In all the talk lately about Alpharetta City Center I heard a few people state that Avalon and City Center will ultimately become one huge, connecting downtown village. So, I got to thinking about the natural corridor in which this connection could take place – Thompson Street.
I’ve mentioned in one other blog that Thompson Street seems like the big Red Elephant in the room, or, something that isn’t on the radar of the common people. But I assure you it is on the radar or so says my digging in the public records. I found that Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle was an officer in an LLC from 2007 until 2010 called the “Thompson Street Group” – now administratively dissolved. I found the name interesting since it states the subject in question. I found that 7 or 8 other LLC’s are currently owners on Thompson Street. Besides these, other owners include the city of Alpharetta on the west side and of course, North American Properties (Avalon developers) are the big owners on the east side. The rest of the ownership is individual, with the exception of the United States Postal Service in the middle.
I’m only saying all this to point out that Thompson Street would be a logical and desirable street to connect Avalon to City Center. It would be presumptuous of me to say I was the first to realize this. Thompson Street also has, hands-down, some of the most beautiful tree canopy in all of Alpharetta and I personally would love to see it preserved regardless of what happens there. Furthermore, all activity on this street (and indeed activity even at the City Center property) impacts a fairly large stream that runs parallel to Thompson on the north side and divides it from Academy Park.
So, if Thompson Street is ever developed as a natural connection between Avalon and City Center, how will that go given the headache that Alpharetta City Council has created with the proposed City Center Plan #2? Will the same attitude of “getting the natural environment out of the way” prevail at any future Thompson Street development, like it has prevailed in the City Center plans? Will Mayor Belle Isle push for development that removes all trees, like he did with his front yard? Will Councilman Kennedy re-open the Tree Ordinance (like he promised earlier this year) and if he does, will he degrade the tree ordinance and how would such an action impact Thompson Street? Will Council begin a foray into other local ordinances to make them more “developer-friendly”? How far will they go? And will we take notice before it is too late?
This city has developed out nicely so far, but given the City Center bait and switch and the fact that I’m even asking these questions, residents would do well to keep a sharp eye on this Council.