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Roswell Post 4 candidate viewpoints a matter of record
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
October 09, 2013 11:18 AM | 1645 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In no other council race are the views and positions of the two contenders as clear as in the contest for Post 4.

Incumbent Kent Igleheart and Harvey Smith, who served three years on the city’s planning commission, have documented evidence of their stances in the meetings’ minutes as well as how they voted.

Igleheart said there are numerous examples on the record in the last two years that show their specific differences. As a councilman, Igleheart said he has supported the goals of cleaning up the zoning code, promoting economic development, and redeveloping blighted areas.

“But the devil is always in the details.I have often been the only council member to dig deeper into proposed new codes and development projects and have stood up to attempts to push through shoddy requirements and projects that are just too dense for Roswell,” he said.

As a planning commissioner, Igleheart said Smith voted for hybrid form -based zoning, a huge new leap in the way we approach zoning that essentially removes density from the discussion. 

“At that point it was full of mistakes, had confusing and contradictory language and gave little consideration to infrastructure.  I spent over an hour in a council meeting trying to correct as best I could,” he said.

Smith also voted for the Lennar project to build the first new apartments in Roswell in many years which Igleheart said has “an unprecedented density of 30 units per acre that will set the floor for density in future apartment projects.”

“I tried to require mixed-use, reduce density and deal with parking and traffic issues.  When I could not, I could not support the project as proposed,” Igleheart said. 

Smith was on the Unified Development Code committee “but missed almost all of those meetings over 18 months,” Igleheart said. “In the last UDC meeting we both attended he commented how NIMBYs try to stop good projects.  Every project is in someone’s back yard.  Who do you want voting when it’s yours?”

Not surprisingly, his challenger sees his time on the planning commission somewhat differently than Igleheart.

“There are many differences between Mr. Igleheart and me,” said Smith, who owns a small real estate business in Roswell.

“I am personally vested in keeping Roswell moving forward economically while maintaining the quality of life we all love about Roswell.

“Unlike my opponent, I have a clear vision for Roswell. Mr. Igleheart does not. He is resistant to change while I am a forward thinker.” The city is moving ahead in a positive direction and needs someone who is willing to move ahead with it while still protecting the rights of its residents.”

In his three-year term on the Roswell Planning Commission, Smith said, “my voting record will show that I listened to the concerns of the citizens and even though I am a homebuilder, I voted many times against developers when I felt the rights of individuals and their property values would be affected.

“If elected I will weigh all sides of an issue and continue to vote with the same criteria I used on the planning commission.”

Another major difference, Smith said, “is I have been actively involved in this community since becoming a Roswell resident, including serving on the boards at Star House and The Child Development Association as well as working closely with the Historic Preservation Society on many of their projects, most recently the restoration of Hembree House.”

He has been an active member of the Roswell Rotary Club for almost 22 years, has a perfect attendance record and served as president from 2004 to 2005. “I will take the oath of office just as seriously. I will represent the city at its functions and events, and will put in the hours necessary to serve Roswell and strive to attend all city council meetings,” Smith said.

“Roswell has been my home for 26 years. I moved here in 1987 with my wife and we raised our three children. We were especially drawn to the programs that the city offers through its parks and recreation programs and I will work diligently to see that those programs remain intact for the generations ahead.

“I am committed to building a better Roswell for future generations, and if elected, I will consider serving the people in the position of Post 4 a privilege and an honor.”

Name: Harvey Smith

Length of residency in Roswell: 26 years

Email:  harveysmithforroswell@gmail.com

Facebook: Harvey Smith For Roswell

Web: www.harveysmithforroswell.com

Profession: Real estate sales/home builder

What do you think will be the three most important issues facing the council in the first two years of the next elected term?

UDC: The Unified Development Code will make sweeping changes to the existing codes and Council must make sure all changes are in the better interests of all its citizens.

Promoting Business: It will be important to foster an environment to attract new businesses to the city that subsequently create more jobs. The Roswell Business Alliance has been a fine example of a public/private partnership that has had a positive effect during a down economy.

Traffic Concerns: As our city grows, we must develop solutions to traffic problems i.e. Canton Street, Holcomb Bridge Road, the Ga. 400 corridor, Old Alabama Road.

What do you think council can do that would have an effect on any of these issues?

1. Make sure all citizens are heard before the UDC is fully implemented.

2. Continue to support organizations like the RBA and create more workshops for small business owners. Expand the Opportunity Zones to provide tax credits for new jobs.

3. Listen to the citizen concerns in the most affected areas and utilize the best technology available to alleviate the problems, i.e. public/private parking decks, the proper use of “roundabout” intersections, sychronizing red lights during high traffic times, etc.

Do you think there is any favoritism shone by the city to residents in east or west Roswell? Do you think council or city policies have been divisive?

I believe there have been some issues in the past that could have been construed as showing favoritism; however, I will not promote any policies that cause division between the east or west sides of Roswell. We are one Roswell.

Name: Kent Igleheart

Length of residency in Roswell: 19 years

Email: kent@igleheartfights.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/igleheartfights

Web:  www.igleheartfights.com 

Profession: Actor  

What do you think will be the three most important issues facing the council in the first two years of the next elected term?

Unified Development Code (UDC): This is a much needed clean-up of our zoning code to make it easier to understand and make it work for everyone, but the devil is in the details.

Some have a stated goal of becoming more urban and new zoning categories allow more than 10 units per acre and even add garage apartments.  We are opening the door for substantially higher densities, taller buildings, more apartments and things that will fundamentally change Roswell’s character.  I believe most Roswell residents don’t want that.  

This election will be a referendum on higher density. We need to make the new code focus on what we want and it must protect and enhance our quality of life.

UDC map: This currently includes massive upzonings of properties around Roswell.  Hybrid form-based zoning, which removes density limits, is being expanded throughout the historic district, as well as new building heights of four and up to six stories.  Other areas are being proposed for eight stories.

Traffic/infrastructure - The UDC doesn’t deal with the impacts of higher densities on traffic, water, sewer, schools and more – it must or residents will pay the price later.

In transportation our tendency lately has been to focus on big future projects and not enough on the practical solutions for many intersections that would have a major impact on current and short-term traffic flow.

What do you think council can do that would have an effect on any of these issues?

Council must think through the details and ensure that what is allowed protects Roswell’s unique character.  Far too much is being done without careful study or full understanding of what we are unleashing.  Mistakes and confusion in code text and the new map as well as unanswered questions are piling up.  

We are not having an open and honest debate about the key issues.  We are only telling the positive parts, of which there are many, but we aren’t talking about the potential downsides.  

Do you think there is any favoritism shone by the city to residents in east or west Roswell? Do you think council or city policies have been divisive?

There is no question that many areas east of 400 are in worse shape than some other areas of Roswell.  That is in large part due to development patterns from Fulton County before becoming part of Roswell and will be difficult to fix.  

However, since annexation there have been many investments east of 400, i.e. Big Creek Park and Riverside trails. Some are in progress like multi-use trails along Holcomb Bridge and new amenities are coming soon, like the new library, arts center and Eves Road multi-use trail.  Bond funds passed in 2012 will pay for improvements to the Ga. 400 interchange and we were just awarded a new Atlanta Regional Commission Livable Communities designation for Holcomb Bridge around 400, which will open up new options for more improvements.
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