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Roswell revokes Johns Creek’s permit for traffic signal
by Joan Durbin
February 27, 2013 02:00 PM | 6227 views | 11 11 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell officials thought the idea of a new traffic light on Nesbit Ferry Road at its border with Johns Creek was settled when Roswell declined to share the cost of the signal and Johns Creek opted to go ahead on its own.

But when Johns Creek began work to install the light, Roswell revoked the construction permit.

“Their intention was to install the signal without doing the road improvements” that Roswell required before the signal went in, Roswell Transportation Director Steve Acenbrak told the city council’s transportation committee on Wednesday.

“When that happened, we revoked the permit. Either do it all the way or don’t do it all.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, “they didn’t like our position,” Acenbrak told the committee.

The majority of the intersection, where Nesbit Ferry and Bumbelow Road meet, is within Roswell city limits.

According to Acenbrak, on Feb. 4 Johns Creek began work to put in the light with little notification to Roswell and with changes in the original plans, deleting a turn lane and installing the mast arm foundation for the signal in the wrong location.

Roswell revoked the construction right-of-way encroachment permit a week later.

Since last summer, Johns Creek residents have been pressing for a light there to turn left onto Nesbit Ferry, particularly at peak hours.

Johns Creek approached Roswell with a proposal to split the cost, which would be around $100,000 each.

But last fall, Roswell told Johns Creek the intersection wasn’t high on its list for a signal and the city wouldn’t be involved in paying for one.

Johns Creek then floated an offer to take over and maintain Nesbit Ferry if Roswell would repave it, which would cost $500,000, and pay half the cost of a signal at the intersection.

Roswell again said no, noting the city preferred to keep the road under its own jurisdiction.

Johns Creek obtained a permit to do the work, which included the intersection improvements, Acenbrak indicated. Roswell maintains that the light should not go up without those improvements being done first.

“We’re not asking them to do anything we wouldn’t require anyone else to do,” Councilman Rich Dippolito said.

City staff drew up an intergovernmental agreement spelling out exactly what needs to be done, who should do it and how it will be paid for.

“I don’t want a border war with our neighbor,” said Mayor Jere Wood. “They may not behave in a way we think is appropriate, but they are our neighbor and we are going to have to work with them. We need to set an example, be a leader and say this is the way it should be done.”

Committee members agreed to put the agreement on a regular council agenda for a vote, with the exception that Roswell will not take responsibility for the light once it’s there.

Both council members Becky Wynn and Kent Igleheart opposed sending the agreement on to a formal council vote. Wynn said she had been against the light ever since it was first proposed because her constituents have complained to her there were enough signals in the area.

“I don’t know why we’re letting another jurisdiction put a light on our road that is going to impede our citizens,” she said. “And for them to completely ignore everything they said were going to do, that’s just icing on the cake.”

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