ALPHARETTA, GA -- A City Council has announced his plans to succeed David Belle Isle as mayor of Alpharetta. Jim Gilvin on Thursday said he will run for mayor in 2018, as Belle Isle previously announced he is seeking the Republican nomination to become Georgia's next secretary of state.
"I appreciate the dedication and energy Mayor Belle Isle brought to his time as mayor," Gilvin said. "Our city has come a long way and Alpharetta is a much different place because of his leadership. And as the people of
Alpharetta begin looking to the future, it's important for them know there is a candidate with a proven
record of public service who will deliver on their priorities for the years ahead."
When elected to council in 2011, Gilvin originally ran on a theme of "Growth We Can Live With" and he
believes voters appreciate his consistent record on balanced growth even when it was unpopular with
other members of council.
"I voted to preserve the green space and trees in front of city hall where high-density apartment buildings are being built now and took a lot of heat from other council members for that," he added. "But I promised the people of Alpharetta a village-style city center and honoring that promise was more important to me than being popular with politicians and developers."
Now, Alpharetta residents have a chance to map out the course for their future, Gilvin added. As mayor, he said he wants to restore balanced growth and "preserve the qualities that make Alpharetta the best place in Georgia to raise a family and do business." This plan, he added will reflect three concerns he consistently hears from citizens: do a better job of balancing growth, provide real solutions for traffic congestion and invest in areas outside of downtown."
The top priority for Gilvin will be to ensure city policies reflect balanced growth outlined in Alpharetta's comprehensive plan. He cites zoning decisions that ignored limits on apartments as a prime example.
"When I was elected the comp plan had a clear goal established for the ratio of single family homes and apartments," he added. "But the ratio has consistently been ignored and we have seen thousands of apartments approved. I have been a vocal advocate for single family homes over apartments and it is time we honor the goal we set."
When discussing how he plans to reduce traffic, Gilvin said that it is important to have a mayor who is willing to prioritize resources for traffic relief and who understands how poor zoning decisions can make traffic congestion worse.
"Zoning variances and taxpayer subsidies have been granted for enormous projects downtown
without any consideration of their impact on traffic," he continued. "Every property owner has a right to develop their property within limits outlined in the comprehensive plan. I never want to interfere with that. But many residents are frustrated by city support for variances and government subsidies that make traffic worse."
Gilvin also says he is optimistic about road capacity improvements and transit proposals designed to
relieve traffic as part of the North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan. He said he's also hopeful that the area may be able to set priorities based on costs, efficiency and the impact on traffic "rather than just political agendas."
Another priority for the candidate is to invest in the renewal efforts along North Point Parkway and the city's residential areas.
"We also need to ensure the parks and infrastructure, which support Alpharetta's residential neighborhoods, are brought up to the high standard our residents should be able to expect," Gilvin said. "Building 26 acres of passive parks in residential areas, expanding the Greenway trail system and providing community centers on both sides of GA-400 will improve the quality of life and property values for everyone."
Gilvin has lived in Alpharetta since the late 1990's with his wife, Mary Anne, and their two children, Justin and Sarah. The Gilvins live in the Windward subdivision and attend Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church. Gilvin holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Georgia Southern University and is a small technology business owner.
"Alpharetta is a special place and our future is bright," he said. "The delicate balance of great schools in a beautiful setting with a thriving business environment will continue to draw families from all over the world as long as we preserve that special character. For the last six years I have consistently sought that balance for the people of Alpharetta and now look forward to continuing that service as mayor."