Skip to main content

Planning and Politics

Here in Canton we are finishing up with our Downtown Masterplan Project, formally titled #CantonForward: Etowah to the Loop

Etowah, referring to the Etowah River which runs through Canton, and "The Loop" is an informal name for our historic downtown, because it is surrounded by a pair of one-way streets.

The masterplanning process began last June when we selected Atlanta-based planning and architecture firm TSW as the City's consultants for the project.

With this large-scale and revitalization effort coming to a close, several observations have come to light from June until now. 

The core reality here is that planning is political. 

Not in a Democratic or Republican sense, but in that it heavily involves the general public and local society. Furthermore, because planning naturally impacts lives, opinions and views- whether we agree or not- are all at play.

Without public input, a plan cannot truly represent the desires and preferences of the public. In fact, without public input, a plan is less likely to be supported and implemented.

So, here are six reasons why planning is political.
  1. Planning often involves matters that carry large emotional stakes. Planning decisions can affect your every day life because the fruits of them are located where you live or where you work. This truth is shown time and again with every land use re-zone, every master plan approved, and every special district (such as tax allocation district, community improvement district, historic preservation district, overlay zone, etc.) created.
  2. Planning decisions are visible. Buildings, roads, parks, properties are all involved in planning decisions, so they cannot be hidden.
  3. The planning process is close at hand. Local planning, like any local decision, is easier for local citizens to affect. Unlike decisions made by the state legislature or Congress. The nearness of involvement and effectiveness encourages participation.
  4. Citizens assume they know more about the subject matter without having formally studied planning. That is because, nine times out of ten, they do. Planning involves land use, traffic, and community character, and who else knows and understands these better than local residents?
  5. Planning has financial consequences. Where land values are rising is typically a clear indication that agricultural land will be rezoned for a more intensive use. If you factor in sewer and water lines extended along the road fronting the property, the land's worth now shoots up exponentially. Variations of this scenario happen all the time, especially in suburban areas where zoning, road widening, construction of public buildings, and infrastructure lines and easements are installed and acquired.
  6. Planning is closely linked to property taxes. What is built in the community affects its tax base. That, consequently, affects the property taxes residents must pay. This helps explain why economic development is so important for communities. Businesses contribute significantly to the local tax base, and their presence lightens the property tax load that would otherwise be carried by residents.


Popular posts from this blog

The Synth Sounds

I am excited to share that my first jazz project is nearing completion. (Also why this is my first post this month).

Other than piano, you can definitely expect to hear sounds of 1980's and 1990's-era synthesizers filtered throughout the upcoming album.

I admire the newer sounds we have today, but none of them quite replicate the original, synth-led sounds of 80's and 90's music.

In my opinion, 80's and 90's sounds present the perfect crossover of analog and digital mixes that were limitless in use and expression.

It is no wonder that modern synthesizers today still draw inspiration from 80's and 90's technology. It was simply some of the most innovative audio machinery ever created.

No shame here. Expect 80's and 90's vibes to come your way in my upcoming project.

Stay Tuned!!!

A pile of my module racks from the 80's and 90's used and simulated on my upcoming jazz album.

CFC Youth Day

CFC Youth Day was nothing short of remarkable.

Children, teenagers, young adults (my generation) sang, danced, praised, and worshiped God with passion, love, joy, energy, and sincerity.

We led, both, the 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM services and the LORD ministered through us in His own powerful way.

I am very grateful to have preached at the 10:00 AM service. (Came from 2 Timothy 1:7).

Something amazing happens when we move ourselves out of the way and allow the LORD to communicate His Word through us. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And when you summarize the meaning He brings to life, you realize that all the of the glory belongs to Him.

The reality of God's presence gives life, and everything we involve ourselves in, brand new meaning.

God's awesomeness was displayed in a monumental way today. A flame was kindled in our youth and the church as a whole.

Today was special.

Big thanks to everyone who helped make today such a great success, you know who you are!



Last night, the very last night of our NYC vacation, my parents and I attended a jazz show at the legendary Birdland.

GRAMMY nominated jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson was in the house.

Before I go any further, I must give kudos to Allyson and her band consisting of Miro Sprague (piano & Rhodes), Jeff Johnson (upright & electric bass), and Jerome Jennings (drums). They were great!

Allyson's clear voice and the band's musical prowess made for a top-quality performance. There is no room to doubt: everyone on the stage last night were professionals.

Being at Birdland is an experience, if anything, because of its rich history in providing a venue in entertainment-rich Manhattan for jazz artists and musicians.

This is the same Birdland that George Shearing wrote "Lullabye of Birdland" about and artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Sarah Vaughan, Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Amy Winehouse, Mel Torme, Erroll Garner, and Nikki Yanofsky later sang …