs in Sunbelt cities like Atlanta. That's where the vast majority of residents live, work, play, and go to school. In the absence of its suburbs, it's hard for me to see how Atlanta would be much different from many other mid-size towns around the South and the rest of the country.

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I was replying to posts that said (sarcastically, I assume) "more sprawl for Gwinnett" and "just dandy."

In my opinion it's a mistake to ignore or discount the importance of suburbs in Sunbelt cities like Atlanta. That's where the vast majority of residents live, work, play, and go to school. In the absence of its suburbs, it's hard for me to see how Atlanta would be much different from many other mid-size towns around the South and the rest of the country.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?: Actually, 986 homes is not that big nowadays. How about the master-planned community of Summerlin West of Las Vegas that will eventually have 26,000 homes :shok: .

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It really boils down to economics, as it does with thousands of other suburban dwellers. Oh, not to mention Atlanta's schools are abysmally horrendous. So yeah, they've got to work on those issues before they get my attention.

Yes, I think that's basically correct. If you want to live in the city and have a good bit of money, you can live in a neighborhood where there are larger lots and good public schools. Or you can avail yourself of the private schools.

We faced this dilemma many years ago when my children were young. At the time we lived in an intown neighborhood where the schools were not so hot. We debated whether to stay intown and use the public schools and try to improve them, stay in town and pay for private schools, or just chuck it and head for the burbs. I went to public schools myself and am a great believer in them. Plus we're paying for them already with our tax dollars, which, as you say, in Fulton County and the City of Atlanta, is a substantial whack.

In my opinion, the poor quality of many urban school systems is clearly the product of systemic racism. It's also one of the great examples of how racism hurts whites as well as people of color. As they've fled to the suburbs, many whites can now no longer afford to live in the very cities they abandoned with the quality of life they'd prefer.

That's why I say that if cities are ever going to truly recover, they need to make their schools competitive with those in the suburbs. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's ever going to happen until the problems of racism are addressed.

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Is that a good thing or a bad thing?:

I believe suburban sprawl is ultimately not sustainable. (In my personal view, it also has other social, cultural and aesthetic drawbacks but that's neither here nor there). What do you think?

You may be aware of Temple-Inland's Wolf Creek project in suburban Atlanta, which is also pretty good sized. It contemplates 19,000 homes.

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I know for a fact, two of those scores you listed aren't correct.

Well, I bet he's pretty close.

Granted, statistics don't tell the whole story. Grady High School performs on a par with Cobb's best schools, while Cobb's worst schools fall into the middle of the pack of Atlanta city schools. Marietta High School is not exactly burning down the house in terms of SAT scores.

However, I don't think anyone can debate the fact that, on the whole and with a few exceptions, public high schools in the city of Atlanta are not performing up to the level of their suburban counterparts. With the exception of Grady and North Atlanta (30% and 12% white, respectively), the city's high schools are almost entirely black. How can these imbalances be good for the long term health of the region or the nation?

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I believe suburban sprawl is ultimately not sustainable. (In my personal view, it also has other social, cultural and aesthetic drawbacks but that's neither here nor there). What do you think?

You may be aware of Temple-Inland's Wolf Creek project in suburban Atlanta, which is also pretty good sized. It contemplates 19,000 homes.

Didn't know about Inland Wolf Creek. I think building less densely and stretching infrastructure (ie water lines, sewer lines, electric, roads, etc.) away from their "source" is definitely not sustainable. Setting aside the argument about added energy usage, pollution and traffic increase (which diminish quality of life), instead of 2 - 3000 users (homes/businesses/institutions, etc.) on a mile of infrastructure, suburban areas have maybe 500 - 1000? And then in the next decade, the infrastructure gets expanded further and the number of users drops in half again. How can that possibly be sustainable? :huh:

I don't think you give Atlanta enough credit for what kind of city it would be today if the development had been kept in better control and was concentrated at its core. But it's never too late.

But I'm getting you guys :offtopic::)

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